Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In the Words of My Big Sister

I've been in awe of Kristen's blog since she started it.  I even attempted to start my own blog in 2011, in hopes that I could be half as articulate as she is when she writes.  365 Days of Jill only saw a handful of entries - even though I had hoped to blog everyday for an entire year when I started!  So you might imagine, I was quite interested in helping to fulfill Kristen's quest to blog every day in the month of May this year.  We've all been anticipating...okay, at times dreading, this month for the last year.  A year of firsts without Charlotte behind us - we look forward with hope and anticipation as the new "year" begins.

I'm Jill.  I'm Kristen's sister.  In our family, I'm more commonly referred to as Miss Glitz, Mister Sister, an exercise fanatic, a lover of all things "Pink'd", a CPA turned IT professional, a mommy to two adorable little boys, Jack and Owen, a wife to one crazy (most times perverted...) man named Jay, but like my other two sisters, we are aunties to a perfect heart angel named Charlotte...
I think about Charlotte every day.  I miss her, despite the shortness of our times together during her first year.  Ironically, I miss our time at Children's Hospital when we - a blended family of Goesers, Ritchies, and Reynolds -  would patiently and anxiously await the results of all of Charley's procedures.  I love that my kids love and talk about Charlotte like she's still her, but I'm saddened that they won't get to grow up with her.
I ache inside for Kristen and Matty.  

I hate thinking about May 31, 2011.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  

But now, nearly a year later, I look back, and I can muster a smile.  WE ARE SURVIVING.  TOGETHER.  Just like we have so many times before.  We've cried countless tears, shared tons of memories, laughed until our bellies ache, and now we prepare ourselves for the first anniversary of Charlotte's death...Her "Angel-versary" as one blog follower so eloquently put it. 

When I thought about what I might write in this blog entry of mine, my thoughts immediately turned to Charlotte, but quickly realized that I couldn't tell you anything "new" about her. Her mommy has shared so much already and what she hasn't shared will likely come in the future.  So I switched my focus to someone else.  I don't personally know this "someone" yet, but he and I have something very much in common.  You see, like me, Baby Boy Ritchie will be the oldest child, who isn't really the oldest. 

I've said it hundreds of times over..."I'm the oldest of four girls..."  (...and my sisters love to remind me that I'm the oldest...)  But the truth is...I'm not.   I am the second in a line of five girls.  Like Baby Boy Ritchie, my big sister went to Heaven before I was born.  He and I are the babies sent to help ease the hurt of a lost first child...the first brick in the rebuilding of a family that has suffered a tremendous, unexplainable loss.  We aren't replacements.  The hole left by our older siblings can't be filled, but we can hope and believe that we are the first step in a long, grueling, never-ending healing process of many broken hearts.

I can remember talking about my "Big Sister", Staci, when I was growing up.  I knew she died when she was 9 days old because she had a hole in her heart.  I can remember the prayer card from her funeral, modge podged to a piece of wood in a bedroom in the house I grew up in.  We often prayed the Angel of God Guardian Angel prayer on it at night before we went to bed.  Staci was and remains a part of our family...just like Charlotte will remain a part of the Ritchie family now and after Baby Boy Ritchie is born.
I'm certain that Auntie Staci and my Dad love and care for Baby Boy Ritchie's big sis, Charlotte, every day.  I know we'll all be reunited in Heaven someday, me with my sis and Baby Boy Ritchie with his, but until then I'm happy to play my part in our family here on Earth.  Kristen, as your oldest sister, I'm here to tell you that I am confident that you are ready for this next chapter of your life.  You are an incredible women, a loving daughter, sister and friend - one of my best!  You are a devoted wife...but most importantly, I want to remind you that you are a mommy.  Strong, proud, patient, creative, fun,  and I know...very scared right now, but God trusted you with Charlotte, and you have proven over and over to Him that you were worthy of His gift.  I know you'll show your son everything that God has already been telling him about you.   I love you.  Thank you for letting me write.

Thank you Jilly for sharing these beautiful words.  I've read them over and over again and still can't make it through without tears.  Charlotte was so lucky to have such amazing aunts who loved her to no end.  I know that she is smiling down on all of you today.  XOXOXO ~Kritter


  1. I found your blog through my mom who is a float nurse at the Avera clinics in Sioux Falls...your posts about your daughter are amazing, what a wonderful life you gave her and what a legacy she left behind. I will be praying for you as you come upon the 31st of May that God will grant you peace and you will remember (as you've been doing) with joy the life of your little girl!

  2. I'm crying here. What a beautiful post. I'm sure Staci is taking good care of Charley. XOXO.

  3. Seriously! You gals always move me to the extreme of emotions! Either crying or laughing! So beautifully written Jill! Like every blog posting I have read here from Kristen...beautiful. You are all amazing and I look forward to hearing about your next chapter in life. You are all in my heart especially now ( but, of course, always!) I love you goeser gals like family! hUGS and prayers for you all