My sister died two years ago. Her first grandchild was born just over a week ago, a baby girl name Victoria. My niece, Victoria’s mother, is a strong, beautiful woman. Her husband called me that morning to tell me they were at the hospital. He promised to keep me updated throughout the day.

At noon, he called to tell me she was dilated to 7 and he was having lunch to get ready for the big push! He told me his wife, my niece, my sister’s daughter, was doing remarkable. He said not a whimper from her; she was staying so strong and positive.

At 5:21 pm, I received the call. Victoria was here. She was beautiful, he said. I heard the joy in his voice. I was at work throughout this day, receiving the updates. I was busy and didn’t have much time to ponder what was happening.

And then, I was driving home from work. I pondered the day. I thought about the birth of my great niece. I thought about my sister. I cried so hard I had to pull off the highway. I sat with my head on the steering wheel, tears falling into my lap.

My sister should have been calling me all day with updates. I should have heard the excitement and joy in her voice. I should have heard her describing the love, the pride, and the feeling of being a grandmother. Those of us that are grandmothers know that feeling. I often say I didn’t know I could fall in love again until I had a grandchild. I didn’t hear my sister’s voice over the phone. I imagined hearing it. With my head on the steering wheel, I imagined hearing the joy in her voice. I imagined hearing her childlike squeals of delight when she described her beautiful granddaughter to me. I imagined.

Eventually, I was able to compose myself and drive home. Once home, I sat in silence. I thought about my sister. I missed her so very much. I felt robbed once again. We so often talked about becoming grandmothers together. Our daughters were married just months apart. We had so much left to do together. It was a bittersweet day.

I am now planning my trip to North Carolina to meet Victoria. I will be taking the quilt I had made, using some of my sister’s clothes, to baby Victoria. I will wrap the baby in the quilt and begin telling her about her grandmother. I will do my best to tell Victoria all I can about my sister, so she will feel like she knows her grandmother. When I hold baby Victoria, I will be holding a part of my sister. One child born in this world to carry on. Life continues.

Shirley Wiles-Dickinson 2012


Shirley Wiles-Dickinson

Shirley Wiles-Dickinson is the youngest of four girls in a Midwestern family. In 2009, her sister was brutally murdered. She writes about her experience following this loss.

More Articles Written by Shirley