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January 14, 2016

My Boys are Now the Age When My Sister Died

At just three years and one month into my sister Serina's life, it ended. My parents lost their first born when tragically their cautious three-year-old suddenly chased after her dog and was struck by a speeding car on their residential road. The dog lived, my sister didn't.


I grew up knowing first-hand that my parents experienced the worst thing imaginable for parents. Witnessed their daily tears, saw their pain that led to them splitting and even heard the terrible retelling of taking Serina off life support, but it took being a parent myself to put it further into perspective.

While I can still only begin to imagine their heartbreak and strength to keep living, I now know just how much personality, moments and dreams go into those three years of raising a child. It's helped make her life more real to me. I keep looking at my boys little bodies and a chill runs down my spine, but more importantly my tears fall for the beautiful little girl lost, her life taken and my poor parents for having to experience something so horrible.

I recently came across a simple photo of our father holding and titling back a cup of water for Serina to drink from. It's such a common parenting task, but I thought 'wow, how many times have I done that for my boys?' and I just started crying.


When I was younger I was a bit obsessed with Serina or rather the lack of her. She wasn't there, yet her presence still was, especially in how my parent's lives changed. I remember I couldn't get enough of looking at her photographs. We were both our parents daughters, yet I lived and she didn't. She had brown hair and brown eyes. My hair was super blonde as a child with blue/green eyes. She was in the 90th percentile and I was in the 20th. I would imagine and wonder what other differences and similarities we'd have. My father had her photos hanging up on almost every wall in his apartment. 17-years after her death, I was once again staring into her eyes as I removed them from his walls after his own passing.

Although I didn't look much like her, I caught myself doing a double-take at the following holiday photo of my son Ben. It reminded me of those photos that I used to see of her, of his would-be aunt. So, just maybe a bit of her still lives on. Maybe I was given twins to give my mom back a life that was taken.

19 comments

  1. Wow, this really reminds me of the gifts I have in my children. I'm sorry for your loss, but glad to see her memory live on.

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  2. Wow, I can definitely see the resemblance between your son and your sister's photos!

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    1. Glad I'm not going crazy and someone else can see it.

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  3. They do look alike - just waiting for Ben to drop the f-bomb and the resemblance will be complete!

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  4. This is a nice tribute to your sister. And he does look like her in the photos.

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  5. I lost a sister to a birth defect when I was five and I completely understand the obsession with the missing sister. I had a baby doll that looked just like her (eerily so, now that I'm an adult and came across it during a move) and for years--into my teens--her memory haunted me.

    I really like your theory about your twins being a part of her. Even if you don't believe in reincarnation specifically, there's this idea of soul contracts, that we keep encountering the same essences over and over in different combinations. It's why we can meet a stranger and feel like we've known them forever and why we see things in a child that remind us of another, passed on, family member that they never met. It's a nice thought, at the very least :)

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  6. Aw your story had me in tears, I have been thinking a lot about death recently with the passing of David Bowie and today the great Alan Rickman and how I would feel should a loved one pass before their time or my own impending death and it is a scary thought. How lovely of your father to keep her in his memory even until the day they died.

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  7. I'm so sorry. What a beautiful post to celebrate your sister's life. xoxo

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  8. What a beautiful post Tara. And I definitely see the resemblance. xo

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  9. Gosh the heartbreak that shatters peoples' lives. I don't know what to say really... Thanks for the twitter follow.

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  10. This story had me absolutely in tears. What a hard thing for your family to face.

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  11. what a great way to keep her memory alive - plus I am so sorry for your loss!

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  12. It's a gentle reminding to hug your kids everyday and tell them how much you love them. This post was thoughtful and touching!

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  13. Lovely tribute to your sister. We all have those ages that resonate with some personal history. I think you got twins for a reason, too.

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  14. This is a lovely post! I'm sorry for your loss, but it must be wonderful to see the resemblance!

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  15. Tara, I thought this was a beautiful post and lovely tribute to your sister. My husband lost a sister when he was 12 and I don't think we understood the pain his parents must have endured until we had our own children. I definitely see a resemblance between the two.

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  16. So sorry for you loss. Amazing how things can hit us like a ton of bricks years/decades later huh? Hug your little ones tight today.

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  17. Tara, reading and seeing Serina's pictures, the same ones ....after all these years still brings tears to my eyes. Having known Serina and the joy I remember having while babysitting are memories I will cherish forever. She is and will always be my little angel, I know in my heart that she would have been a great big sister and even greater Aunt to your boys. Hope to see you and the boys again soon!!! Love, Aunt Lena

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  18. Thank you all! These personal posts always leave me feeling awkward, so appreciate the comment love and support. I'm also glad you see the resemblance too.

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