My Red-Haired Angel

Alison - Maple Grove, Minnesota
Entered on May 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: afterlife

I believe that one can know people after they die. No, not in the macabre way of “I see dead people”. Rather, I believe that anyone can reach out from this swirling blue marble into the ether and connect to some floating spirit.

I believe in thread. Imagine a shimmering thread attached to a soul. Then, imagine that this thread is infinite, you have a loom in front of you, and you are able to weave anything. When you take the thread and weave, pieces of the soul’s essence come with it. As you weave more and more, the pattern becomes more well-defined, and soon you see the outline of the soul. This process continues for years, and you are still not done. You might think you are done, but then another loop on the spiral forms, and your shimmering tapestry stretches into infinity. I have had my loom my whole life, and I still haven’t formed a complete picture of my angel.

I believe in a small red-haired angel. I believe in the bittersweet sound of her name: Meghan Leigh Rich. I believe in her every year on her birthday, when my family scrawls “Happy Birthday” on balloons and lets them fly away. I often wonder, as I watch the plastic bubbles race into the sky, if she believes in me too.

As a child, I was always bitter about the loss of a sister. I could imagine so clearly the things we’d do together! I saw myself pushing her on our rickety swingset as her hair flew. I formed a pristine view of her. She had pretty red hair that would turn more blonde, like my mother, and brown eyes like my father. She laughed a lot, and was always sweet. Whenever someone asked about my siblings, I always included her: “One sister who’s five years older and one sister who died two years before I was born”. The words were matter of fact, their effect not. It always hurt.

It hurt more when I had a sudden realization in middle school. I realized that if my sister hadn’t died, I would not have this life. As children, we are taught to be thankful for what we have. I wondered how I could be thankful for what I have when what I have came at the expense of a life. If my sister had not died, my parents would have adopted a boy. Was I supposed to be glad because of my sister’s death? Sad? I thought I could feel only one emotion. And yet, I’ve come to terms with myself. With my sister.

Because I know my sister would understand, and forgive me. If she were here, she would take me by the hand and tell me everything was all right, and that I should go on living with no regrets. And so I will keep on weaving my tapestry, never forget her, never forget to keep living for her. Because I believe in my red-haired angel.