They don't call her Mom, but they fit in that place in her heart. She didn't give them birth, but she was there to watch them enter the world and was among the first to hold them close. She doesn't have to be the parent, but she guides them with love and understanding. She's watched them grow and has taught me to sometimes simply stand back and watch too.
She wasn't there that first night, but I felt her soul and strength with me. She didn't get to be in the room with me when I made big decisions about his life, but her heart tore in two just as mine did. No one asked her how she was doing that day. No one brought her food and encouraged her to eat, or a pillow and told her to sleep. Her visitor's badge said "Aunt", but that word wasn't sufficient. There should have been a sticker that said "Mom 2". Maybe then they would have known what this was doing to her. Maybe then someone would have taken their eyes off of me for a minute and offered her their shoulder instead.
But, she wouldn't have wanted that. She wouldn't have taken one second of the comfort meant for me. Even though her soul was shredding too. Even though her arms ached for the chance to hold him again, just as mine did. In those last few hours when people were milling in and out and saying their good-byes, she stayed away, and not because of fear or disinterest, but because she was giving me all the seconds I had left. She didn't take one moment of my time with him, although she had every right to do so. They all cried for me and for the five of us who were losing that piece of our lives, but no one cried for her.
She could be sad but not AS sad as the mother. If I cried a thousand tears, she was only allowed 999. She could hurt, but the knife couldn't go as deep. It wasn't allowed. She wasn't the mother. And although she may not have worn the title, I assure you that that day, she lost her child. So today I cry for her. I cry for her pain and misery. I cry for her stifled screams. I cry for the ache in her arms, and the tear in her soul.
I love you, my sister. And I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby.