I’ve struggled a lot recently with some things that Luke has been saying. I guess it really started as one of his first words. He was barely a year old and could hardly say “da-da” when he rolled over staring at a framed photo on my nightstand and plainly said “Belle”. I began crying. How did he know her? How did he know her name? I had not even begun to figure out how or when I would start to share her with him.
One of my biggest concerns in having our third baby was that I didn’t know how I would ever tell him about his big sister. How would he ever know her the way that the rest of us did. I didn’t want for him to ever feel as though he is here because she isn’t. I only wanted him to know that he is just as much a part of our family as she is and that all of us are…and that although we don’t have her with us physically, that she’s very much still a part of our family of five.
Somehow, he’s always known.
No one in our family has ever had to explain her to him. He’s always known her. And, recently, he’s been sharing things with us that definitely make us think she’s much closer than we realize.
Luke’s little speech delays have kept him silent for a long time. He’s just started to speak more and more. His sentences have gone from a hardly recognizable three word sentence to paragraphs full of details. As most 3 year olds, he has quite the imagination, too. So, I’ve been more than skeptical when he’d tell me that Annabelle was in his room or that she was playing with him or when she was in the car with us riding around. Perhaps his little imaginary friend just happened to be named the same as his sister, I thought. I tried not to think too much into it…although he has always been adamant that she’s there and could tell me in detail what she looks like, what she’s wearing, and how big her bow is.
It wasn’t truly until last week that I knew he’s spent time with her.
Luke was diagnosed with asthma and an immune deficiency a week or so ago. We’ve gotten back to regular nebulizer treatments again and I’ve decided to make good use of that one on one time with him and sing while we sit through his treatment twice a day.
As I was singing one evening, he kept telling me to sing “Annabelle’s Song”. I sang everything from the Alphabet Song to Jesus Loves Me to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. But, none of them were right. The next morning during his next treatment, he told me to once again sing “Annabelle’s Song”. I tried singing more songs that we sing regularly around the house or that he may have heard but, again, none of them were right.
Later that evening, we sat down for another breathing treatment when he asked for her song once again. That’s when it hit me to sing a song that I knew for a fact that he had never heard out of my mouth and see what he said. So, I began…”You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine”…Luke smiled the biggest smile and simply said “Yes! Mommy dat Anne-belle song!”
I hadn’t been able to mutter those words since the day before Jesus took her Home. That day, March 26, 2008, was one of the best days of my life. She was wide awake that day and I spent all afternoon singing to her on the sofa. We sang “You are my Sunshine” over and over and she just cooed and smiled the entire time. The next morning, she was gone. And, I swore I’d never again sing the words “Please don’t take my Sunshine away”.
But, I did last week…and Luke knew the song…he said that it’s “Annabelle’s Song” and that she sings it to him.
I knew in that moment that she was close. That she has whispered and sung and played with her little brother many times. And, that he knows her because…well, he knows her.
I am so thankful for this tender, innocent stage of his life. God has allowed him to see things that we can’t see and experience a relationship with his sister that I won’t have again until Heaven. It is the sweetest gift…and I’m so grateful that he can give us little glimpses in moments like these.