I have a cousin.  She has a daughter, making her daughter my second-cousin, it’s simply semantics really, I have always looked at Elli like a sister.  I was able to watch her grow up, blossom into a smart, caring, and beautiful girl, then pissy teenager, and now brave woman.

A few months ago she told me she was expecting.  I was a bit shocked because she is so young to me (is it bad that 19 years old seems so young when you are only 27 years old), there was school, there was a career she loved, there was marriage, and then the baby in the baby carriage…

It took me some time until I quickly realized I was doing the same thing to her that I hate when others do to me.  Those pesky expectations.  We all have em, and we impose them on those we love the most because we want the best for them.  I cried when I moved away to college, feeling like I was leaving her behind, I cried at her high school graduation, and I cried when I found out she was pregnant.

On May 15th her water broke, she was just about 19 weeks.  I cried then too, a lot.  I still do.  Her daughter, Chevelle, still had a heartbeat and we waited.  I won’t go into the details because it isn’t my story to tell (I do have permission to write this post however), but I am so proud of Elli for making choices based on her beliefs and what was best for her and her daughter.  On May 16th Elli delivered a beautiful little girl.  She was a special little girl because she was born with wings and was already in heaven.

I cried and cried.

The pain of those days and the lingering pain that follows continues to ripple through our family.

I wanted to spoil Chevelle, I wanted to watch her grow as I did with her mother.  I wanted to be there for her to tell all of her secrets to, I wanted to be her safe place as Elli’s mother Julie (my cousin) was for me when I was weathering those hormone fueled teenage years (and thought my own mother was stupid – I am so sorry, I love you mom!).

Whether Elli has more children is her choice and I respect no matter what decision she makes for herself and her family.  All I can say is she is one brave woman.  And if does decide to have more children I will spoil them just as rotten as I would have Chevelle.

I love you Ellen!