A Whole New Journey
By Angelina Jefary
On 28th March 2009, a perfect baby girl named Angelita Jefary was born.
She was physically perfect and when she smiled, she looked like a cute little angel. Everything changed the day she was born. She made the sun shine even brighter and most importantly, she made the family bond even stronger.
I was probably the happiest girl in the whole wide world because I was finally a big sister. I would have plans on what we could and would do for the rest of our life together. I was ready to welcome her to her our family, home and the world.
The time she spent at the hospital from the day she was born took longer than I expected. Dad said she had to be hospitalised because she was sick. Since then, mom and dad were rarely at home too. Every day, they would send me to school, go to work then pick me up again when school was over and drop me off at my grandparents’ house. Their daily routine had become so dull. They usually went directly to the hospital after working.
Sometimes, I would ask, “When is Angelita going to be home? Can I visit her?” but I was served the same answer, “She will be home soon.”
And when I asked my mom or grandparents about her, they just gave me a long stare. I never got tired of waiting. I always tried to keep my life busy while waiting. As a 10-year-old kid, it was very hard not to see or have your parents around often but my grandparents always treated me equally.
After about five months of waiting, my dad just said something that really added meaning to my life, “Let’s go and bring your little sister back from the hospital.”
On the way to the hospital, I asked, “Why was she sick, dad?”
“You know, babies get sick sometimes,” he answered patiently as he put a hand on my head.
As we parked in the hospital compound, I quickly ran to the lobby hoping to see my mom and Angelita. I kept on searching until I heard a voice calling for me. It was mom! I couldn’t hold my tears. I ran towards them and I finally got to see and hold my precious little sister. She was so cute and little. Then, we were all ready to head home and spend time as a family.
I literally spent every minute with my little sister.
I saw her smile, her first tooth and even heard her first word. I cherished every single moment with her, even little things. Everything was wonderful when we were together as a family.
One night, we had all gone to bed. It was just like any other night but something woke me up. I could hear the car engine and the door close in a hurry.
I switched on the lights but no one was at home. I didn’t think much about it because I was so tired and needed to wake up for school the next morning.
When the sun rose, I was ready for school and saw my dad at home but I couldn’t see my mom or Angelita anywhere. I suddenly thought, the old routine was back.
Angelita was only home for 3 months and she was sick again? My parents also weren’t at home much after that. It was about a few days since I saw my mom, dad and Angelita. I was left with my grandparents.
It was such a beautiful night, I was sitting in the living room doing my homework… but I could feel something was just not right. So I borrowed my grandma’s phone and immediately called my dad.
I asked, “Is Angelita going to be home soon?” and I got a very convincing answer “Yes, girl.”
That night, I just couldn’t close my eyes but I fell asleep with pictures of me and Angelita in my hand. I slept pretty well that night though. One thing I had in my mind throughout the night was that my little sister was going to be home soon.
It was 3 am and my eyes were wide open. I could sense something was going on in the house. I stared at the ceiling for 15 minutes and decided to check what was going on in the living room.
As soon as I stepped outside my room, I was so surprised to see a crowd of people surrounding something. I was shocked to see my aunts, uncles and other relatives were there too. I wondered what would people be doing at my grandparents’ house at 3 am?
An old lady saw me standing still like a tree and quickly called for my mom. My mom quickly grabbed me and held me tight. Mom didn’t look okay. She whispered with such sorrow in her voice, “She’s home.”
She then held my hand and brought me to someone that I’d been waiting to come home. I was down on my knees. Everything just felt like a nightmare. There she was, rested on a fluffy bed, surrounded by candles. I asked myself, “Is this what we call home?”
My tears started to drain. I cried my lungs out. I felt like I just got shot in the head. I couldn’t contain myself. I held her hands and I could feel they were really cold. Then I realised, SHE WAS FINALLY HOME.
It felt like the world had stopped moving, the sun turned to a ball of darkness and I was at my worst. I lost my best friend, I lost my little sister and I lost my sunshine. Nothing and no one could ever understand what I felt. I changed dramatically, physically and mentally. It was hard, really hard to swallow the reality.
A few years later, I finally had the courage to ask my parents, “Why was Angelita sick? What was she suffering from? What was wrong?”
To which they replied, “She had lung failure and suffered from Edwards Syndrome.”
IEdwards syndrome occurs in one in around 6,000 live births, around 80% of those affected are female. The majority of fetuses with the syndrome die before birth. The incidence rate increases as the mother’s age increases. The syndrome has a very low rate of survival, resulting from heart abnormalities, kidney malformations, and other internal organ disorders.
All this while my parents told me Angelita was sick? Or maybe I was just too young and naïve back then? But now I realised, life must go on.
It was maybe a bit tough in the beginning but it is the start for a whole new journey. Sometimes, I do wish Angelita was here but I know she is in a better place. My parents have been really strong throughout the whole journey. No matter how tough the roads got, we are still standing strong as a family through thick and thin.
Everything feels like it just happened yesterday. Days like this keep us stronger and wiser. Life has not always been a bed of roses but we have to always be thankful for this life. No matter if you lose your job, break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend or even lose your family member, just keep your head up and always remember you are not alone. Keep the positive vibe flowing and appreciate everyone around you before it’s too late.
“Mom, why did God take her from us?”
“If you’re in a garden, which flower would you pick?”
“The most beautiful one.”
Rest in peace my little sunshine. May your soul be with the beautiful one.