It's been a year since I've been home, which is enough time for me to forget why my visits are so infrequent.
My mom still sits on the couch my father sat on, hunched over a bucket as he drooled out of his mouth after his tongue was removed from cancer.
She eats off the kitchen table where my sister first pulled up to standing.
Everywhere I turned I saw photographs of my sister at the same age that my youngest daughter is now.
I know now why Bridget's smile and bright eyes are too familiar to me. She is fair, like my sister. Her eyes are almond shaped, but light - a confusing but mesmerizing combination, like my sister.
And so far, she's leaning towards being a lefty.
Like my sister.
As I ran through the neighborhood, I thought about visiting her, but I knew I wouldn't have time so I did it in my mind. I saw a snapshot of her small gravestone as if I was standing right there.
Deanna Lin Chase
August 27, 1979 - May 8, 1980
I picked the weeds and laid flowers by her name. And I apologized for not getting there sooner.
Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's because I'm a mother now. Maybe it's because losing a sibling just plain sucks. Always.
When I got home I scooped Bridget up in my arms and took her to my room. As we passed the lifesize picture of my sister that hangs in our hall, she reached out to her.
And she smiled like she knew her well.