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Raising My Niece

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Chapter Six... The First Hurdle Is Always The Hardest

 

A week after we buried Jodie and Luke, we packed all of our things into the back of a truck and moved them to our new apartment.

 

The hardest part of the entire move was that we had to buy a whole new bedroom for Addison. Just about everything my little niece owned perished in the fire along with her beloved parents. And the week since the funeral had been tough on her, I could tell. She was expressing the emotions that come with losing someone so close to you, you wonder how you're ever going to live without them.

 

Life sucked in that way.

 

I hated that I couldn't just make Addison's pain go away. She was so small, so young. She was far too little to have to suffer through this. I know that Jodie and Luke would never had left her if they had a choice. But life was however, extremely cruel. And Addison would spend the rest of her life growing up without her mother or father.

 

She would, however, have a loving family support.

 

No matter what, Marcus and I would put her needs ahead of our own.

 

But of course, other than our love, there was my mother and Tom. Both had agreed that they would still babysit Addison any time they could, and any time we needed them to. And we would let Addison spend as much time with her grandparents as she wanted to. Luke's family would always be there for her, too. His parents insisted on helping to buy things for Addison, and spent far too much money. It made me feel extremely guilty, but they were spoiling their only granddaughter.

 

I couldn't take that away from them.

 

As I built Addison's crib, hung her new clothes in her closet, put her new toys into her new toy chest, and stuck beautiful butterfly stickers all over the walls, Addison sat next to me with her new doll Lucy. She was silent, holding the doll in a protective position in her lap. When she spotted the doll in the store, she grabbed it and had hardly put it down since. It was like a security blanket for her.

 

"Are you hungry, Addy?" I asked her.

"No," she answered softly.

"You don't want a drink or anything?" I questioned.

"No thanks," she whispered, not taking her eyes off of Lucy.

"Well, when we're done here, we'll go for a walk down to the park, yeah?" I suggested. "You can bring Lucy with you."

"Okay," she looked up, giving me a small smile.

 

It was hard to communicate with Addison some days. But it was also understandable. The stable life that she once had was gone.

 

I finished in Addison's room, and then walked her down to play in the park. She merely sat on the swing, glaring out over the wide garden nearby.

 

"Addy you okay?" I asked her.

"Where's mommy?" she questioned, looking at me. Her eyes glistened, like she was about to cry. It almost broke my heart.

"Sweetie, mommy's in heaven," I reminded her. "She's up there with daddy watching over you."

"I know," she sighed. "I just want my mommy and daddy back."

"Me too, baby girl," I said, hugging her. "Me too."

 

As we walked home, Addison took my hand. She carried Lucy in her other arm, and I could actually talk to her for once. Since her parents died, she'd been different. We all had, and it was hard. Nothing and no one could replace my beloved sister, and her loving husband.

 

"Daddy used to take me to the park," Addison said as we walked up our street.

"Yes, he did, didn't he?" I smiled.

"Mommy used to taked me shopping," she continued. "With you, Aunty Pheeb. I miss them. Do they ever come back from heaven?"

"No, sweetie," I sighed. "I wish."

"Can I go to there to see them?" she questioned, her innocent brown eyes fixed on my face as she came to a halt.

"No, we can't visit them, and they can't come to us," I said sadly. "It's gonna take a while for us to all get used to not having them in our lives, but we will never leave you alone, Addy. I promise. Uncle Marc and I will always be here for you. And nanna and poppy. And grandma and grandpa. And everyone else in your dad's family. I promise."

 

Addison stood there for a moment, deep in thought.

 

"I loves you, Aunty Pheeb," Addison smiled. "And Uncle Moo."

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