I’ve known a lot of Wendys in my lifetime. I have friends that tell me they’ve never met a Wendy before and I answer them with “I know at least five.”
But there is no one like the first Wendy. The one I met a few days after I was born. She was nine and my big cousin. She lived upstairs from us in my grandmother’s building with her brother and sister and her mom, my tía Rosa. She might as well have been my big sister, along with the other two siblings.
She would hang out with me, take me outside for walks and eat pickles on forks. Her favorite movie was The Little Princess and she would always carry me around on her hip. If you take a look at her, she wasn’t very big and a little skinny, but she could still lug me around.
She was a happy little girl. As much as I remember, there’s a lot I don’t being so little. My favorite is watching my dad’s home movies of all of us in the basement–where we lived for a little while. The last one we saw that I can remember was from Halloween. Wendy was a bunny and her shrill little voice is almost shocking because it hasn’t changed. It never will.
Three years after I met her, Wendy was taken away from all of us. A mishap, an accident, whatever you want to call it, the result was her no longer being there. And what a tragedy it was. She was gone 10 days before her 12th birthday– a bit unfair to say the least.
I was so close to her, they say I felt her death so deeply– as I see it, the energy was being ripped away from me. They didn’t let me go to the wake, so I didn’t get to see her sleeping. I also got really sick during those days of her being gone and her burial — high fevers, weird dreams, hallucinations. As we were driving somewhere, I apparently said I saw her running alongside the car, but that she didn’t have glasses on. They buried her without her glasses.
My mom and my tía Carmen both say that it was one dream that liberated me from being sick and sometimes I claim that I still remember it because it was so real. She came for me. She came for me and we went flying in the clouds. She had her glasses on, her gown was white and she took me by the hand. We laughed together and floated from cloud to cloud. It was amazing. After that, my fever broke and that was it.
I think about her all the time. She’s my guardian angel and I know it because I feel her. Sometimes I meditate and I go to her. I see her sitting outside in the back porch of the house she grew up in, eating candy and listening to me as I whine about my life. She looks up with me and says, “Christy, it’s all going to be OK.” I also know she’s around because a heavy bout of energy comes over me and I cry uncontrollably but it’s not out of sadness. I smile through the tears and I say, “I feel you. You’re here.”
I haven’t had any dreams about her lately, but the last one I did have was magical. I was in a field with a lot of women, including my mom, my tía Carmen and some friends of mine. In the middle of this field, there was what looked like a mailbox. They told me to go and open it, that I would receive a message. I walked up to the old, gray, wooden box and opened it to find a three-page, handwritten letter from Wendy. In it, she told me how proud she was of me, how she sees what I do and that she’s always with me. She signed it with a big W and that was all I needed. As I read it, my mom and tía kept asking me what it said and I cried. When I woke up, I felt a sense of peace.
It’s hard to think about her still and the fact that she would have been 39 this year. What would she have become? And what’s funny is that I feel like it’s because of her that I have the other Wendys in my life. She didn’t want me to ever forget her. I look at my friends and I see pieces of what her life would have been like: success, beauty, intelligence, marriage, motherhood, families. They all have beautiful lives and in a way, I see what she would have had.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from being around Wendy. She was kind, innocent, loving, smart. I thank God everyday for the chance to have met her. A piece of me also feels like she’s in me, like she is in my little cousin Wendy Christella and my sister Caroline Wendy.
She’s buried with my grandfather at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. They look after one another. I wish I could write about him too, but I can’t because he passed long before I was born, but I do think of him often and the kind of man he was.
They would both be extremely proud to see how far our family has come.