April Showers

April…the month I have come to dread for the past 3 years and for the rest of eternity. I can’t believe its been 3 years. 3 years ago this April, my sister came home to meet Jonah for the first time. For the first month of his life, she has only seen him over Facetime. The Ipad was held up over us a few short hours after he was born so that he could meet his aunt and she could meet her first nephew. After coming home from the hospital, we gave them “alone time” on the Ipad everyday. We would stick the Ipad into the bassinet and she would watch him and talk to him and tell him how excited she was to hold him.

Ipad Amanda and Jonah

Auntie Amanda

When she finally came home in April, she proved to be an incredible aunt. She held Jonah in her arms as often as she could even though she was always concerned that she wasn’t holding him properly, she yelled at me when I tried to put the pacifier in his mouth while I was driving because she wanted to make sure he was safe, she showered him with gifts and helped me navigate the world of slings as I tried to find one that we could figure out how to put on. We nearly cried from laughter as we got tangled up inside of them. In just a few short days, she proved to have his best interests at heart when she made me retake his passport photo because it wouldn’t be fair to him to have such an unfortunate passport photo! She loved every inch of him and he changed her life. Just 2 weeks after meeting Jonah on April 14th, she died. She was taken from us by some violent virus that took over her body that no one could stop.

Amanda Berger    Amanda and Jonah    Jenna, Amanda and Jonah



Adding one more

So here we are. In April, again. Every year, I dread it because it only reminds me that she has been gone another year. But this year is different. This year is harder. This year I look at Addison, my sweet beautiful daughter, my sisters namesake and all I can think about is how 3 years ago, Amanda was meeting Jonah and how Addi will never have that opportunity. It devastates me each and every time I think about it.

I remember when I came up with Jonah’s name. It was a difficult task, but once I decided on it, I knew it was perfect. I am a fairly secretive person, so I wasn’t sharing the name until he was born. My sister and I had long talks about who I was going to name him after and she had strict orders on names I wasn’t allowed to use and she had opinions on names I wanted to choose. I wasn’t sharing his name, but telling my sister wasn’t sharing. My sister was an extension of me, so it went without saying that she needed to know before he was born. I needed to know that she liked it, I needed her to be a part of choosing his name, I needed her approval. I always needed her approval. I will never forget that moment. We were walking through Yorkdale Mall, passing William and Sonoma walking towards Pottery Barn when I asked her if she wanted to know his name. When I said Jonah Cooper, I knew right away that she loved it. She said that name made her want to squeeze him and she was absolutely right. That was exactly how I felt about his name and that is exactly how we feel about him.


When I became pregnant with my second child, I was unable to think about names. My husband kept asking me to talk about names and I repeatedly told him that I couldn’t. I kept explaining to him that I wasn’t able to choose a name without her. We had decided to name the baby after her which made everything that much harder. How was I supposed to name my child after my sister? How could I name my child without my sisters help? What if I chose a name that she wouldn’t have liked? I needed her. I kept putting it off until I was almost 9 months pregnant. Coming up with names was so difficult. I was sure my baby would remain nameless until she was born. We had two names in mind, only one of which I wanted to name her but we decided that we would wait to see what she looked like before we named her. When she came out, there was no question that she was an Addison, no question at all. Through my tears, we shared her name with our families. While welcoming her into this world and giving her a name was one of the most special days of my life, it was also one of the most difficult.

We believe that the names we give our children will impact who they become. That they will carry parts of them with them in their life. While Addi will never get the chance to meet her aunt, she is so lucky to be carrying Amanda with her. When I look down at her, I see my sister. Her side profile is a replica of her and I hope it remains that way forever. As each day goes on, I see more and more of Amanda in her and I know that she will continue to grow up and posses more of her aunts amazing qualities.

While April will come and go each year, the memories that I have of my sister will stay forever. I will continue to reach for a memory when I need her most and I will continue to tell my children about her and share my childhood memories with them. What I wish for my children is for them to have the same close relationship with each other as we had. There must be something special about siblings exactly 27 months apart ;)

Did you name your child after someone close to you? Leave a comment below on how you decided on your child’s name.