My precious girl,
Today you would be two years old. I imagine you toddling around, attempting to chase your brother and sisters. I imagine the cute little dresses, hairbows, and boots. I pretend to know what your hair would be like. I like to think it would be like Caroline's when she was two - brown with little curls in the back. We would probably have had your birthday party today and you would have opened one present and not cared about the rest...because that's what 2 year olds do. I can picture you now, me tucking you in tonight, telling you that tomorrow would be your birthday. We'd have pancakes with a candle for you to blow out in the morning while we sang to you.
I see so many little girls close to your age, and I imagine they're you. I imagine you doing what they're doing. Running, playing, saying "mama" or "daddy" or "care-wine" like all your other siblings have said "Caroline." It feels so unfair sometimes. Well, it doesn't just feel unfair, it is unfair. It's unfair that instead of living out this year of your life with us, you had to leave us. And yet....
I know you wouldn't come back if you could. You wouldn't want to. Why would you? You're in a place with no pain. A place where you have no reason to ever shed a tear. You're surrounded by love and peace. That's certainly not how you would feel here. You're with someone who loves you more than I ever could - which, to me, is unfathomable. How? How can He love you more than I do? It still feels so unreal sometimes. I see pictures of you scattered across our home, and I think to myself, "I still can't believe we are those people. We are the people who lost a baby." But it's true. You are gone. You're gone to a place where I can't get you back, as much as I've tried.
The first few months after you died I begged and pleaded. I tried everything I could think of to bargain with God. I hoped I was in some weird coma and would wake up and realize this had all been some nightmare. (The truth is, I still sometimes wish that were true.) But...in your death, I learned so much about myself. I used to read blogs of people who had lost a child. I would sob as I read their posts. I would try, for just a minute, to put myself in their position. The pain was too much to even imagine, and I vividly remember thinking to myself, "I couldn't handle it. I just don't think I'd make it." Here I am. Eighteen months I've made it. I've put one foot in front of the other and kept going. I'm so much stronger than I thought I would be. I don't say that in a gloating way - my strength is not my own. I am so weak when I try to make it on my own. I don't know how people make it through tragedies in their lives without Jesus. How do they do it? How do they manage these feelings without Him? He's my buffer...my comfort...my peace. If I truly thought your life ended and I would never see you again, I think the pain would be unbearable. I am so thankful that I know that's not true.
You changed my life. I had a relationship with Jesus before you died, but your death made our relationship into a personal relationship. An individual relationship. Not something that barely skims the surface anymore. I understand now. I understand His sacrifice so much more clearly. I understand how awful it must've been for God to allow His only Son to die for me...for all of us. I understand hope. Hope never quite made sense to me...until you. The hope that I have is beyond something I can comprehend. Because of His sacrifice, you are in His arms. And if you cannot be in my arms, you're exactly where I'd want you to be. Because of His sacrifice, I can hold you again one day. I can kiss your sweet face, hug you, and never let you go again. I can feel your precious little hands touching my face like you always did. I can't wait.
Two years old. I can't believe you'd be two years old. I'm so sorry that you won't experience life with all of us, but I am so overjoyed that you'll never know all the sadness of this life. I hope you can look at us and know how loved you are. You are still so, so loved here. You're in my thoughts at least every minute. I've tried to be happy and joyful in the days that I have left. I've never wanted your siblings to look back on the day we lost you as the day they also lost their mother. I'm thankful for them. They all still pray for you, ask about you, remember you. Whalen didn't get to know you, but I will make sure when he sees your picture, he knows exactly who you are...his sister. You are so loved, so missed, so cherished. I cherish my memories of you. I covet them - hold them so close, because I'm always afraid to forget those details. Just a month or so before you died, I remember rocking you one night after church. Daddy was putting the other 3 to bed, and I was in our room rocking. I fed you and you fell asleep in my arms. I remember staring at you. I looked at your fingers, because you had them wrapped around mine. I remember looking at your eyelashes and thinking what pretty lashes you had! Daddy came in and I remember telling him, "I don't want to put her down - she's so cute." So I kept rocking for a while longer, just because I could. I'm so glad I did that. So many other things I probably needed to do that night, but I rocked you instead. Honestly, I'm not normally great at that...living in the moment. Maybe that's why I remember it so vividly.
Today, my heart aches for you. My arms want to hold you and smother you in kisses. I would give anything to snuggle with you...smell you...just hold you for a while longer. Since I can't do that, I pray that Jesus will snuggle you today. I imagine you putting your head on His shoulder and snuggling Him in a big hug. I pray you always know how much we love you. No matter how many years are in between us, you will always be my baby. You will always be a missing piece of my heart. I love you more than I know how to put into words. Daddy loves you too. Caroline, Amelia, Walker, and even Whalen love you so much. You are missed....not ever forgotten. Rest in Jesus' arms today on your birthday. My precious baby.
I can't believe you'd be two.