I miss you. I can't help but think that, had you been born alive that morning, instead of still, the story would have played out in a more joyful way. And I wonder, "What if?" We'd have rushed to your side and cheered you on as you fought through being seven weeks premature. We'd have held you and cared for you and, modern medicine being what it is, hauled you out of the NICU in no time at all. There would have been an Easter dress and some sort of teeny tiny red, white and blue bathing suit. You'd have eaten sand by the fistful at the beach last summer and produced heinous diapers to prove it. Christmas would have been magical. Today, I'd put the final touches on your birthday party which, let's face it, in the absence of your opinion, would probably have had something to do with a couple of Disney princesses named Anna and Elsa.
I had it all playing out so differently in my mind.
But your life mattered. I want you to know that. Even though I can't tell you, I hope that, from your vantage point in Heaven, you somehow know. I hope you can see this family and how we're so much better for the lessons you taught us. I hope you know all the lives you changed without taking a single step.
Do you know about the mother who, after hearing your story, decided not to abort her child?
Do you know about all the people who have told me that they were deeply impacted by your life?
People saw the Lord move as we raised a ton of money in such a short amount of time.
People saw the Lord move as doors opened for us to be able to hold you and love you and bury you.
As for us, the year was not a total loss. We all miss you in ways I can't even begin to put into words. I hate that you're not here. If I could explore an alternate reality where I'm raising you and loving you, I would do it immediately with no questions asked. But I love your brothers a little more fiercely now. I love your Daddy because he's shouldered my grief while struggling through his own. I can't explain it, exactly, but despite never seeing your face, he's somehow still wrapped around your little finger.
I wish I could visit you more than the occasional trip to San Diego allows. I'm so thankful that your grandparents make sure to put fresh flowers on your grave often. Grandpa fills in the cracks and creases with fresh dirt and brushes off your marker so it stays nice and pretty. People love you. And I am hoping, more than anything, that one day we will meet in the heavenly realm and I will see your face and I will know...
That's my girl.
Kate, the tears don't flow as freely anymore. Time doesn't fix anything and the scars don't go away, but the acute pain is replaced by the desire to live each day to the fullest. I'd rather be scooping you up into my arms, kissing your chubby cheeks and your boo-boos, listening to your giggle, but I will settle for knowing that you are, truly, in a better place.
So, I think of you, Little One. Until we meet for the very first time...