It’s been two days since you left us.
I thought about calling this my last letter to you, but it isn’t. I will never stop writing to you, just like I will never stop loving or missing or talking to you.
We planned your funeral today and picked everything out. You know how Mommy loves to plan, but even I was hard put to enjoy this one. But I hope you will like what we’ve planned for you.
I missed you so much last night. Nights are always the hardest. I wanted to hold you so bad. I just ached to feel your little body in my arms and to kiss your cheeks and your temple and your silky, soft hair. I ended up sleeping with the afghan Grandma made for me and one of your sleepers snuggled next to me, just like you used to snuggle next to me. It wasn’t enough, but it helped.
Today, I got my wish. I got to see you and hold you after we planned everything. I was apprehensive at first, but when I saw you lying there, I rushed to you. And you looked so beautiful. And I could not stop touching you and crying and talking to you. I held you as long as I could. And it was wonderful. I got my wish. I held you. I touched and kissed you like I always did and traced every feature. I did my best to memorize it all. I didn’t want to ever put you down, but I finally did.
Motherhood is such a physical thing, especially when children are little. You carry them in your body. You give birth to them. You nurse them. You feed and clean and dress them and carry them everywhere. They are constantly physically close to you. I am so accustomed to holding you. I need you in my arms.
I am so glad that I was the first and last person to hold you in this life. I wish I had been holding you when it happened. I hope they are right that you just went to sleep. I am so sorry you were alone. If you had to take your last breath while I was living, I wanted to be there for it.
I feel so guilty about not taking you to the doctor that last day. I actually dreamed about you dying the night before it happened and I was so sad and worried the next morning. But I thought it was just a dream. I thought my gut was screaming at me that you needed to see a doctor sooner, because of the dream. I really thought the next morning was soon enough for the doctor. We talked to the transplant coordinator and your cardiologist and they thought it was ok to wait. But it wasn’t.
It might not have made a difference if I had taken you to the ER that day, but I would have known I did everything I could. I go back and forth between thinking this was inevitable and it was better you weren’t in the hospital when you died and thinking you would be alive and farther up on the transplant list if I had just listened to my gut. Maybe this was your time and it’s good you had a fun weekend at home with your family going to birthday parties and museums instead of spending your last days hooked up to machines in a hospital.
I just wish you were still here. I wish I knew this wasn’t my fault. But the hospital might have just prolonged the inevitable and Daddy and I never wanted that for you. We never wanted you to live your life in the hospital. All through your last hospital stay, all we wanted was to have a chance to bring you home and give you a normal, happy life for as long as we could. And it seems like we ended up doing that. When I think about it that way, I don’t feel so bad. But if the hospital could have saved your life and gotten you to transplant and a longer life, I don’t know if I can forgive myself. And I might never know for sure. But I can’t be selfish. What matters is that we had a beautiful last two months with you and you are free. We experienced normalcy and happiness. You are no longer struggling in a body that isn’t strong enough for you. You are no longer taking medicines everyday and being poked and prodded and examined.
In honor of you, my girl, I am going to live more fully. That is part of the reason I am writing today. I have always wanted to write and I have never given it a real chance. But I will now. I am making that promise to you now and hopefully that will be enough to finally make me keep it. I have had the gift of 34 years and I will hopefully have many more. I want to make them count. I want to live for the both of us. I am going to be the best I can be. I am going to do the things I am meant to do.
Once again, you are teaching me and making me a better person. Honestly, I would rather be a shitty person and have you still here, but this is the road I am on. And I am going to embrace it and live every day grateful that I had you and grateful I am here.
I envisioned you last night in heaven with all of the great-grandparents you never got to meet. They were passing you around, so happy to be with you and you were giving them the biggest smile. I hope you are with them. I hope you feel happy and strong and can run and walk and never stop. I hope you never feel too tired and sick to smile and laugh. Be free and happy, baby girl. You deserve it. And I will do my best to do the same.
I love you so much. Please know how much I love you and that I tried so hard to do my best. I am sorry for all the times I let you down. You never, ever let me down. You were the perfect daughter of my dreams. Probably too perfect for this world.
I will talk to you again soon, lady baby. I will make you proud. I will learn and live the lessons you taught me. Thank you for being my baby.
All my love,