Tomorrow we celebrate your 14th birthday. It seems unreal that so many years have come and gone since your father & I held you. In the past, I felt I wasn't "handling" losing you as gracefully as other mothers handled stillbirth. Each mother walks a very individual path, and no one benefits from comparisons. But, over and over again I would wonder: is it because you were my first, because we returned to a silent home with no other children to hold, or because I was naive and Trisomy 18 had never crossed my mind, or possibly because I was only 23 years old and everything I had known and believed, up to that very moment in my life, was crumbling? What a blessing to finally understand that I have "handled" losing you exactly as your mother should. Not in the way anyone else would, but the very way I was meant to manage this life without you.
I want you to know that you have a little 6 year old sister keenly aware of your presence. She speaks of you often, and it never ceases to amaze me. One of my greatest fears was that this world would forget you. That because we never had the opportunity to share birthday parties and school photographs, no one would remember you. I believe, without a doubt, Chloe feels you close by her. At random times, she will ask me to take your box from the closet. She looks at your picture, reads the cards and letters we received during that time, holds your little hat and tiny dress. When I least expect it, she will begin talking about you and how she wishes you were here so she could play with you. Tonight she said, "It would be super fun if Victoria was here because it would be just the same as having another Cade, except Cade's only 12 and he's not a girl." It made us laugh. And I can not, will not, deny that in those moments, I am receiving a true gift from God...sweet confirmation that you will never be forgotten.
It is remarkable, all that I have learned from you. Of course, we both know that for several years I fought learning many of the lessons. Thankfully, I'm finished fighting and much more interested in putting the lessons to great use. Do you know that I never hesitate telling people I love them...even if it makes them squirm a little because they aren't open books, like me. And, have you noticed that I love to laugh? You were probably stunned by how hard-headed I was, by how long it took me to realize that I honor you most when I live my life to its fullest.
I have so many questions. It's hard being your mother and not knowing your favorite color, what your laugh sounds like, your favorite bedtime story, all the places in this world you would have liked to visit, your hopes and dreams. But I've become okay with not having all the answers. I don't understand most of what happens in this life, and I'm finally okay with that too. Because I believe in something far greater than the here and now.
Loving you always,