Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Victoria,

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,
Mom

24 comments:

Lanie said...

Happy birthday Victoria!

Thank you for helping your mommy be the woman she is now... Beautiful and remarkable as I am sure you would be if you were still walking upon this earth. What a mark you have left on your family. I am positive you have alread and continue to accomplish what God sent you here for.

Natalie, thank you for sharing your precious baby with us!

Much love,
Lanie J.

Mumsy said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to your daughter. Happy Birthday to your sweet Victoria. I wonder if she has met my Krystal that now dances in heaven. This was one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read, what a special mom you are. Hugs

Grace said...

Happy Birthday to Victoria. I love what your sweet daughter said about her brother... My 1st born is 14 this year (and she has a 12YO sister). I can't imagine life without either of them. God Bless you, your family and your perfect angel in heaven...

Rachel Mohat said...

I remember that time in your life all too well. My sister Macie is a constant reminder of Victoria as she just turned 14 on the 16th. What a hard thing you have had to go through, and continue to learn and grown from. (I still cannot believe you were only 23 at that time, you seemed so wise to me then) Victoria will always have a special place in my family's heart. My mom is brought to tears each year at this time remember that time. I remember those pictures of Victoria. Happy Birthday dear sweet Victoria. You have helped your mom grow into the amazing women she is today. You are gone but never forgotten.

Carly said...

Happy Birthday, Victoria. I really have nothing to say because, as always, you have already said it so beautifully. I am so glad there are people here who can remember your daughter, and those of us who can feel like we knew her through your blog. Since I also didn't get a chance to comment on your last post, I'm even more glad your husband is home safe to share her birthday with you.

jen said...

I actually thought of you two on September 10th, knowing Victoria's birthday was coming up as well.
It's hard, isn't it? The loss is hard, the easing of the pain is hard. It makes you wonder if you're forgetting or just maturing.
Don't know if you caught my post for Ella this year--check September 10th.
Thinking of you. And hugging you from AZ.

Dixie Mom said...

What a sweet post. I often wonder how it feels when someone asks "how many kids do you have?" It would kill me for people to not know that you have 4 children. As a Mom I would want everyone to know that just because my child isn't with me, doesn't mean she isn't mine. I think about that a lot with my oldest being gone how people assume I have two kids now. I can't imagine how that feels to you, but I think about it every single time people ask me how many kids I have.
14 years old. This is a big year...8th grade. I wonder too...would she love her hair done up like Chloe? Does she have your dark gorgeous eyes? No doubt...she's beautiful, just like your other kids.
You have grown so much. I'm sure she will be near you tomorrow and I know she's proud of you.
Happy Birthday Victoria.

Kiera said...

Like Cloe there are days I wish my sister were here to play...
I think Heavenly Father allows a thin veil at times... I KNOW my sister, Sharmayn, has been by my side each time I held our new child. I look with gladness to the day when she and I will stand side by side holding hands and sharing secrets as only sisters can. I am most grateful for the knowledge we have been given. Families are Forever...
Enjoy Vitoria's graduation day tomorrow... Love you.

Catherine and clan (aka catnz) said...

Thank you for sharing such a private part of you with us. I am a lurker from New Zealand who also has a daughter named Victoria and tomorrow (26th September) she will be 10. I almost lost her at 15 months to a near drowning but was able to get her breathing again before the aumbulance arrived. Reading your story tonight brought it all back - this could have been me too.

Another similarity is that my hubby also serves in a medical capacity and has been to Afghanistan. I'm so thankful that the length of deployment is not as long as your husband's was, but know that he has seen things he can never talk to me about - life changing as I'm sure your husband would attest.

Thanks for sharing your stories and letting others know what you have been through, so if in a similar situation they know they are not alone.

Catherine

Barbara said...

Dear Victoria,
You will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for bringing your Mommy into my life.
Happy Birthday.
xxx

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Happy Birthday Victoria! I am certain you love every part of your sweet, snarky mama...and can't wait to tell her all of your favorites one day!

You are a beautiful mother, my dear. And, this letter blessed my heart this morning. It is always a gift to know that our children will never be forgotten...One of my favorite things is the pure, unfaltering faith of children. I love how honestly they speak what's on their hearts. Love remembering my sweet babies in heaven with my babies (who really aren't babies anymore, at all) on earth.

Remembering with you today, my friend...

Love and prayers for you...

Sue said...

Natalie-

Your heartfelt post and the comments evoked by it have moved me to tears this morning, in the very best way. The blessing of eternal families is beyond description, and your testimony, as revealed in every word you've written here, went straight to my heart. Chloe's did, too.

I have to confess that I lifted one of the family pictures from your last post and put it on my desktop so I could look at it now and again. What I wanted to reflect upon more than once was the profound joy in everyone's eyes. It was the joy of reunion, and I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful family photo. I can only imagine how all of you will shine when Victoria's physical presence is added to the picture.

One day, I would love to see that for myself.

Hugs.

Pamela said...

Thinking of you and your beautiful today...I love yall so much!

Jill said...

Libras rock.

She would have been a fun one.

That I am sure of.

xoxo

Karen said...

Happy Birthday! Words cannot express the love from Mother to Child but you came really close. Hugs to you and your family

Magic Brush said...

Bless your heart. **tears in my eyes**

Melanie said...

You are in my thoughts:) Hugs from SC!

shahna said...

The Argyles have not forgotten your sweet little Victoria. It was an honor to be at your side, holding your hands during that difficult time.

Krystyn said...

Happy birthday to your sweet Victoria! I'm sure her celebration was spectacular in Heaven!

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Kristel Cronin said...

Happy Birthday (a bit belated) Victoria!! She has certainly taught many of us so much!! What a blessing to know her and have her as a part of my life! Thanks for sharing, Natalie!

SnarkyMama said...

Victoria...our "precious moment." Then, now and forever. The moment the world changed for all of us. How we have learned from one little angel.
None of us will ever forget her. We will always be grateful for her gentle reminder(s) of what this hectic crazy life is truly all about.
Love you....

Muldok said...

Happy birthday to your precious daughter. You honour her so poetically.

I'm a new reader and I love your blogs. Such spirit and fire you have. An inspiration. I don't know if you remember me, but I spent a Christmas with you and your hubby's family in '93 when I lived with them for a year on an exchange from NZ. It made me laugh your blog on moving to NZ!

But most of all I love your blogs on Victoria, just over a year ago I became a new mum and I cannot imagine ever losing my precious little girl. An inspiration, strength and courage - they all come to mind about you when I read.

I look forward to reading more.
Kiwi Kath

L said...

Happy birthday Victoria.

Your sweet girl always knowing her big sissy is watching over her. Those times are so precious!

I love you Natalie.

karen said...

What a sweet post. I can just picture your little sweetheart so involved in your family as much as she can be. I have no doubt that the bond between the two sisters is as strong and eternal as can be. How special that Chloe can feel that. And I love reading about your growth as well. Time doesn't heal the longing but it does change our perspective on things. I admire you for coming so far and gaining peace.