Happy Birthday

February 4, 2011

Tomorrow is your 4th birthday and I wanted to let you know a few things…

You are my first thought in the morning. I wonder how you’ve slept, what filled your dreams and how long I have to myself before you wake up. Although, after 30 minutes to myself, I can hardly wait to go scoop you up and have you rest your curly locks in the nook of my neck while you clutch your pink pillow and take in the light of the new day. It is with less frequency that I find myself hurting or mad that your mama cannot join me in raising you. The Creator of all we know has decided to take her from us and it is tough to be okay with that, but I am… we must. I know that the depth of your questions will only grow as your understanding grows in parallel. But, we are in this situation, stronger because of it. I know that you feel different- already at school, most daddy’s don’t drop their children off. Most of your books and classroom conversations are filled with stories of mommies. Your gender naturally prompts you to play the role of a mommy with your toys and even in my best attempts I cannot nurture or display tenderness as a mama would. While I hate that you are without, I realize now that my anger is a waste of time and space in my life and I hope that you only see me responding in a positive way to our loss.

For the past two years, I have gone out west to endure the anniversary of her death. I wrote this to you one August morning in Utah…

You may never be able to comprehend…my time here among the rocks, as my thoughts echo off the ancient faces and return clearer…almost new. The un-ending ranges of rock, the horizon filled with places yet to be known-this is the image of my heart. It seems all around me are continuous obstacles. I climb one only to find another, higher, in front of me. Your mama leveled my horizons because I couldn’t see past her. She tamed my wanderlust because everything I was looking for, I found in her… and in myself… because of her. We used to write each other and seal each envelope with a figure that represented us, two puzzle pieces-interlocked. I hope that you will never have to experience what I have-what I am experiencing. I see her spirit in you. Your funny looks; “What are you talking about?-you’re not making any sense to me!” Your silly sense of humor, your tender heart, your sweetness, your giving nature, even your love of jewelry…ehmm…accessories, excuse me.

Most of my hurt now is the pain of knowing that you will never experience her. In all my greatest attempts at capturing her-I can only piece together fragments of who she was. No matter how many layers I pull together or how careful I am with the seams, I can only produce a shadow of who she was. And there is no way to capture her unpredictability-God, I loved her for that! She brought so much color to the lives she touched. You will never know what she was or what she as becoming. She was the best possible version of herself when she left us-she was always growing- becoming better and challenging me to do the same. Not only are you left without a mama, you are left without her. I fear that I have not done my best in filling that void… even stating that makes me cringe because that void cannot be filled.

The rocks are calling me back and I can only hope that they can heal me or at least recharge me. I miss you and can’t wait to see you again. I love you.

-Daddy

It’s hard to believe that you and I have been at this by ourselves for two and half years. You were 18 months running around, high up in that sad hospital oblivious to what had just occurred and what that would mean for your life. Not many days later, we moved into a house in SC and I remember often the times that we had there. You in your high-chair laughing, face full of tofu and bananas.  You used to take naps. Where did that ever go? I used to rock you to sleep every night in that white rocking chair that your mama upholstered with pink and green to match your room. I would sing songs to you until you fell asleep and then lay you in your crib. I would watch over you and pray… what small prayers I could muster in between the confusion, anger and doubt. I still go into your room every night and make sure that you are covered up in warmth and prayer. When I see your little face, dusted with curls, I cannot hold back a smile and a prayer of thanks. You are my joy in this life. Loving you is the only thing that brings me indescribable joy like that.

You started gymnastics a few weeks ago. My heart busted with pride and blew out my eyes to watch you be your own little person, courageous and bold. I can’t wait to watch you grow every day and conquer this life. I know that I will fail you at times but I want you to know that I always have your best interest in mind. By the time you read this, you will have had many birthdays and we will have shared many smiles, tears and unanswered questions. You are and always will be my baby girl, no matter how old you are. I love you. Happy Birthday

-Daddy

(Feb 5 2011)

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One Response to “Happy Birthday”

  1. Emily Matthews said

    Wow! Your writing is truly incredible and very much laced with God’s grace. The autobiography of grief you have written in this blog is so honest and oddly enough beautiful. The words on these pages have been a blessing to me in many ways. I cannot pretend to understand or know a grief as great as yours, but I do see very clearly that Jesus shines in your heart and speaks through your writing.

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    …thank you too for sharing excerpts from your sweet notes to your baby girl. (They remind me so much of my precious Daddy!)
    -Emily
    (I do not know you personally, but recently met your friend Tim through our work with energy efficiency.)

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