A friend shared your Facebook page with me. I saw in the top photo a date. Your daughter had already passed. I was late. I read your most recent post. It was written to be light but a heaviness hung in the spaces between sentences. I scrolled to the bottom of your page and began a journey with your family. A voyeuristic stowaway on trip I already knew would end in tragedy. I want you to know I cried with you. I want you to know that every hope-filled post brought with it fresh tears and a profound agony. I want you to know that your words were a blessing–full of perspective and brimming with wisdom. And mostly, what I want you to know, is what your child did for mine.
Last week when she began to cry at the grocery store I responded with patience and borrowed grace. A few days ago when she took eye shadow and smeared it across not only her face, but a load of folded laundry I had yet to put up, I laughed as I carried her to her bath. And just today, in the midst of a screaming tantrum, I felt time slow down and as I watched her tiny body flail and writhe across the tile I thought of your daughter–quiet and still, and thanked God for the fierceness and vitality squalling at my feet.
Your child has given mine second chances. Your child gave mine her mothers laughter instead of anger or tears. Your child gave mine a mother who can appreciate that these moments are not promised–that these moments, however stressful and challenging, are not guaranteed.
Your baby is no longer in this world and even within my deepest nightmares I can’t comprehend how that must feel. As I put my daughter to bed tonight I realized my baby is gone, too. She’s been replaced by a being that learns in nuances and rages with emotion both good and bad. A tiny person who throws herself out into the world on a daily basis and has the lessons, experiences and scars to prove it. She stared up at me while I tucked her in. Bear on one side, Mickey and Minnie on the other. Her eyes are so different now. So lived-in and knowing. My baby is gone because she’s growing up, and what a devastating luxury that is. But please know, that even though we’ve never met, I will always remember what your child did for mine.