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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dear Caroline,



Dear Caroline,

     Today I wanted to use pink, just to see it. The color that reminds me of you. That will always remind me of you. The color that I wish I could see around our house, and dress you in. The color that I always dreamed of using for my daughter. You see sweet girl, your mommy still has a difficult time looking at little girl clothes in the store. It is a very painful reminder of what I never was able to buy for you. I have looked a million times, and even allowed myself a few glances, dreaming of what could have been. Yet each time I am stopped by the pain that hits my heart. The reality of losing you. Oh how I wanted to buy you those precious little dresses and bows. I wish I could buy fancy shoes for you, and watch your eyes sparkle as you tried them on. I wish that I could watch your silky dark hair flow behind you as you danced around. Because now, you would almost be two. I cannot believe that I would be a mother to a two year old.  A toddler. Oh what fun we would be having right now, watching you grow up. Watching you love on your little brother. We would know your little personality. The things that you liked. The things that you didn't like. How much you loved us. We would be hearing your sweet little voice singing and talking. We would be watching you grow up and learn so many new things. It is so hard to understand why we will never experience these moments with you here on earth. Why we never had the chance to get to know you. Your mommy will forever wonder about you, and who you would become. Your mommy will always have to turn her head when she looks at those precious pink dresses, because it hurts my heart too much. Your mommy will always wish she could have just one more kiss, and one more chance to run my hands through your silky dark hair. I will always wish for what will never be.
     Today I am thinking of you precious girl, even more than I always do. Today is the day that you would turn 23 months old. Only one more month until your second birthday. I wish that we could be planning for a special birthday party, and getting excited for you to turn a whole year older. I wish we could celebrate all of your big milestones, accomplishments, and the special gift that you are to us. But instead your mommy is feeling sad, knowing that it is another year away from you. Another year of being apart. Another year where the memories that I hold so deeply in my heart, seem to fade just a little bit more. Another year of missing you with every breath I take.
     It scares me sweet girl, to think that you are being forgotten. I hear your name less and less. Sometimes I just sit with your blanket in my arms, looking through your pictures, saying your name out loud. So that I can hear it. So that I can remember. So that I can continue to imprint each memory back into my heart. I just want you to know precious girl, that I will never forget you. You will always be our first baby, my first daughter, and a member of our family. We will always be a family of four, even though on earth it seems as though we are only three. I will continue to work each day of my life to keep your memory alive, and to celebrate your life. I will continue to share your story, and do my best to reach out to those who are hurting. I will continue to speak your name, your beautiful name, because you did exist. I will continue to be so proud of you, and thank God each day for the honor of being your mommy.
     Today I also rejoice Caroline, at the celebration you must be having every day in Heaven. I rejoice in knowing that you are safe in the arms of Jesus, and that there He has made you whole, and perfect through His great love and sacrifice. I rejoice in knowing that you are constantly feeling the greatest of love, and that you are experiencing it with every breath that you take. I rejoice in knowing that you are never alone. I rejoice in knowing that you know nothing of pain, suffering, and sadness. I rejoice in knowing that one day, we will all be together again. A day that your mommy longs for with every breath I take.
      Caroline Joy, your mommy also wants you to know what a difference your life continues to make, even though you are no longer here with us. Even for the short 35 weeks that you were here, your life made more of an impact that I could have ever dreamed. I am so proud of you my sweet girl. I know that God had a plan for your life. He had a beautiful plan for your life. He continues to use your story to touch other people. It doesn't make it any easier, and your mommy wishes it were different, and yet I am so thankful. I am thankful that God is making beauty out of pain. I am glad that God is using the hurt, and sadness, and grief, to touch hearts. I am glad that your life has inspired me to be a better person, one who desires to serve others. I am thankful that my heart is forever changed, because of you. I am thankful that God continues to place opportunities in my life where I can minister to others. I never feel adequate, and yet God continues to fill me with exactly what I need to accomplish what He has called me to do. I know that God had a plan for your life, right from the first moment that you were formed. What a beautiful calling my daughter, to know that He can continue to use your life to reach out to others.
     The last few days I have been listening over and over to a song that has spoken right to my heart. A song that not only acknowledges the pain, the hurt, the sadness, and the forever grief, but also a song that shows redemption and the promise of hope.

You're shattered
Like you've never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you're never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Beginning
Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
'Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven's working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

     I could write a million thoughts that come to mind when your mommy hears this song, but then this letter would never end! Your mommy loves to talk! But when I hear this song I think so much of the journey that God has brought us through. From those first moments of hearing your perfect heart beating, to hearing those painful words spoken by a doctor telling us you would never survive outside of my body. From all the tears I cried in helpless frustration, knowing it was a ticking time clock with nothing I could do to fix the terrible "diagnosis", to that night filled with incredible peace, when I knew it was time to meet you. Oh how much we went through together sweet girl. Riding in that car at 1am that early Tuesday morning, so unsure of what the next hours held. To that moment, that precious, life changing moment, when I held you for the first time. How those moments changed me forever. They are forever etched in my heart. You were such a miracle, always my miracle. I would do anything to change what has happened, and I will never stop missing you, but I am so thankful that my heart is beginning to beat again. I may not be at the place where this song describes yet, I know that I still have days when my heart just does not want to beat, because it still hurts. Yet somehow I know that every heartbreak, and every scar, is truly a picture that reminds me of the One who has carried me this far. Because I know that love sees farther than I ever can, and that God continues to work everything for my good. So Caroline, your mommy promises that through God's strength, I will continue to tell my heart to beat again. I will take each step forward with hope, knowing that God will continue to hold me close. I will continue to let the shadows fall away, and step into the light of grace. I will continue to hope for the future, and walk toward the sun. Because as the song says, "your story is far from over, and your journey has just begun." Your mommy looks forward to what God has in store for the future. I know that He is working things out for our good. I know that He has a plan, a beautiful plan. Your mommy stands here, with a broken heart, that misses her little girl, but with an open heart, that is hopeful for tomorrow.

Happy 23 months in Heaven to my beautiful girl. You are loved and missed more than you will ever know. Your mommy loves you with all of her heart.
Until we meet again my Caroline Joy,

Mommy