Bella, I cannot tell you how proud and thankful I am to be your father. You are so perfect, innocent, and beautiful. When I look at you, I am reminded of why I must set out every day to leave this world better than I found it. All of your potential and silent aspirations bring glory to the Divine spark that breathes life into our earthly bodies. When I look at your slumbering countenance, my soul knows with immutable conviction that sheer chance did not bring us together. You are my proof that I must fight courageously for the good in this world.
I know that you are just as proud of your mother as I am. She took such attentive care of you in the womb and prepared to welcome you into the family with such loving detail. You were a gift four years in the making, and despite heartbreaking setbacks, your mother never lost the courage and strength to keep trying to bring you into this world. She willingly gave birth to you without an epidural, knowing that the pain in childbirth would forge a coveted bond of strength between you. Her love for you is the type that only exists between mother and child.
And your big sister could not be more in love with you! All of the plans that she has for you would fill up a thousand lifetimes. You are to be the best of friends forever—and ever and ever. She has set aside all of her clothes and toys that are too small for her (and perhaps a few that she simply no longer cares for) in order to give them to you. She has dedicated a swing to you on the playground. She has insisted that your changing table and bassinet will remain in her room. After all, you are sisters. She even decorated your diapers, fearing that the generic patterns that we chose would be too plain for your tastes. While you were in your momma’s tummy, she gave you a giant hug and a kiss every night saying, “Goodnight baby Bella. I love you!”
Our Lord and Savior’s love for you resounds in the miracle of your birth. I still remember our first ultrasound—no heartbeat. “Don’t worry,” the doctor said. “Let’s give it another week. We will know for sure in a week.” After a week and no sign of life, I let doubt overcome my hope. I departed for a military training exercise laden with guilt for leaving Brittany alone to deal with the immanence of yet another miscarriage. When I got a phone call several days later announcing your budding life and spirit, I fell to my knees and thanked God with tears in my eyes!
Bella, thank you so much for coming into this world and becoming a part of our family! Thank you for the unimaginable blessings that you have brought to our family! Thank you for your proof of God’s unending love for us! There is no joy like the joy of a new baby. Thank you for bringing this joy to us!
We would have liked to spend a long lifetime together instead of a short one. Your sister would have loved to lead you through all of your milestones, proudly watching her little sister grow into a young woman, following a few steps behind her big sis. Your mother would have loved to nurse you and hold you and snuggle you up for the coming winter days. She would have loved to get you ready for your first day at school and your first prom. I would have loved to help you learn to ride a bike and build the perfect pillow fort. Several decades down the road, it would have been an insurmountable honor to walk you down the aisle and to give your hand away to the luckiest man on earth. There are so many plans that we had for us, but we know that this never was our plan unfolding.
When the dust settles on the tangible pain that we feel in your absence, we know that we will sing with joy that this is, was, and forever will be a love story.
We love you with every ounce of our strength. We will see you again, dear Bella Joy! Until then, rest easy in the loving arms of Our Father.