Hey sweet baby girl!
I miss you. I’ve kept the shirt that I wore when I held you. It’s in my top bedside drawer. I don’t suppose that I’ll ever wash that shirt again. It smells like you. It reminds me of you. There is a part of me that wants to live forever in the moment when I last wore that shirt, but time has somehow mastered the best of my intentions.
It’s been five months now, but it’s not five months without you. You’ve been on my mind constantly. As Our Father holds you in Heaven, I hold you in my heart.
As time passes, it’s tempting to let you fade from my conversation with friends and family. I know that people who love us dearly worry that you might be a wound upon our souls. If you were a scab, you’d be best left hidden and alone. You are not a scab, you are treasure. You are as much a part of my life as your Momma, your sister, and your Lord. And, despite the pain in losing you, I know that you went quietly and peacefully into the arms of our God.
Jesus did not go quietly. He went in a torment of tribulation and thunder, bound and beaten by the very men He sought to save. If I can celebrate the life of my Lord, surely I can celebrate the life of my precious daughter. In this season of victory over death, I will celebrate your life! Your nine months meant so much!
You remind me that the ultimate end for all of us is death, and it really doesn’t matter how we die so much as it matters how we live. Before I met your mother and before your sister was a part of the equation, I didn’t worry about death in my line of work. I figured that death would find me when God saw fit. After your sister, I regretfully admit that there was a particular firefight when I wondered how Caroline would do without a father. I knew that these thoughts were not productive, but they crept into my consciousness during brief lulls in enemy fire. This is not how a man who believes in his cause ought to fight, and I promised myself that I would never entertain these feelings again. In fights thereafter, I think that I upheld my bond. Now, you’ve made my promise easy.
I know that in my next contest with death, I’ll have you on my mind as much as your sister. Perhaps, one who fears death cannot experience true life. For all of us, the immutable call of the grave will silence the fleeting and petulant calls of this earth. Until then, we are all called to move on, one step at a time.
I want to take meaningful steps. I want my walk to mean something. Bella, your life means so much! I want each of my steps to leave your tiny imprint next to mine. I want our shared journey to testify to our Savior’s victory. This life is an introductory chapter, but it will foreshadow the entirety of the volumes yet untold. As I think of those who have completed their first chapter, I remember the company that you keep.
I know that you are surrounded by the love of Aunt Mary Anne, Mike, Rich, John, J.P., Grandma, Grandpa, Knox, Catherine, Lucy, Margaret, and so many countless others. I selfishly wish that you were here to giggle as your sister hunts for her goodies tomorrow morning, but I know that you are in a better place.
Happy Easter, baby girl. There is victory over death, and death has nothing on this family!