Hey little buddy!
Your momma asked me today how I felt about Father’s Day. I really hadn’t thought much about it until that very moment. I felt like I should say something meaningful in order to bring meaning to the moment, but I was lost for meaning. I’ve thought about it more since then.
Though I am incredibly proud to be your father, you are with a Father who loves you more than I ever could. You have left your precious, brief, and poignant impact upon this earth. As much as I love and cherish you, you need absolutely nothing from me. Your big sister does not fall into the same category.
Caroline will continue to need me as a father, and I will continue to need her as a daughter. It’s funny how much strength we can draw from our children. Bella, when we lost you, your big sister was a refuge of strength and comfort.
I’ve talked about the night we broke the news of your loss to her. She hid herself behind a blanket and insisted that I was teasing. In the moment, she was so excited to have a little buddy in this world that she wanted to hide from reality to assuage the disappointment. It has been amazing and beautiful to see how excited she is to have a little buddy in Heaven.
The day after we lost you, we took Caroline for a ride up Bear Mountain. It was a beautiful, clear, and crisp fall day. As we did our best to explain your physical and spiritual disposition to Caroline, she suddenly lit up with excitement. “So my sister is an angel in Heaven?” she asked with delight. She was so enchanted with the revelation that we had to caution her about sharing the news with other people. We didn’t want her to be confused when others reacted with sadness as she bragged about her little sister in Heaven.
A few weeks ago, we sent some balloons to you. Caroline had drawn you another picture and wrote you a note. One of her friends saw her release the balloon and asked Caroline what she was doing. Caroline responded, “I’m sending a letter to my sister.”
Her friend—in the earnestness of youth—replied, “But you don’t have a sister. She died.” She truly meant no harm by this statement. She was simply betraying the stalwart honesty of a young soul who has yet to learn the urge to manipulate truth.
Caroline, finding her own truth in the situation, immediately replied, “I still have a sister, even if she died. I send notes to her on balloons.” Her friend, fully accepting Caroline’s explanation, further inquired as to how you get the notes—I suppose that it is a bit confusing. Caroline—also seeking some logical explanation—furrowed her brow for a moment and responded, “I don’t know. She just gets them in Heaven.” Your sister’s answer seemed to completely appease her friend's curiosity.
There are countless other times where Caroline’s optimism and vibrance have served as a beacon, guiding me back to the demands of today. In the maddening sadness of saying our goodbyes to you, my precious Bella, your sister has moved onward without losing a beat. It’s not that she doesn’t love and miss you; it’s simply that she loves and misses you with the purity and passion of a child.
On this Father’s Day and every day, I am thankful for my own father. But, I am also thankful for the gift of fatherhood. Bella, you have given a tremendous amount of meaning to my life. Thank you for that! But, I must thank you sister even more. Without her, I’m not sure that I would appreciate you half as much. In many ways, you have been a challenge. Your sister has been an inspiration to overcome obstacles and to move forward with strength, conviction, and hope.
If you could do one thing for me on this Father’s Day, look after your big sister from Heaven! She would so much love to have you here with her, but your physical absence has done nothing to diminish her love for you and the light in her soul. Your sister is an incredibly special young lady!
Thank you for the privilege, Bella! I love you so much, my dear baby!