Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dear Lucy: A Letter to My Daughter in Heaven


Dear Lucy,

Happy Feast Day. I wish you were here to celebrate with us.

Sometimes, when I visit your grave, I try talking to you. But it's always been a bit weird. Maybe it's because your grave isn't really where you are. Somehow, writing a letter feels more natural to me.

I know that you are perfectly happy in heaven, but I can't help think of all the happy times we won't be able to share on earth.

I won't be able to make you laugh by making silly faces. I won't be able to comfort you after you fall down. I won't get to see you take your first steps, or hear you say "Dada" for the first time.

I'll never get to change your diaper, or buckle you into a car seat. I'll never see you dressed up for your first day of school. I'll never hear "Pomp and Circumstance" play as you graduate from high school. I'll never get to dance with you at your wedding.

It gives me some comfort that, while I am left here with the emptiness of the moments we'll never get to share, you are experiencing a pure and perfect joy in heaven. In fact, when I think about how your heart is full of the infinite love of the Trinity, my love for you seems tiny in comparison. But I want you to know - and I wish I could tell you in person - how much I love you. How much I will always love you.

You are my daughter. I wish God had given me more time to be a father to you. When, by the grace of God, I get to heaven, we will be together again. Until then, I miss you. I carry you in my heart. And I will always remember you.

Love,
Daddy

There are two reasons I am posting this letter, instead of just keeping it in a private journal.

The first reason is that writing this letter was helpful to me. It enabled me to put some of my grief into words. I would encourage other loss fathers - and mothers, too, and uncles, aunts, and grandparents - to write letters to the children they have lost.

The second reason is that I want to honor my daughter in a public way. One thing I've learned from conversations with parents who lost children decades ago is that, back then, the social norm was to keep miscarriage quiet. You just didn't talk about it. Even if you told family members or close friends about a miscarriage right after it happened, that was it. You certainly wouldn't mention your deceased children months or years later. Because that would make people uncomfortable. I think that needs to change.

I don't want to pretend that I'm the first person to do something like this. Nor do I have delusions that a post on my tiny blog is going to affect culture on a grand scale. But I think the way we interact with loss, with the grief of others, needs to change. I think it is changing already. And I would like to be part of that.

If at some point, someone who reads this post is inspired to speak up about his or her loss, instead of holding it in, then that means my suffering has meaning. It means God has brought about good from the death of my daughter.

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1 comment:

  1. I love this. Thank you! I am missing my daughter terribly right now. Even though I too know she is far better off and much happier now than she could ever be here with me, I still selfishly wish I could hold her, smell her, see her. I wish I could have that feeling of actually needing a break from her! I feel so foolish, but I know I am not alone. Thank you.

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