At Olivia’s memorial, I spoke about a commercial I once saw for GMail, where a father opens an email account for his daughter on the day she’s born and writes to her as she grows up. It’s pretty much guaranteed to make you cry. I thought this was a great idea, so on the day Allie told me she was pregnant, I opened a GMail account for Olivia and wrote to her from time to time.
Even after she passed, I continued to write to her. It was very therapeutic and, again, a guaranteed cry. I shared one of those emails at the memorial and it felt good to read it out loud.
I know it’s hard for people to imagine what Allie and I are going through. Perhaps this will give you an idea of not just the loss we feel, but also what we gained from having known Olivia, however briefly.
Date: November 30, 2014
Subject: Happy Thanksgiving
It’s been a month since you left us. The void you’ve left behind is so big I fear it may never be filled. We “celebrated” Thanksgiving this week but it was so hard without you. There is nothing in this world that I want more than to hold you in my arms again, but I know it will never be.
I am thankful though. Thankful for every minute I got to spend with you. You may have died at birth, or sooner still. Instead we had the joy of knowing you for two months. The joy magnified by the brief time we shared.
I’m thankful for your strength that you showed every day. Strength that I take with me now knowing that I can do anything because you could, too.
I’m thankful to remember you every day. To touch the heart-shaped box where your ashes are kept. To wink at the painting of you by our friend, Lois. To tug at the bracelet I now wear, with your name inscribed, so I never forget.
I’m thankful that because of you we are motivated to make a home where your spirit will feel welcome and safe and loved.
I’m thankful that should we ever be blessed with another child that I will never take her for granted because I know from our short time together that every moment is precious.
I’m thankful because I am a better person for having known you, held you and loved you.
You gave everything of yourself and while we are hurting so much in your absence, we are grateful for all you have given us. We will continue to hold you in our hearts now and forever. We will continue to strive to honor you as best as we can. We will continue to love you every minute of every day. We will continue to miss you with all of our hearts.
I love you and miss you so much.