Six Years

Dear Jillian,

Happy birthday, my sweet love. It’s hard to know what to write. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been six years. It’s hard to believe that six years later, my grief can still knock me down flat. It happens less often as time goes on, but it still happens. I still have moments of crying so hard that I feel like I can’t catch my breath. Part of me feels shocked that it still happens sometimes, but at the same time, part of me can’t believe that we’ve managed to keep living and become happy again.

Ian is starting to understand who you are, and that you’re gone. He says he misses you and wishes you were here, and he told me that he’s supposed to have two sisters. It’s heartbreaking to hear, but I don’t ever want him to feel like he can’t talk about you or ask questions. We have a framed picture of you in the basement (among others in the house), and he moved it from under the TV to next to his Lego table because he wants to be able to look at you whenever he wants. He’s an amazing little boy. One night during dinner, he asked what I did when you died. I said that I cried. He said “and then what?” I said I cried some more, and he said “and then what” again. Daddy said “cried some more.” He said “but did your heart break?” We said yes, and he said “but then you had me.” He is so sweet, smart, and sensitive, and he’s so loving that you already have a spot in his heart.

Hannah is amazing, too. She parrots a lot of what Ian says, but she’s too little to understand. Her giggle is the most amazing sound. She’s beautiful, smart, sweet, and funny, and I watch her and wonder if that’s what you would have been like. Watching her grow up is so exciting, but I wish I could slow time down.

Both kids bring so much joy and laughter to our lives. They make the hardest days bearable. I don’t know if they will ever understand how much light they’ve brought to us. Daddy is my rock, and I wouldn’t have made it without him.

We love you so much, Jilly. There’s not a day that goes by without you in my mind, and there’s not a moment that goes by without you in my heart. I think I’m a better person and mother because of you. You were the most precious gift, and I will never stop being thankful for the time you were with us, even though it was far too brief. I can’t say I love you enough. I can still close my eyes and feel where your head was on my chest. You are always, always with me. I love you.