Justin, a bereaved father, has shared a letter he wrote to his daughter, Lydie, who was stillborn on November 6th, 2014. This letter was read at her memorial service.
My dear Lydie,
It’s hard to believe that you are gone, or that you were never really here. The truth is that there are so many things that I want to say and I want to do. And the truth is I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what to do. Where do I begin when we never really got the chance to start? It has been a struggle to write this letter, to find what it is that I want to say, what it is that I need to say. Of all of the thoughts that I have had, and of all the notes that I have written – they always come back to two things:
I am so sorry and I love you very much.
Right now, at this very moment, I should be holding you in my arms, memorizing your beautiful face, feeling your strong grip against my finger, kissing your warm skin. But instead, I am standing here, in a room full of loving family and friends, collectively wishing that we weren’t here at all – that we were anywhere else, hearing for the first time your name, Lydia Joanne, and welcoming you to this world.
Your mom and I have heard from a lot of people that what happened to you was not our fault, that we shouldn’t blame ourselves, that nothing we could have done would have changed the outcome. Perhaps they could be right, that there is this cruel part of the universe where things happen that no one can control, that events just occur, at a random pace, shaking innocent people to their core, eroding their foundation, where dreams and hopes are snatched from their hands in the blink of an eye. We may never know, but it really doesn’t matter. We will forever be without you here on this earth, and for that we will be always be sorry.
I am sorry that we didn’t get to bring you home, to meet your big brother and have him show you your room, filled with sunshine and love. I am sorry that you didn’t get to see my heart swell with pride when you took your first step, spoke your first word, or fearlessly marched onto the bus for your first day of school. I am sorry that you didn’t get to feel the warm, sloppy kisses from Ozzie against your skin or hear Jimmie purr as you felt his soft fluffy coat. I am sorry that I didn’t get to try to make you laugh, and that you didn’t get the chance to roll your eyes at me when I did. I am sorry that I didn’t kiss you more, or bathe you for the first and last time. I am sorry that you didn’t get to sit on the beach and watch a sunset, hearing the waves as they crash into the shore, or sit huddled together on a starry night and as I point to the Big Dipper. I am sorry that I don’t get to show you how much I love your mother, that you don’t get the chance to say “Eww, gross” when I kiss her goodbye, and that you didn’t get to witness our frustration with each other and our ultimate reconciliation. I am sorry that, along with your mother, we didn’t get to show you that love, real love, can be messy, and complicated, and hard work but is worth every ounce of our energy. I am sorry that I handed you to the nurse, that you left my arms. I am sorry that I walked out of the hospital room, that I took a step that wasn’t towards you, that my eyes left your perfect little body. I am sorry that I didn’t close and lock the door, and push the rocking chair in front. I am sorry that I left you alone, that I am not physically with you now, and that we will never share our warmth as we cuddle early in the morning. And to you and your brother Benjamin, I am sorry that I couldn’t protect either of you from this, that I can’t fix it or make it better. I am sorry that I couldn’t be the hero, that I couldn’t save the day.
Over these past 36 days, as I am forced to envision a life without you here with us, Lydia, I have searched for many things. Words, only to be unable to speak them. Answers, only to find none. Hope, only to be left empty. They are not easy to find and I understand that they may never be. While the kind words of family, friends, and even strangers, help to dull the pain, there will never be enough to fill the hole permanently left in our hearts. As for answers, there will never be any to satisfy me as to why you are not here and never will be. And hope – I not even sure I know what that looks like yet. But what I have realized is that these aren’t the things I am really searching for – what I am really searching for is you, my daughter. And when I allow myself, I can find that you are everywhere. You are in the beauty of the sunset, the wind that rustles my hair, and the very air that I breathe. You are embedded in my every thought and my every dream. And perhaps that, I have to believe, is hope. This I will hang on to. That is my promise to you.
And if you ever think, for one moment, that you should apologize for this pain, for my tears, than I want to tell you to stop. Because given the choice, knowing that the outcome couldn’t be changed, I would go through it all over again. The pain, the sorrow, the tears – just to see you, to hold you, and to forever claim you as my child, my girl, my Lydie. You see, that is the thing about my love for you. It won’t fade or go away; it will always be there for you. And you will always be with me wherever I go.
I love you very much, Lydia. Now and forever.
Author: Justin W.