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Dear Julia

I have held off writing this last month. As the summer came to an end, I felt lost once again.

With each passing day, as we inched to September, my memories were only of being with you a year ago. The first day of school, hit me like a ton of bricks. So much of your life was taken away. So many milestones that you would never see.

We prepared so well for how to handle the anniversary of your leaving us, the way you would have planned it if faced with the same challenge. There was to be no hiding under the bed covers, tucked away in our safe haven. No, Daddy and I were going to the clinic to have a waffles and ice cream party for the children there. We even planned to present the clinic with a new “patient puppet” that your foundation was able to provide for the children.

I was prepared for that day, but it was the days prior that I did not plan for that were so difficult, that brought back the pain ten-fold; no, one-hundred fold.

With the start of September, I relived in my head the prior year over and over again. Each day I remembered what happened only 365 days before. I remembered your smiles, your hugs, your kisses. As another day passed, I recalled your breathing and remembered the energy it took for you to take each breath. I remembered listening to the cough that slowly started and then how you got some relief from the morphine. I remembered watching as your fingers and toes lost their color, pink turning to grey. I remembered the moment I realized that you were leaving us I remembered watching as your eyes changed color from their beautiful crystal blue to a dull milky grey. I remembered watching as you peacefully slipped away and earned your angel wings.

Oh Julia, I remember vividly a year ago. I long to hold you but know it is not to be, not with these arms, not in this world. I miss you so.

But I also remembered those days were also filled with beautiful memories. Memories of lying together, spending time talking at the end of the day, as we always did. Memories of watching movies, cuddling and taking time to just enjoy the moment. Memories of how you taught me about life, how to love without condition, how to live with purpose.

Julia, I think of you and your absolute unselfishness. Others, knowing their end was near would have asked for something; something to fulfill their bucket list. But not you. No, you gave us a list – a list to use to make us happy. You always thought of others first, caring until your very end. You were simply amazing and I was blessed to be your mother. You were too good for this world; a world that now, more than ever needs your compassion.

So I remember. Each day I remember what you taught me and I try to move forward. I try to think of others first, as you would have done. I try to make someone happy each day, as you always did. And as you reminded me that night a year ago, I try to do things to be happy too.

The end of September is here and tonight I am about to have a new adventure. An adventure that I wish you were here to share with me; to share by my side, not just in my heart.

I want you to know, sweet Julia, that you have taught me well. The smiles are not quite as wide, the laughter is not quite as deep. The colors I see are not as vibrant and the sun does not shine as brightly, but you were right, it does shine.

I want you to know that your list, your grace, has helped me and I am slowly learning to be happy again.

I want you to know how much you changed me, how you made me a better person.

Julia, you were our gift.

You’re my best girl. Yes, I know, I can hear you saying you are my only girl. But, Julia, you are still and always will be the best.

I love you always.

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