Friday, December 19, 2014

Dear William

Dear William:

Today is an important day for me and your mom. Today would have been your big sister's first birthday. It's also the first day on the calendar where we've never gone to bed expecting a baby. We don't know what it's like to be expecting on December 20th, or Christmas, or New Year's Day, or Valentine's day.

It's all a big unknown right now. But we couldn't be happier that you're here for this journey.

I am going to make a leap of faith and fast forward through time a little bit. To a time where you're with us, happy, young, curious.

I expect that you'll be especially curious about December 19th. Who is this person we celebrate every year, who we say is your sister, that you'll never actually have the chance to meet? In a couple of years, you might become familiar with the concept of our family including Anya. In a few more, you may vaguely understand the concept of death. But you probably won't really, truly understand what December 19th means to us until much later.

By that time, I expect that what December 19th means to us will have evolved from what it is today, on the first anniversary. So I am writing to tell you what it means to me, at age 29, right now.

To be completely honest, today is a day that I have dreaded for the past week. It's incredible just how vivid the memories of December 18 and 19, 2013 still are. More than anything, I remember the moment where - probably almost a year ago to the minute, as I write this -  a doctor walked into my waiting room in the ER. I asked him if Anya was okay. And he shook his head. I asked if she had died. He nodded. And I fell apart.

Today is a day to pause and remember that. How low I felt. How terrible the world was that day. It's also a day to pause and reflect on how much I've been able to heal. To appreciate all of the love that our friends and family have given us, and all of the help we received in this dark time.

Finally, it's also a day that we appreciate all of the love that your sister has brought to the world. She made me a dad. She brought me and your mom closer together. She helped renew and strengthen friendships.

She would have loved you, William. I would have loved for her to be your guide, your friend, your defender. I am sorry that she won't have that chance. I hope that you can find a place for her in your heart regardless.

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