“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live”
– Norman Cousins –
This letter is not meant for you, so please pass it on to my niece I. Thanks in advance.
This day last week we met for the first and the last time. Seeing your tiny body displayed in that little basket made my heart break and my mind kept telling me to look for signs of life. To watch for that little blanket moving up and down because of your breath, you sighing, opening your eyes or even moving your little arms and head.
But nothing moved. Except us. We moved around to watch you sleep eternally and we were moved by seeing such a little creature, someone who should have had a great and happy and prospering life, dead.
I had a lot of big plans for you, you know. You were to increase my chances of going on tons of roller coasters with a niece or nephew, for starters. You were to be the one that would rebel against everything and everyone (but me) and then we’d laugh about it together afterwards. I’d hold you as a baby and caress you and love you, despite whatever happened in the past between your mother and I.
You were to be part of our family, our dysfunctional group of idiots, and maybe be the only sane one. You and A. Would grow up together as two happy little girls, sharing secrets, clothes and two loving parents.
None of that will happen now. None of that was meant to happen. Your body was already broken beyond repair before you even got a chance to see your first sunlight. And even that chance was never given to you.
Dearest little I., at your goodbye ceremony I was given a small bit of paper and a pen, to scribble down a few words I wanted to say to you. I know exactly what I wrote down and I don’t think I’ll ever forget. But even though I meant every word, I had no idea what I really wanted to say. I do now:
My eyes keep filling with tears when I think back of that evening, the image of your body in that tiny basket is imprinted in my mind. But at least I have an image of you and I am proud to call you my niece. Maybe yours wasn’t a life meant to be lived, but even your brief momentum in our world has forever changed the hearts of a lot of people, including mine. I will carry you with me wherever I go, I promise. You will be with me on al my roller coaster rides to follow, every merry-go-round I’ll take A. on, and every time I see the flower that gave you your name I’ll remember you.
Your soul asked me not to be sad when I think of you and I’ll try my hardest to do that. But be patient, for I am not quite there yet.
Dear I., I’ll miss you, because I really wanted to get to know you. I hope that wherever you are, you are safe, happy and, above all, unbroken.
Your crazy aunt Samantha.