Happy birthday, Emily Rose

Dear Emily,

Happy ninth birthday, sweetie. Nine years ago, I went into the hospital to have you. Nine years ago, you lived for two precious hours in our arms,and you got to meet your immediate family, and then I had to tell you it was all right to let go.

I never imagined you as an infant in Heaven. All the other mothers on the support group used to imagine their babies at the chronological age they should have been, but within a day or two I imagined you as an adult, probably on assignment for God doing things that would send me into terrified fits if I actually knew what they were. I know you’ve stopped by a few times. I’m glad for those times.

But if I could imagine you as a little girl, I’d like for you to have cake and ice cream at a party for your friends, and helium balloons, and I’d give you a Breyer horse set with a stable (because let’s be honest — you’re my daughter, so I assume you’re riding one of those awesome horses from Revelation) and some books, some doo-dads for your hair, and maybe a stuffed animal. It might be time to get you a new bicycle, too.

Instead I got you a new rose bush, which your dad planted, and he found your little statue like we used to have in the garden at Angeltown. And we had a little birthday cake for you, too. I made your father cut it in fifths so you could see exactly how geeky we are (and what a wiseacre is your mother, in particular.)


This is the song I played all the time after I knew we were going to lose you. Every year on your birthday I play it again.

I remember while I was in the hospital, I played it again through head phones and urged you: see another day. And you did it: you were born at 11:08 and you died at 1:03 AM. Because you were my daughter, and you were stubborn like your mom.

I miss you. I know this is how it should be, that you’ve done enormous amounts of good because of your life, but I miss you anyhow.



About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
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5 Responses to Happy birthday, Emily Rose

  1. Jason Block says:

    Brilliance. Beautiful and wonderful. Love it. Emily does too.

  2. Lane in PA says:

    “Those we love are with the Lord,
    and the Lord has promised to be with us.
    If they are with Him,
    and He is with us,
    they cannot be faraway.”

    Peter Marshall

  3. Scott says:

    As I was reading this on the bus ride into work, the song “Send Her My Love” by Journey came on by chance. I thought it was a very fitting soundtrack to your letter especially when it says “Roses never fade…”

    I felt like I had to share that with you. Wishing you and your family comfort this day.

  4. Wendy says:

    Happy birthday, sweetie. You left a big impression on my life, too.

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