Dear Lauren,

Merry Christmas, baby girl.

We were all here today – all of us but you. But you know well, I think, that you were in our hearts and thoughts, loved and cherished. Your name was spoken. Your life was remembered. Your family loves you and misses you.

I love you. I miss you.

There remains a part of you here with me, a part of you that will always be with me, shining a light into the darkness that closes in on me. You are my light, my beautiful daughter. My miracle. You came into my life so suddenly, and you left so suddenly, but the imprint you have left upon me goes deep into my inner-most being. You have defined me as what I am, you have made me “mother.” You are the most precious gift I have ever received.

My love, my own. I dreamt such dreams of you while you lay curled inside me. The laughter and sunshine you would bring to us this holy day. Now, instead of you, I have only my grief to share. But it is a burden I do not always carry alone. Family and friends have given to me such kind words, such support. Such love. I will always hurt, but the people who surround me and seek to offer what comfort they can make life bearable. It cannot bring you back, but it is good to know that I am not alone.

We have lost others taken young and before their times: uncles and cousins and kin. I said a prayer for them today, for those lost in years past and those lost to us more recently. Even those long lost are missed this bittersweet season. Loved from afar.

Good night, sweet girl. I cry for you, I laugh for you. You are in my smile and in my tears. Every moment of this day, I have carried you with me, wishing that I could hold you, sing to you, love you. I choose now to do this last, to love you forever, to love you beyond time and existence. My daughter, my light.

Merry Christmas, baby girl. We love you. I love you.