My dearest Lauren,

We’ve left 2011 behind. In a way, it feels like I’ve left you behind too. 2011 was a year that was all about you. You sparked to life in January, and I carried you all through the year, through February snow and April sakura blossoms, all the way to hot, heavy summer days followed by the kiss of fall’s approaching coolness. And then, in the darkest part of the year, I mourned you. My daughter, lost to me when I should have been celebrating you.

Now, facing a new year, I have only your memory to carry with me. An empty space in my life where you should be. A stillness that goes deeper inside me than I ever imagined possible.

Before you died, I don’t know what I expected from 2012. Challenges, yes: the challenge of becoming a mother, the challenge of raising a child in a foreign country, the challenge of adjusting to married life, the challenge of running a household. The challenge left to be now is such a simple one: be a childless mother.

I don’t know how I do it. I don’t know how I go day-to-day knowing that I had you and then lost you. I still don’t understand how it happened. I don’t understand how life works. I don’t understand how a life can be kindled and then snuffed out before it’s had a chance to burn. How could that happen? WHY did that happen? What mystery of life can possibly explain how or why my beautiful, precious daughter – YOU, Lauren – was taken away from me. All I wanted was to take care of you, to love you. What did I do wrong?

We expected to be back in Japan by now. You wouldn’t be a newborn; you would be developing into your own person. I thought I would spend the year living just for you and your Daddy. I wanted to teach you to sign so we could communicate early. In February, I hoped you would be ready to start sleeping through the night. In April, we were going to take you to see the cherry blossoms. I wanted to make baby food for you instead of just buying it. For Golden Week in May, I thought it would be fun to arrange to go to Gunma and introduce you to Benni-sensei and the Isesaki Ladies. They would love you as I love you. Your adopted Japanese oba-sans.

2012 seems so empty now. What is there for me? All the dreams I dreamt not so long ago have all blown away. I don’t know what to do now that you’re gone. How can I hope or dream for anything when what I had was yanked away from me?

I’m afraid, Lauren, of what the year will bring me. And I’m ashamed for being so afraid. I want to be brave and strong, the mother you deserve, but it’s so hard. I just want to have you here with me.

I’m sorry. This isn’t the letter I wanted to write. I wanted to be positive, uplifting. Perhaps another day. Today, I will curl up in bed and miss you with ever cell in my body. Today, I will have a day of grief. And perhaps tomorrow will be better.

I love you, my daughter. I will always love you.



[Written in response to a prompt from: Faces of Loss]