I may, at times, be completely unaware of what day of the month it is, but I always know when it’s the 28th. It’s a date I can’t ignore, that I can’t simply let pass by me without acknowledgment.

Lauren would be five months old today.

It hurts to think of what Lauren would be like as a five-month old, but I can’t avoid the images that come suddenly into my head. My feisty dark-haired girl beginning to sit on her own, gaining more control over her motor skills, learning how to sleep through the night. This month, I’d be thinking about her first solid foods, looking for signs that she’d be ready to try them in the coming weeks. Teething would become a problem, but daydreams are lovely things in which we can focus on the positive and gloss over the negative. I know for certain that I would prefer a fussy baby who shrieks through the night to what I have now, which is nothing.

I never expected life with Lauren to go a certain way: my experience with babies isn’t too limited for me to know that they develop at their own pace and have minds of their own. But she was a mystery I would have gladly taken on. I wanted so much to watch her develop, to see the beginnings of the person she would become. I made no assumptions about how easy or how difficult raising my daughter would be; I only wanted the chance to do it. And that has been taken from me, and now I feel as though I have been robbed of one of the greatest events of my life. All the daydreams in the world can’t change the fact that all I have of Lauren is a memory and an empty place where she should be.

My darling Lauren, my baby girl. I miss all the moments we never had together, all the milestones you’ll never reach, all the days you never had. I miss the days taking care of you, of carrying you with me on walks, of introducing you to all the wonders of Japan. I miss the life that you should have had.

I miss you. Every day. I love you. All the time.