One year ago this afternoon, we got the news that changed everything. In every book and album that we had, there was always a place for us to write a note to Doria. They happened at various points through the year, and I thought that would be a great idea, but I never got around to doing it.
Early this month, it was rattling around in my head a little. I had a couple of nights where I barely slept at night. On the second one, I decided that I should go ahead and write that letter to Doria. It was the single best thing I’ve done in terms of getting some peace.
I dreaded actually posting this thing here for a couple of days. But, if the whole point is to help some people out, then here goes. This took the help of a cute pink bear and a ton of tissue. I’d stock up on at least one before you go any further.
Here goes nothing…………………..
Happy Birthday, Doria!!
It’s one year now since you left. I thought that I’d write down some things I always looked forward to saying to you.
I still don’t quite believe that you happened. None of this story was possible. Your mother and I weren’t supposed to be able to have children, but you came along. Babies don’t die at 36 weeks old, but it happened. I’m not angry with you, Doria. I never have been. I don’t think that I ever could be now.
Dori, I think about the girl we thought you would grow up to be. I don’t know why, but I always pictured you as a girl and woman who would love the impossible people and those people who had problems they just couldn’t handle, whether they didn’t have enough money, didn’t know about Jesus, couldn’t stand up for themselves, or whatever. I always pictured you as a loving and courageous girl who would care enough for those people to reach out and help when no one else would. Seeing you love like that would have made every fatherly dream of mine come true. You’d be a hero. It turns out that you are doing those things, but not in the way I ever planned.
Dori, I remember some of the things I looked forward to. Since so many people seem to think your mom is my daughter, I looked forward to embarrassing tons of people who thought you were my granddaughter. Your sister will live that dream out for all of us J I looked forward to some well-meaning teacher or parent at your high school graduation saying “Oh, it’s so adorable that you brought your grandfather today. And he gets around so well, too!”
I did the math one day, and realized that your mother and I would celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and I would celebrate by giving you your first driving lesson on the way home. No fear here, and that would have paid off for you. I loved thinking about that. It timed out just so nicely.
I looked forward to sharing my favorite things with you, so you could say that you didn’t like them at all, until it turned out that you really did, because you’re my girl. I looked forward to you reading your first book, and long daddy/daughter reading dates, even your first Kindle. We’d be nerdy, but that’s our family. I looked forward to hating the first guy you brought home, and making sure that he knew it. I really looked forward to torturing the guy that asked permission to marry you. He was going to sweat until I got tired while I just sat there ‘politely’ smiling at him. If he planned to take my little girl away, that guy was going to earn it until the end. Through it all, I was going to watch, with a sparkle in my eye, an amazing little girl grow into a fabulous and beautiful woman.
Most of all, Doria, I just looked forward to meeting you. Your mother and I were crazy about you. We still are. I wanted to see how this little surprise miracle baby grew up. I wanted to see what surprised God had for you, and what surprises this life held. I wanted to be there for you, to raise you up, help you out, and watch you thrive through it all. I know you would have. You were such an amazing fighter. You had so much heart, right until your heart stopped.
Doria, I really want you to know this: I love you. I was crazy about you then, and I’m crazy about you now. Outside of Jesus and getting married, you are the best thing that ever happened to us. I still love the excitement we felt getting the news, the joy of the surprise, and the anticipation of you, the miracle baby. Those were the most fun days we’ve had yet, and that’s all about you. You helped us both to know a love and excitement that we’d never seen before. You changed our little world from a really good one into the best one. Thanks, Dori! We’ll always owe you that.
Doria, I don’t have a drive to end things here, and never have, but I would so love to be home with you and Jesus. That place is perfect, and two people I haven’t met face to face are already there. Right now, it’s better for your sister that I’m here. She’ll disagree, but it’s America. She’s free to be wrong.
Doria, I love you like crazy. I miss you like crazy. I am so glad for the time I had with you, and I’m so glad for everything you did in our lives. I wish the miracle had worked out for us. I wish I was telling you this stuff in 20 years instead of writing it now, but this is what we’ve got. I’m not mad, either, Doria. This is just how things were always going to be.
So, Happy Birthday! Say hi to all the other angel babies up there. We know that you have a ton of friends.
Until we meet face to face,