The Only Thing That's Missing...Is You.

Dear Sweet Sophia,

This Summer has been such a crazy time for us.  Your first annual Help Us, Help Hearts event went better than we could have possibly imagined.  We have such great family and friends and they all showed up to show us how much they love you.  It is still overwhelming to think of the people who know you, but have never met you that are willing to go the extra mile for you.  We are so thankful for that.  Our hearts are so full of love for your supporters and because of you we have learned the true meaning of giving.

Summer is always a difficult time for us.  I still remember so vividly the day we came home from Cleveland without you.  It was so warm out.  I hadn't been outside really in almost 2 weeks and I remember that we had the car windows open.  As we got on the expressway your Daddy went to roll the windows up and I told him to leave them down.  I closed my eyes and put my head back against the seat and let the warm Summer air hit my face.  You were gone and my heart was so heavy but the air felt so good all around me, it was comforting somehow.  When the warm Summer air blows to this day, I love the way it feels.  It's as if somehow it's you, giving us a warm hug to let us know that you are alright.  I still close my eyes sometimes and think of you the way that I did that day.  Swaddled so tightly and smelling like my little girl the last time I held you.

Your brother will be 6 in just a couple of weeks.  I can't believe how the time has passed.  It makes me sad to think he and Maryn are growing up without you.  He told Daddy the other night that he just wants you for his Birthday.  He would be willing to give up his Lego sets and Pokemon cards if you could just come home.  I smiled at his gesture because he has such a caring and kind heart and then we struggled to make him understand that we would give him anything he wanted but just couldn't make that happen.  He wanted to be your big brother in the worst kind of way.

Your sister is still a quiet soul.  She is growing up right before our eyes into the most beautiful young lady.  You looked so much like her when you were born and we often catch glimpses of you in her smile and laugh.  She is so helpful and caring, always doting on your little cousins and we can see what an amazing sister she would have been.  She sings to you each time we visit on Sunday and even made you your very own song.  I hope you hear her sweet voice when she sings it before your headstone on our visits each and every Sunday.  She tends to your flowers and picks out the weeds each week and gets very annoyed with Anthony when he tries to copy her song to you, it has now become a little bit of a joke.  We make sure each week that Maryn sings first.

Tonight, Maryn stayed up a little later.  Anthony fell asleep in your chair and she asked to stay up to watch Beauty and the Beast.  After getting approval to stay up she emerged from her room with her Belle dress on and danced with each song in the living room.  She asked Daddy to dance when Tale as Old as Time played and in that moment I pictured what you would have looked like in that dress taking turns with Maryn, dancing with Daddy.  My heart broke.  There are so many moments when I wish so badly you were here.  To hear you giggle and smile as you would twirl and dance in your "Belle" dress like your sister, I would give anything.  It's so unpredictable, our grief over losing you.  It can be a woman at the checkout making faces at her baby in a car seat, a mother's voice calling her daughter who coincidentally is also named Sophia, a song, a smell, a warm Summer breeze.  Your memory strikes me at the oddest times making my spine stiffen and my eyes well up with tears.  The one thing you must know is, you are so greatly missed, each and every day.  A day will not pass without you entering our minds.  You were a part of this family and will always be.  We will do our best to share your life and the amazing impact you left on ours.  We thank God for you but miss you like crazy.