Dear Madeline,

Today you have been gone for as many days as you lived. I’ve been dreading this day for a while now, and I’ll be honest baby, mommy is hurting.

If you were here, you would be 1,018 days old, just two months shy of three years old. What would you be like? It’s getting harder to imagine you. You’d look so different…you’d have all your teeth, your hair would be long, you’d be taller. What would your voice sound like? What kinds of things would you say?

I see siblings interact with each other and I ache for you and Annabel. Your sister is such a funny girl. Sometimes when she makes a silly face or noise I turn to look at your reaction, expecting you to be there laughing with me. I still expect you to be there all the time. Of all the things you’re going to miss out on in life, the relationship you and your sister would have had hurts the most. I so wish I could see you two grow up together, playing, laughing, fighting, loving and hating and hugging each other. I had a built-in best friend in my sibling, and you two should have each other. It’s so unfair.

I had you for five hundred fourteen days. It just wasn’t enough time. And now I sit here five hundred fourteen days after you left us and I’m wondering if it’s all a big trick. Sometimes I tell myself that you didn’t die, that maybe you were just kidnapped and you’ll be rescued and brought home to me. I imagine other scenarios where you aren’t dead, just somewhere else, and at any moment you could come through my door. I just can’t accept that you’re gone. I can’t bear it. There has to have been some mistake.

Today your sister and I will spend the day looking at ducks and watching cartoons. She loves to see videos of you, so I’ll show her some. She loves the ones where you dance and make noise. I love watching her face light up when you come on the screen. She squeals at the picture of you we have up in the hall. I tell her about her big sister all the time, and how much you love her. I know she loves you too.

Maddie baby, I miss you so much and I love you even more than that. I’m so scared of tomorrow, the five hundred fifteenth day without you. And then I’m scared of the five hundred sixteenth day, and so on. Every day without you is scary, but this threshold we are crossing makes you feel even farther away. All I want to be is close to you and we’re moving in opposite directions.

Most of all, please know that I think about you all the time. With every breath, with every sigh, when I blink and when I speak, you are on my mind. You always will be. You and your sister are everything to me. You are both entwined with my soul.

Please find a way back to me Sweet Moo. I love you and I’ll never stop needing you.

Love, Mama