Second Letter to Lucy in Heaven

Dear Lucy,

This is my first school morning alone since you died. Five whole hours to myself. This was my fantasy as a busy mom of two littles a few months ago. But this is not the way I wanted to get it.

I went to HEB after I dropped Max off. As is usually the case in the early morning at the grocery store, I saw many moms with 1 or 2 young children. After I saw the first two, I glanced at the empty basket on the front of the cart and felt a pang. I tried to smile at them, to communicate to them somehow that I am still one of them. I feel like I need a sign that says, “I have two children! I still have two even though one died and the other is at school! I have not been deprived or cheated! I am still like you!” I want them to know I am still in the club. I feel this crazy defiance about it all. Defiance in the face of death. Defiance in the face of life and its cruelty.

I am grateful for this alone time in one way. I have barely had a chance to breathe since you died. I never have a chance to really think about you or let the feelings and tears come. The writing helps to unlock all that. In fact, this letter was practically already written in my head before I got home. The tears started to come at the stoplight by the entrance to our neighborhood. I wonder if anyone saw me wiping them away behind my sunglasses. I wonder what reason they came up with for them, if any.

As soon as I got home, I dashed in, unloaded perishable groceries, ignored three puddles of cat puke (Have a word with God about Angus for me, will you? I’m worried about him.), and grabbed my laptop to write to you. When I wrote the first letter, I said I would keep writing to you. I have had so many feelings flitting around in my head the past couple of weeks. I don’t know why it took so long for me to decide to put them in a letter to you. That’s the best way for me to speak from my heart. I wonder if I really fully intended to write more letters to you when I said that. Regardless, here I am. I will take it one letter at a time.

I have said before that it is bizarre to lose a child. I think it is even more bizarre to lose a baby. You haven’t really gotten to know them yet. I loved and enjoyed you so much, yet sometimes I feel bad, because I think I miss the things I was hoping to do with a daughter, more than the things we actually did. I know that’s not true. I miss giving you bottles and kissing your temple. I miss singing to and playing with you on the changing table to distract you while I let you air dry. I miss standing you up on the changing table and letting you hang on to the stair banisters for a minute. I miss playing peek-a-boo in the foyer mirror with you. I miss getting you up from naps and seeing you first thing in the morning. I miss dressing you up. I miss hearing your voice in the middle of the night talking to yourself and calling for Daddy. I miss saying, “Let’s go get Brother up” or telling Max I’m going to “go get Sister up”. I said those phrases under my breath for comfort one day. I even retraced my steps for getting you up from a nap when I was in your room one day. Lift you from the crib, walk over and turn off white noise, walk over and grab Moonie, walk out the door. I could almost feel you in my arms.

But I was looking forward to “Anne of Green Gables” (book and movie) and the American Girl store. Tea parties and princesses. Or whatever it was you decided to like. You might have hated all that stuff. I wanted to get to know you and have you know me. And we will never get to do that now. You had so much potential, baby. Our relationship had so much potential. I wanted a daughter so much. And even if I have another one someday, I will not get to have you. It’s so cruel. It breaks my heart.

I find myself clinging to any connection with you, even as I let others go every day. I look at the dish soap and think, “When we bought that, Lucy was alive.” I look at the date on blog posts in Reeder to see if they were published before or after you died. Same thing with TV shows on the DVR. Or watching a show for the first time since you died. I hated to let go of the month of May, because it was the last one in which I got to be with you. I still have one tiny piece of Starbucks candy left from a package we were given during your last hospitalization. I don’t want to eat the last one. Silly as those connections might seem, they are links to your living, physical presence here and I hate to let them go.

I am so glad I am able to write to you, to be able to let the tears and feelings out. To feel like a “normal” mom who lost a child, if there is such a thing. Listen to me, I want to be a “normal” mom at the store and a “normal” mom who lost a child. I’m nothing if not ambitious, right? That’s one of the things you would have learned about me. You probably already had learned that one.

I hope you somehow know about these letters. I hope you hear me when I talk to you every day and tell you I love you and miss you.

Love, Mama



  1. Laurie said,

    June 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    This is such a beautiful letter to Lucy, Sara. Writing is your gift and I know Lucy hears your love. A mother’s connection sustains life…and death. It may sound foolish, but I so feel your grief about your beautiful little girl because I am feeling it for Reilly. I should’ve known not to read this in a restaurant but I did anyway and I lost it as I feared…but it’s okay because everything you are feeling, I am feeling too, even for a dog…but a dog I will never see or cuddle again. And even if I have another, as you said, it won’t be him. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Your little girl touched so many and you are fulfilling that promise in a mighty way.

  2. Ruth said,

    June 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Do you remember when Anne’s baby Joyce dies, and at some point later she’s talking with someone – Captain Jim, I think – and worrying about not recognising her daughter when she sees her again. Captain Jim says something about God handling things better than that, and I keep coming back to this and thinking it whenever I read your beautiful words to Lucy and Max. I feel sure, somehow, that Lucy knows everything now, and that when you see her again it won’t be painful, and she won’t seem like a stranger. She will just be your Lucy, your girl, and everything will be okay.

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