Thursday, August 11, 2011


My dear, sweet little girl—

I have spent so much time in the past few days talking to you, kissing your pictures, and remembering what it was like to hold you that I figured maybe I should just sit down and write you a letter. Yesterday was a hard day—I spent a lot of the afternoon and evening crying for you, sweetheart, just feeling so very sad for all that you will never get to experience. I looked at your little brother’s precious face and cried for how very much alike you are and for how sad I am that the two of you will never meet, will never get to tease each other, play animalvegetablemineral in the backseat on long car trips, or fight over who gets to lick the bowl when we make birthday cakes for Daddy. It’s just so very unfair that you don’t get to grow up and do all the things that your friends are doing and will do, and I’m so very angry on your behalf. I can still barely believe that you are gone. Even fifteen months later, it still seems as though you were just here. It is almost as if I just expect you to come toddling around the corner into the kitchen while I am making dinner and start opening drawers for your favorite utensils.

But today was a better day. Your brother and I got up early and went down to Hains Point, a long point that juts out into the Potomac River. The weather has cooled off a tiny bit, and at nine in the morning, it felt wonderful. We took a very long walk around the point and then back the other way, with your brother snoozing most of the way in the stroller. I can’t believe your daddy and I never took you to this place, sweet girl. How we never discovered it before now is beyond me. I imagine that if you had lived and we had bought the bike trailer we had been shopping for the weekend before you got sick, we would have probably discovered it last summer as a nice place to pull you behind our bikes.

Oh, how much you would have loved it, Hudson. I had been walking right next to the water for only about 5 minutes when I came upon a little family of ducks sitting right in the middle of the walkway. They barely noticed I was there until I was a few feet away, at which point they casually stood up and walked a few feet forward so that I could roll along behind them. You would have been able to see them up so close—I could just picture how excited you would be. There were dozens of sea gulls and other birds flying all around, and I was remembering how much you loved all the sea birds when we took you to the beach. You hadn’t spoken your first word yet (you started talking that very week, though), but every time you saw a bird, you said, “Ooo! Oooooooooo!” and grinned your beautiful grin.

As I reached the end of the point, I saw not one, not two, but three helicopters landing at the Air Force base on the other side. I was remembering how much you loved vehicles of all kinds, and how you could say “heh-cop” for helicopter.

And then as I rounded the point, I was facing the airport across the river. “Ai-pane” was one of your very favorite words and you loved it when you heard or spotted one in the sky. We took you to Gravelly Point, on the other side of the river, several times to watch the planes take off, but they were taking off right over our heads, so they were very loud and it was hard to really see that they were planes. I remember you being scared the first time or two we took you there. But I also remember how fascinated you were with the planes on the one plane trip we took once you were old enough to know what they were. About a month before you died, we took you to Chicago to visit your aunt and uncle, and you loved looking out the window at all the planes in the waiting area. Boy, would you have loved Hains Point today. From my vantage point across the river from the airport, I could watch all the planes coming in for a landing AND taking off. I could see everything so much better and it wasn’t nearly as loud. I was imagining us playing a game where we’d see which one of us could first spot the planes far off in the distance as they came in for a landing. I bet you would have been very good at it.

I miss you, sweet girl. I miss you so much. If I sat down to write every time something reminded me of you, I’d never leave the computer. Your precious brother Jackson has done wonders for helping me not feel sad as often as I used to, but life without you will always be sadder than life was with you. And again, I’m not just sad for me. I’m sad for him, too. He should have more than just mine and Daddy’s face to stare and smile at—he should be staring at yours, too. He should have you here to cheer him on as he learns to roll over and crawl and stand and walk. And most importantly, to teach him all the best words. 

But today, as he and I walked in the sunshine and the breeze, as I watched the helicopters and the planes and the boats and the birds, I felt you there with us, and I was so glad.

I love you and miss you so much, Hudson. How I wish you were here with us in person, but since I can’t have you that way, I’m grateful to have you always in my heart.




  1. Oh, Mandy, you are such a wonderful mother to them both. Really, you are humblingly attuned to their likes and selves, and they are both - ARE, not were - so lucky to have you. I only wish she were here still, in physical lovely person, to know you all even more. xoxoxo Liz

  2. Mandy, I have been thinking of you so very much over the past few days. I am so very sorry and it is just so unfair. I really don't have anything profound though how I wish that there were something that I could do or say to ease just a tiny bit of the pain you live with everyday. The amazing thing about you is that through this you still have it in you to see the beauty in life. That is certainly one good thing.

    Sending love,

  3. How I wish she could have taken that walk with you. What a beautiful, touching, honest letter.


  4. A beautifully written letter. So heartbreaking and yet so hopeful all at once.

  5. So sorry, Mandy. Crying here with you.
    Hains Point holds special meaning to me. On the last Sunday of Veronica's life, we spent the afternoon there, watching the planes. I remember being so happy our family was complete with our three precious little girls. Veronica was lying on the blanket while the older girls kicked (or tried to kick) a soccer ball. I was worried they might run into the river. That was the last day our family of five spent together. How I wish so desperately I could have that back. I'm sorry we both mourn our past and our future. Love, Olivia

  6. Mandy, keep on writing to her. It's so good for all four of you.

  7. Wish your girl was with you.

  8. I agree so wholeheartedly with Liz--you are an incredible mother and Hudson and Jackson are so lucky to be held so close in your love. It is unfair, screamingly unfair that Jackson will never have Hudson teasing him and tickling him and bringing him along. I know, though, that you will tell him all about her as he grows, and one day he will be ready to read all of these entries and letters and will understand the profound depth of your love for him and for Hudson. And he will get to know her even better from all your beautiful writing. Sending you love. and Olivia, I'm so sorry for your loss as well. xo p