A year ago, I wrote a letter to Audrey Nole. A letter that I will give to her when she’s older. A letter that helped me process the events of the day just 4 days prior. A letter that I didn’t even really remember writing, but that I’m so glad I wrote. I read it today. Facebook is good at reminding me of things like that. I can’t believe how true all of the words are today. The timeline is different. The grief is the same and also different. But the truths, those are the same. They are worthy of reading again and are a wonderful reminder to my own self of the joy that one can expect and experience when doing life as God’s child. I thought I wrote these words for Audrey... but as George Mason’s Day gets further away, I think maybe these words were really meant for me.


Audrey Nole,

Today is Valentine's Day and even though it seems like any other normal day to you, your daddy and I want you to know just how much we love you. The past 9 months have been full of sadness, anxiety, and many other emotions that I know you don't fully comprehend. We were so excited to bring home a sibling for you and watch you grow into your role as big sister. We couldn't wait to see your face the first time you got to meet your new baby and snuggle them with the delight that only a toddler can express. When we learned in October that this new baby was going to be a brother, we were even more excited; you were going to have another football buddy, wrestling partner, and if we're honest, someone to boss around like the champion boss lady you were born to be.

Things haven't gone as anyone planned or as anyone would have hoped. Your brother was very sick and his body was struggling to grow and develop the way it was supposed to. He fought really hard to grow big enough to meet you and I'm so thankful that he was finally able to feel the gentle touch of his big sister. You showed so much love in those few moments with him. The innocent way in which you called him George Mason and the sweet curiosity you showed as you examined his tiny hands and feet were so special and I hope you will one day know just how much that meant to your daddy and me.

I know you probably won't remember much of this latest season of our lives. There will be pictures and stories, but it's not the same as remembering. Here are the things I want you to know, with absolute truth: You are so very special to us and we love you with all of our hearts. You have been such a joy in our lives and especially as we navigate these very confusing times. Your brother loved you very much. You have already shown that you are a wonderful big sister and even though your brother is with Jesus and not home with us, you will always be his big sister.  Even though Mama and Daddy are sad right now, we are so thankful for our little family and the big part you play in it.

Know that we love you and that all these things you are feeling are difficult even for the grown ups. We will continue to snuggle with you, have dance parties in the kitchen, read a million books, have adventures at the zoo, and cherish your precious light in the midst of this broken world. Mama and Daddy are clinging to Jesus right now and I hope one day you will understand exactly why and just how much Jesus loves you too.

All our love & Happy Valentine's Day,

Mama & Daddy