Happy Birthday, my precious Ella.
Last night I woke up just after midnight. I wonder if my body knew it had been exactly a year since we held you during the short moments of your life. I stayed up as though to keep vigil, remembering, glancing at the clock, knowing I had little time. I kept wondering what you'd want me to be doing, then decided you'd want me to be sleeping. Like Daddy. So I turned off the light at a quarter past two. I don't know how long it took me to drift off.
This year is one I'm ready to leave behind, but I never, ever want to forget. On your birthday, I should be giving you gifts. Instead you've given gifts to me:
Deeper faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and in His gospel.
Greater love for your daddy and the rest of our family.
Peace. I no longer look on the concept of death with fear or dread. And I anticipate the second coming of our Savior with eagerness.
A more profound appreciation for the blessing of temple ordinances.
Greater faith in myself and my own personal worthiness.
The knowledge that I have a daughter who is pure and perfect; an angel to guide me along, to watch over me, and to encourage me when times get rough.
And though I don't always understand God's will, and sometimes I still have to work on trusting Him, I have grown in my knowledge of His infinite mercy and love for me.
I learn so much from you and I know I always will, for I still have so much more life to live and an unbelievable amount of things yet to learn. I hate that you're gone. I despise the memory of leaving you behind at that hospital. Sometimes I do not endure well. I have irrational fears when it comes to my future children. I become embittered easily, angry, and sometimes live with a false notion that everyone else lives perfect lives with their own healthy children.
And yet, here we are. On what would have been your first birthday. Though I wish beyond everything in this world that you were here, I wouldn't trade the gifts you've given me for anything. I love you so much and miss you every single day.
I wish I was buying you presents for your birthday. Something like a new outfit, a fun toy, and a ladybug birthday cake. Instead, I'll have to do other things that would make you happy where you are right now: I'll be a little nicer, a little more loving, a little more pure in heart, and a little more devoted to our beloved Savior.
Still... I do have a little gift for you. One that is tangible, though it won't show up until next July.
Around the 24th, I think.
Though you've known for a while, I'm sure.
And I'm terrified and ecstatic at the same time to actually say it out loud.
How would you like a baby brother or sister?
Happy Birthday, my Angel.