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Dear Dakota

My niece Dakota was born still on February 26, 2004

Often I write to her. While she is not here in the physical sense, she has always been here in spirit. I have learned so much from her short time with us... Each year, my sister's support group holds a memorial service and I submit my letter to Dakota.. This is the letter I will read this year.....

Dear Dakota,

You would have been eight soon. So much has changed. Yet so much is still the same. I have spent the years wondering what our lives would have been like if you were still here. I have wondered what you would have looked like and what your personality would be like. I have wondered, How tight would you have wrapped mommy and daddy around your beautiful little fingers?  How tight would you have wrapped the rest of us?

I know you would have been beautiful on the outside. But there is no deeper beauty than the beauty that someone has on the inside. I know how beautiful you are on the inside because I saw a glimpse of perfection and grace when I held you in my arms. I still remember that cold February morning as I held you in my arms. I remember standing in front of the hospital window as the sun was rising. It engulfed me as I stood there holding you. I remember how incredibly warm and comforting that it felt. I remember feeling bad that I was feeling such peace at such a sad time. I still believe the warmth and peace that I felt was your love. That moment in time is forever in my soul. That one moment with you will be with me for the rest of my life. I remember not wanting to walk away from the window, because once I did, I thought you would be gone forever….. I was wrong, you have never left us.

Your short time with us brought more to us, than some can bring to us in a lifetime. The lessons I have learned from you cannot be taught in books. You have shown me what is important. You have taught me how precious life is. You have softened me. You have taught me that the “What ifs” in life don’t matter. They are only unanswered questions to uncertainty. You have taught me that what is important is the “what is”. I have learned I cannot change the “What ifs”. I have been learning to accept the “what is”. It is more comforting to accept what I know for sure than to always question what I may never know.

For many years, I wondered what you would have been like? What would you have looked like? I have started to realize it doesn’t matter. I would love you no matter what you looked like. I would love you no matter what your personality was like? I would love you no matter what your religious or political views were. None of that matters.

What I know for sure, is that what matters is that brief period of time that you hugged my soul. I also know for sure that I will never let go.

Love Auntie Francine


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