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One Year Later, We Choose Joy | Haddie's First Birthday

Happy First Birthday Haddie. Mommy sure misses you here on Earth. I can’t imagine the celebrations in your honor today, as the Heavens celebrate the day you came home.

This first year without you has broken my heart sweet girl. It’s the year they said, “I’m sorry, we can’t find a heartbeat, this never happens at 39 weeks!” It’s the year they asked, “Would you like your daughter buried or cremated?” “Would you like an autopsy of your baby?”

It was the year I labored for 13 devastating hours only to leave the hospital with empty arms and a broken heart. It was the year my son screamed at me and kicked me in fits not believing his baby sister died. It was the year I introduced my daughter to her sister through a casket, the year I watched my husband carry an impossibly small white box carrying my child from a hearse to a mound of dirt.

But it was the year friends came and prayed all night over our hospital room, It was this year that people held vigils for us in their homes, the year when an entire community came beside us, When friends came and filled our fridge with food and our walls with bible verses, the year when neighbors we didn’t even know rallied together to collect money and gift cards. It was the year when gifts reminding us of you showed up on our porch every night. It was the year they handed me a perfect angel who completely changed me and everyone else she touched without ever taking a breath. It was the year that God showed up and never left.

And just like the last year without you, your first birthday has been a choice to see the joy through our pain. No one would have blamed us if we stayed home, turned the lights down low and lamented to Jesus about the water that hasn’t stopped rising over our heads this last year. But we decided to choose joy. We brought your siblings to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate you today.

After all, it’s pretty hard to have a bad day when your kids are having their best day. Haddie, your Dad and I went down waterslides today, we splashed with your siblings, we ran through waterfalls and we laughed. We laughed with tears in our eyes as the happiness we felt mixed with such an exquisite pain, the pain of missing a little girl so special she brought unbelievers to Christ, she inspired Christ followers to dive deeper, to praise louder, and helped us show the world that God is still good even when our circumstances are not. I’m sure that every year on this day, the pain of losing you will overwhelm us, but we couldn’t honor that pain without meeting it with the joy we have in simply being yours.

Thank you for being born Haddie, thank you for choosing me and for changing me. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl.

Love, Mommy

(Written by Michele Molhoek)

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