Aren’t you glad I didn’t say banana again??
Remember how you loved to tell knock-knock jokes? You would look around the room, trying to quickly figure out something to say for who is there. Sometimes it was an object in the room that you spotted, like a wall or a fork. Other times, you would use the names of your favorite cartoon characters. Dora, Blue, and all the Backyardigans took turns being the person at the door. Usually the punch line would be, “Aren’t you glad I didn’t say banana again.” After telling the joke, we would all laugh quite loud. You knew you were pretty funny, didn’t you?
How can it be that it has been over three years since we last were able to hold you in our arms? Have no doubt that we think about you each day. No words could describe how much we miss you. We often wonder what you would look like today. Recently, we saw friends of yours at a race. They had grown so big and strong. It took our breath away to think that if you had survived, you would be that big, too. What would you be doing now? Would you be reading chapter books and talking about how boys are yucky? What would your voice sound like? Would the sound of your laughter still sound magical and musical? (Of course your laughter would still melt our hearts.) Would you and your baby sister be best friends?
There is something crazy that you should know. Your baby sister is now older than you. Can you believe it? You died before you turned 4 ½ years old. She’s passed that point and is headed towards being a five-year-old. That will be a bittersweet day when she turns five because you never got to be five-years-old. She’s now doing things that you never did when you were alive. She goes to preschool and plays with lots of friends. She’s so excited to have more friends than fingers on her hands. It is wonderful to see, but I always remember how you once told us that you wish you had friends. You had been isolated for such a long time after you were diagnosed with cancer and you truly wanted to have friends. Thankfully, you made some friends through Gymboree and Camp Sunshine. Sadly, some of those friends are in heaven with you now.
Every milestone your sister reaches now will be one you never reached. We grieve not only for you, but also for the loss of our dreams for you. We used to imagine going to PTA meetings to watch you sing with your classmates. That is one dream that was destroyed. We will never watch you lose your first tooth. We will never watch you excitedly go on your first date. There will be no graduation or wedding day to attend. We will never get to watch you hold your own child. A lifetime of dreams floated away when we lost you to brain cancer.
Sometimes it is hard to sleep at night because we miss you so much. Thankfully we have lots of videos of your beautiful self. We always smile and cry when we watch them because it is wonderful to hear your voice and laughter again, but it makes us miss you even more. We want you back. We want you back whole and healed.
However, do not fret because we are learning to live in our new reality: a world without our beloved Sophia. The first few years we managed to put one foot in front of the other as we moved forward. (We refuse to use the term moving on because we can never move on from you. You live on in our hearts and you will always be a part of us. We would never leave you behind.) This past year we managed to laugh a little more. We started to reinvest in our new world. The heartbreak will never go away, but we will live.
Remember: We love you very, very, very much. You will continue to be in our thoughts and in our hearts each day. You will never be forgotten. You are unforgettable.
When we think of you, we remember how proud we were of your sweet and caring nature. We loved your imagination and we loved your passion of learning new things. We treasured the songs you sang and the dances we danced together. We admired your bravery and your ability to bounce back from the harsh cancer treatments. You endured more pain and sickness than most people who live a full lifetime. You inspired many people. You loved with your whole heart, as we loved you with our whole hearts.
Fly high, sweet angel.
Mommy and Daddy