Today my daughter Kathern would have celebrated her Sweet Sixteen. I'm sending her a birthday letter to heaven and wanted to share it with all of you.

My Dearest Girl,

Sixteen whole years have passed since I held you in my arms for the very first time.  I can remember the anticipation of your coming.  I was young, already the mother of one in diapers and here you were.  Six weeks early to be exact.  You made no bones about how things would be as soon as you entered the world.  To say I was completely terrified and unprepared would be putting it mildly.

You were demanding, adamant about being held by your momma, and baths were not your favorite.  Singing songs topped the list and you were content as long as all eyes were on you.  I remember holding you late at night and in the early morning when you would wake me and talking to you about life.  You perch your lips slightly and your eyes would cross making me laugh every single time.

You were a spitfire even at just a few weeks old.  You could command a room with one little squeal of a cry.  Gorgeous would be an understatement.  Ice blue eyes and chocolate brown curls with a tan that looked like it was brought straight from the Florida panhandle.

I think back to when they told me I was having a little girl.  Tons of emotions rushed in.  I knew immediately what your name would be.  Kathern, after my grandmother an amazing, kind, and tender-hearted woman who loved her family harder and deeper than anyone I have ever met.  I promised her years ago if I was to ever have a little girl she would be the namesake.  I couldn't wait to play dress-up and take you out and show you off.

I had so many plans for you my beautiful girl.  We were going to do pageants together and dress alike.  Attend mother-daughter events and be the very best of friends.  Having you was a dream come true.

Today I should be taking off work and a nervous wreck preparing to take you to get your driver's license.  Instead, I am visiting your grave wishing more than anything I was watching you jump in the drivers' seat of my Pathfinder and buckle up for the first time as I hyperventilated when you put the car in drive.  We should be fixing your hair and picking out a cute outfit for your picture.  Instead, I am picking out a balloon and flowers to place on your headstone.

I may never know why you were only here for a short time.  What God saw in your future is not for my heart to conceive.  What I do know is the time I was given with you I cherish.  Sometimes I catch the smell of a new baby and I am stopped in my tracks.  I hear Charlotte call me momma and wonder what you would have sounded like.

My very favorite and last memory of you happens to be the day you passed.  We got up early that day and hung out in bed just a little bit longer than normal.  You had begun to smile and thought everything was funny.  I washed you up and put on your lotion.  Combed your hair and placed a sweet white and colorful butterfly onesie on you with a matching bib.  I dropped you and Parker at the sitter and I kissed you a million times.  It wasn't like I didn't always kiss you goodbye but that day it seemed extra.  Even as I type tears stream down my face as I know what is coming in this story.  I said "goodbye" to you and told you how very much I loved you and promised you I would be back to pick you up.  You giggled and cooed and kicked your feet and I walked out of the door seeing your sweet face for the last time.

My girl, the pain is still so real.  I feel like we just lost you.  I wish you could have met Braden, Tucker, and Charlotte.  You would absolutely love them.  Charlotte talks about you to everyone.  She says she can't wait to get to heaven and hold you one day.  I feel exactly the same.  She swears you will still be a baby running around in a diaper.

Today we will celebrate you on this side of heaven.  We will eat cake and sing songs and remember your short yet impactful life.  You help to influence me everyday.

In two short months, you strengthened my faith in God and made me realize I was absolutely not in control.

I Love You, My Sweet Sunshine, please tell your GiGi we miss her too and hug her neck for me.  I know she is taking great care of you.  I'm not sure if heaven has cars but if it does take a ride for me.

Happy Sweet Sixteen Darling Girl we miss you terribly.

Angel's Daughter Kathern Elizabeth

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