Your Fourteen Birthday

April 7, 2017

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

I imagine if you were here, you’d roll your eyes and tell me you weren’t a baby anymore – you’re 14, now, practically grown up.

Oh, baby. I wish you were turning 14.

It’s hitting me hard this year, to have this day, this should-have-been birthday, come and go yet again without you here to celebrate another year of life.

I keep trying to imagine your face at 14 and picture the young woman you’d be growing into but the image in my head is fuzzy. My brain can’t morph the memory of your tiny newborn face into a teenage image of you.

Somehow, that feels like I’m losing you all over again on this day when I was supposed to have brought you safely into this world.

It feels as if you are slipping farther and farther away from me all over again. That you that you would be keeps getting farther and farther away from the baby that you were.

Every cell in my body longs to roll back time so I could simply carry you, safe and alive, in me again. If I could, I’d have frozen time back then in those last moments and keep you alive and kicking my ribs forever.

But, my beautiful would be 14-year old girl, you aren’t a baby anymore. Life hasn’t stopped even though your heart stopped beating all those years ago.

Wherever you are now, you are 14 today.

No matter how many years that pass and no matter how unclear that face you might have had becomes, you remain the most beautiful part of my life. This day, though painful and unbearably quiet without you, will always be a day of beauty and hope and so very much love.

My beautiful daughter, on this day when you would be 14, I hope that you somehow know how loved you are and will always be. Even if I have to live through another 60 quiet birthdays without you, I want you to know that I would still choose you. I would choose those brief moments of life and love and hope over a lifetime without you at all.

Your life on Earth was so very brief, but as long as my heart still beats, you will live on inside of me.

I miss you so much it hurts to breathe.

I love you more than words could ever say. Five, fourteen, or a hundred years without you here will never change that.

Today, my sweet girl, on your should-have-been 14th birthday, remember, no gift was greater than you. No day is more beautiful than this one that is yours.

From now until we meet again in whatever comes next, you are loved. Always.


  • Emily Long

    Emily Long is the mama of two daughters gone too soon, a Life Archaeologist, coffee shop writer, consumer of bagels and hot cocoa, endless reader, lover of travel, and occasional hermit. Emily is committed to supporting families who experience the death of a child and writes frequently on the topic of pregnancy and infant loss. She speaks nationally advocating for the voice of grieving parents and families. Emily provides local and distance counseling services for grief and loss, trauma, anxiety, and other painful life stuff. In her downtime, you can usually find her in her hermit house re-reading Harry Potter (again).

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