Dear Hailey, I will never forget the day your mother told me she was pregnant with you. When she asked me to take a walk with her I knew what she was going to say. I felt joy that our family was going to be blessed with another baby, but I knew that your mom and dad would have a hard road ahead of them. I never could have imagined just how hard it would be.
When your mama had your ultrasound and told us she was having a little girl I was so excited. I could picture you and Sasha playing dolls and dress up together, growing up together, talking about boys together, staying close when you had children of your own. I had so much fun planning your baby shower, crocheting your tiny pink hat and passing on the clothes that Sasha had outgrown.
We were all impatient for you to be born. Those hours and hours in the hospital were some of the longest of my life. I was so proud of your mama; her strength and endurance amazed me. And I saw how much your daddy loved both of you, how scared he was for you, and how joyful he was when you were safely delivered.
For the last nineteen months you’ve been our family’s baby. Miss Hailey Mae, adored by cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents alike. You were always cheerful, unless you were missing your mama and daddy. I’ll never forget your smile, the way you pointed to everyone you saw, asking who they were and showing that you were glad to see them, or how you loved to twine anyone and everyone’s hair around your little fingers.
I wish I had spent more time with you while you were here and made more time for Jordan, Sasha and Karlye to play with you. They were always so excited to see you. It was so much fun when you and your mama would come stay overnight with us when your daddy was away for work.
Memories from your last days here on earth overwhelm me. Hailey looking so sick on Labor Day. Hailey in the hospital hooked up to IVs and monitors. The nurse joking while she brought in your tiny little bag of blood. Hailey, so sedated after surgery, forcing her eyes open to smile at Sasha and me while maintaining a death grip on her juice. Hailey finally up and around, playing so seriously with play dough and markers. Hailey at home the day before she left us, rubbing my back but slapping my hand away when I tried to touch hers. Hailey playing with Sasha’s hair while Sasha played with hers. Hailey waving goodbye one last time.
Thank you Hailey for the nineteen months you gave us. Your life and death has touched everyone who knew you and many who didn’t. All of us who love you will carry a hole in our hearts that will never be filled on this earth. To me, the wait seems long and heaven far away. But you are home, held in God’s loving hands. We praise God that you have been blessed with eternal joy and peace, no more sorrow, no more pain, and we know that we will see you again one day. Love, Your Auntie Hannah