You would be thirteen today.  I almost let this one go by with no letter, not for lack of trying. I'm finding it harder and harder to put my feelings into words when I pass by this day.  They're not any less, those feelings, just more complicated and I don't quite know what to do with that. 

The other day, someone "outed" me on Facebook as a member of the PAIL (Pregnancy and Infant Loss) club.  It's a club you never applied to join and never asked to be a part of.  I have to admit, I was a little bit taken aback.  Like I told your Dad, I'm not upset, nor do I try to hide it.  It's true.  It is. But it was jarring to me because a) I didn't know this person knew that much about me and b) it's mine to "out."  I've always been so fiercely protective of you and your memory.  I don't want to publicize it by vying for attention on Facebook.  

So instead I write you a letter on my blog.

Yes, I know how that sounds.  

At least I get to be the one who decides to write it.

Thirteen years ago, we attended some support groups and I remember how many, many people told me it would get easier.  But as time has gone by, I have to say that they were wrong.  It has not necessarily become easier.  The pain is still the same.  The hole is still there.  It's just easier to live with now.  It's become a part of my story, that brick in my pocket.  The hardest part now is that it's so much a part of my psyche that sometimes I forget to remember the day until it's already here.  The hardest part is that I don't think about it every day.  And then something reminds me. Someone says something.  "Oh right... that."  And I feel a strange mixture of calm and guilt because I haven't remembered until now.  And that's both good and bad, you know?  Because I've lived through it.  I - we - are still here and stronger. But maybe I haven't made you as big a part of my life as you deserve.  And while my head knows that's not completely a bad thing, a small piece of my heart feels... forgotten.

This would be the year you'd become a teenager.  I joke a lot about dreading the day your sisters become teenagers and would probably have done no different with you, but secretly, I would love it.  It's such an amazing time of life and you wake up to so many things.  I'd love to be there through it with you.  To see you decide who you're going to be.  

I wish you could know your sisters.  They are such incredible individuals.  Brilliant and funny.   They bicker and argue all day long, but then every once in awhile, I catch them being sweet to each other and it makes all the other stuff worth it.  This week they were off school and they dubbed the whole day "Girls' Camp." They made an itinerary together of all the activities they'd accomplish together.  Number 9 was simply, "Goof off."  If you were here, would you be the ringleader of Girls' Camp?  Would you be as sick of them both as your older sister gets of her younger sister and just need a break?  

I don't know how long I'll keep writing these letters.  Every year, I think maybe I don't need these anymore and then it turns out I think perhaps I'll do just one more.  But one thing I do know: I'll never stop thinking of writing them.  I'll always find that brick in my pocket occasionally when I reach in and try to make sense of it.  I'll always feel like maybe there's one last thing to say and one last milestone I'm missing.  And I'll always love you.