Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little Girl

You were five, I was twenty-nine.

While your mother and I laughed and talked of our business plans and then laughed some more, you quietly moved closer until you were snuggled into my side on the couch. Your mother took notice and told me you’d never done that, that you were always shy around strangers. Your mother loved signs and she took this as a good one.

I grew to love you and your brother. I loved our Chuck E. Cheese outings. I loved our Amy Grant shout-singing sessions as we drove in my red SUV, which you’d named Rosy. I loved that crazy Thanksgiving when neither your mother nor I had much money so we pooled whatever freezer-burned items we had and invited anyone else without plans to join us with whatever freezer-burned items they had. Nearly twenty people crammed into my one-bedroom apartment and you spent the night rubbing my dog’s belly as you snuggled into your mother’s side on the floor.

When your mother asked me to care for you and your brother if something ever happened, I agreed without pause. A year later, cancer happened. You and your brother, seven and nine at the time, watched as she hemorrhaged on the floor of the public library before she lost consciousness. That must have been terrifying for you.

It took a decade for the cancer to claim your mother, so strong was her desire to be there for you kids. You and she had a fight the night before she died and when she asked you to stay with her, you refused. You never forgave yourself for that, no matter how many times I told you she already had.

When you asked me to perform your wedding ceremony two and a half years ago, it was I who wanted to refuse. I didn’t think you and your betrothed were ready for the commitment of marriage, despite the baby growing within your womb. But stronger than my misgivings was my desire to remain a part of your life, to stay connected to you for those times you’d need to figuratively snuggle into my side. 

Having your own daughter changed you. Leaving your marriage changed you. You rose to the challenge of being a single mother and it seemed that all the previous false starts of your life were drifting farther and farther into your history. You held a steady job in a stable company. You got promoted. You bought a better car, one more suitable for transporting a toddler to and from daycare during the workweek. And when I came to visit you a few months ago I told you how proud I was of you, how happy I was for you and for the joy you had found in motherhood.

But I missed the signs.

I didn’t see how much you were showing your brave mommy face to the world while battling your demons in private. And now I want only to rewind the last 48 hours, to board a plane, to come to your apartment and sit on the couch with you. I want to tell you that you are loved—LOVED!—and that whenever life overwhelms, you must trust that things will get better, that they always do. 

Right now, I want nothing more than to pull you close and snuggle you into my side.

Farewell, Little Girl

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My goddaughter, Christine, had no life insurance or savings to secure her beautiful and funny little girl's future. If you would like to help, please join us in supporting Reilly and ensuring that this sweet two-year-old has the funds she needs to launch a college education or career when she turns 18. It takes a village, and every bit helps. Many thanks in advance for supporting the Christine Young Memorial Fund. Feel free to private message me with questions regarding the fund:


  1. My heart is aching for you, for her, for her daughter. There are no words we can say to make this hurt any less, but please know I am sending love and light to you. I am so sorry for the loss of this bright light.

  2. Lauren, I'm so sorry for this terrible loss. Take care, my friend. Be brave.