Sarah Stultz: A letter for my daughter’s birthday in heaven

Published 10:51 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


Dearest Sophie,

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Another year has come and gone, and I can’t believe February is here again.

The last February you were here, there was a house full of your friends who gathered at our house to celebrate your 8th birthday.

Your dad worked overnights then, so it was just me and your little brother and a house full of girls as you had a sleepover at our house. I can’t remember much about the night except for having pizza and birthday cake — that and lots of giggling that lasted late into the night.

It was fun seeing how happy and carefree you were, and how much your little brother looked up to you and your friends.

In the almost five months that passed between your birthday and when you left this earth, it seemed like you progressed well beyond your age. You were only 8 years old but were able to build bridges in relationships better than most adults I know.

You were developing your talents as a pianist and artist, and you were able to excel at anything you set out to do.

You weren’t afraid to share your beliefs with others, and you went out of your way to show kindness and make other people feel loved.

And I can’t forget about what a great big sister you were.

It has now been four years since your 8th birthday party, and as your birthday comes around this week, I wonder how you would have wanted to celebrate it if you were still here with us.

This year you would have turned 12. You would have been in middle school and probably would be enjoying your time with your friends even more as a pre-teen. Would you still be playing the piano and drawing and enjoying art? Would you be glued to your phone like most others your age are?

Though we can’t see you, we know you are there, and we know that someday we will see you again.

Last month, your little brother turned 8. He is now the same age you were when you left us, but I think you were taller.

Because of his challenges, he still seems much younger than you were when you died, but make no mistake about it, he still remembers you. Maybe one day he may be able to understand everything that happened to you, but for now he finds comfort in knowing you are with Jesus — happy and carefree again.

You will always be his big sister.

Until we meet again, remember how much your family and friends still love you. You taught us — and continue to teach us — many valuable lessons, and we will continue to do all we can to share those lessons with others.

Happy birthday, in heaven, sweetheart.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.