For T, who would be three

Last month, Leila drew her baby sister Tya on this post-it note, and told me to stick it up above the counter. “Then she can always be with us, mum.”

March 12th you would be three years old, if you had stayed with us.

You’re in a lot of our family art, Ty. Sometimes you’re younger than Leila, but sometimes you’re the older sister, a teenager even. Sometimes you have short hair, and sometimes it’s long. Sometimes you have glasses and a wild dress.

The night you came into the world and left it, I had no idea that you would be the heaviest 8.5 lbs I would ever dream of lifting. Maybe it’s because i carry you every morning, every evening, and every moment in between. I never stop.

But Leila, Dad and I, we’re alright. We’ve learned to get along without you; to lean into the moments where we miss you and let them them linger and pass. Grief will do that, come in waves. Churn in oceans, swirl the resting things, lap the shores, and finally then calm down for a while.

We haven’t decided what kind of cake this year. I’m keen on the tye-dyed icing again, the wish-wash of colors and intensities keenly mimicking your ebb and flow in our lives.

Leila would like to invite friends, but the last time  a five year came quietly up to me at a birthday party, tugged on my shirt and asked, “Did Leila have a sister, before?” I found myself desperate for the right answer. I fumbled, stating that yes, there was an accident and sadly, we couldn’t bring the baby home.  Her father, whom I was standing with, had no idea and immediately apologized for the brutal honesty.

But you aren’t just our brutal honesty, Ty, you’re also our flying colors.

You’re our sunsets and our moon rises, our cactuses and our crystals. You’re my late night muse when I need to write the words down. You’re the tough lesson we had to learn to grow into the challenges of our adulthood. You’re a sweet shaky catamaran floating out into a welcoming sea. You’re the story our process, the story of a dream.

So you’re still here with us, you’re not gone at all.

Then why do I still miss you, Ty? Grief works in mysterious ways,  and Leila has decided on cupcakes. See you tomorrow, up to our elbows in frosting.

BLessings, xox Mo, Mitch and Leila


  1. Happy Birthday to your beautiful Tya, Mo!

    I love your letter to her. So raw and real!

    Tears are streaming down my face missing this darling little girl!!

    Hugs to you my friend.

    We’ll never forget her…xo

  2. beautifully written Mo

    so glad I happened to find my way here tonight

    happy birthday sweet Tya and hugs to you

  3. Amazing, Mo…..your way with words always amazes me, and they are never more beautiful than when they come straight from the bottom of your heart. You (and Mitch and Leila) are honoring Tya in such an incredible way, and you can be sure she’s smiling down on all of you…and your cupcakes for her. xoxo

  4. You have a way with words – I was cold at work and now I’m covered in goosebumps. Beautifully written and I love Leila’s involvement. Some people hide grief, but I believe it’s important to embrace it as you have, because every step in life leads us to today. And I wouldn’t have you any other way!!


  5. This is so beautiful, you have such a way with words. It has been three years for us as well. I’m surrounded by my daughter’s memory yet ache for her everyday.

  6. Mo…
    you articulated the depths of your emotion so well….
    It is so obvious Tya touched your life and now all of us as well.

    I love that she still gets her cake…that even in your grief you remember to celebrate her.

    On this day, i too fling a “happy Birthday” out into the Universe for your Tya.

    Blessings to you and yours today….
    thank you for your honest sharing.

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