Although two months had already passed since my daughter lost her baby to SIDS, her pain was still very fresh, and I thought about her constantly. How could I help her, I wondered as I lay in bed unable to sleep. An idea popped into my head. Why don’t I write her a letter from her baby? Was it just a wild idea? Would it cause more pain than comfort? I wasn’t sure. But anyway, I reasoned with myself, I could try writing, and then decide whether or not to give it to her. At least it will be therapeutic for me, if nothing else. I fell back asleep, calmed by this plan of action.
In the morning I sat down and with tears obscuring my view of the screen, gave body and form to my midnight inspiration. I read it and reread it, fresh tears bursting forth each time. I asked a therapist friend if she thought it would cause any harm if I gave it to my daughter. When she gave me a go-ahead, I felt relieved.
The letter read (more or less) as follows:
To My Dear Daughter,
Last night, when I was half asleep, half awake, hovering somewhere between the heavens and the earth, I was given a letter for you from a special neshama. I hope it gives you comfort.
Dear, Dear Mommy,
I know that you miss me very much, and I miss you, too, but you should know that although you can’t see me and I cannot touch you, I am always right here, just in the next world. The world of truth is not somewhere far away. It is just a step away, and it is like being above a skylight with a one-way glass. I can see everything that is happening at home; in fact, I can see into your heart and mind just as clearly as I can see your familiar face.
Mommy, please don’t be so sad. Here in the next world Hashem Yisborach’s plan is much clearer. My neshama needed to return to this world just when it did, just as it needed exactly 6 months in the world below. Nothing you did or didn’t do would have made a difference. When the malach came for me on Friday night, I cried a little, asking if I can at least say goodbye, but the malach said no, this is the way it has to be. So, Mommy I did what the malach told me to do, because I knew that this was my tikkun, and I knew, too, that Hashem, in His unfathomable Wisdom, had taken into account all of the people who would be affected, you and Tatty, my sisters, my bubbes, zeides, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Even the possible affect on my future siblings was included in the Divine plan. The Kiddush Hashem that you made in the hospital that Friday night, when you requested that the women light the Shabbos candles as a merit for my neshama, the plea my aunt made to her camp friends to increase in Torah and mitzvos to bring the geulah, the Torah-by-Heart program that was sponsored in my memory, were all positive choices that turned darkness into light. Please, please continue to make such wonderful choices and you will thereby inspire others to do the same. Have emunah in the One Who Decrees and Fulfils, and bitachon that He is good in all His ways.
Meanwhile, dear Mommy, I want to thank you and tell you how much I appreciated my short stay with you. The nine months that you carried me under your heart were probably not easy ones, as you were taking good care of my sisters although you were always feeling tired. You made my birth very special; coming into the world to the sound of “Meshenichnas Adar” was delightful. Thank you for naming me after my Elter bubbie, she thanks you too, she’s right here with me. Thank you for dressing me, changing my wet and dirty diapers, even at the most inconvenient times. Thank you for feeding me the best milk, a product of a mother’s love. You carried me around so much of the time: I slept, gurgled, and played while supported on your chest in the baby sling. When you read bedtime stories to my sisters, I would be on your lap, enjoying the sound of your voice. On the way to school, I would let you put Chana and Tzippi in the double pusher; I had the best seat of all, in your arms. Everyone saw how happy and secure I was. Everyone saw me constantly smiling.
Of course they saw me smiling often, as I had the best Mommy in the world! Mommy, I want you to smile, too. I won’t say not to cry, although it makes me sad when you do so. I know that crying has a way of bandaging the heart’s pain, but healthy thoughts help to heal it.
Mommy, I love you, and I miss your touch, but Moshiach will soon come and then you’ll understand everything.
As my daughter read the letter, I prayed that she wouldn’t find it presumptuous. When she finished, she looked up. Eyes bright with imminent tears, she told me something that took my breath away.
“Mommy,” she paused to steady her voice, “last night I was very sad, and my husband suggested that I write a letter to the baby. I told him that the baby will never get to read it, but in the end, I wrote anyway, figuring it would make me feel better. And now, the very next morning, you give me this letter ‘from the baby,’ and it touches upon exactly what I wrote about last night!”
Two mothers, two daughters, three people, one heart.