Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Happy, Happy Birthday

Happy, Happy Birthday Sweet Girl.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that birthdays aren’t celebrated in heaven. One, I just don’t see it in the Bible. And two, it would get awfully tedious after ten thousand years or so. When I get there, if I find out I’m wrong, it’s okay. I can live with that. Regardless of whether or not you’re marking this special day in heaven, though, I’m marking it here. Because I miss you. And because I can.

So happy birthday to my beautiful child who is gone from my arms but not my heart.

I can’t believe it was fourteen years ago that you came into this world. You brought sunshine with you that day, and it’s still here today because of you. My life has more color and light in it because I had the privilege of knowing and loving you.

You taught me to always wear bright socks, to laugh out loud every day, to celebrate life at all times, and to treat every person I meet not as a stranger but as a long-lost friend. I admit I’m still learning that last one. You had more people skills in your pinkie toe than I have in my entire body, so that one’s a challenge for me. But I’m working at it.

We all miss you. We each live it in our own and varied ways, but we all miss you.

I remember the first time I had to fix dinner for us and pull only three plates out of the cupboard. It hurt. So, so much more than words can say. But I did it. We had to learn how to exist as a family of three. We’ll always be a family of four. You’ll always be a part of our lives. But here in the day-in-and-day-out, there are only three plates for dinner now. We pushed through, though. We learned to exist as that family of three. We learned to survive. And sometime in this past year, it changed just a little bit. I think we might even be thriving now.

I can’t help but think we’d be immeasurably better off with you here. That’s what my heart says, though I choose to trust that God knew what He was doing when He brought you home to heaven.

Our lives would be fuller, richer, more vibrant if you were here with us. Even though I still think that, I can now say that our lives are full and rich and vibrant as they are. We’re living. We’re laughing. We’re loving. We’re growing. We’re celebrating. It’s not the same without you, but it’s still happening, and I’m glad. We all needed that. We needed joy.

I’d tell you about the minutiae of our daily lives. So much has happened in the past year. None of it’s important, though. Not really. Who we are matters so much more than what we’ve done. So who are we? We are, by the grace of God, survivors. We are, by the grace of God, fighters. We are, by the grace of God, rejoicers. We are, by the grace of God, your family. And we love you.

So whether or not you do anything special today to mark your special day, it’s okay. I’m celebrating your birthday for both of us. I love you. I miss you. My arms still ache to hold you. Being your mother is one of the two greatest privileges I’ve been given in this life, and I will never take that honor for granted. I am a better person for having had you in my life, and I look forward to the day when I can see you again.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl.

Love always,



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I love this, Heather! I pray that it reaches & encourages people who need to hear it. Yesterday my sister would have been 64, but she died early at the age of 49 of ovarian cancer. After the last surgery & as she was coming out of the anesthetic, the nurse said she kept saying that it was so beautiful. We really think she was looking into heaven. And I can also say that our lives were better and enriched because of knowing her. HUGS!