The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time



Monday, December 6, 2010

Letters to Meredith

Seven years ago yesterday (December 5th) our daughter, Meredith Ocea, was born to us at 7:23pm. Sadly, at the time of birth, Meredith suffered an abrupt lack of oxygen. She was air lifted to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) soon after her birth and remained there for the first ten weeks of her life. Initially, we thought she would be home within a few days but when she was five days old, she underwent an MRI and we learned that our perfect daughter aquired a severe brain insult from lack of oxygen and would likely have severe cerebral palsy. The following excerpt is from a letter written in those very early days to Meredith by my father before we knew what the future would hold.

Sunday, December 7th 2003
Dear Meredith;

When you arrived on Friday night, you sure made a big impression on me, your Papa. I think you knew that Papa likes to tease so you thought you would start by teasing him first. As I stood there waiting for the ambulance, my heart was racing. Your dad got in the ambulance with you and I followed in my car. As I waited out in the hall I prayed for you and hoped so much that God would hear me............
When your dad brought me in to see you, it was love at first sight. You were so beautiful with your long, black, silky hair, your rosy cheeks and your perfect body. You opened your eyes but when you saw me you squeezed them shut again. I think you wondered, "Who is that funny looking old guy???" 
Papa was 60 years old when he had his first ride in a helicopter but because you were a princess, you got to ride to Ottawa in a helicopter when you were only 5 hours old. When we got to Ottawa, we rushed in to see you again. I swear, even with all the tubes you had in you, you were the prettiest astronaut I had ever seen....................
...........I already have so many plans for you: walking up street for treats, going to the playground, biking in the woods, reading books to you, cuddling you and kissing you good-night.
Sleep tight, my little princess. See you tomorrow.

All my love, hugs and kisses,
Papa


Papa with Meredith: December 2003

And this excerpt is from a letter my sister, Stephanie, wrote to her newest niece, a week following her birth.

December 12th 2003

Dear Little Meredith;
One week has passed since the day of your birth! I have learned so much about love, faith, hope, prayer, strength and miracles in these last seven days.....makes me wonder what else you will teach me in the years to come.

We all fell in love with you immediately. Any one of us would have traded places with you in a second, to free you from all the tubes and monitors you needed in those first few days. I spent a lot of time in the CHEO chapel praying and crying, when I wasn't gazing at you through the incubator.

You impressed us daily by performing miracles mini and mighty! Day after day, different tubes were removed, your temperature stabilized, medication doses were decreased, and then....you yawned!! You opened your eyes!! Your dad can hardly take his eyes off of you for a moment.

You are such a fortunate little person, Meredith. Your parents love each other deeply and couldn't be more proud or thrilled to add YOU to their love! You have humbled me. I know now that so many things I used to worry about were not worth the trouble. You have taught me that love and miracles have no limits and that angels can appear in the shape of midwives, paramedics, nurses, doctors and of people we have known our whole lives who are hoping and praying and sending love to us all.  You are celebrated, welcomed and so loved!! We are blessed to have you as the newest branch on our family tree. Some day we will sing silly songs together!

Love Your Aunt Stephanie

Aunt Stephanie and Meredith in the NICU: December 2003


When Meredith was 2 years old, we were told that she likely wouldn't live past the age of 7 or 8. Meredith joyfully celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday with her cousins and friends dancing around her making her laugh, singing, a Nemo birthday cake and most of all the people who were with her on the day she was born. Although, she will never comprehend the words so eloquently and lovingly put to paper by her Aunt Stephanie and her Papa at the time of her birth, we know that she has always felt the love that surrounds her and has always known on some level how much she was wanted, how grateful we are that she was born into our family just as she was and that we never take the moments, days, weeks, months and years we have with her for granted as we know our time together is limited.
 Happy 7th Birthday, Moodie, my love! You've come a long way, baby!

Our little family: Spring 2010

9 comments:

  1. These letters brought those first moments/days/weeks rushing back in clarity. I would love a copy of that picture of me kissing the Moodster. What a beautiful post, brought tears to my eyes. So happy to have celebrated her birth with dancing, songs, balloons, and Nemo!

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  2. beautiful post, jule, and beautiful letters as well. can't wait to see the birthday girl this weekend!

    love dan

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  3. Beautiful post Julie~ You are blessed with your daughter. Happy Birthday M! Happy Birth Day to you mama!

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  4. What a beautiful post...I was so moved by the letters and the love and strength of your family.
    Love,
    Nathalie

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  5. As Homesteadgirl says, reading this brought rushing back all the memories and thoughts of those first days. Wish we could have celebrated with you on Sunday, but will make sure we are there next year.
    Thank you for sharing those beautiful letters with all of us. Meredith is so very loved.
    As are you.

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  6. Once again, another wonderful reason to write and keep letters.I love you sweet meredith.what a fun birthday!

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  7. oh, julie, you have me in tears. how wonderful that meredith is surrounded by such love and strength. xo

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  8. Dear Julie: I'm sure I have mentioned this before...you have an amazing family - family that is there to support, love, encourage you when things are great and when things are tough. the letters are beautiful - absolutely beautiful - thank you so much for sharing this and letting us glimpse into your lives. I can't find the words to say how I'm feeling - completely moved - she's such a sweetheart! love - Auramarina

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  9. Happy 7th Birthday, Meredith! Your family's love for you and pride in your accomplishments are reaching through the internet and warming me all the way in New York. What a wonderful world we were born into!

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