Dear Melinda,

It's five years ago today that you passed on. I miss you, truly, but I am glad that, if you had to leave me at all, at least you gave me a beautiful little girl before you did. She's five today, and looks just like you. Her hair is a white blonde, and her eyes are the colour of the ocean. She loves colouring. Pink is her favourite colour.

For her birthday I took her to the amusement park. She loved the spinning bears. She wanted to go on the roller coaster so bad, but she was too little. We played games all afternoon instead, I must have spent more than fifty dollars on Miley, but that's okay. She came home with a huge stuffed bear, and a million other tiny stuffies. I never knew one little girl could eat so much. Fries, cotton candy, hamburgers, cotton candy, candy apples, cotton candy, popcorn, cotton candy. I know what you would say: 'How could you let her eat so much? She'll be sick!' It was her birthday, and I could never resist such an adorable little face.

Sometimes I look at Miley, and think about how much harder growing up will be for her without you. She'll miss your guidance, what you could teach her. Suzie has been good to her though. You remember my sister, Suzie? She's our regular babysitter and she's got those two boys a year older than Miley, Brett and Tim. They don't mind her either. Miley loves to cook and Suzie barely leaves her kitchen, so that works out well too. Suzie is a great aunt to her, but I know she'll miss her Mom.

She asked about you the other day, we were having ice-cream and she said, 'Daddy, everybody else has a Mommy, but I don't. Where is my Mommy?' And I was at a loss for words. Could you say that you would know what to say if our positions had been reversed? Finally, after all, she watching me with her big blue eyes, I said, 'Miley, she's gone.' Which, of course, led to, 'When is she coming back?' And I had to tell her that you weren't. It just about broke my heart, but she didn't really understand, so she asked about a new one. 'Not for a long time, if ever.' I told her, and that was the end of that. She didn't ask again, which makes me wonder if Miley knows that it hurts me to talk about you.

Look what I did. I meant to write you a happy letter about our day, and I ended up making it sad. It hurts so much to think of you, Mel. It gets harder every day, especially when I look at Miley - your mini me. Even her name, after all, I wanted her name to be April. You insisted on Miley though. I thought that when she was born, I might have a chance at winning the fight, but then you started bleeding, or never stopped, and you passed away. When I was first handed Miley, still unnamed at this point, my first thought was "Melinda," but I couldn't do that. You had loved the name Miley, and it had been your mother's name and your middle name,

and Miley she was. April never entered my mind.

Miley's ready for her bath now, I will write later my love.



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