Baby girl, today you should be turning eight.


It is unbelievable that I first held you in my arms that many years ago…

…and even more unbelievable that I last held you six years and four months ago.

Today your brothers will have so much fun as we celebrate you and all you have accomplished. They know your sweet face and your name, but they haven’t yet asked where you are or why you aren’t with us. They will in time. But for now, your birthday is a day of joy, of remembrance, of love.

We don’t think about what might have been because there’s little use in that. We trust that this was always supposed to be our – and your – story, as much as we wish the ending were different. But, as I say when I give tours of Mr. Hershey’s mansion, sometimes when life doesn’t go the way you think it should there’s a far greater purpose in store. I believe that is true in our story (even though I’d choose mediocre in a heartbeat over losing you).

As I was creating my “personal branding portfolio” for grad school last month I realized that nearly everything I listed as an accomplishment really belongs to YOU. Without you, none of that would have happened. Without you, it’s likely that four babies wouldn’t have been detected through Newborn Screening here in Pennsylvania. Without you, I wouldn’t have found my life’s purpose – to save babies like you. To help find a cure for Krabbe Disease. To prevent these tragedies from happening to others.

You have changed the world and you’re only eight.

More importantly, you changed US.

I’d do anything to have you here today, but I trust that you are celebrating every day as you await our arrival someday. In the meantime, we are doing our best to give you a legacy and to continue seeing you change the world.

One of the things I wrote in your book and I often say is this:

“The depth of my love for my daughter is not measured by the number of tears I have cried, but rather by the life I choose to live in her absence.”

Lesa Brackbill

It’s true, Tori. Being your mother is the greatest honor I could have ever received, and I am so grateful to have been entrusted with your story, with your legacy. So is your Daddy. And I know your brothers will understand someday and be proud, too.

Happy eighth birthday, Tori ❀ You are loved beyond words. Today – and every day – we celebrate YOU.

5 thoughts on “Eight

  1. Oh Lesa! What a beautiful tribute to sweet Tori. I am so proud of your advocacy and wisdom in finding purpose through tragedy. Love to you all on Tori’s birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

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