After Aria passed, we were faced with the impossible task of letting go of her body. I feared this moment more than I feared her dying. How could I let go of Aria knowing I would never hold my daughter in my arms again? The thought of it was completely devastating, but we knew it had to be done. We had to let go.
So we turned on her song (My Little Girl by Jack Johnson) and began to say our goodbyes. I rocked her to the soft music as tears drenched my cheeks. I studied every inch of her, promising not to forget a single part. As I held her close and took in her sweet scent, I tried not to remember that this would be the last time.
When I handed her to Brian, he completely melted around her. He told her she was beautiful and although he kept repeating “I love you”, he didn’t need to say anything. I could feel his love for Aria deep within my bones. His fatherly love soared beyond the clouds and broke through heaven’s gates as he cuddled her in his arms.
The chaplain who counseled and prayed with us during our journey at CHOP then entered my room. Together, we prayed over her. We thanked God for blessing us with such an incredible gift, and for allowing us to be a part of her life. We asked God to tell her all about the parents who so desperately wished she could have stayed. We prayed for peace and understanding.
We set Aria into the small bassinet by my hospital bed and called the nurses station to tell them we were ready. The nurse entered, and gently draped a white blanket over her. As she wheeled her out of the room, we felt Aria’s presence slowly stepping out as well.
Suddenly, Brian and I were overcome by an emotion we weren’t expecting. We felt joy. By letting go, we felt Aria entering heaven and feeling God’s warm embrace. I pictured her smiling and all the angels rejoicing that this beautiful child was now among them. Aria was now in a place far better than we could have ever created for her on earth, and we felt thankful for that.
“I want this baby to grow up loving God.” It may not have been the way we planned it, nor the way we wanted things to be, but my dreams came true. Aria will know God for every moment of her life. It overwhelms me to imagine how special her relationship with Christ must be. It’s something I can’t begin to fathom while I’m still on earth.
It is in these truths that I find joy. I am only able to move forward peacefully knowing that Aria is alive and well in God’s kingdom. In heaven, she is completely uninhibited by the complications that made it impossible for her to sustain life on earth. Aria is free. As parents, we could not ask for more.