Dear Thistle

Oh, my girl. Sweet Thistle.

I have been drafting this letter since shortly after you were born.

Sweet little one, things went wrong.

It’s been twelve years since I wrote in your baby book. I wrote many pages while you danced in my belly. I carefully chose pictures of you and your family. I told you about the people waiting for you to arrive and all of their plans for you. Grandma was going to teach you to swim. Uncle Jonny would teach you to drive. Oh, and Daddy would read and sing to you. He was drawing you pictures and ironing your dresses.

My sweet one, someone changed the rules. Before you pulled that first glorious drag of air, your light was put out. Yes, fiery one, whose spirit I knew so well, whose heart beat faithfully until it didn’t any more, this is not fair.

I felt your rage in the following weeks, in high winds that beat the crepe myrtle into the side of our house. In storms. I know the devastation of should. You were gone but I was with you.

You are somewhere now, hearing Momma’s tale. This time you are holding my heart in your spirit.

You are in your brothers, never imagined in the pages of your book.

We named you Thistle, which we joked about, threatened you with while you lived in my belly. We’d name you Thistle if you were uncooperative in delivery. You weren’t. You were a dream. You were light and you taught me so much on that day, in those hours of labor.

We love you little one and we are yours eternally.



Richmond, VA

Jennifer is a Richmond mother, wife, sister, writer, and frequent consumer of Life in 10. She is honored to have carried Thistle, who changed the trajectory of her life. Jennifer has led numerous grief groups and trainings for parents on talking to children about death. She has assisted in grief classes at VCU and will lead a workshop for Life in 10 Minutes in August. More information about that workshop, Penning a Legacy: Finding Words, Creating Meaning, Honoring Loss can be found at: