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August 2015: Happy 18th Birthday Margaret!


 
It is a year of milestones in our family: Elizabeth turned 21 a week ago, Martin begins college in a few days, Lila turns 13 in two weeks and, of course, Margaret would turn 18 today.  July 28 was also another milestone for us. It was our 25th wedding anniversary! We got dressed up, went out to dinner and toasted our quarter of a century together.  After a course of oysters and gazpacho, I presented Glenn with an anniversary card, inside, a list of some of my favorite “happy” moments in our marriage. I had to begin with our wedding because it was a truly a great party.  I listed small moments like sitting on our stoop in the evenings when we lived in Pittsburgh with Elizabeth and Martin, and even smaller moments like watching Glenn shave each morning and reading the newspaper together. Of course, as you would expect, I also listed big moments like the birth of each of our children... not all of them. The birth of Elizabeth, Martin, Winnie and Lila were truly some of the most joyful moments of our marriage, but as I wrote out those names on my list, automatically wanting to include the birth of Margaret, I realized with renewed pain, that I could not. The birth of Margaret was and will always be a sad and devastating day for Glenn and me.  Through the years I have come to be truly grateful for her birth because it taught us lessons about loss and love.  Although we have come to enjoy and celebrate her birthday, and August 13th 1997, will always be marked as an extremely special day, it will never be remembered as a day of joy.

Margaret’s birth and silent, short life in this world taught us that love has no bounds and that eternal love surpasses the boundary of death.  On that sweltering summer night of her birth when my husband cried on my shoulder and said over and over again, “We lost her…we lost her,” our love for Margaret was strong and 18 years later our love for her has only grown more powerful.  I now have the wisdom to know that death does not change or decrease a parent’s love; it only increases it each day.

So I think to myself, my baby girl would be 18 today. Her brother, Martin, much to our chagrin, got a tattoo on his 18th birthday-thank God I don’t have to worry about that with her. Her older sister, Elizabeth, went to London for a semester just a few weeks after turning 18-I worried for 5 months! Luckily, I don’t have to do that with Margaret! As I continue to ponder what I don’t have to worry about, I realize that just as I wrote about many small moments that I love in our marriage to Glenn, I am continually sad that I don’t have any  small or large moments with Margaret.  Martin repeated Kindergarten so I have always had in my head that he and Margaret would possibly have graduated high school this year together. Where would she go to college? What would be her passions and interests as she embarked on young adulthood? Would she be tall because I thought each of my girls would be tall and they are all short! I have the answers to none of these questions.  I  have made up fantasies , no real memories but, even i f I have no memories through the years,  one thing Glenn and I always have  is our grandiose, ever eclipsing love for our daughter, Margaret Minehart Worgan.  

The thought of you, Margaret, in our lives and all you have given us without even being here these past 18 years brings us great joy, a different kind of joy that only other parents of loss can understand.

On this day, may you have a milestone celebration in heaven.  We will celebrate here as well. Usually it is a special breakfast, but since it is your 18th birthday, we are having a special dinner tonight.  After dinner the girls will sing some songs for you and I hope you hear them.  Happy 18th birthday dear Margaret-And remember, no tattoos!