Letters to Norah // 10 months

Letters to NorahJoanna ZuidemaComment

Hello, Norah.

You’re in the double digits now, sweet girl – ten months old today! It’s hard to believe we’re only two months away from your first birthday.  

Today also marks the beginning of a new year — a year we had hoped you would see.

For many people, the switch from 2017 to 2018 was a time of celebration. The days leading up to it were filled with reminiscing about the year past and talks of hopes for the year to come. All around the world, New Year's Eve overflowed with champagne, confetti, and countdowns.

But for us, there was no confetti. Entering 2018 meant stepping over that threshold with cancer and death still at our side. Entering 2018 meant starting a new year, a year without you.


In 2017 you were alive. You had a favorite story, a fierce grip, and a social security card.

We enter 2018 with a crib that never held you as you slept, tiny clothes that were never unfolded, and blankets that still wait to snuggle you.

But we also enter 2018 as very different people than the ones who saw years past; we enter 2018 having been forever changed by your life. Norah, you have taught (and continue to teach) us more than many are able to teach in a lifetime. You did more than simply adjust our life experience, you completely shattered it.


You taught us to love in the face of death. You showed us how to find joy every single day, even when darkness was lurking just around the corner.

We weren’t naive to reality – at some point, the end would come, the tube would be removed and your little body would forever sleep. But living in fear of that moment would’ve destroyed the time we had with you. We would’ve missed the wiggles, the kicks, the finger squeezes and every other little miracle moment you graced us with. You showed us how to prevent fear from shaping our memories.


Norah, you taught us the true power of what is said in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”


Because of you, every day that we walk alongside Mom on her journey with stage IV lung cancer, I say thanks.

I say thank you for choosing us to be your parents.

I say thank you for showing us how to love in the face of death.

I say thank you for taking our fear and replacing it with God.


I don’t know what 2018 will look like. I can’t predict the future.

But I do know that you will be there, teaching us.

God will be there, holding us.

And that gives me peace.