Letters to Norah // 11 months

Letters to NorahJoanna ZuidemaComment

Hello, Norah.

Oh sweet girl, how is it that you are eleven months old today? In only one short month you will be one year old!

Have birthday party preparations begun in heaven? Has the theme been set, the decorations gathered, the invitations sent, and the perfectly-decorated cake been ordered? Do angels like party favors? What’s God’s stance on cake smashes?


Time is truly incredible, Norah. One year ago your daddy and I were praying for time to slow so we could keep you safe in my belly, while also eagerly anticipating holding you in our arms for the first time.

We enter this February again filled with trepidation and anticipation.


January was difficult on our family for a multitude of reasons, but the hardest part came in the form of one simple word: hospice.

Your grandma chose to end her treatment and officially enter hospice two weeks ago. There is no timeline now, only waiting.

The weight of that one simple word is unshakeable.

That one simple word guides us into the deepest, most shadowed parts of the valley. The place where reality is undeniable. The place where death happens.

But, baby girl, it’s because of you that we know holy ground can be found in the darkness.

Because of you, Norah, we are quick to recognize the peace and relief that also comes with that one simple word. We recognize the miracle that is mom deciding to enter hospice herself with a sound, clear mind and after long conversations with her family. We see the peace that comes from being at home, from no longer wondering when the next hospital visit will come, from no longer living life one lab test, one scan to the next.

As we stand in front of death for the second time in a year we find ourselves in familiar territory.

But, darling, we know familiar doesn’t mean easier.


Having a map of a trail will never change a steep, rocky, mountain climb into a paved lakeside stroll. A map won’t tell you when a bright butterfly will cross your path or when that noise in the trees will make your heart race.

But a map does take some of the unknown out of reality, and for that we are grateful. Not only to you, Norah, but to God for seeing how these pieces of our broken life can work together.


So Norah, you have one more heavenly celebration to plan. Prepare the welcome signs, tell your Great-Grandma Lamb to set out the dessert plates, have your Great-Grandpa Green get the games, and have Great-Grandpa Lamb wrangle your uncles and cousins and all your angel friends. Your Grandma is coming, and sweetheart, she can’t wait to see you again.