Four Months

It’s harder now.

In the beginning, I was anesthetized by shock. I still can’t believe it, but I can feel and see change all around me. And she is still gone.

The weather has turned, and the stores tell me that it’s almost Halloween — and Christmas. I wonder what she would have been this year. Last year, I pointed to her closet full of princess dresses and asked why she needed a Halloween costume.


When she said it like that, it meant “Do I really have to state the obvious?”

It was my cue to fall in line. Of course — who dresses up as themselves on Halloween? And that’s why she was a cowgirl last year.



Julianna, of course, didn’t need a holiday to dress up. Here, she is “a mummy in a tutu”



How I miss her clarity, her way of distilling whatever life threw at her (and it was a lot) and championing just the important things.

It’s not that she had a simple mind. She said that her brain was “always going,” and I believe it. She was an effervescent deep thinker. I think that she gave us just the tip of the iceberg, the things she thought we could handle.

I wonder if I do the same thing. Writing has become my way of distilling all the stuff that is swirling around. Lately, it hasn’t been very palatable. It doesn’t seem to fit onto this blog, the pale pink space intended as a tribute my Julianna Yuri.

I want it to be lovely because she was lovely. What she went through, though, was hideous.

Here’s the iceberg, the part I can I can put into words, that is: My world has been rocked and nothing makes sense anymore.

I have shoes and t-shirts that have been with me longer than the time I got with my daughter. Many, actually. I threw some out when I realized this. Why is it so easy to hang onto meaningless things and lose what is precious? (Even in my mini-rage, I can hear her. Mom — don’t throw them away! What did they do to you? )

This is writer’s block with a side of grief: there will be no new stories, no new conversations.

I had a daughter. Everything about her physical presence on earth was a struggle: my pregnancy, six months of colic, the quest to walk, the fight to live, the realization that she wouldn’t, witnessing the deterioration of a five year old body.

The easy thing? Loving her. She was pure joy.

So it comes down to love. It always does, and it saves me. It’s the only thing stronger than the pain.

My sweet Julianna – I love you so much.


I remember….

How proud Julianna was of being in kindergarten. This is her, reading to her class via FaceTime. (Somehow, I take great comfort in knowing that she learned to read…)



Knowing that your child is loved and remembered is a salve to the rawest of wounds.

Earlier this month, I learned that this is up in Julianna’s school. The toys and program are from her tea party. The note inside reads:

Julianna attended Woodburn Elementary for preschool and kindergarten. Although she was unable to attend school as much as she would have liked, her presence was felt in her classroom. In kindergarten, Julianna FaceTimed with her class every day. Her time with us was much too short, but she will always be a Woodburn Wolf. She left a lasting impression on all who had the privilege to know her.

— Julianna Snow, 2010-2016, Class of 2028



21 thoughts on “Four Months

  1. I often think of you all and frequently come across the tea party pics for Princess J. Can’t imagine how lost you must feel but want you to know that I truly wish I could make things better for you. Sending you a big hug Xx


  2. My heart hurts for yours. Julianna was very special and always will be. I want to say I can feel your pain but I imagine I am only feeling a small piece of it and that is nearly unbearable as it is 😦 I can relate to Julianna about her mind always going! For a girl her age to even recognize that is so amazing yet odd… I believe she truly was a wise soul in a small beautiful package. If only that package hadn’t have let her down so… but then, would she have been the Julianna you loved so dearly? Grief has no time limit or order… feel what you feel and please know you always have a place you can share that. I am so sorry you hurt.


  3. Michelle,
    May the love the two of you had for each other, may every moment your family shared together, be the heart and soul of you, Alex, Steve through your grief, celebration of J’s life and every moment of every day. God bless you all.
    Bernard, Nairobi.


  4. Your writing is so expressive, so deep like the deep and knowing stare of Julianna. Her eyes always so very full, just as your writing is now – hurt and all. Easy to see where Julianna’s depth of spirit came from. Your words bring a potent reminder to hold close the precious, to love as much as you can, and to live fully through the hurt each and every day that we are gifted. God continue to Bless you, may He give you a tangible peace and love that only He can give. – Loving you guys, and never ever forgetting Julianna.

    Yours in Mesa, AZ


  5. I knew your daughter only through your posts but these were read and retread. I am so sorry for your loss. Julianna’s heart and mind were candles burning in the darkness of this disease. What a difference she made! Deborah Dial-Monroe

    Sent from my iPad



  6. Hello Michelle,I definitely enjoy hearing from you and hearing about Princess J. She not only has brought amazement and joy to her family but also all of her friends and followers around the world.Thank you for sharing her with us! : )ValentinoP.S. Contribution to CMTA goes out on Friday, Oct 21st.


  7. Oh Mama, how you said so much that speaks to me. Writer’s block with a side of grief. I am so sorry she is gone and her memories serve as salve and as sadness,too. I lost my 8 year old just 8 months ago, yesterday. She too, was medically fragile. It’s ok to feel all of this and it’s your page, so write as little or as much as you wish.
    We will always remember her story, your family, and the good memories. All the hard stuff comes up, (possibly?) so we can remember a whole lot of it was terribly difficult and she is free, now. The holding on tight forever as we loosen our grasp is the hardest part of moving through this grief tug of war.
    Love does win all battles. You are so right, about that…Hugs.


  8. I’m so, so sorry. I hear your deep sadness and grief, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I hear the pain and just wanted to hold you in my heart and stand with you in love and support in witnessing your grief. I’m so sorry. Please keep sharing. We are here reading.

    Big hugs and love,


  9. Michelle,

    Even though I never had the opportunity to meet her in person I think of Julianna and grieve for your loss of her, every day. My daughter is only about a week younger now than Julianna was when she died, and I see your daughter in her – imagining how it would feel to lose her is unbearable. I know I can’t possibly know the hurt that you must feel, but I try – because it serves as an inspiring force to be the best parent (and person) that I can be. I try to live in honor of Juliana every single day – and this is DIRECTLY a result of her courage to live, and your courage to share through this medium. It can’t make up for the loss of her, but she’s continuing to have a positive impact on the world through the waves of goodness in others that she has inspired.


  10. Dearest Michelle,

    Thank you for sharing your feelings of grief and anger with us.

    It feels strange to thank someone for this, but thank you.

    Die kids have silkworms at the moment ( we live in Sout Africa, so it is spring here) and as they start to wrap themselves in their little cocoons I cannot help but to pray that God allmighty will wrap you in his soft cocoon of love. So that you can deal with these feelings under His protection. May you emerge in due time, as a new Michelle, strengthened and totally transformed by working through grief under His protection and guidance.

    I speak this prophetically over your life in the name of Jesus, the world’s only saviour.

    Blessings, Theoline Jordaan


  11. Dear Michelle, I just read this post. It was posted awhile ago, but somehow the previous time I clicked, it led me somewhere else, not this page.

    I was telling my friends about your family just today – I was telling them about the Love is a Superpower shirt, & the Stand and give me 5 campaign. :’)

    Hugs. I lost my maternal grandpa (the one I told you abt over Facebook) tonight. It’s numbing, & I cannot (& don’t know what to) feel. It’s similar, but different, and I don’t mean to or wish to compare. But I will say that at any age, death sucks. & I will not try to tell you to remember the happier things (although doing those when you are able, is nice too!) – but please know that every ounce of anger, grief & sadness, is totally valid. Hugs my dear, from the perspective of an emotion robot (I’m serious, & yes I know it’s not healthy ..) – feeling these emotions are unpleasant, but a healthy part of the grieving process.

    So from one in grief to another – a big fat hug!!! ❤ I do hope that Alex has been able to process these month-versaries (what do you call anniversaries but in months ..) in an age-appropriate way too. ❤ x


  12. Your words, and the memories you share of your daughter continue to inspire me. I too have loved and lost and know the pain that a death brings. But I also know the healing that God will bring with time. I am confident that you will find a way to both heal and remember as time goes by. And a scar is even stronger than the skin around it. There’s a lesson in that thought. Thank you for your insightful words.


  13. Dear, Dear Michelle,
    Your grief is unfathomable. The passage of time is impossible. It cannot be scraped away, only waiting for time to heal.
    Thank you for sharing. For sharing every single thing about how you are feeling and what each
    day has to offer. It is so important.
    My heart sits with yours and sends lots and lots of Love.


  14. I will forever be one of J’s biggest fans !!!! We have a few unicorns now in our home (somehow my 3 year old daughter all of a sudden became a HUGE fan of unicorns!!! I even got one tattooed on my leg 🙂 J will forever be in my heart, she is one of my heroes, i only had 3 heroes before her 🙂 Oprah, Ellen D, and Maya Angelou 😉 J is now my 4th one 😉 !!!! I have shared her story with co workers and think of her every time I see the unicorn stuffed animals in my home 🙂 !!!! J is even a part of my slideshow pics on my work computer. She is a very special little girl and changed the way I look at life, changed the way I parent my children, changed the way I look at the world. Love can make bad guys be good 😉 I work downtown Seattle, see many people doing bad things, I think to myself “if they had some more love in their lives, they can be good people” 🙂 Time doesn’t heal anything, her being with you every day in your heart, will heal a little bit of your hurt, but we will all miss J forever and imagine the good thing s she would had accomplished and all the people she would had helped. You are doing her work now, she lives inside you and your family, she is guiding your way to the positive things she wanted accomplished and you are doing amazing at keeping her spirit alive and going !!!! ❤


  15. Holidays. No logical reason to feel sad as opposed to other days…yet people do tend to feel sad. In your case…you and your family went through so much, i would imagine that all of you can deal with the holidays without letting the time bother you more or less than any other day. So in the Universe, and what is beyond the universe, and what is beyond that….well….i could imagine that holidays do not mean much in the grand scheme of the cosmos. The hurt turns into a forever feeling of love…in time. It turns into an open connection between you and the lost loved one…the loved one who is beyond this present worldly time. Time being what is is, many have imagined that if one passes on to the other realms…a hundred years to us could feel like 3 minutes to them. Logic. that is a logic to remember…not the logic of a stupid holiday making you feel sad. 🙂


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