Two Years

The second year is harder than the first.

I heard it many times during that awful, surreal, first year, from many different members of the “club.” I didn’t believe it, though. How could I? How could it possibly get worse?

But it was. For me, year two without Julianna was most definitely worse.

The new normal has become…life. Our house is quiet. There’s no reason to walk through the girl’s section at Target. I make travel plans for a family of three.  I’m getting used to the fact that she’s gone – and I hate it. ( I recognize that it’s necessary  — “healthy”, perhaps — to accept reality, but I don’t have to like it. We live in a messed up world, and it hurts.)

I miss her most in the evenings. She needed someone at her bedside at all time. It wasn’t a burden: how I loved sitting there with the familiar lullabies playing in the background.  She was usually chatty and often profound: the best conversationalist I will ever know. She didn’t like to sleep (“God says Julianna is not tired.”), but no one can defy physiology, not indefinitely. So she’d drift off and I would watch…my lovely girl, finally at rest.

It was the best part of my day. I’d be exhausted but grateful. We had gotten another day and she’d be there again in the morning.

Two years ago, she drifted off for the final time. The mornings have come – 730 of them –without her.

On that first morning after she died, I wrote this:

Today, I just want the world to know that there was a girl named Julianna.

Such a strange, simple thought.  But it has stayed in my heart, even as words have failed me.


She made me better.

I miss her – so much.

She asked me about angels, and she walks among them now. No, she runs, and I think she even soars.

Her imagination was magical.  It was surpassed only by her heart.

She asked us to remember her always.

Remember her — please.

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 5.58.12 AM


2013. Photo by Jennifer Rialtos

28 thoughts on “Two Years

  1. Julianna is embedded in so many hearts. She will always be remembered… how lucky am I to know her through you. I hope knowing this will atleast make you smile that Julianna touched so many people with her wit and wisdom .. and so have you. Sending you lots of hugs and a shoulder too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Precious Julianna will forever be remembered in many hearts. She has touched and continues to touch so many. More than she could ever have imagined. Forever rest with Jesus little one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember her! My whole family of 11 remember her. I have followed your story for years, but never commented. I was a law student then, and wrote a paper about the ethical/legal challenges that you faced along the way. My family frequently wear the Love is a Superpower shirts and I always wish we had more of them. I admire your writing about your feelings and the entire journey, and your willingness to share your daughter with the world. I recently had my young daughter involved in a traumatic accident where she lost a body part, and I think of your courage and strength with Juliana and try to emulate it! Thank you for continuing your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We miss you Julianna 💖🙏 we cannot ever forget, you brought new meaning to extra special. Your knowing eyes forever in our hearts. Until we meet in heaven, until there are no more tears, we remember you 💗


  5. Even so I never met her, I will always remember her, her smile, her imagination and today she is playing with one more beautiful angel, a little girl, who like Juliana brought a smile to everyone who had the chance to know them. Sending you my love and plenty of hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was thinking about Julianna just last night, without any idea that it was so close to the anniversary. She comes across my mind often, usually when I see something pure or joyful or pink. I think of you and your family often, too, and I send you all of my love.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish I could have met your delightful daughter in person but feel that I saw/felt/heard/knew a part of her through your words. I live in Bellingham Washington and she won’t be forgotten in my little corner of the world. I am so sorry that we lost her so early.


  8. Michele:

    I love reading your thoughts and words. They make me appreciate everything. I have printed out the note Julianna wrote to a friend and have it posted on my wall. She is special and has the superpower to make everyone special. Love her, love you and love that you continue to keep her alive. Thank you and God Bless


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I knew Julianna only through your posts and yet she has affected me and the way I see life forever. Her voice has become a part of the way I see the world for good. Love is a superpower and we do not forget her.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I will always remember Julianna. Her story just touches my heart. Thank you for sharing her to us. She has made me a better person. Made me look at life differently now. Thank you Julianna, I will always remember you!💜❤️💜💜❤️💜❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Julianna. You did not have the body for this world. Yet the strength of your mind has taken you to wonderous places that inspired us all. Yes, you will always have a place in our hearts. Happy Birthday.


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