To Brooke On Your 12th Birthday

Dear Brooke,

Twelve years ago tonight, I couldn’t wait to meet you. I remember the night before you were born like it was yesterday. Curled up on the sofa under mountains of blankets, I listened intently to the Ohio wind howling outside. I wanted to remember everything about this last night with you still in my belly. The night before I would meet my baby girl, my dream come true.

But there was so much I already knew about you. How you seemed to gently tap whenever you were hungry, how you kicked hard when I was upset at a work meeting , or when things got too loud. I remember having to leave a hockey playoff game at the most exciting moment ever because I knew you couldn’t stand all that noise.You were a sensitive soul and I talked to you all the time. I told you that you were my dream come true.

You came into this world on March 9, 2004 at 11:37 p.m. When you arrived, you did not cry. You simply looked around.  You had a full head of dark hair, more than a newborn should,  and you were wide eyed and alert, with a curious look as if to say, “What just happened and where am I?”

You made up for not crying in the delivery room by crying constantly after that. Nothing seemed to soothe you except when Daddy and I held you. And so we did. Constantly.

We didn’t know what colic was, but we knew what you needed. So we gave you everything we had. All night. For hours on end. For three long months.

One night, after hours of non-stop crying, I just looked you, exhausted. You were calm and those blue eyes of yours were looking at me intently.

Everything made sense at that moment and I told you this:

“God gives us children to make us more loving, more caring, more like Him. The more you need me, the more you cry, the more I will love you.”

It was so simple, so pure. God simply wanted me to love you, and I found that my love for you had no limits… no boundaries.

As you grew into a shy, sweet little girl,  I marveled at the sheer miracle of you. The way you loved animals, the way you intently studied a blade of grass, a flower. You and I could spend hours just exploring the world together. You loved your little swing in the backyard and I’d sing to you as I pushed you higher and higher until you giggled with delight. You were my everything. And I told you everyday that you were my dream come true.

When Blake was born I was afraid I couldn’t love him as much as you and of course that was the silliest thing ever because my heart literally just doubled the moment he was born – probably even a little bit before. You loved him, too and together with the best Dad ever, and finally after the arrival of Dudley, our little family was complete.

As we watched you grow, we became more and more proud of the sweet, smart young lady you were becoming. Every night you told me I was the best mom ever. And every night I told you that you were my dream come true.

And you know what, darling? You still are.You are my dream come true. You left us way too soon and I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to understand something I never will. But if I was given the choice to have you for only 11 years and 8 months or not at all, I’d still choose you. I’d choose all the joy and love and happiness you brought every day, to every life you touched.  I’d choose you, because having you, just for a little while, was better than never knowing you at all. I was blessed with the most beautiful daughter a mother could ever imagine. I’d choose the honor of being your mom.

It was so simple, so pure. God simply wanted me to love you, and I found that my love for you had no limits… no boundaries. And my love still reaches you.  I just know it.

So Happy Birthday, baby girl. We miss you so very much, but we’re celebrating your life on Earth and and sending all our love to our beautiful angel in Heaven.


Mom, Dad, Blake and Dudley









A Poem About Brooke


When Brooke was in third grade, her wonderful teacher made each child “Sailor of the Week”. She asked us to write a letter to read aloud in class that week. I decided to write a poem instead. The overwhelming sadness of losing Brooke is so consuming, but this poem reminds me that she lived. She lived… and continues to live in my heart… and I hope she does in yours, too.

A POEM ABOUT BROOKE  (With Love From Mom and Dad)

On a cold winter’s night when springtime was near

A baby was born with a head full of hair.

She arrived very curious, without even a cry

Just looked at us as if to say  “Oh my!”

Mom and Dad named her Brooke, for a sweet, babbling stream

She lived up to her sweetness, although sometimes she screamed.

From the time she could speak it was perfectly clear

That she loved all things animal, from horses to deer.

Her playroom was filled with stuffed bunnies and bears

Unicorns,  frogs…Little Ponies with hair.

She loved Turtle the most and she carried him ‘round

Turtle often got lost, but he always got found.

Brooke colored and painted,  made treasures of clay

The park and the duck pond were part of her day.

When the Randles moved West, Brooke had just turned three

It was time to start preschool and she did so with glee.

Her talent for art made her teachers so proud

She obeyed all the rules, was never rude or loud.

At Silver Spur School, she made lots of friends

They giggled and played Littlest Pet Shop to no end.

Brooke loves the ocean, and swimming and dance

She is cautious and kind and leaves little to chance.

She’s caring, she’s sweet, she’s a very good friend

She is loyal and fearless and will fight to the end…

For things that are right, and things that are good

Brooke has the inner compass that all of us should.

Her friends call her funny, thoughtful, patient and kind

And while she’ll do it gently, she’ll always speak her mind.

Brooke, we love you so much, we’re so proud of you, too.

Stay curious, stay sweet, stay strong, and stay you.