I remember when you were born. I was thirteen and excited to have a new niece, especially one born from my closest sister. I hung around the hospital all day waiting because your mom had a c-section and I obviously wasn’t allowed into the OR. Sometime in the mid afternoon, I was told you’d arrived and even got to look at your tiny body in the nursery, but hours later you were air lifted to Nashville for emergency surgery. I was scared for you but knew you were in good hands. When you came home, you were so small…your mom had your room decorated for you and I hoped you’d become what she needed. Unfortunately, she always accepted the love she thought she deserved. She deserved so much more. Autumn, I’m sorry that you never got to see the good in Ashlee. She was a wonderful person at one point in her life, but she made a lot of poor decisions, and I cannot express to you how heartbroken I am that she chose abuse and drugs over you. She went back to her husband and took you with her. Five months into your life, you came back to my house permanently, without your mother.
You were so fragile. I was told not to let you cry too much because that would cause complications with your heart, so I tried not to let you cry at all. I watched you from the moment I came home from school until after I fell asleep and even had to take you to several sleep over parties. I never detested you for that. There was something about you that always had me intrigued.
Needless to say, I grew very attached to you over the next five months and was exceedingly distressed when I came to find out that you needed yet another heart surgery that would take you and my mother five hours away. I was young and scared.
I remember being left by my older sisters, alone while you were being treated. I remember finding out you weren’t coming home on time, that you caught the Rhinovirus when you were in surgery, that they had to keep your chest open, and I was told you were very sick. Autumn, I cried every drop of moisture out of my body while I was rocked on a friend’s lap. I cried until my throat was dry and sore and I was scared it would close up. I cried until there was nothing left. I was so scared to lose you.
When you finally came home, your scars were too big and foreign on your tiny body. They tore through your chest and back and your ankles and wrists. They left you battered and bruised and swollen. I cried, but you were happy. You’d beaten it! You’d survived!
You were ten months old. You had a feeding tube, you were addicted to a powerful medication, and you, again, were left in my young and inexperienced hands. I had to ween you off of the narcotic. I had to give you constant care. I had to take you everywhere. I slept with you. I carried you proudly. I was never angry with you. I loved you unconditionally.
I gave you everything I had.
It’s hard for me to acknowledge that you will be eight soon, and I just have some things I want you to know:
You are the most wonderful, beautiful person I have ever met; you’re also the strongest person I’ll ever know; I think about you all the time; and you’re the only little girl that will ever have my heart.
Autumn, sometimes I think of you as my own child. I cared for you like a mother and it still pains me to know that I don’t see you as much as I should. Please, know that I didn’t leave you, I left the strife of the household. You see, mother can sometimes be difficult and even I can’t protect you from her harsh words always, I just hope you never have to see the side of her that I’ve seen. You deserve so much more.
One of these days, I’m going to move you across the country with me and you’ll see just how much you deserve to be loved. There are a lot of bad things that go on in your presence, a lot of horrible secrets you’ll learn about your family, and I know you won’t know what to think, but, Autumn, I know you. You’re a brilliant girl who deserves better than what has been lain out before her. You can be different. You can make your own decisions. I don’t want any of those bad things, not for you.
I know you have the potential to be something great, and I want you to know I’ll always be here for you to guide you in whichever ways possible.
I beg of you that you always remember that you are not your family’s mistakes and their actions in no way reflect your future. Blue prints can be altered.
I love you, always.
I fucking love Stephen Fry. He makes England awesome xD