It is silent in the house. 
But I still hear you. I hear your voice. I hear you move. I hear you cry. I hear you laugh. But the house is silent. 

Your toys are piled neatly in the corner instead of scattered across the floor. I don’t have to watch where I step because I no longer worry about stepping on a Lego. The baby gate is gone and the furniture has been rearranged but the house still carries echos of you. Your tiny figure is still everywhere to me. Each moment captured and imprinted in my mind, what you accomplished in that very spot by the stairs, how you smiled and flashed your dimple at me from the couch, the way you were ever so pleased with yourself when you got what you wanted…..Oh how I miss you.

Each day is vastly different. Some days are so hard and some days are less hard and some days I even smile. Today is a hard day. The silence in the house clashes with the memories of you in my head. 

Today, my sweet Stella, is Cady’s funeral. She was fighter like you. She was a princess just like you. Another sweet child gone to Heaven, just like you. How unfair it seems at times…Thinking of how many more days we must survive till we see you again. 

At times I think I don’t know how I will do it, but I know I have to. In those moments when the sadness crashes over me like wave upon crushing wave, I think of you. I think of how nothing could stop you. My stubborn daughter. There was no “can’t” for you. You would yell and screech, using every ounce of your energy to lift yourself to your feet. Then you would yell and shout till you lifted yourself into the couch. The physical therapy shoes that were so uncomfortable didn’t stop you from standing. The lack of protein in your diet didn’t stop you from climbing on the stairs or the couch. Your low muscle tone did not stop you from climbing to your feet to stick your hand in the fridge. You did it all with your cheeky grin, sticking your tongue out in concentration.

When I looked up Propionic Acidemia for the first time, in bold letters I read the words “failure to thrive”, and I was shaken to my core. But you threw the book at them. You thrived. You showed them they were wrong. You were growing. That statement does not apply to you. Everyday you showed me your strength.  Nothing stopped you until you left us. You fought till the very end. I saw it with my own eyes. I watched you as you lay in your hospital bed. My fighter. My daughter. My hero. 

I will strive to be more like you Stella. I will never give up. I will not let the word “can’t” stop me. I will yell and screech as I climb to my feet. Just like you, I will struggle and sway, and pant and become so sweaty, but I will do it. Just like you.

Stella Li. There was no stopping you. I know there is no stopping you still. I miss you. I miss you. I love you. I love you Stella Li, you are my melody and my mantra. I am so proud of you.

I love you Stella Li. Always and forever.