Family,  Loved ones

An open letter to my niece Adia

My Dearest Adia,

It has been a month since you passed this life and I’m still finding it hard to believe that you are no longer here with us. For me, it still feels like you are just at home with your family and I’m looking forward to the next time I see you and play with you. It doesn’t seem that long ago when I excitedly wrote about you when you were in your mommy’s tummy and when you were born, my niece whom I fondly called “my mini me.” We were all very excited for you as you were the first baby girl in our family. Today, I write this post on the most special day of the year when your absence is most felt. You were the best present we received last year, nobody expected it was going to be our first and last Christmas with you.

I don’t want to question anymore why out of all the children in the world it had to be you to contract this kind of disease, and why out of all the types of cases, yours had to be the worst. I am trusting God’s heart as to why this had to happen. But what I’m still finding hard to accept is the intensity of the suffering you had to go through for just a one-year old: experiencing symptoms emerging one at a time, undergoing chemotherapy, feeling each poke in your flesh of what probably was a hundred needles, flat-lining for two minutes after you reached septic shock and coming back again, feeling every pain in different areas of your body, until you couldn’t take it any longer. You were so brave. You fought so hard, our little princess.

You were going to be a flower girl in my wedding and I even bought you a dress earlier this year for you to try on. But instead of wearing that dress to my wedding, you wore it to your grave. The thought makes me cry and smile at the same time because it was a special dress regardless. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I was so worried about you still being in a critical condition in the hospital that it was emotionally hard for me to move forward. But you fought your way out of the PICU so you could still spend five more weeks at home with your loved ones. A month after the wedding, your body succumb to all the complications and you finally breathe your last. We couldn’t help feeling that even in your last days on earth, you were thinking about us. You didn’t want us to worry about you. You held on as much as you could to spend a little bit more time with your family.

It also hurts when I think about your Kuya Leeland who was with you in the end holding on to your foot and singing you a song while the doctors try to revive you. It hurts that he will grow up without his baby sister. At three, he may not completely understand it yet, but when he finally does, I just know that that would be the day when I wouldn’t be able to keep the tears in my eyes from falling. Your Kuya loves you a lot and he misses your cheerful face when he tries to make you laugh.

I can’t begin to imagine what your mommy and daddy must be going through. No parent should have to bury their child, they say. But being the ones who took care of you from day one and see you suffer everyday, I know they must also feel a sense of relief as you are now free from all kinds of pain. How heartbreaking it must have been to watch your own child suffer and there’s nothing you could do about it but kneel and pray. They did everything they could for you, princess, they loved you very much.

Your absence makes me very sad but I take comfort in the fact that you are now in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You must have lots of playmates in heaven as you can now freely walk and run and wave your hands in the air. No need for isolation, no nasal cannula, no bed restraints. I imagine you with your Lolo Jun, whom you share the same birthday with. It must have been awesome when you two met for the first time. I love you both and I will see you someday. Our reunion would be a joyful one.

Soon there’ll be joy and happiness. And your little world will be bright… Goodbye Baby Adia. See you on the other side. :)

During idle times I still think of you, Adia. I softly sing “Rainbow Connection” and “Someone’s Waiting For You” as I remember your beautiful face. Singing your songs makes me feel still connected to you somehow, like sending a voice mail out there and believing you will be able to hear it. I remember you whenever I see a baby girl about your age, or when I see cute dresses at the mall. I will remember you when I have my own baby girl someday, and I will tell stories of your bravery to your cousins. I will think of you every time I give your Kuya Leeland a big hug and a kiss. I will think of you during the sad and happy moments.

Because of you, Adia, I am always trying to become a better version of myself. During situations where the temptation to be unkind toward others is strong, I will think of you and remember that there are things in life that matter more. Life is short so we must always try to be kind and to cherish each moment like it was the last.


Someday the pain and the tears will ebb, and someday we will understand why you had to go so soon. Until then, we will cherish each tear & heartache as we remember your beautiful face, the sound of your laughter, and how brave you were when you fought for more time to be with your loved ones. Sleep tight and rest well, baby Adia, my mini me. Lolo Jun will take care of you now. See you in heaven.

Thank you Adia for the 16 months that you were with us. For such a short time, you have touched our hearts and changed our lives forever. I promise to try not to cry anymore when I look at your pictures, but instead try to smile because of all the wonderful memories. I love you my dear niece and I will miss you everyday. Have a wonderful Christmas in heaven.

Love always,
Tita Joni


  • Riz

    I just read this now and I’m sobbing like a baby! :,(

    I didn’t get to meet her but that day you asked some of us to pray for her, and I started praying for her everyday, it almost felt like I know her na rin. I think that’s what happens when you pray for someone, she becomes part of, not just your prayers, but mostly your heart. She changed us in many ways, including those of us who only know her from a far. Thanks Joni, for sharing Adia’s life, and much love and prayers for her parents who remained brave and strong and trusting. :)

    And belated Happy birthday Joni! Someday you’ll buy little dresses for your own little girl. :)

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