You never got to meet me, but I'm your dad. I've been a fan of yours for some time now. When your mom told me you were on the way, I swear I smiled for a week straight. I put your due date on my calendar and looked at it almost every day. When we first got to hear your heart beat, mine stopped for a moment. When they showed me a picture of you, when I saw your impossibly small hands and feet, I started to imagine all the amazing things you would do someday. Maybe those hands would play the piano, or paint a masterpiece, or write the next great American novel. Maybe those feet would run a marathon, or kick the winning goal, or carry you to the top of a mountain.
Then the doctors told us that something was wrong. They said your hands were crooked and your feet were pointing the wrong direction. They said you were sick, flawed, broken in the worst way. They told us you might not live to see your own birth. They told us to prepare for the worst. They also told us you were a girl... Sorry about that one, by the way. They told us it was okay to cry, and so we did... We cried a lot.
Then the strangest thing happened. We told our friends and family about you and asked them to pray, and they told their friends, who told their friends, and so on, until people all over the world were praying for you. They began praying in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Bulgaria. They wrote words of encouragement from Spain, France, Brazil, Israel, India, Portugal, Italy, China, and Greece. They cried out to God on your behalf from Ireland, Mexico, The Philippines, Russia, and every state in the United States. Some of them had prayed hundreds or thousands of times before, while others found themselves speaking with God for the first time in their lives. Your story drove thousands of people to their knees.
A few days ago they told us that you had died. They told us that your broken little body just couldn't take any more, and that you were gone. Your mother and I were heartbroken, frustrated, and angry. What good is a worldwide army of prayer warriors if their efforts can't save one tiny child? What good is an omnipotent God if he won't use just a fraction of that power to heal you? Again, we cried an awful lot.
Hundreds and thousands of messages poured in, well-meaning condolences and sympathies from every corner of the world. Most didn't do much to cheer us up, but one made me stop and think. It came from a woman I have never met, a woman who lives thousands of miles away. She wrote, "Aiden has done more for the kingdom of heaven before being born than most people will do in their entire lives." It took me several minutes to really wrap my head around it, but I think she's right. You changed hundreds of lives without even getting a chance to live your own. You touched people on every continent before I ever got to touch you at all. You inspired, encouraged, and evangelized, all without ever making a sound.
You are loved, my son. I loved you from the first moment I knew you were coming, and I will love you until the day that I die. I may never really understand why this happened, but I'm beginning to think that maybe your entire purpose on this earth was to bring people closer to God, and that you did it so well that you were called home early. I like to think that maybe God saw how amazing you were and just wasn't willing to share you any more. I miss you terribly, but I like to think that I'll see you again someday. When I do, I hope that I will have done half as much good in my life as you did before yours began.
I love you,