Ten

She would have been ten today.

Like any mother, I remember her in phases: the colicky baby, a vivacious toddler, my astonishing child.

Phase four and beyond exist outside of memory,  in a murky and perilous space where everything is possible but nothing is real. Visits there are fleeting, because whether you call it unimaginative or realistic, I have never liked spending time on things that have no chance of being. 

For Julianna the two weren’t mutually exclusive. She lived in the intersection between imagination and reality.  How else to explain a five year old who could take us for a ride on her bed turned magic carpet and also articulate the loss of higher cortical function that comes with death? (“When you die, you don’t do anything. You don’t think.”) 


I’ve dreamed of her just twice since she died.

In one, she was sick.  It was one of those dreams that goes on and on. I woke up with my heart in my throat, but I don’t remember any of the details. I don’t know where we were, why she was sick, or anything we did. I only remember the feeling, the horrible, hopeless feeling that was my reality for years.

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The other was a flash, but I remember everything. I was in a high rise in Seoul visiting relatives. She came through the door with windswept hair, a mischievous  smile– and hands full of shopping bags. She had two purses (Julianna was never afraid of excess), and they were worn cross-body style so that her hands were free to carry said shopping bags. She wore pants and pink sneakers, and I understood in an instant that she was very busy.  She had a lot of ground to cover, and a fussy dress would just be in the way. She didn’t say a word, but gave me one look with the sparkling eyes that I know so well, and she was gone. 


Two dreams,

both as real as the earth below and sky above. I lived one and know the other, the way I know the curve of her forehead and the feel of her little hand in mine. Truth is in both of them, but the first is grounded in fact and the second could be perceived as fantasy, the subconscious yearning a a grieving mom.

After ten years of being Julianna’s mother, I know this: some truths, the deepest ones, can’t be felt with our hands or seen with our eyes. To live well in this world, with all of its pain and brokenness, you have to know the other one, the way she did.

Out of all the gifts she gave me (and there were so many), the greatest was a glimpse, an undeniable vision, of the reality to come.  I will see her again, in a place beyond time, imagination and frailty.

So on the day she would have been ten, I remember and mourn, anticipate and give thanks. More than anything else, I am blessed because there was a girl named Julianna.

Will I be your little girl even when I’m a queen? When I’m a giant?

Julianna Yuri Snow

27 thoughts on “Ten

  1. Michelle,
    Your Julianna was a special gift, no doubt. Following her story, and now yours, has changed my life for good. She was so beautiful, so smart and wise, so close to God. Thank you for sharing her with us, and so happy that I get to meet you both when we all are home in Heaven with the Father. My prayers for your peace will continue until then.

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  2. So sorry for all the pain you have endured Michelle but sending love 💖 & prayers for your sweet little angel Julianna 🌸 who is playing in the poppy fields in the clouds. Wishing her a Happy 10th Birthday 💝 I will have a 🧁 and ☕️ in celebration of her short little life. Big hugs to you & your family 💞xx

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    • Happy Birthday, Sweet Julianna! I know your Mother would have thrown you the most spectacularly over-the-top party for her favorite double-digit daughter. And you would have been laughing, dancing, and twirling in every photo. I love that you visited your Mother in full-on shopping mode, probably in Hello Kitty shades. 🌷Please find a way to keep visiting her – and help ease the ache in her heart. We love you, Michelle.

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  3. 💗 Sweet Julianna, so blessed to have known of you. I believe I will see you one day 🙏 Lord, give what only You can give, Amen.

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  4. This is my favorite of all your posts— so beautiful and vivid, just like Julianna herself. It’s a blessing to have met this little angel and seen a glimpse of God’s beauty through her. No doubt our lovely princess is celebrating in heaven today with all the love and sparkles she deserves!

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  5. I love hearing Julianna’s words and thoughts ~ thank you so much for keeping and sharing these even through a time when anyone would have been beyond overwhelmed.

    I only wish we had all 10 years and more of your precious Julianna. So very missed but truly never forgotten.

    The second dream… a reality as well now, I believe. One beyond us for now.

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  6. Happy Birthday sweet sweet Julianna. Michelle, even though you only had 2 dreams.. you had them and you hold them close to your heart. Praying you continue to see her in your dreams. I pray you see her dancing, running and riding a unicorn in the magical and bless place we call Heaven. hugs.

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  7. Happy birthday Julianna! I choose to celebrate the amazing girl who touched our lives in a way only her could. To her mom, dad and brother, thank you for sharing her with us. Hugs.

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  8. Julianna is a braveheart and a beautiful angel. Michelle, she appeared in your dream to give positivity to you, your family and us all. I have begun to love her and how much ever snaps you have posted on her, it seems like I want to see her more and more. Her smile and her eyes, they live for ever.
    “Happy birthday julianna darling. Keep on coming into yours moms life and our lives like this and strengthen us all.”
    The dream is a sign that you are in a much better place, very much peaceful and satisfied.

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  9. Dreams can appear saddening, incomplete or disturbing due to the myriad of potential interpretations of what the dream meant. Moreover, calling psychology and especially psychiatry a science is a profound joke. While it is easy for some quack in a pseudo science field to speak of such things as dream interpretation and the subconscious mind; it is also easy to think the absolute opposite of that the “expert” said about the dream- and neither side has any proof at all. That being said, Neurology IS a science, so you know more about the brain and nervous system than most people ever will, Michelle! People claim that we can not even remember most of our dreams- and people claim that dreams obviously DO have some sort of meaning in relation to our minds- yet the exact nature of that meaning is not really known. Pseudo scientists will spew nonsense answers that can not be measured in a lab or reproduced, and it is utterly vile that these fake scientists prey on persons like that. So anyways, this is a run on paragraph, but Michelle, dear sweet person, do NOT think for a moment that any dream that you ever have has real saddening, incomplete or disturbing meaning. If you ever have such feelings, try to let go of the power they hold over emotion and see them for something different. This may be overly simplistic, this may be wrong, but here is one of many ways to approach how you feel about your two dreams. They should serve to strengthen your spirit- to help you fight the darkness of loss. They should empower your spirit to feel less alone. They should remind you that just because you do not see someone, it does not mean that they are not there. When your spirit is in strife, Michelle, like how it was difficult to walk in the toy section of Target- the so far two dreams should help you replace the dark strife with wonder and unknowing. People who go through loss have horrid daily battles- the battle to find the wonder in life, the joy in life again, regardless of ANY loss, ANY condition in life. Easier said than done- but your spirit MUST fight anyway- it must fight to find wonder, joy and clarity in each moment. I’m sorry you were not able to spend the 25th with J – i’m so sorry that you can not control your dreams to the point where you could dream about J often. (the book- Lucid dreaming in 30 days- my A##) The universe is unfair, the days are full of strife- nothing makes sense sometimes. Find the wonder in each moment anyway 🙂 Sending strength and love to you and your family! p.s. when ya get a chance let us know how the rest of your fam is doing, im sure ppl are wondering!

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  10. Hi friend, it’s me again 🙂 Forgot to mention, if you are inclined to study dreams, look at Philosophy of Mind [[Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the body. – from wikipedia]] Most definately tho, Philosophy of mind holds more utility than the utterly vile answers that psychology and psychiatry give- and always fail to deliver. Like, if you find the right audio book or book on Philosophy Of Mind, it will help you feel better, Michelle! 🙂

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  11. ///////////
    Do people from Finland have any keys to help you smile today?
    So this has “stupid” parts but it also has extremely insightful parts. A great way to find wonder because it keeps you off balance 🙂

    …. at time marker 530 – “Remember that signs themselves are not good or bad- it is our judgment or our interpretation that make them so” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_X_sPNUDes
    ////////////////////////
    Stay Strong 🙂

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  12. I Remember Princess J.-The little girl who forever changed my life for the BETTER!

    I remember sitting in this time period that seems so different than any other time in my history, as I was walking by people in the supermarket aimlessly. All of a sudden, in my MASK, my eyes caught another grocery customer’s eyes. A flood of memories flooded my memory. I REMEMBERED; I can read EYES! The beautiful memory of Julianne infiltrated my SOUL! I remembered Princess J’s beautiful eyes! I remembered months and months of just learning how to know how she felt by looking into her eyes, and the pictures in each post each month! Nobody had more beautiful eyes than Julianna!

    I remembered in the grocery store that day. I can actually “read eyes!” The thought of Julianna filled my heart with extreme love and compassion, as I began to tentatively “really look into the eyes”, behind the masks at the grocery store. As I looked, I noticed people were smiling at me with their eyes! I just never took the time to take notice before! In remembering the vast amount of times, I looked at Julianna’s eyes. I remembered; I literally can read eyes! It turned what was a very gloomy day “of life” (with a pandemic in effect), into a cheery day full of hope!

    I remembered Princess J. and months of (ME) just truly living, truly praying with everything in me, months of genuinely caring selflessly about someone else’s needs; and placing my small needs and wants aside, they didn’t matter! This is the reason, I know, Princess Julianna will never be forgotten. Memories of Princess J. become dearer, more precious, and more cherished with time.

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  13. I stumbled across Julianna’s story today, and I’m writing this to you with tears flowing down my face. I am so deeply sorry for you loss. Mama (and Dad), I don’t even know your names but my grief for your family in this moment is so overwhelming. You are an amazing family. I can only imagine the reservoir of strength each of you summoned to guide that sweet girl through this world.

    To Mom: You are a role model to me, a mother who stepped beyond her own ego to see your child as a person and an individual. I’m in awe of you, just like I’m in awe of Julianna’s strength and sweet innocence. May her memory always be a blessing to you. It’s my sincerest hope that my message does not provoke sadness for you – instead, I want you to know that your daughter is still reaching people to this day. Today I’m sharing a small burden of your grief, one mama to another, though I it’s only a drop compared to the ocean that is your loss. Vehemently sending out love and light to your family as your celebrate her life and the anniversary of her birth this week.

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  14. Thanks for charing your memories of your precious Angel of God, I do understand your big love because I am mother too of two already grown up girls! My older 23 and my little 18. My older daughter, Andrea has cmt and when I knew about Julianna’s story I share her story to Andrea and told her, now you have an Angel 👼🏻 in heaven and we are going to ask her to speak God for your health! because we know that Julianna is in God’s presence! Dios es grande y escucha nuestra oración, gracias Dios por Julianna ❤️🙏🏼

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  15. Why was your child so sick?? Did you fully vaccinate her? she looked vaccine injured to be honest. The parents that went on the VAXXED van had severely injured kids just like yours.

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    • This was not a vaccine injury. Julianna had a genetic mutation that destroyed the myelin on her peripheral nerves. We know the mutation and how she got it. We depended on vaccines to keep her – and everyone around her – safe.

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  16. Happy Birthday Julianna! I know I have discovered you, now, over 2 months late, but I’m sure you would still be celebrating. My own daughter, Alice, thought it was a really big deal when she had “two numbers” in her age, and she smiled every time we mentioned it. Alice was like you, Julianna. She had a neuromuscular disease called Hypomyelination and Atrophy of the Basal Ganglia and the Cerebellum, or “H-ABC.” She went to Heaven on August 30, 2019; perhaps you know her. We told her the same thing your parents told you, that Heaven was beautiful and that when she got there she would be able to talk and walk and hold things in her hands again. She was uncommonly wise, like you; and also full of fun. Her favorite song in the world was “Let It Go” from Frozen, and in your YouTube video you are listening to that song too! Wow…I’m sure you must know Alice (Forever 13) in Heaven, you have so much in common. And i know she would love you.
    Keep celebrating, little one! Gwen Hardage-Vergeer, Ukiah CA

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  17. Thank you for selflessly sharing your experiences. Thank you for selflessly letting her choose. Thank you for introducing the world to Julianna. I will carry her story with me for the rest of my life.

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