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DANIELLE

I miss Danielle. More than I could ever express.

In 2017, I saw the movie Collateral Beauty. A movie that depicts a father's grief and struggles after losing his child. I must say that I felt like it was written for me, and the movie was exactly about me. Tears kept rolling. I couldn't stop. There was a scene where the lead actor was being asked about his daughter's name and he couldn't even say it because the mere mention felt like his heart was being pounded into pieces. Memories rushing back. The sound. The scent. The atmosphere. Very powerful. Losing a child is a lot like giving birth. It will forever change you.

I told the doctors to intubate her once again even if it was against their will. I went to the chapel and begged Jesus to take my life instead of my child.

Collateral Beauty to me is about seeing the good that comes out from every bad situation. We may struggle to see it but know that it is there waiting to be discovered. Wisdom comes after acceptance. Yes, things will never, ever be the same but it is through these struggles that we could see the beauty.

I miss Danielle. More than I could ever express. The ‘Beauty’ is she will always be with me. Holding my hand. Hugging my heart. No one can ever take that away from me.

The doctors explained to me many times that we could decide to pull the plug anytime, but I just couldn’t do it. I asked God for a sign and begged HIM not to make me make a decision that will haunt me for my entire life. Dani fought hard. She is the bravest person I know.

She was born prematurely at almost 7 months. First time I saw her she wasn’t breathing anymore. In the movies, as a Dad, you always look for the first cry--but Dani came out without a heartbeat, so they revived her at the hospital. For 30 something days we lived at the NICU. The doctors explained to me many times that we could decide to pull the plug anytime, but I just couldn’t do it. I asked God for a sign and begged HIM not to make me make a decision that will haunt me for my entire life. Dani fought hard. She is the bravest person I know. Tubes, injections, and all the other stuff were on her, yet she never complained.

To my dearest Danielle, you would have been 12 years old today. Oh, how I long to touch and feel your hands again. Wondering what you would look like right now. Time flies so fast, my love. 

Then one day, her tubes got dislodged and I saw so much blood come out, and the baby was clearly uncomfortable. I told the doctors to intubate her once again even if it was against their will. I went to the chapel and begged Jesus to take my life instead of my child. For some reason I was drawn to the image of Our lady of Guadalupe. I prayed to her and after that I knew exactly what I was going to do. 

I told the doctors that the next time the tube gets dislodged to let me carry her for the first and last time. It was also the first time I saw Dani shed a tear. For some reason I thought of calling my friends and family, and requested for a vacant hospital room near the NICU.


When my mother arrived, the tube got dislodged and so we carried her and introduced her to everyone in the room. When she got back in my arms, she took her last breath. I held on to her for a few more minutes, and promised to see her again. 

I told the doctors that the next time the tube gets dislodged to let me carry her for the first and last time.

For 30 something days, we bonded with other parents and their kids at the NICU. Everyday was always different. I have experienced joy and sorrow. I’ve witnessed children survive, and we would celebrate and hug each other every time. I also became the Godfather of several kids who were baptized right before they passed. Guilt, sadness, anger were the emotions that I felt for a long time.


But as time went on I soon realized that I have achieved what no parent has. I have sent my child straight to heaven. Isn’t that our primary goal for our kids? To be good, do good, so that in the afterlife they would be with Jesus? 

When she got back in my arms, she took her last breath. I held on to her for a few more minutes, and promised to see her again. 

To my dearest Danielle, you would have been 12 years old today. Oh, how I long to touch and feel your hands again. Wondering what you would look like right now. Time flies so fast, my love. I know you are looking after me, always. Have the best birthday, ok? Enjoy your party with your real Papa, Papa Jesus. I love you. I love you. I love you. 


Love always,

Daddy


Story and photos from Danielle's father, Jiro Marquez

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