Dear Daughter, This is for You: My Healing Journey

Letters to my daughters expressing my love for them and the importance of faith in healing. Writing letters is therapeutic for the writer even if the recipient never sees or reads the letter. Healing takes place.

Traci Demus-Gamble

11/21/20234 min read

person's hand
person's hand

My grief journey, well this grief journey began with the death of my oldest daughter by suicide on January 3, 2011. As a result, I spent years battling depression, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts. My grief journey has become a healing journey. I’ve learned that healing is a journey and not a destination as new and different losses and even traumas will happen. That’s life. As I navigate life and healing, I do so with my daughters, Donielle and Davin, in mind. Dear Daughter, This is for you.

The loss of a child is crippling and debilitating. It seems out of order for a parent to bury their child. Parents may wonder if we loved them too hard, meaning tough love. Some may wonder if they loved them enough. We mourn the past and the future to a degree. Parents often wonder what that child would have become, who they would have married, what their children would look like, what the family would do for Christmas, etc. We are left with so many questions. It’s like a big gaping hole in our hearts. No loss compares to the loss of a child. My comfort is found in my faith. Dear Daughter, This is for you.

Passion Revealed

Dear Donielle,

First, I want to thank you for being such an amazing child. You caused no issues growing up. You were a model student, athlete, and young lady overall. You’re so charming, intelligent, and witty. You’ve always brought me so much joy since the day you were born. I’m glad that God allowed me to mother you. Your dad and I did our best to ensure you had everything you needed to be successful, especially a relationship with Christ. And you were. We were so proud that you earned the scholarship to attend school in New York. We still wonder what and who you would have become by now.

Secondly, forgive me for being so angry with you for ending your life the way you did. I must admit. Initially, I didn't know who to be angry with, so I internalized it. It didn't make sense to me that God would allow such a horrible thing to happen or to be mad at you because you must have been hurting, confused, or something. I was angry at everyone and everything. I even blamed myself. Faith, prayer, and studying God's word helped me realize that it was not anyone's fault, per se. I was looking for someone or something to blame for this happening. I was angry with you because you didn’t let me help you. If there was something that was or wasn't said or done and needed to be, I didn't know.

Lastly, because of your death, my whole life, our lives have changed. We’ve all had to adjust to life without you physically present. It has been challenging, but we keep pressing even though it’s like pushing a ton of bricks. One thing that has brought us comfort is knowing you’re safe in God’s loving arms. I’m convinced that I will see you again. I look forward to that day. In the meantime, I’m doing things to honor you. Even in your death, God has brought new life. These things I do because of my love for you. I love you. This is for you.


Your Mama, Who Traded Pain for Purpose

Power Fulfilled

Dear Davin,

First, I want to thank you for being an awesome child. You have done so well despite all the obstacles you’ve faced. Not only the death of your big sister, but you fight Sickle Cell Disease like a champ every single day. Even though you have no control over these things, you never give up. Sickle Cell has caused you to miss out on so much, but you keep pressing. You are so strong. I admire you.

Next, I know that you miss your sister, too. I’m amazed at how both of you are so similar, yet so different. I remember how close you two were, like two peas in a pod. She was in love with you from the moment we told her we were pregnant with you. I chuckle when I recall her face the first time she laid eyes on you. She couldn’t believe that “a whole person” she watched grow inside me for nine long months was finally here. She made plans for a future that included you and I’m so sorry that they didn’t happen.

Finally, I’m grateful for the relationship that we have. Even with all that we’ve been through, we are survivors, warriors, even conquerors. You have been my motivation for never giving up, even when I thought I would. I’ll keep pushing you and praying for you to be the best version of you that you can be. I am eternally grateful to and for you. My healing is also for you. I love you. This is for you.


Your Mama, Who Chose to Heal Rather Than to Hurt

Pen to Paper Therapy

Write a letter to someone from your past, present, or future expressing whatever it is that you need to say to them. It doesn’t matter the length, vocabulary, or grammar. Do this for as many people as you need. You don’t need to send it unless you want to. Simply move words from your head and/or heart to paper and watch what happens. Healing happens.

As the holiday season approaches, please remember to be grateful for all of your many blessings, check on your loved ones, and just be kind to one another. You are worthy. You have a purpose. You are loved. I see you. I love you. Happy Holidays!

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