When Emma Weaver said goodbye to her husband, U.S. Army First Lieutenant Todd Weaver, before his second tour of Afghanistan, she had no idea it was the last time she would ever see him. Sadly, he was killed by an IED on September 9, 2010.
Todd was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on October 15, 2010, where he was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, as well as many other recognitions. As the couple’s young daughter, Kiley, sat on Emma’s lap, they were given the flag that had been draped over his casket.
Emma went home to mourn and try to put the pieces of her life back together. Two days after the burial she opened Todd’s laptop, and what she found took her breath away.
On the desktop were two Word documents, one titled “Dear Emma” and the other called “Dear Kiley.”
With tears streaming down her face, Emma opened the documents and discovered Todd had written letters to both her and Kiley before he left in case he never came home.
“Dear Emma,” the first letter began. “Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.”
He went on to tell her that he would be with her in spirit and wanted her to remain strong, even though he knew things would be really difficult.
“Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born,” he wrote. “Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.”
The letter to Kiley was perhaps even more poignant. He told her what a blessing her birth had been and said he would always love her and be proud of her.
“Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” he told her. “You are so very special to me sweetie – you are truly a gift from God. The best day of my life was the day you were born. Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt. You were my sweetie – my life was not complete until you were born. I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.”
On her blog, A Day in the Life, Emma said that, while it was really difficult to read Todd’s letters, they also brought her a lot of peace.
She had the letters superimposed on top of special photos and now has them proudly displayed in her home. The letter to Kiley is printed over a picture of Todd reading to her when she was only about a week old, and the letter to Emma is superimposed over one of their wedding photos.
Emma said that although the letters are private, she realized their importance and knew they could touch others, so she decided to share them.
“Although they are private letters I have thought long and hard about how significant they are and the importance of sharing the depth of wisdom Todd had for being 26 years old at the time of his death,” she said.
Even though Kiley may not remember her father, Emma said Todd will always be a prominent figure in her daughter’s life.
“She will know her Dada is always here, always protecting her, and is always in her heart,” she said.
You can read Todd’s letters to Kiley and Emma in their entirety below:
Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.
I love you so much baby and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now.
I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are.
Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.
I want you to know just how important you are to me. I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short,
I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.
I even had two great dogs – at least most of the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.
Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.
Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.
Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.
I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:
Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.
I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old.
Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
You are so very special to me sweetie – you are truly a gift from God.
The best day of my life was the day you were born.
Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt.
You were my sweetie – my life was not complete until you were born.
I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.
But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day.
You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you.
Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can.
Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings.
Never forget how important and special you are to so many people.
We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in.
Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you.
But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.
You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you.
Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you.
You are and will always be my sweetie.
With very much love,
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