My girl, you can be a princess and also a warrior. You can play rugby and wear a dress. You can become a lawyer and be a mother. You can explore the world and love home. You can be afraid and be brave.

You are not one thing or one belief. You are the long walks that you’ve taken, the times that you’ve cried and the nights that you’ve stared at the stars questioning the universe. You are the toys that you shared, the flower that you gave and the shoulder that you offered.

You are made up of the millions of experiences that you’ve had, the emotions that you’ve felt and the decisions that you’ve made and sweet girl, there is so much more to come.

Sweetheart, life passes quickly. Twenty years have been and gone since I was a teenager but it feels like just a moment ago.

Try to fill your time with as much goodness as you can. Allow joy, excitement and fun to encompass you and become part of you. Dance, sing, laugh until you cry, walk behind waterfalls, swim in the ocean and climb every mountain. Be true to yourself. Your values and your integrity is where beauty really lies.

Don’t be afraid to be different. What seems cool now, won’t be cool next year. Things that are celebrated in one culture may be unusual in another. Time changes what’s thought to be acceptable! The coolest thing that you can do, is be honest with yourself.

Life is an ever changing and flowing river, swim with it, don’t fight what is natural for you, Instead listen to your intuition.

Love your friends, love your family, love the things you do and everything around you.

Love is the cure for every ailment.

One day you’ll fall in love. When you do, make sure that you are an equal in your relationship. Independence is an essential element to freedom.

Freedom should be a human right but until everyone has it, recognise your privilege and cherish it.

At some point you’ll get hurt. When the tears have passed, dry your eyes and lift your chin. Think about what you value most, don’t lose track of who you are and above all else try to forgive.

Forgiving someone who has hurt you is hard but holding onto the pain is toxic.

Getting hurt is not a failure. When you’re in pain, go to the beach, breathe the sea air, feel the sand between your toes and ground yourself to this earth. Time heals but while you’re healing, hold on tightly to this world and never let go.

You’re going to make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll make bad decisions, when you do, apologise, learn and then move on.

Failure is a mechanism that can crush us or teach us invaluable lessons.

Choose to be a person that learns but throughout it all, be kind to yourself, forgive your mistakes, learn, accept and then take another step forwards.

There are some things in the world that are scary.

I planned to teach you how to fill your life with love but some people don’t receive that. Instead they are taught hate and sometimes the result, is that they do terrible things.

Don’t fear these people. They will always exist. Instead have empathy that their minds have been infected with hatred.

Don’t let their acts build hate or vengeance in you. Be curious as to what happened in their worlds. Look for kindness. Look for the people who help and create a band of strength and courage with them.

There is so much more that I want to tell you but I’m going to end by telling you how wanted you are or maybe how wanted you were.

When I fell pregnant with you. That was the moment that my life became complete.

Each breath was pure joy and love.

Darling girl, when the midwife held the scanner against my tummy, I wanted you more than I wanted my own life and I loved you more than everything else on earth put together

When the midwife told me that your heart had stopped beating and that you had died, maybe a week earlier, my world changed forever.

Sweetheart, I will never get to give you my advice. I didn’t even get to hold you in my arms but maybe, somewhere out there, there is another daughter, sister, mother or friend that will be able listen to what I wanted to tell my daughter.

Images courtesy of Chema, Josh Bean and Andy Art