A Special Day: A Mother’s Memoir of Love, Loss, and Acceptance After the Death of Her Daughter


Children aren’t supposed to die. When they do, the loss is not only painful but also profoundly disorienting. After losing her child, Anne-Dauphine Julliand navigates her grief and chronicles the experience in A Special Day: A Mother’s Memoir of Love, Loss, and Acceptance After the Death of Her Daughter. Written with warmth and sensitivity, Julliand’s journey of recovery is a deeply moving and inspirational tale.

February 29th is a date that comes into existence just once every four years. It is also the birthday of Thaïs—Julliand’s darling daughter—who died of a rare genetic disease just shy of her fourth birthday.

As this special day is about to reappear on her calendar for the first time since her daughter passed away, Julliand struggles with how to mark the momentous occasion: Thaïs would have been eight years old. As February 29th approaches, vivid memories of life with her daughter intertwine with the present—every gesture, every word evokes a buried memory, arousing laughter or tears. Yet Julliand knows she must not lose sight of the family that remains: her sons, Gaspard and Arthur, and Azylis, her other daughter who is also sick.  

Beautifully written and deeply felt, Julliand’s message remains simple, true, and strong. Both a lesson in happiness and a wonderful love story, A Special Day is courageous and heartwarming. Julliand’s memoir has touched hundreds of thousands of lives and will leave the reader breathless with its beauty.

Meet the Author

ANNE-DAUPHIN JULLIAND was born in 1973 in Paris. In 2006, she learned that her second child, Thaïs, suffered from a rare disease and didn’t have much time left to live. Her first memoir, Two Small Footprints in Wet Sand, narrates the overwhelming two years in which she and her husband, supported by all those around her, took care of Thaïs. Though the book was initially written for her family as a way to begin the healing process, it became a publishing phenomenon that swept France off its feet and is now an international bestseller. A Special Day is about her search to find ways to cope with the loss of her daughter. Julliand lives in Paris, France.

ADRIANA HUNTER is the translator of works by Catherine Millet, Genevieve Jurgensen, Amelie Nothomb, Viviane Moore, and Louis Sanders. Hunter currently resides in England.

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