My dear baby boy, Gregory,
I haven’t written you any more letters since the morning after we said hello and goodbye. So, here you go.
I’ve written about how I’ve missed you. A lot. I’ve worked through my grief and feelings over and over again. Much of the stress, sadness and anxiety died down once your due date passed. I no longer had to anticipate a date with empty arms. I was able to take a deep breath again and really feel like everything was going to be OK.
As the holidays have approached, though, my sadness has been bubbling just under the surface. I didn’t realize it until tonight as I tried to process why I’ve been hyper-sensitive to words said or not said by friends, or perceived imagined injustices by people I know are good friends.
I realized that I’ve been pushing my sorrow down the past five months — hiding it. I’ve been putting on a good face, because that is what this world expects me to do. I moved on…outwardly. What else could I do? Your older sisters and brothers depend on me to be present to them and not spend my life missing you. My job requires that my mind be present and accounted for and not dreaming of the life we never got to experience. We’ve made some decisions in the last few months that impact our family long-term — and I need to be fully committed to those decisions — the dream of sending your older siblings through Catholic high school, discerning that our days of adding to our family biologically are over, and deciding that Vincent will most likely begin Kindergarten at the age of six, meaning an extra year of daycare before two years of preschool. Those are just the biggies. Our lives are filled with little decisions every day that impact the entire family…and they require that I not spend much time sorting through my sorrow, my grief.
I miss you, Gregory. It may seem silly to say. But I knew you best, outside of our Heavenly Father. I miss the experience I could have had giving birth. I miss warming bottles and tiny diapers. I missed those first few weeks where I’d have slept on the recliner with you cuddled up on my chest…our hearts beating next to each other.
I miss it that we didn’t have a Baptism and all that entails. We’re so blessed by the couple we asked to be your godparents. I truly feel like Rebecca is walking this path with me. She doesn’t hesitate to let me know that she remembers you and misses you, too. I never feel awkward talking about you like you’re real with her…because you are real. But it’s awkward for people if I talk about it in passing…I can tell.
Tonight, as I was sitting down to write…Craig placed a box in front of me. Well, first he asked how I was doing and I lied and said, “I’m doing just fine.” Then he said, “Then you can open this” and laid this box in front of me.
First I pulled out this…
And before I read the names at the bottom, I knew whom the gift came from. And the tears came. Because I was already feeling the sadness that had been just under the surface, bubbling up and spilling over…and before I even saw what Rebecca and her husband had sent me, I knew it was perfect.
So, now you, sweet boy, have two beautiful Christmas ornaments atop our Christmas tree (this one from your godparents and the one Grandma made for you). You are our “Angel” or the “Star” that tops our tree. You will be every year for the rest of our lives.
I know that since you’re in Heaven, you probably are busy basking in the Light of our Lord and Savior and interceding for us that you don’t particularly care whether we remember you or not. But that’s okay. Because remembering is for us earthly beings. You’re a part of me that I can’t smell, see, or touch. And I miss that more than anything. I miss that I will never hold your hand as we cross the street. I miss buckling you into a car seat. And I miss tucking you in at night. As your siblings grow up, I discover new things I will miss about you. And know this: I WILL miss those things. I’ll miss late night talks when you’re in middle school and I’ll miss whatever sport you would have found to be your niche. I’ll miss learning about your special talents and gifts. I’ll miss wondering whether you’d become a priest someday. I’ll miss the way you’d surely tell me that I’m the best Mommy in the world, just like your big brother, Dominic, does. I’ll just miss everything and anything we could have done, said and had in this world together.
I want you to know that I think about you every damn day.
It’s funny…but I don’t even have to TRY and I think about you every day. Sure, it’s not constant…but I think about you just about as much as I think about each of the other children who consume my days on Earth. Some days I just wish I could look at everyone who seems to have forgotten that you’re in Heaven and be like, “Hey! Missing my baby boy right now. Hang on a second.”
But that’s not how life works. It’s not anyone’s fault that they’ve forgotten. They think they are helping me by not bringing it up, if they do remember. Onward and upward. Moving on. That is what we do here on Earth. We live in the present. And you, my dear boy, live where Time and Space have different dimensions.
So, this first Christmas, I guess I just want to say…send up some extra prayers for your Mama, sweetheart, because she’s missing you something awful.
Pray for me, Gregory.