My heart is heavy as I sit down to write this letter to you. Another year has passed, another year without you. Today you would be two years old. I can’t believe it. You would be walking and talking and probably running me ragged. I would be the luckiest mommy in the whole world to have you here. I miss your warmth, your weight in my arms, your sweet face, your long dark hair, the feel of your skin on my finger tips, everything about you – everything I got to see and know, and all of the many, many, many things I didn’t.
I think, in many ways, it’s just getting harder. I see the new things Jonah is doing every day. I see his smile, hear his laugh, watch as he experiments with new sounds, clapping his hands, learning to crawl. And although I find joy in all the things he’s getting to do, I look at him and see all the things that I missed out on with you. Sweet Gabe, I ache for you.
I remember clearly the couple hours we got to spend holding you, touching you, seeing you for the first and last time. I remember joking about your mullet hair, your Grandaddy saying you were built like a football player – lean figure and broad shoulders (just like your dad, I might add), singing to you, and telling you goodbye.
I remember the day we buried you in the bright sunshine by the pond. I remember how when we first buried you, Daddy would leave bread by your spot so the geese would come keep you company. I remember Nana spending time with you in the early mornings. So much about those days is a blur and yet so much is astonishingly clear. I try to think about the joy and happiness more than the sadness – where you are and what you are doing now, how you felt no pain, how you went straight to Jesus… But sometimes, Buddy, sometimes those hard moments sneak in – the moment we found out you were gone, walking across the hospital parking deck toward the front doors, knowing I would have to deliver you but never get to see you open your eyes, having to let you go for the last time. Sometimes it’s too much to bear. There are nights I still lay my head on Daddy’s chest and cry for you, long for you and mourn for you just like I did the moment we found out you were gone. The selfish part of me screams, “I want you back!”
But the unselfish part of me whispers gently, “I would not bring you back if I could.”
I can’t lie, Gabe. You took a piece of me when you left. I will never be whole this side of Heaven. Very soon I’m coming for the piece of my heart that you stole. I know you are holding it for me. But I also know you are not waiting. What is time to you? Every day you spend with God, Jesus, the angels, our friends and family who’ve already entered the gates. I know you know me and you know my love, but you do not miss me. And I’m so glad about that. I don’t want you to live your life in need or want or yearning. And the beauty is – you don’t have to. You live completely fulfilled, joyously happy, never lacking. Your life is perfection. And when I do finally make it to Heaven, you will look up, blink, and say, “Oh, there you are,” as if I’ve just stepped away and come right back. And guess what, Baby Gabe, we’ll have ETERNITY to hang out and play and run and jump and sing – we can do anything you want. You’ll have had a head start, so you can show me all the best stuff and take me to the coolest places. And best of all, we’ll get to rest at the coolest place there ever was – the feet of Jesus.
Daddy and I were talking a couple nights ago about you being in Heaven. I told him that for some reason I picture you as a four or five year old boy, being crazy and wild and running all over the place. I don’t know why. And I don’t know what you really look like now, but I do know that I’ll recognize you. And over and over and over again I imagine the moment I hear, “Well Done,” and I enter the gates, and there you are. And you’re holding Jesus’ hand, but his eyes stare into mine, and he squeezes your hand, and lets go. And you run to me, and I squat down and grab you into my arms, and I hug you so tight and just breathe you in. And we laugh till we cry and spin in circles. And you say, “Oh, there you are,” and I say, “I’m here to stay.” And then you introduce me to Jesus. And even though I’ll be officially meeting him for the first time, it will feel like we’ve been together forever, and it will be the dream I’ve wanted for so long.
Come, Lord Jesus.
I hope you know how much I love you. I hope you can feel my love and that it’s just icing on your Perfect. I know you are happy and healed and free. And I am so thankful. But I miss you and tears roll down my face thinking of all the things we’ll not do here on Earth. But I hold onto hope and the promise that I’ll see you again. Daddy, Jonah, and I just can’t wait to finally all be together as a family with you. Please know that we love you, pray for you, and each day we live is one day closer to you.
And don’t worry. We certainly aren’t living all mopey and sad down here. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments full of anguish and terrible sadness. But we cling to the joy and the hope and the promise, and Jonah does his part to keep us laughing. I see you in him, Gabe. Sometimes I look at him a certain way or take a photo from a certain angle, and it takes my breath away. And for that moment, I have you back. And then you’re gone again and life just keeps trucking on. And that’s the way it should be I guess – the only way to survive. But I refuse to JUST survive. I’ll live for you and love for you and do everything I can to make you proud of me. Please ask Jesus to help me, Gabe. You know I can be impossible to deal with. Your poor Daddy. He’s so patient. And I know he just wants to live the kind of life you’d be proud of too. You are so much a part of us, even when we aren’t openly talking about you, you’re in the air we breathe, the thoughts we think, and you even still visit us sometimes in our dreams.
I was going to say that we love you more than you could ever imagine, but the beauty is that you know a much greater and more perfect love than WE could ever imagine or could ever give you. And for that, I’m thankful.
And we can’t wait for the day the veil is lifted, and we know that perfect love in its fullness too. But until that day, you live in our hearts, Sweet Gabe. We pray for the day we can hold you again, and while we wait, you just keep holding on to Jesus. Because that’s who we’re holding onto too. We’ll see you soon, Love. It’ll just be a minute.
Happy 2nd birthday, Sweet Baby Gabe.
All my love forever and ever and ever,
6 lbs 14 oz