I’m staring at the photo of you I selected for this post and for your obituary. It’s one of the few photos that we have of you and it’s how I always remember you.
My sweet red headed baby.
It never gives me any comfort to think of you as an adult spirit. You were my sweet, snuggly little baby and it’s how you stay in my mind.
Oddly, though…I feel the need and absolute desire to talk to you like a grown up today.
You would have been an amazing man, Matthew. Talented. Kind. Gentle. Strong. Much stronger than your mother ever could be. I wish more than anything that I could see you as a happy, fulfilled adult some day.
But it can never be because you died.
It’s been six years today since that horrible day that ripped us all to more pieces then we’ll ever find again.
I feel like I have aged centuries in these six years, Matthew.
There are so many thoughts twisting up my heart and tumbling through my mind this year about you.
I wonder if you knew your brother Aaron before he came to us. Somehow I keep thinking that you must have had a say in just what kind of spirit was going to be sent to our little family. If you knew that our family needed this particular little bundle of sweetness that is your little brother?
Aaron being here is very…complicated.
When I thought about what having a new baby in our family would be like I could easily imagine all the love and joy. I didn’t anticipate how much seeing and having a little one that is so close to your age on this day would hurt and tear at me.
Sometimes when I kiss the bridge of his nose I flash back to what it felt like to kiss yours. When he’s sleeping and I can only see the top of his head and nose I see such strong glimpses of you. It fills me with such joy to see you in some form that is alive and in motion that it takes my breath away much of the time.
While I absolutely love him for the individual that he is, seeing you in him can make me so happy my heart almost bursts.
I wish I could say that it was all good images that I remember. Too often when I snuggle or kiss or nod off rocking him I start in a cold sweat remembering your cold skin, your horrible wounds, the way your little body felt in my arms when your breath left it and you turned cold.
Do you know what that does to someone?
Sometimes I have had to look up to see hell.
If only I could give you my life to give you yours back; to make you breathe, live and grow, I would. I would trade my existence for yours without a moment of hesitation. I would fight tooth and nail and bloody my hands pulling and trying for the mere chance to make it happen. I try to live with my fury and disappointment at the inadequacies of the natural laws of this world that will never allow my to even TRY angers me, like so many other things regarding your loss. I try to put my rage at your loss on the least harmful targets as possible to spare those around me, but it doesn’t always work.
What’s in my head escapes and hurts myself and others. I wish they would go away. There isn’t a far enough, dark enough, safe enough place that I can find to erase those images and there are many times that I have thought they would drive me insane. So insane I thought it would be impossible to survive through your loss many times, Matthew.
I often feel I will never be whole again.
There is Aaron…this little baby.
A second chance.
And while it is still so very hard and I sit here struggling to get out of this very big hole I’m in?
I love him so much.
He has brought so much love and happiness to our family, Matthew. He has made your loss more bearable in so many ways. Your father is a different man since he was born. Your brothers are proud little mother hens that adore and watch out for him. He has saved your mother.
I wonder if you know all these things.
I hope so.
I know that you didn’t want to leave us, I KNOW IT. I don’t blame you for ANY OF THIS.
You are my sweet, sweet boy and you always will be.
I have to think and believe with how much we loved and treasured you that you miss us deeply and wish you were here with us as much as we long to have you back with our family.
No matter how lovely and perfect heaven is supposed to be?
I can’t imagine it being happier than being here with those that loved you so, so much.
Sometimes I feel silly writing these things to you or talking to you in the shower or in those really horrible hours of the morning with the light is blue and cold and lonely.
So many people of faith around me say that you are with me, that you are my guardian angel, that you are proud of me. I’m not sure about that. I want it to be that way. I want you to be around me, guarding me, giving me comfort, being proud of me.
If you are up there or here or wherever and you can see my life and be with me?
I’ve done the best I can, but I am not capable of a lot.
I’ve hurt so many.
I’ve lost so much.
I’m so messed up.
I have set back after setback after setback. I think that I am doing well, that things are better, that I can actually function and be free of this debilitating sorrow that is so tied to you and then BAM!
I’m proved wrong.
I’m in a pretty dark and deep hole right now, Matthew. I wish I could be different for you. For everyone. For myself. I wish I could just be…fixed.
I have so many good and wonderful things about me. Why can’t they just stay center stage and outshine the other all the time?
Why do I keep falling down SO HARD?
So MANY times.
It’s exhausting to keep going through. For me and everyone that touches my life. It’s too much sometimes. I wish I could look at this like someone I want to get away from and distance myself from it.
I don’t have that luxury.
I get to stay right here. Front and center. Yippee.
And I feel like a failure.
Over and over and over again people tell me that you are here, with me and that you will give me comfort when I feel you.
But I don’t.
I don’t feel you here with me.
What kind of horrible mother says that?
Doesn’t feel their child’s spirit around them?
So I try.
I hope, and wish and try to FORCE IT TO BE SO.
But I just…don’t.
It has tortured me for a very long time.
A longtime friend that knows me inside and out lost their father at a young age and I confided this horrible guilty secret to them quite some time ago. They told me that it took years and years before they could take comfort and feel their dad around them. They were just too hurt and in pain to do so before then.
Just like they knew it would, it comforted me and gave me hope that one day I might.
That it would help combat how I feel all the time.
I hurt for you. I ache for you all the time.
I cry and sob and RAGE that you didn’t get more time here. That you didn’t make it to four months like your brother did. That you will never have a first day of school, a first kiss, fall in love or give me a beautiful redheaded grand daughter to make up for the fact that your father is the only single chromosome male IN EXISTENCE.
Not one single day goes by where there isn’t at least a twinge of pain in my heart for you and it shows.
The fall out from your death is so big and ugly I wonder if I will ever stop feeling the effects of it. I have been asked again and again and again if it gets easier.
Sometimes I am actually truthful in my answer.
No, it doesn’t.
It never, ever gets easier…I just get better at dealing with it.
Until I don’t.
And the process starts all over again.
I know this has been a hard day. A difficult letter. One I hope you understand.
Even if I am not through enough of my hurt and pain to feel you here with me yet?
If you’re really here?
Please don’t leave me.
To get through life without you I will need you by me every second of the way until I see you again.
Until I do?
I think about you.
I miss you.
I love you.