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Modern Perspectives, Motherhood, Young Married Mom

February 6, 2012

Dear Ethan III

Dear Ethan,

 

I thought my previous letter to you might be my last, but it turns out, I have more to tell you.

 

Do you know that I remember almost every detail of your short life? Or at least, of my experience of your short life. I remember the moment your dad and I looked at the positive pregnancy test, and I announced oh-so-eloquently, “I’m pregnant.” I remember us telling Jacob, who was playing in the living room. He was in a nodding mood and agreed that he was excited to be a big brother, that he loved you, and that he would teach you how to do things.

 

I remember telling my mom (although she already knew) and dad, and telling your daddy’s family. It took forever to get them all in the same room. When we told your aunts, I couldn’t handle your dad’s beating around the bush anymore and started yelling into the speakerphone, “Baby Number Two! Baby Number Two!”

 

I remember not wanting to get out of bed because I was so tired in the mornings. It’s tough to get up now, but for a different reason. I told your dad I was sure you were twins, but he gently reminded me I was this tired with Jacob, too. I remember looking back and realizing that I stopped being able to eat cheese about the same time you started to grow. The day I almost passed out in church and then took three naps was the real sign, but you were making your presence known before that.

 

I cherish those days I had you, little one. You went everywhere with me; we did everything together. I hope you liked all that chocolate I ate. That was for you and me both. We took walks to keep us healthy. We played with your brother and I talked to you. I tried not to squish you against counters, but I’m not very tall. Sorry.

 

I also remember almost everything about learning you weren’t alive anymore. What the doctor said, how I cried. The walk to get your brother, calling your grandparents. I remember what I told them and how they reacted. The strange thing is, I don’t remember what I said to your dad. Words stick in my mind; phrases often hold on rather diligently. But this time, I know I had him sit down on the couch with me, and I said something about the ultrasound, and then something like “our baby is gone.”

 

I knew I had to call you our baby—I told him the next day I wanted to call you Ethan, which we’d discussed but hadn’t totally settled on yet—but I couldn’t say you’d died. Somehow it felt too dramatic, but it’s the truth. You were alive. We heard your heart beat. And then, for a reason we don’t know yet and may not ever know, you died.

 

It’s strange. With Jacob, I remember trying so hard to remember his face in his first few weeks, how it was changing, how the sounds he made were changing over time. He’d sigh and make the sweetest sounds in the universe as he fell asleep and as he nursed. I wanted to put those images and sounds in a jar and keep them to look back on, but they just kept fading away. Now when I think about newborn Jacob, the images that come to mind are the photographs we took. I guess the same is true of you—I think of the ultrasounds, especially the last one, in which you had already died, but you look like a little boy (or girl?).

 

All this is to say I think certain moments with Jacob slipped from my memory because there are so many of them, and more to come. Every moment with you is so clear in my heart, in my mind, because I had so few of them.

 

I miss you, Ethan. It’s starting to get harder again. Living with the reality of losing you is different than dealing with the grief up front. As your daddy said to me the other night, you will always be a part of us.

 

A bunch of your family has told me a little bit about how they think of you. Your grandma sees that you are with her father, who never got to know me. Your grandpa sees you as a thirty-three-year-old man. Perhaps we will all be thirty-three in heaven. That brings him peace. One of your uncles told me that he thinks Jacob is just so wonderful that heaven wanted to have the first crack at you.

 

Though it was short, I know I had the first chance to hold you, and I am so grateful, my child. Know that we think of you often, and please pray for strength and hope for your family on earth. We love you always.

 

Love,
Mom

  1. Katie N. says:

    Hi Lindsay! I’m an avid Marriage Confessions reader, and saw your comment on Katie’s post today, so I thought I’d hope over to your page to check it out. I read this post (as well as several others on your blog, all beautiful!), and I just felt compelled to write to you. I know we don’t know each other, and I’ve never had to endure the loss of a child and therefore I cannot begin to fathom the pain you’re feeling, but I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you and praying for you today…praying for happy moments in a day (week, month) clouded in sadness, praying for your heart to feel just a little bit lighter than it did yesterday, praying for a genuine smile to cross your face and your heart because of at least one happy thing that occurs in your life today. Thank you for sharing your stories, and please know that I am thinking of you.

  2. Have you ever read the book Heaven is for Real? It’s written by a little boy {with help from his dad} who died/went into a coma when he was 2 years old. He started talking about his experiences when he was like 4, I think, and some even a little bit earlier. Anyways, in the book he starts talking about his sister… but he never knew {because he was 2} that his mother had a miscarriage before she had him. I might be getting some of the details wrong here, but this is the part that matters. He starts talking about how he played with her, and what her life was like in heaven, and how heaven has a special place just for babies who were miscarried. And he wasn’t old enough to know any better! How cool is that? Ethan, for sure, is having the time of his life with Jesus…. and will never know anything different. Praying for you… every day.

    • I read a bit of it, browsing in a store. Thank you for this! And of course, for your prayers. Hope you are feeling better–almost to the second trimester, no? Maybe you’ll get some energy back!

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