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February 7, 2012

Dear Jacob XVII

Dear Jacob,


You don’t know it—well, maybe you do—but you’ve been a great help to me these last few weeks. Losing your brother, Ethan, was hard on me and all our family, but your smile and your laughter kept us all hopeful. Having you around, even when I needed help doing the mother-y things one does for a toddler, helped me to stay strong. I shouldn’t be surprised that you were so important in my healing: you made me a better person the day you made me a mother.

You probably won’t remember this part of your life later on, but it seems like you do have some idea of what’s going on now. Not the loss part, but the fact that there was another special little boy in our family, and really, there still is. You still don’t say many words, but you’ve been saying something that sounds a whole lot like “baby” lately. I wonder if it’s because I call you baby so often, or because you know something’s changed.

You’re so intuitive, especially in church and when we pray at home. You genuflect at the right times. You put your hands together and spread your arms wide like the priest does at the Our Father (when you’re not shouting your own prayers, that is). The other day, your dad and I were praying a rosary while you played. Your dad said something about God being our Father, and you looked up to the statue of the Holy Family. I think you might have waved, too. Sometimes you wave when we say grace before meals, and it reminds me that Jesus said He would be present when two or more were gathered in His name. I think you’re the holiest person I’ve ever met, and you help me to be more joyful.

I really think you know that Ethan’s gone. Or more precisely, I think your still pure soul has a clearer idea of where Ethan is than I can manage.


I ask you every day if you’re my special little boy, and you nod your head. My heart keeps saying, “There’s another little boy, too.” I’m not trying to deny him, but I want to be sure you know how much you mean to me, no matter how many other children are in our family. And I don’t think it is a denial to you. I was Ethan’s mother in a different way than I am your mother, and that’s okay. You’re two different kids.

Maybe this letter is more to me than it is to you. I just wanted you to know I love you and I appreciate how you’ve helped me. You really are a special little boy. In my eyes, you always will be.


With all my heart,

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