Dear Spencer

Dear Spencer,

Usually I write my thoughts to you in your journal. Today I decided to share them with you and to all and any who chose to read this. I hope that’s OK.

I can’t believe it’s been 7 years. I remember holding you and not wanting to let you go. I knew once I did, I was letting you go for the rest of this earthly life. I know we will meet again. I know this because I have faith and because I understand life. But missing you seems to be getting harder in stead of easier with each year passing. Each year is like a new layer to my grief. Every year I wonder what you would be doing and realize what I am missing.

Our world is crazy and maybe I should be happy that you were spared to live in such an awful place. But it’s also beautiful. I would give anything to be able to see it through your eyes. The first time Katie saw a rainbow in the sky she said, “Wow, I didn’t know those were in real life.” Every time any of your siblings see a butterfly they get super excited. Xander told me today “Look mom, there is a big balloon in the sky.” He was looking at the sun. But it was so hazy today that it just looked like  a balloon. So many of these moments I get to share with them, but not with you.

Last year your baby sister was born two months early. I was afraid I would lose her. She is a precious gift and a reminder that miracles do still happen. While I was sitting there watching her grow in her little crib, I couldn’t help but wonder about the fairness in life. Here she was just 2lbs 10 oz working hard to mature enough to survive outside of that incubator, and yet you were 8lbs 3 oz, full term, healthy and didn’t get to live. And we don’t know why for sure. How does that make sense? Why couldn’t I have you both?

It’s been a rough year and today has been a rough day. I haven’t been to see you as much, and this makes me sad. I know it happens. Life happens. But I thought I would visit you everyday the rest of my life. I still think of you everyday. In fact, I think about you all the time. We just had family pictures done and I can’t help but wonder where your little face would have been. The neighbor kids get together and I wonder what it would have been like if you were there too. I wonder how we would have arranged our house if you were still here. But the hardest thing about this year was knowing that everyone else has forgotten you. It’s OK and I know it’s OK. I don’t expect everyone to remember today just because I will never forget. But there is still a sadness knowing that you are really alone in your grief. Everyone else HAS moved on, but I still hold on. Just a little. Especially on this day. Even grandma doesn’t count you when she counts her grandkids. Maybe that is too much to ask. Maybe that’s normal. But I still count you as one of my kids. It’s like today, 7 years ago, never happened.

What infuriates me more, though, is that your life was somehow minimized because you were stillborn. Yeah, but you were still born. I still had to go through labor, even though I didn’t get to bring you home. My milk still came in even though I didn’t get to nurse you.  I still had baby weight to lose. I still had to deal with hormone changes and night sweats. You are still my son, and I still love you. I miss you still and I remember you still.

I will never forget you were once alive in me. How can a baby “die in utero” if they were never alive in the first place? You were alive. I felt you kick me. I felt you hiccup. I heard your heart beat, and I felt your spirit. When you left me, I felt that too. I knew you were gone. I didn’t want to believe it. I held on to the hope that I was wrong and just worried for no reason. But when they told me you died, that’s when I died too. I already knew you were gone, but knowing for sure killed a part of me. I will always have that sadness, even when I am happy and even when no one knows what happened. Even when no one remembers what happened. I will always remember you.

No one “gets it”. You know? No one understands what this is like unless they have been there. It’s funny to me that when you lose someone how many books about grief you end up with. What’s even funnier how many of those people who give you a book, have actually read it. The grieving read it. We even go to therapy and are told over and over that what we are feeling is normal. But then when we try to explain it to our loved ones, they give us advice or say things that are clearly unhelpful. They would know this if they read the book they gave us.

But they don’t understand. And the grieving have to accept this. We have to have the filter. On top of everything else, we are responsible for that too. Seems unfair and unkind. But that’s life and the reality. I do accept it and have learned that taking that on shows love for those around me. I want to love those around me. I believe it honors you best. But some days I need a break from that filter. Some days are just hard. Sometimes I miss you so much that I just need someone to give me a hug and say, “I remember him too.” I wish that could have been today.

I love you, even though I didn’t get to know you. Until we meet again, my dearest.