A couple of weeks ago, I was advised by my therapist to write letters to my son, Stephen, who was stillborn at full-term. I agreed to give it a try.
Today, I wrote these words to him. I’m sharing them here with the hope that someone else who is also working through their own grief, will know that they’re not alone.
I’m missing you so much today. The tears keep coming. Julie and your dad are being so loving and supportive as I work through this.
Your dad asked me which of these three days is the hardest for me. It’s hard to separate the grief like that. The 14th is always hard because it was the last day you were alive. Twenty-four years ago, you were happily kicking and moving and getting hiccups and getting mad at getting the hiccups. You were doing everything you were supposed to as the time grew nearer for you to join our family.
I’m just going to admit that I have so many unfulfilled wishes, when it comes to you:
I wish you were still alive here. I wish I could have seen you smile. I wish I could have heard your voice. I wish I could have hugged and kissed and sang songs with you. I wish you could've been Valerie and Brett's little brother and Jillian and Julie's older brother. I wish I could've seen you sad or angry. I wish I could've seen you fall in love, get married, and have children. I wish you would have had to bury me and not the other way around. I wish these days of mourning would not have needed to happen.
All that being said though, I don’t wish I had never known you. God could’ve taken you early in the pregnancy. He could’ve taken you before I even knew I was pregnant and I wouldn’t have grieved you at all. That thought brings its own pain.
I am so thankful that God let me carry you for nine months. He let me hold you, kiss you, bathe you, dress you, and say I love you many, many times before I had to say goodbye.
You are always in my heart, my son. I will always love you.
Does the pain ever really go away after the death of a loved one? No. It changes, becomes something you can live with day after day. You hide it deep in your heart so that you can function and everyone else thinks you’ve “gotten over it” or “moved on.”
To all of you who’ve been a part of my life and been a source of support and encouragement through the past twenty-four years, I thank you. Your love and understanding, sometimes your shoulders that I cry on, have helped me survive and find hope.
Stephen died. My love for him never will. I knew him best. I loved him most. It makes sense that I would miss him the most, too. He and I have a bond, as mother and son, that has survived this separation and will live for eternity. I know I will see him again in heaven and the pain now will be part of the joy then.