Dear Jacob,

It’s January 18, 2018, and you are 18 months old in Heaven. I miss you so much. Thank you for sending us your sweet little sister. She is absolutely amazing, and having her here has made our hearts full again in a way we never thought possible. But she doesn’t replace you. No one ever could. More than ever, I know now what we have missed by not having you here. And more than ever, I know that there is so much we can’t ever know. As I watch Ella Jane’s personality emerge, I know you would have shared some similarities with her, but I also know you would have had so many characteristics that were all your own, and I grieve that I can’t even begin to guess what those would have been. Would you be sweet, smiley, and cuddly like she is? Would you be loud? Ornery? Silly? Curious? Shy? Sometimes I see glimpses of you in her, and it is at once wonderful and heartbreaking. Wonderful to have a sense of nearness to you, and heartbreaking that the moment is gone in a flash. I am always left wanting more. So much more. And I always will be. What would life look like with you, our 18 month old little man and your 5 month old little sister both under our roof? I would give anything to know.

How is Heaven? I know there are so many great friends and relatives there that I’m sure you’ve met. A few really special angel babies too, who I hope will celebrate your half birthday with you. I hope when you look down on us you can see our love for you. I hope you smile seeing us with Ella Jane, who we know you worked with God to send exactly as we needed her to be – sweet, smiley, and a great sleeper. And it just recently dawned on me why she has the biggest, bluest, most amazing eyes. You must know that one of the physical aspects I have struggled with the most when it comes to missing you is that I never got to see you open yours. I hope you see the space we have for you in our lives and our hearts and know we always long for you to be here with us. You’re never forgotten. Not for a day, hour, or minute.

I hope you see how I am doing my best to be your mother here on earth even though you’re in Heaven. I hope you smile at the way I try to do good in your name and build a legacy for you here that goes far beyond the short time you were actually present on this earth. I also hope you smile at how I’m learning to give myself grace when it’s all too much. You probably already know this, but there have been some really hard days lately. I get down on myself when it all feels like more than I can handle and I worry that I’m not holding up the promise I made shortly after you were born that I would change for the better because of you, rather than let my grief pull me downward. I’ve realized that part of changing for the better, though, means accepting the hard days and being kind with myself as I navigate them. Letting the waves of grief wash over rather than trying to dam them up and ignore them. Accepting when I can’t accomplish as much as I used to or participate in activities I did before, and honoring just what I need in the moment. Because if I can do that, I’m better for your sister, your daddy, myself, and others. Even when I feel that I am not keeping up, I am a better person and mother for heeding the messages God has put in my heart and trying to mirror His grace in my own life. It is easier said than done, but you have taught me how important it is to try.

Thank you, sweet boy, for teaching me this important lesson and so many more. I will keep trying to do my best to mother your sister here and you in Heaven by following my heart and looking for the light you continue to shine in my life by the grace of God. I love you and I miss you more than words can say. I look at your pictures and I remember how real you are. I stared at you and held you, and if you were here, you’d be a bigger version of that little baby I snuggled for far too short of a time. You’d be running around the house, chattering up a storm, and full of a personality I can’t begin to imagine. All I can think of is how I would like to tousle your abundant red hair and give you a kiss and a giant hug on this, your 18 month birthday. I trust that you can see and feel my love today, and every day, until we meet again.

Love,

Your Mommy