I gave my son your teddy bear.
I’ve written this letter to you a dozen times by now. Each time, it’s a little different. Each time, it still hurts my heart.
I had a baby boy. He’s not really my baby anymore, though. He’s grown into such a little boy this past summer. I think he’d have liked you, and you’d have loved him.
When he was small, I wondered about his future friends. Would he have someone like you in his life? Make that same kind of connection with a person, like I made with you.
He’s older now. Has started making friends. Other children he seeks out to play with. I’ve started calling them his people, his best friends. They’re the ones he always chatters on about.
There’s one he talks of more than others.
She’s a sweet girl. A bit of a spitfire. She adores my son, and he adores her. She lives nearby, so they’ll be in school together. Maybe even ride the same bus, just like we did in the beginning.
I think about you when I see them play. When my son talks about her. When she asks me if he can come home with her.
I can’t help but to think about you.
Are they life’s second chance?
That chance at such a deep, rare friendship between two people? So connected that the other’s thoughts are heard the moment they begin to flit across the mind?
Will they have more time?
More time than the short years we had experiencing this crazy world together?
I feel out of sorts sometimes, thinking about their future. Some have told me that I’m worrying about nothing. That it will be okay.
The ones who get it, understand because they’ve been there. Experienced the pain and devastation that death brings when it takes someone away.
They also understand my fear. My worry.
That protectiveness I start to feel when I let my mind wander too far into the years ahead. Our time was so short. Cut off by tragedy.
One second you were there, tucking a note I had written to you in your pocket.
The next… you were gone.
I still, even after all of my losses, including grandparents, have never experienced the ripping, burning, tearing pain that I felt in my heart the day you left this world.
I can’t protect my son from the unexpected. I can’t take away any pain he may feel in his life. I can’t stop him from experiencing heartbreak. I sit here, hovering right on the edge, more often then not, hating that I can’t do any of that for him.
But, I can be there for him if loss becomes a chapter in his story.
I can comfort him when the tears and the hurt come.
Come from a place of knowing. Understanding.
I had that teddy bear you gave me just months before you died, sitting in my office at home. Watching me from a shelf. It’s moved everywhere with me. Never packed away.
A few weeks after my son was born, I tucked one of his newborn knit caps over its head and moved it to a shelf in his room.
I asked the bear to watch over him while he slept.
Keep an eye on my baby. Keep him safe.
One night, I realized, it was you I was asking.
I knew my heart wouldn’t survive another devastating break. And if something were to happen to my son, the baby I fought so hard to have, I wouldn’t survive.
I knew my heart couldn’t handle another break.
He snuggled with the bear one night, for a little bit. And I told him about mommy’s best friend who gave her that bear.
I wish you could meet him. I wish he could know you physically. He’s so special and amazing. His heart is so big, kind, caring, sweet. His soul is old, and pure.
As he snuggled the bear, and I told him about you, I found myself wondering again about him and his friend.
As he drifts to sleep, I find myself wishing again.
For just one thing.
That he has the time with his special friend, and all of his other friends, that we didn’t have.