February 10, 2023

Back in 2016 (and beyond), I used to write letters to our first stillborn son, Isaac. When I finally gathered the courage to reopen the journal, this time to write to Jack, I couldn’t do it. Instead, I wrote to Isaac again. He’d be turning seven years old this July, and I will never stop thinking about who he would have been. I share these profoundly personal letters with the internet, not for attention or pity, but so that those who go through this horrible experience might find they are not alone. I share so that people might better understand what their friends or family are going through.

Dearest Isaac,

I haven’t written in years, and life has changed so much. You would be six years old, almost seven really, if you were here with us where you always belonged. I didn’t plan to write to you tonight, but when I opened the journal the idea of writing to you felt more tolerable and somehow right.

I never pictured you alone. I’ve always imagined you were somewhere with Bup Bup Sandy. I later assumed you’d been joined by Nana (but Nana at her peak, not how she was in her last years) and, eventually, Bup Bup Saul. Now you’ve been joined by someone very very special. On January 27th, your youngest brother, Jack, came to be with you. Mommy, Daddy, Max, Asher, and Caleb all wanted to keep him here, but for some reason we could not. Maybe you needed him more? Honestly, that’s the ONLY reason there could possibly be for us to live through this pain again.

Losing Jack has torn open wounds in my heart and mind that I had so carefully worked to patch together over the past six years. You and Jack are part of a life that I will never have, but will always want. This time, there is no trying again. There will be no health milestones as we prepare to add another baby to our family. There is no patch for this loss, and I might be forced to face it head-on this time. It’s not that I ever replaced you. However, I certainly distracted myself from the gaping hole in my world by having your brothers. I love them with all I have left, but right now, when I look at them, I only see that you and Jack are missing. I see how big they are getting and wonder what you would be like. You would probably be in First Grade. I’m sure you would love our new house and would wrangle your younger brothers like a champ. I look at Caleb, and he is such a big boy compared to sweet and tiny Jack. It feels like people are missing.

This still feels like some bad dream that I am bound to wake up from soon. But it is not. You and Jack are gone. PLEASE take care of him. Protect him and ensure he knows how loved he is and always will be, just as you are.



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