The light and the dark.



Dear James,

Last night, I lay in bed and my body convulsed with sobs. I felt like my grief was trying to tear itself out of me. It was a physical thing, this feeling. My whole body hurt. I longed for you to be lying next to me. Agony like a searing light filled my soul. I was stumbling, blind. Searching for you.

No mother should be separated from her child.

There was nowhere to go to get away from the sorrow. I wanted to step outside of my body for just one second of relief. One second of not remembering your brilliant eyes, your chubby baby arms, the smell of your hair, the feel of your body against mine, the sound of your voice. I wanted one second during which the ceaseless questions stopped. The questions that have no answers.

What if? What if? What if?

It is 10:30, and you are not here. The girls are asleep. What do I do now, James? What do I do with this time that was once filled by you? It was 5 months and 1 day, but it felt like my whole life. Where have you gone, sweet boy? Why did you leave me here without you? Five more minutes…what wouldn’t I give for 5 more minutes?

We tried so hard, and yet, I am afraid that we failed so badly.

For 5 months and 1 day, my attention was hyper-focused. Everything around me was hazy. You were the only sharply defined thing in my life -this bright-eyed little fighter who stole the hearts of all those around you.

Today, a special man came to say goodbye to you. He had just left the country with his family when you died. He has been a guidepost for us all along, helping us make decisions, helping us honor your path, helping us cope with our inability to “fix” you. He wasn’t here when you died. He wasn’t here to say goodbye to you. It was an empty place at the funeral and visitation. His absence was keenly felt.

He brought a glass butterfly for you. I plan to put it on your grave. We sat beside your grave today for three hours. We toasted to you with the good bourbon. We cried over you. We laughed too. We marveled at the way your short life impacted so many people. We agreed that we would always be friends and that the end of your life is not the end of your story.

But truth be told, little boy, tonight mommy is so lost without you. I wanted this to be an uplifting post. I wanted to talk about the things that I’m going to do – how your life and death have brought clarity to my mind about my purpose in this world. Instead, I look at pictures of you, and I just weep.

I miss you, little boy – more than any words can hope to capture. You were so beautiful, and you are so incredibly loved.



One thought on “The light and the dark.

  1. Crying all the time with you momma of James. Catherine, staunch defender of your son in life as well as loss. Remembering James’s huge, beautiful eyes. Eyes that saw more than we do. Eyes that look upon you now and embrace you with his love. A toast with the best bourbon to James and to all those he has–and continues to impact.


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