Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dear, sweet Nathaniel

This letter was read at Nathaniel's memorial service held on September 11, 2011. It was a warm day, nearly uncomfortable at 10:00 am when we started to gather. We held his service in the small Shakespeare Garden, which is located inside of the International Rose Test Gardens, Washington Park, Portland, Oregon. Nathaniel was born, and died, on July 25th, 2011. 

Dear, sweet Nathaniel,

I have so much to say to you. More than this letter can possibly touch. So this note is only a continuation of our dialogue, which started a long time ago, and will undoubtedly continue forever.

You and I, together, started this journey nearly a year ago. Our communication was full of words, images, movements, music, and touch. We shared a body, shared time, shared blood, sleep, food, love, play, excitement, anxiety, fear, grief, and joy.

And we shared your birth.  When you finally came out, you were so, so beautiful! You were perfect! And so sweet! I fell hopelessly and completely in love with you. I wanted to keep you forever and do everything I could for you.   

But I didn’t know how long you could stay. So I held you close and told you how brave you are, and how proud of you I am. I held you in as much love as I could find in the world. And I am still so proud of you.

And then, too soon, we shared your death. My heart shattered when you died in my arms. My world, my body, and my being ripped in two.

I wish that you could have stayed with us. Just a minute longer. Or an hour. I would have cherished if you could have stayed a day. A few days with you would have been pure heaven.  

I wish that your brother and your sister could have met you while you were alive. I wish that your grandmother could have held you before you left. You have so many friends and family who were looking forward to meeting you and holding you, and knowing you as you learn and grow. I’m so, so sad that we can not introduce your live being to them.   

I’m sad that I can’t touch my nose to your soft cheeks, or blow raspberries on your sweet belly, or nurse, or breathe together. I grieve every milestone you will never touch, large and small. 

But despite the heartbreak, the sadness, and every wish that can never be, I am deeply, deeply honored that you chose me to be your mom. I sit in stunned awe of the miracle that you are. You showed us, at just the right time, and in just the right way, that we needed to take a closer look at you. Your little trick, your turn upside down, started a chain of events that led us as gently as possible down the most treacherous and terrible path.  You looked out for me, and for your dad, and for everyone around us.

I know you as more than just my little, sweet baby. Your being is so much larger than that. You are a miracle and my most valued teacher. I admire you. I am in complete shock and awe of what your little light illuminated – lessons and teachings that I could have never known, or even imagined, without your brief life.

Thank you for coming to me. Thank you for being my son.

And I know, sweet Nathaniel, that you are still here. I can feel you, and in many ways we are still together, and we always will be. But not having you here in a way that I can touch is excruciating.

I love you so much. I long for you every moment. Please keep visiting me in my dreams. I’m here and I’m listening, and I am

always present for you,