Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

One Year Later

September 13, 2007

Dear Will:

First of all, I know it’s kind of crazy for me to address you in this way. I’m not even sure you can hear me—or at least, I hope you have better things to do than attend to all of my worries and concerns. I hope you’re working on something, somewhere, learning and growing and doing stuff. One thing I do know is that I certainly don’t need to worry or wonder about whether you’re working hard—- you know all about effort and strength, my friend.

So, I know this is kind of a crazy, one-sided conversation, but it’s definitely less crazy than me talking to myself, so there you go.

I love you, Will. Maybe more now than ever before. I certainly appreciate all you did in your short life, all you faced, all you overcame. I’m proud of you, my firstborn. At the same time, I’m so deeply sorry for all of your difficulty and pain and hardship, especially the stuff that we put you through. Surgeries, ventilators, stitches, bottles, therapies, examinations, blood draws, car rides, naso-gastric tubes, baths, diapers, and general mishandling. I want you to know that I feel terrible for all of the pain that our choices brought you, but that we needed to do all of that, because we love you. We wanted to give you every chance at this life, because we love you. We chose to cause you pain, because we love you. I hope this makes more sense to you than it does to me.

And I miss you, Will. Every day, and in every way. Relieved as I am that you’re not straining so hard inside such a weak vessel, I wish I could have you back. I want to hold you, and talk to you, to read you books and take you to the park, and to look and listen. You are an amazing person, Will. I miss hanging out with you. And—- much as it breaks my heart to say it out loud—- I’m glad you left us so quickly and decisively, because if I had any choice in the matter, I’d have never let you go.

And I wanted to thank you. For all you’ve given me, and us. But most especially, for your sister. Oh Will, she is so beautiful, and full of life. She just learned to shake her head, and she does it a lot. She plays hard, and sleeps deep, and when I’m giving her a bottle and look into her eyes, I see you there, somehow. Before you two were born, we prayed that we wouldn’t lose both of you; that we’d get to know you both. Now, I see that the answer to our prayer was your strength and self-sacrifice. Your perseverance allowed her to flourish, and her generosity allowed you to persevere. She still shares stuff, Will: stuffed animals, toys, clothes, hugs, chips, and drooly cheerios. She shares so much, thanks to you.

Will, you gave us beauty. Not only with your deep eyes, and your thick hair, and your love, and your strength, and your wide smile. You showed us that life, however difficult and wrought with pain, is still somehow filled with beauty. And you’re still showing us, every day. I’m so grateful for you, and for your life.

With much love,
Dad

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5 Responses to “One Year Later”

  1. Doris says:

    Thank you for so eloquently sharing your celebration of Will with those of us who are in the shadows of your lives but continue to love and pray for you all.

  2. Neva says:

    Mike, Stacy and Ella,
    Sending you ALL of our love! And then some more! What a year it has been for you… wish we had the right words to give you.

    Love,
    Pete, Neva, Jake & Caleb

  3. emmegab says:

    Mike, this is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your sweetest and saddest thoughts with everyone. We still think of you guys often, and were delighted to have Ella on the very edge of our yard a couple of weeks ago!
    love,
    jen

  4. dave says:

    The words and writings are beautiful in “One Year Later.” this should be preserved for posterity

    Love,

    Dad

  5. Ken Tennyson says:

    Mike, thanks for sharing this. Not sure how, but in your post I experience both the abyss and beauty…

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