Friday, December 23, 2016


Sweet Jacob,

You're on my mind all the time. It's the holidays. They do that to me. This time of year is wrapped into so many traditions, and you were always right there in the middle of our celebrations. We figured out a beautiful way to do Christmas around vest treatments, medications, and anything else you needed. It was our Christmas, and our way of being a family as a whole. It was always pretty perfect.

I knew to never take things for granted with you. Christmas was no different. Last year, two dear friends lost their children on this very day. It hit me hard. It hit close to home. It made me realize how very fragile life is. It made me squeeze you a little harder last year, and truly understand what a miracle you were to us all. I especially remember sitting on the couch in the afternoon on Christmas Day, and just holding you and your sister squeezing in next to us. It was a perfect moment.

I wanted to let you know how your sister is doing. First of all, I couldn't have made it through the last six months without her. She has a way to keep both your dad and I going, moving forward. One of my almost shocking observations after you passed is how Sarah mysteriously had become a high schooler. Our last ten years were really busy, and somehow I didn't realize your sister was growing up right in front of my eyes. The thought that she is going to college in less than four years is a little frightening. I know many teenagers don't want to be with their parents, but I have so far to witness that with your sister. She loves hanging with us, and it is such a gift. As you know, she is fun, sincere, smart, and definitely goofy. It's a good combination.

Your sister misses you. It hurts her. It's hard to hurt, and at the same growing up, trying to fit in, and finding yourself. I keep talking about you all the time, so she knows all her feelings are true and valid and perfectly normal. I try to put words to her feelings when she can't. When she's sad, she confides in her dog Max. His personality definitely reminds us of you. He even has his share of medical issues that has kept us on our toes including a possible diagnosis of pancreatitis. After our last vet visit, I was asked if I were a doctor, and I had to admit that all my medical experience comes from you. Knowing all the ins and outs of pancreatitis, lipase, and stomach pain.

I'm proud of your sister. I'm proud of her staying the course in school, with her friends, with her volleyball, and with her teenage life. Not an easy task, but she's doing it. I'm also happy that she wants Children's to stay in her life. When she has a day off from school, she goes and volunteers in the hospital. Her favorite thing to do is to give out gifts to the newly admitted families. Remember when she gave you that green monkey blanket?

Sarah also joined the Youth Advisory Council at Children's this fall. This Council consists of patients and siblings, and they look out for the children in the hospital. Sarah has made good friends on the Council, and it was fun to watch her at the Holiday Party. She didn't once blink with friends being in wheelchairs, having autism or battling cancer or other diseases. If anything, Sarah fitted right in the group. I was able to snap a few pictures from her participating in the Harley Davidson toy drive with 2500 riders, and her holiday party.

And do you know what she is really excited about? She gets to go to Children's Prom this spring! She is not even old enough for prom, but it doesn't matter. She gets to go! She is beyond excited. I'll share that special night with you.

On Thanksgiving morning, I was so very sad. I missed you beyond words. I was sitting on the couch, and Sarah curled up with me. I told her I could never do this life without her. She is saving me over and over again.

Tonight, we're watching the ultimate Christmas movie Love Actually. Christmas food is filling our fridges, ready to feed eighteen friends who are coming over for dinner tomorrow. I will put out a plate for you, since you will be on everyone's mind. You're never far from us. It's not going to be easy without you. In fact, it's going to be pretty shitty. But I hope in the middle of our hearts hurting for you, we will find some moments of joy and Christmas spirit.

One of my favorite Christmas pictures of us.

Sweet Jacob, I love you to the moon and back,


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