It has been awhile, since I have been writing to you. Work has taken me across the pond, and I must admit I enjoy being back in Europe again. I also got to see your best friends' mom. I had a very lovely weekend in London with Nadia. Selina, Leandra, you and your sister were of course part of our conversations. We never stopped chatting.
I wanted to share with you this lovely letter from your friend Jill. I don't think you always liked her coming around. Physical therapy was work for you, but you were also so very proud when you showed us all what you could do.
We found one of your benches today. We jogged around the lake and then toward the park, not exactly sure where we would find the bench with your name. It was windier out than I'd expected, and each time I met with a gust of resistance, I tried to think of you--how hard you fought each bout of sickness, how you pressed back against each blow of Mito disease, and I tried to push forward, just like you did for so many years. We watched the geese fly over the lake, and we stopped to watch ducks bob on the choppy water, and then we headed south toward your bench.
As we neared the playground, I spotted a bench with a plaque. I saw the minion first and knew this bench was yours. Jonah and I stopped the stroller, and I sat him there, beside your name. I remembered you holding him as a baby when we came to visit you on my maternity leave, and how before he was even born, he loved to play with you. He would squirm and twirl and flip in my belly when you would sit up against me. You were the third person to ever feel him kick in my tummy, and he would get so incredibly excited every time he felt you sitting up against my belly.
I sat down on your bench as Jonah played near you once again, collecting rocks and sticks on the playground. I wished you and I were still sitting together. I wished you were once again leaning against me each week, giving those wonderful Jacob sighs. I wished you were fighting off your mom's or Gemma's or Ana's help to hold your head up. I wished you were still here to meet us at the park today.
And then I realized: you were there. I could feel your memory in the sunshine on our faces, just like when you and I would sit together outside on nice therapy days. I could hear your reassuring sighs in the now-gentler wind and in the breathless laughter of children climbing and sliding and swinging on the playground.
I sat on your bench and let the tears spill, and then thought about how much you would love swinging with the kids on the playground. I looked out at your neighborhood and the mountains, and felt so, so grateful for the chance to have been your friend, and for all the days we sat together. I miss you, Jacob. And I'm so glad to have this bench to come and sit with you again.