Dear Christian,

Today is a day that I have thought about a lot over the last year.  How would we feel? What would we do? What kind of place will we be in emotionally, physically, spiritually...Today marks one year since you left our family.  I remember that day last year with perfect clarity, the days after not so well. But Oct. 11 of last year stands out...and much of it is very personal to me, but it was a very hard day, sweet little boy, very hard.  We never even thought of this outcome...ever.  Always when you have a procedure or surgery the very most extreme outcome is leaving the hospital without your loved one...but that is the extreme, that doesn't usually happen. But it did happen to us.  And everyday I look at your sweet picture on the wall, that will never change, and I am sad that you are not here with us. Everyday.  This last year, it seems impossible that it has been a year but time has passed, has changed us all.  We have changed in many ways that we are not even aware of yet.  Want an example?  A few Sundays ago, your sister went to the bathroom at church and then I went right after her to check on her because I can't really handle letting your siblings out of my sight if they are within my reach...we couldn't find her.  At first I was sure she had gone in the men's bathroom with your older brother, but I called to her, she didn't answer. I asked E if she was in there, he said no. I looked methodically around the church, in vacant rooms, on the stage, in small places where she might like to hide, outside even...she was nowhere.  By the time 10 minutes had passed I was panic-filled.  My mind went a lot of places I couldn't handle...your dad came out of the meeting and helped look, and finally found her, where? In the men's bathroom, that I had now called into frantically at least twice with no answer.  She was hiding in there.  Once we had her out, I just started sobbing.  That experience taught me two things; obviously I can't let Miss A go to the bathroom alone, even at 5 years old, and, secondly, even though I would have normally been upset about her disappearance, my reaction was greatly enhanced...because of our previous experiences.  Our lives and our reactions are influenced by what has happened previously, and you passing away was a traumatic and life-changing event.  That has changed the landscape of our lives, and our family forever.

I am sad for all the things that we won't experience with you...all of your first and seconds and thirty-thirds...all the things I don't know about you.  I can infer some things because you have siblings and we might assume that you would be similar but I will not know about YOU personally, at least not for a long while, until we meet again.  I am sad that there will always been an asterisk in our family...we tell people that this is our 5th baby we are expecting and when they ask us the ages of the other four...there's the * by you.  Because while we know how old you are (14 months old on the 18th of Oct), you are not here with us and it seems wrong not to include you in our family line up but also weird not to acknowledge the fact that you are not with us.  Such a hard subject to broach, and all from a simple question asked by a stranger who has no idea what this last year has been for our family.

There are things I am not sad about...I will never be sad that you came to our family.  That you are still a part of our family.  You will always be with us, in our hearts, in our minds.  We feel you near us, we think of you everyday.  We say goodnight to you every night.  We visit your memorial marker and speak to you.  But we will always want more. Because we love you.  Very much.  We were at a mall play area a couple of weeks ago and I saw some little boys running around, one a year old and one 15 months old, and I saw another little boy there, 13.5 months old, fitting right in, and playing with them...it was you.  And it was all I could do to not cry.  

But we always smile when we think of the 7 weeks that you were here in our home.  You brought us and those around you so much joy and love.  We all remember how sweet and soft and little you were.  How your diapers didn't smell bad, how you were learning to smile and make little cute noises.  We will keep those treasures in our hearts, until we are reunited again.  Because we know that families are forever, and we know that you are not all that far from us, and that one day we will all be together again.

We love you.
Mom, Dad and your crazy siblings


Liz Taylor said...


I completely understand what you said about the day of his passing and the days following. The days and weeks following Claire are a complete blur of activity and I would not be able to tell you anything about those days. But, the actual day of her passing is as clear as if it was yesterday.

Isn't it amazing how much such a small person can affect us?

I am thinking about you and your family today and hope that you know how much you are loved.

Hugs, Liz

Jackie said...

I am in no way saying that I can comprehend how you feel today or any other day about such a difficult trial, but the part where you describe how you will never be the same, I totally understand. It has been almost 7 years since our extremely hard time with Mia and I thought that I had "recovered." But, Nate and I were talking just last week and he said that experience changed us and our relationship. Not necessarily a good or bad change, but a change nevertheless. Come to find out after a simple internet search...one year ago, they "discovered" that moms and dads of NICU babies who have long stays suffer PTSD much like military members...alarms, bells, death, bad news everyday, good news sometimes, sickness. One mom described how a fever in her healthy 2 year old sent her mind back to the NICU, just how you described losing Avery in the bathroom. I know those feelings. I love you!

Lacey said...

I love you Jen.

Martinez Family said...

Thinking of you Jen! You are an amazing person & a great mom!!!

Love ya,

Meredith said...

I was thinking about Christian the other night with you at the softball game. How he should be there wobbling along the bleachers with Nathan. I'm so thankful for the plan of salvation and that you will have your baby back again someday. You are a great mom Jen! I'm sure he misses you just as much as you miss him.

Marisa said...

You are such an example of strength. Love to you and your family.

Ilenia said...

I have been thinking of Christian at time was approching because we were not able to attend his funeral last year. Thank you for posting this. Big hugs!

Cari.Ryan said...

It's amazing that even though our experiences with losing our son's is different, a lot of our thoughts are similar. I can't even tell you how often I see little boys that are Brycen's age, and I think "Brycen would be doing that too if he were still here." Or how painful it is to be asked how many kids you have. I haven't figured out how to respond to that one yet. I'm not sure there will ever be a perfect way to respond to that honestly.

It's amazing how much one beautiful little life can change life as you know it, and in a lot of ways make it that much sweeter because you know you were lucky enough to be their mommy. I sure hope you felt your little Christian next to you! I love those few and far between days when I know Brycen is right by me and I wish I could turn around and see him there. But their presence, our perfect boys, is oh so glorious, isn't it!!

Swenson Family said...

I am so so sorry. Thank you for sharing this sweet post. My parents lost their first baby and only son at 11 days old. It has always been sweet growing up knowing that I have an older brother that I have never met, but I will someday. I am the youngest in my family and have always felt close to Chad, even though I never met him. My family has always been aware of when he would have received the Priesthood, when he would have gone on a mission... My Mom has always felt very close to him, especially at milestones in our lives- such as getting married in the temple and at my Grandma's funeral. He is very much a part of our family. In my young mind, it also made the Celestial Kingdom seem so much more real- knowing that I have 2 perfect brothers waiting for me- Christ and Chad. I am so grateful for the Gospel. You are amazing Jen. And so is your son.