December 11, 2011
My dear sweet boy,
I miss you. I’m so grateful that you were able to come to our family. I miss your sweet spirit and calm presence. Having you in our home and hearts taught me so many things, and helped me gain a much broader perspective and clearer view of eternity.
One of the hardest parts (besides not being able to see you grow etc., and being parted from you) is not being able to hold you. Having a baby is such a physical experience. From growing you in my womb, sickness, aches and pains, labor, childbirth, recovery, nursing, holding, rocking, kissing- you are so close to me throughout the whole experience, it is hard not to have you here to hold and kiss and just…hold. This life is us as spiritual beings having a physical experience for the first time, and man is it hard to let go of the physical. Even though I know our bodies and spirits will one day be reunited never to be separated again, it is still hard to let go of the physical.
Zach had a favorite and treasured blanket when he was little that he called Cowboy. When we first started talking about your funeral and making preparations he suggested that we bury you in Cowboy. Him volunteering his treasured childhood object brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart so much. I thought it was a perfect idea, and welcomed the thought of you being swaddled in such an object full of love and comfort from your dad.
We had a friend of ours cut a piece of Cowboy down to size and line it with a soft white fabric on the other side, keeping the original patchwork on the front. In the end she rebound Cowboy to a normal receiving blanket size and ended up with two little mini blankets that she lined. One you were buried with and she gave the other to us, along with the original (although now somewhat smaller) Cowboy. This little foot by two feet of fabric has already brought me such comfort as I now have something that I can hold and think of you. It reminds me of its little twin that you are wrapped in, and gives me comfort thinking of the love and care that surrounds you physically, and it helps me to have something to hold in your stead for the time being.
Maybe part of the reason I was so interested in other people meeting you and knowing that you existed is because I am afraid of myself forgetting you were ever here. I don’t want to forget you. I want your life to have a permanent and visible impact on me. I don’t want to just move on. But, that’s kind of what you have to do it seems- in order to be able to function and take care of yourself, your marriage, your responsibilities and family. Maybe I have put too much distance between myself and this experience.
I want to be able to remember every sweet and painful moment with you. Each heartbreaking memory. Every little piece of heaven. I don’t want to forget any little part of you. I am so glad I took a million pictures and videos of you. I knew one thing I would never regret was taking too many pictures, but I might regret not taking enough- so snap away!
I want to memorize your smell and how you felt in my arms, and how you looked. Every single little expression and sound. I want to remember how much room you took up in my body, in my bed, then in the co-sleeper and then in the living room with all your equipment. I want there to always be a little bit of an empty space in my life and heart where you were and always will be. I don’t want to become completely whole again if that means losing the space where you were.
I guess that’s why we have the Savior’s atonement that makes us whole again in due time. In the resurrection we will be together again, and my pain will be as though it never existed. If you remember, as it says in “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis, “Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”(p.69)
I imagine our hearts will burst from being so filled with love and light from His glory. We will be together forever in His presence. That’s my goal. It’s so easy to be lazy in making choices, to just do what comes easily. But making it back to Him, and to you, isn’t going to be that way. It will have to be intentional and being intentional is difficult. You have to really want it. You, Peter, are really good extra motivation for me to really want it and make it happen.
I’m glad that you had the opportunity to come to Earth and gain a physical body which is essential to your eternal progression and happiness. It was sad when you had to leave us, but I am also relieved and happy that you no longer have to experience the pains and trials of this mortal existence. I am happy that when you reunite with your body again that it will be incorruptible and whole. You won’t have to suffer having physical imperfections that limit your body’s capacity for function, growth and development.
My perspective on a perfect body has also changed after having you. Your body was exactly what Heavenly Father gave you, and was perfect for your mission on Earth. Even though it had flaws in it that prevented you from functioning normally and ultimately caused you to die, I resent people thinking that your body was just a genetic accident or a mistake. You were perfect to me.
When I first saw you I was taken back by your appearance and situation. But I quickly grew to love you and see beyond the limits of your mortal body and the medical equipment surrounding you. At first I was more afraid that everyone that saw you only saw the physical characteristics of your genetic disorder. It made me defensive and self-conscious. I quickly realized that all the nurses caring for you and everyone that came to see you only saw a beautiful baby boy, who was cute and lovable; not the so-called imperfections of your mortal body. Everyone was quick to tell me how sweet and adorable you were, which reassured me and eased my worries. I then realized that it didn’t matter a whit what anyone else saw and thought of you, you were so beautiful and I was blessed to be able to see you as Heavenly Father saw you- his perfect creation that I helped make. It is truly an honor to be your mother and I’m so grateful to have you in our family.
I’ve definitely enjoyed several tender mercies and moments directly from Heavenly Father throughout the past months. When I left the hospital to spend the night at home away from you for the first time, I was leaving the building and was unprepared for the wave of emotions that hit me as I walked away. It was so hard to leave you there by yourself and even think about leaving by myself. You just never think of a scenario where you leave the hospital without your precious baby in your arms, and so I was overcome with emotion when that was the case. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I told Zach that I felt so sad, and he responded perfectly when he told me that it was good that I was sad, and that it was okay to be sad- it was a sad thing to leave him there. He didn’t tell me not to be sad, or to be happy. He recognized and validated my right to be sad during a sad experience. I am so grateful for that. As we turned toward the car I noticed the sun setting before us and the gorgeous sunset it made.
It was as though Heavenly Father knew my pain and sent a postcard direct from heaven as a tender mercy. A gentle reminder just for me that He knows me and is mindful of me. To everyone else, it was just a normal daily occurrence, but to me it was a warm embrace from my loving Father in Heaven who knows how much I love sunsets and the beauty of nature. The light and color fills by soul with joy. Something I always find interesting is that the thing that truly makes a beautiful sunset is clouds. Without clouds the light has nowhere to reflect off of, and the sunset just isn’t as spectacular. It’s an appropriate metaphor for life, and I’ve always loved the principle of opposition in all things. Without the bad, we would not know good because we would have nothing to compare it to. The trials in life help us appreciate all the blessings and daily beauties we experience, just as clouds enhance a sunset, our pains and trials enrich us as people if we let them and help us recognize all the good in our lives. Trials can also help us know how to comfort others as they go through trials of their own.
I’m so grateful for the time I had to share with you, and often wish that I could have had you longer and taught you more, but I know that you are with our Heavenly Parents now, and that they are watching and taking care of you until we will be reunited again. Oh, how I long for that day!
The thought came to me the other day about how when Lucy is gone for the day with friends babysitting her it’s fine. I’m fine, she is fine. She is not with me, but is still there, just not here right now, and that’s okay. I realized that it is the same with you. You are still there, just not here with me right now. It’s as though you are being babysat by our Heavenly Parents right now, and who better to do it than them! I felt a lot better after the spirit gave me this insight, and it has become easier for me to be parted from you because of it. It helps me retain my eternal perspective and makes eternity feel a lot closer.
I love you and hope we will be reunited quickly after the resurrection. I hope I will live my life worthy to meet you and Father in Heaven in the Celestial Kingdom.