Over the last five years, I have written and rewritten the letter/email that I would send to my stepson if I could. I do wish there was a way to send letters, emails, texts or even make phone calls to heaven.
But it’s hard to believe that five years have passed since my stepson died on June 14, 2009. Time sure does fly by even when you don’t want it to keep going. And when you stop and think about how much can happen in a person’s life in a month or even six months, it is crazy to think about how much your life can change in five years. In our life, we had another child, I’ve worked at three different places, my stepdaughter is now pregnant and engaged, and our boys are quickly growing up without having their big brother to guide them and teach them every way possible to annoy their mother to death. Because he would’ve been good for that, but he would’ve also taught them how to be amazing gentlemen and kind-hearted people just like him.
So even though I can’t send it to him, I continue to think about what I would say in a letter. I mean would I tell him about his brothers, our lives, his sister, the trips to the lake, my new job, or would I just do my normal kind of rambling. And five-six pages later, I would have some kind of letter/small novel to send him. Only then I would decide there was much more I would like to tell him since this would probably be my only chance to tell him anything.
That day in June 2009 still plays in my mind like it happened only yesterday. The phone call. The long drive in silence in the middle of the night to the hospital, not knowing what awaited us there. The horrible discovery in the ICU that my 18-year-old stepson was being kept alive by machines and that he would probably never open his eyes again. The private family waiting room we were shuffled into after hours of sitting with the rest of the strangers in the regular waiting room. Then the awful truth that was told to us by the doctor that my stepson was in fact brain-dead and gone. Before ever arriving at the hospital, he had lost consciousness in the helicopter while being airlifted to the hospital. Within 15 hours upon arriving at the hospital, my husband, my one-month-old son and myself piled in the car and somehow found our way home after having to deal with the unimaginable – saying good-bye and then choosing to donate his organs in the process. Unable to drive home, my husband sat in the backseat next to Sweet Pea’s car seat with his hand on his newborn baby boy’s chest for both their own securities and well-beings. The tears flowed enough over the next week to flood riverbanks because of the abundance of love and enormous amount of high regard that people held for this young man.
I’ve written the letter probably a thousands times in my head. It’s been both long and short, both emotional and factual, both heartfelt and angry.
Given that train of thought, I think I figured out what the letter would say that I would send to my stepson if there was such a thing as a heavenly mailbox or angelic email address.
Life keeps moving here without you. It’s hard to believe because you were definitely the center of so many people’s lives. But I won’t waste your time with those little things, so I’ll just tell you what I should’ve told you years ago and never took the chance to say. I love you, Sweetheart! I’m sorry I never told you that when you were alive. I guess I always wondered if I could, but then you died and I kicked myself for not having the courage to just say it. As your stepmother, I couldn’t have been prouder of the young man you were becoming. And as one of my closest friends, I couldn’t have been any sadder to lose someone so close to my heart.
I love you, Sweetheart! We all love you and wish every single day for one more moment with you. Don’t raise too much hell in heaven. And I take comfort in knowing that we’ll see each other again one day. So until that then, we’ll drink a beer to remember the good times and cry every now and then to get through the sad times. Say hello to everyone else, especially Pop. Please tell him how much I love him too.