Thursday, January 20, 2011

Letters unsent

I read Tash's post on Glow. The letters I've been thinking about but not sending are a little different:

Dear R, 
We got your Christmas card—L. looks great! We hope you've enjoyed a lot of time away from the hospital. I will never forget how you tried to help us the night we were afraid Henry would die. You stayed with our family for over an hour, trying to buck us up, to give us hope, to calm our fears. I really appreciated it. Later I learned that L. was on ECMO at the time and I appreciated it even more. 

Dear A, 
I don't think I ever thanked you for giving me back my baby. Dressing him, putting the quilt and stuffed animals on his bed, and setting up our cards and books made such a difference. Even now, more than three years later, that kindness stays with me. 

Dear R, 
I do remember you giving me a white rose at Henry's funeral and another at the mass for his first anniversary. They are dried in a vase in my office. Thank you, especially for remembering us on his first anniversary. I walked into the church heavy with grief and knowing we would see people who would see the new baby, not the sadness hanging off me. Thank you for recognizing that sorrow and for remembering. 

Dear M, 
Thank you for never shying away from talking about Henry. It means so much to me that you ask questions about him and refer to him as if he were any other member of our family, even though you met us after he died. 

Lately, these are the letters that have been running through my head. 


  1. These are amazing and beautiful. It's all too easy sometimes to focus on the hurts and slights instead of the kindnesses, and I'm so grateful to you for sharing them and reminding me of how people can surprise us in the best ways.

    I have a few of these to write, and maybe even send, too.

  2. There were—and continue to be—kindnesses throughout Henry's life and after he died. Some days these things, often small actions and sometimes from people we barely knew, kept me afloat.