On your second birthday

Dear Matthew,

I’m sitting in bed typing this, sobbing. All day I’ve tried to push aside memories of what we were doing in this exact moment two years ago. But push aside I can do no longer. It’s all washing over me now. I’m caught in this huge ocean wave, drowning, figuratively speaking. Literally, I’m just choking on my own snot and tears.

As I write this it’s 11:09pm. It was about this time two years ago when, despite many voices to the contrary, I began to know something was seriously wrong – I started to contemplate our story ending other than happily. Such began the most torturous night of our lives watching, questioning, analyzing, every single one of your heart’s beats, until, in the wee hours of the morning of July thirteenth, your heart beat no longer, and they tried valiantly to save you. But it was too late.

I know I tell you often, but I’m so, so sorry.

In the earliest days, it seemed impossible to survive even just one more minute without you, and now, just like that, you’re two years old, and it doesn’t even seem real. I wish more than anything that I could see who you’d be today, that I could see you celebrating your birthday joyfully with your near-Irish-twin little brother – I know you two would have so much fun together. My heart continues to shatter for all that we are missing as a family, for all that we’ll continue to miss, for all that we’ll never get.

My time with you alive will forever be one of my greatest joys, and your death will forever be my greatest sorrow.

Losing you has been the reason for so many tears in nearly every day since and so much anger and anxiety and guilt and shame and fear to the point of complete exhaustion. But these emotions are felt so intensely because my love for you runs so deep. And, because of you, I also feel more strongly and appreciate more often and more sincerely. Never does a moment go by when your absence and also your impact isn’t profoundly felt.

Your death was senseless, but your life was, and still is, filled with purpose. When my time comes, I’ll know that, although it wasn’t an easy road, I experienced all life has to offer – extreme joy, devastating brutality, and everything in between. And though I would have given my own life to have had your story turn out any other way, this is one thing you’ve given me for which I’ll continue to be grateful.

In the meantime, tonight and every night, I’ll close my eyes and remember this quote I recently stumbled upon that reminds me of you… “You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I will always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

Happy second heavenly birthday, my sweet boy. You are loved and missed beyond measure.

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41 thoughts on “On your second birthday

  1. Thinking of you all & the utter heartbreak of not having your gorgeous Matthew here on his birthday , I hope the pain eases a little today for you.. Thank you always for sharing your feelings it always makes me feel so not alone… Xxx

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  2. Reading your beautiful words with shining eyes and a lump in my throat. Your beautiful boy, your poor heart. Its so so so unfair. Matthew is so loved and so missed. Thinking of you and your family today xx

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  3. I read your words and my heart breaks all over again (as it does so many times a day). It breaks for Matthew, for you, for my Jackson, for me and for all of us who are living through this. Your love is so big.

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  4. I feel so much of the same thoughts and feelings as you. I feel as though I’ll never truly be happy again without Sullivan here with my family. I struggle daily with dark anxious thoughts. My thoughts and heart are with you today. I’m thinking of perfect little Matthew and celebrating his little life and perfection with you. Today is about Matthew and all the love that surrounds him.

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    1. Thank you so much for your supportive words. I’ve read some of your recent posts and can relate to all of them. I’m so sorry we both struggle with all of this anxiety and our boys aren’t with us. xoxo

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  5. “I loved the Boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me – yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it”.

    William Wordsworth

    My heart aches with yours today…and everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday to your sweet little boy<3 I feel as though I love him, and yet I never knew him. You are an amazing mother to him, Christine. Amazing. You help so many people on this journey, and while I know that doesn't really do much to help with the pain of losing Matthew, I just wanted to say thank you. Matthew is a beautiful soul and he holds a really special little spot in my heart. I'm not sure why…Maybe him and Kenley hang out often, and that's why he tugs at my heart strings so much or maybe it's because you (unknowingly) helped me through very dark days. No matter the reason, I just wanted to tell you that I love you, and I miss Matthew with you today and every day. ((hugs)) my sweet friend.

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  7. Christine, I am Cameron Dunlap’s mother. She gave me the link to your blog, and your writing touches me and is beautiful. How deeply I miss my precious granddaughter Cora, and I feel your loss of Matthew so strongly. You are an amazing writer and no doubt an amazing mother also. Thank you for sharing your story and please know I am thinking of you and your husband and your sons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry for your loss of your granddaughter, Cora. I love your daughter, Cameron, so much. SHe’s an amazing woman. I’m so thankful to have connected to her but so sorry we’ve had this reason to connect. Thank you so much for your kind comments. xoxo

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  8. You don’t know me but from one loss mom to another (my daughter would have been 2, June 8) sending so much love. What an impossible hard road missing our children is, and living the rest of our lives without them, especially on their birthday. Your words to your son are so beautiful.

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