My dear Theodore, today we celebrate your second birthday. We will bake a cake, light a candle and make a wish. We will celebrate the day of your birth, your precious life, and the ways that you’ve forever impacted ours. But today, I cannot wrap you tightly in a birthday hug, wipe the cake from your cheeks, or kiss you goodnight after unwrapping your presents. Today, you celebrate your second birthday in Heaven.
My sweet boy, there are so many things I want to tell you today.
You changed me. From the very moment that I felt the weight of your tiny body in my arms, kissed your sweet cheeks and gazed into your big blue eyes, I knew my life was complete. We waited to find out your gender but I knew in my heart that you were a boy. I had always dreamt of having a son, and you instantly made me blissfully happy.
You weren’t the easiest of babies; you never slept through the night, refused the bottle and it often took Daddy and I hours to rock you to sleep but to us, you were absolutely perfect. Some of my favourite moments include you cuddled up to my chest, breathing softly with milk trickling down your cheek, as I sang to you in the moonlit hours of your nursery. As a baby, you were always smiling but at your happiest when you were swimming with Daddy or dancing with Mommy.
I am so proud of the little boy you became. You did not have an easy life, my love, and no one should have had to endure the magnitude of suffering handed to you but you were a fighter. You defied death and persevered for seven months after being told you wouldn’t survive the night. You were taken from this world long before you should have but you left a legacy. I am honoured to be your Mommy.
You left very big shoes to fill but Freddy will grow up hearing stories of his heroic big brother. He reminds me so much of you, Theo. I see you in his smile, the furrow of his brow and the easy way he startles. It is a blessing that every time I look at him, I see you. And, he may not know it yet, but he is incredibly lucky to have you as his big brother. No one else will watch over and protect him like you will.
Your illness took so much from you but I know you never lost your ability to feel love and experience life. I saw it in the subtle way your eyes would open, your lips would soften and your muscles would relax when Mommy or Daddy wrapped their arms around you, a warm breeze brushed across your face, or soft music played in your ears. We didn’t needs words or gestures to communicate with each other; I understood when you told me that we wouldn’t have much longer together. Thank you for these signs Theo, I know you were sending them so we could get Daddy home in time to say goodbye.
I’m doing the best I can, baby, and I’m trying to stay strong for Daddy and Freddy. I draw my strength from you on the days when I don’t want to live in a world without you. Please don’t worry about Mommy and Daddy, though. We will continue to miss you every minute of every day for the rest of our lives but we are happy that you are now free from all pain and suffering and a life that was unfairly handed to you. We will always struggle to live without you, Theo, but our grieving hearts carry beautiful memories of you and the guarantee that we will meet you again in heaven.
Now, do Mommy a favour: go tell Grandpa you’re allowed to eat nothing but candy and birthday cake today. Skip your nap and spend the whole day running around and playing with your cousin Luke, and all the other angels. Be free, my child. Breathe freely, run freely, laugh and smile freely. And, if Heaven is as I imagine, when you blow out your birthday candles, you won’t need to make a wish because all your dreams are already fulfilled.
Happy Birthday, Theo. We love you and miss you today and always.