• jenniferswallace

Happy (BitterSweet) 16th Gordon

Every year on the day of his birth, I write a letter for our firstborn Gordon.





Pastel drawing by Robin Adair, illustrator of When He Opened His Eyes: Gordon's Story


November 2nd 2022

Dear Gordon,

Here I am writing you another birthday letter: Happy 16th! ~You’d think I’d run out of things to say…but I am your mother and that is not going to happen. (You don’t/can’t roll your eyes in Heaven, right?)

My sweet Gordon, as your mother I will always feel that you had unfinished living.

Your footprints, hospital bracelet, photographs…these are what we have that remind us, you did live, you were loved, and you are loved.

But I can still…

…imagine you walking out of SGI grinning all the way to the driver’s side window, asking Dad or I to get out of the vehicle and switch to another spot to let you take the wheel.

… imagine you leaning on my shoulder, “You’re sooo short Mom!” and teasing your sister for having to wear heels to be taller.

…imagine you being genuinely proud that your lil’ sis is taking mechanics, (I know this because I imagine overhearing you talking with your friends). You also give her pointers for her learner’s exam.

…imagine you shooting hoops with your brother and looking impressed when, every once in awhile, he darts past you. (You don’t let that happen too often.)

…imagine you asking Dad to lend you money for the perfect Christmas gifts for your siblings (of course you promise to pay him back later with money you will earn this coming summer) But who am I kidding? You are not perfect; so, I imagine you forgetting, despite your good intentions.

Aah Gordon. It’s your family that has unfinished living. You are on another level, in another dimension. Your living space is beyond my comprehension, more than I can imagine. And yet you remind me to live in the moments here, the ones we did not get with you. With your eyes that never opened, you tell me to really see your father, sister, and brother. With your heart that stopped beating too soon, you tell me to love and appreciate them deeply. You remind me to not take the daily joys for granted, (sometimes I do), or to give too much weight to the minor annoyances, (I do this too). You remind me to keep faith. Gordon, thank you for reminding me what matters most.

We would have loved for you to have lived here with us longer. We wanted you to stay. But we are grateful for you. We love you. We miss you.

Happy 16th Birthday Son!

Love Mom.

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