I read the following letter to my Owen at his funeral yesterday.
My dearest Owen,
I have sent so many thoughts up to heaven about you. I have screamed your story from the rooftops. But have I told you? Or talked to you about this? I think back to when your great grandpa tickley beard passed away. His last words to your great grandma were “what can I tell you that I haven’t already said”. I didn’t understand them until now.
Even though I haven’t said them out loud or written them down, I think you already know what I’ve been thinking and feeling. I thought I’d tell you anyway.
I pray this message is worthy. Nothing seems good enough for you anymore. The newspaper wanting to cut down your story to 500 words. Having to consider cost when making your funeral arrangements. How can I put a price on the sacrifice you have made? How do I determine what your 6 months on earth was worth?
Owen? I don’t recognize your brother’s cries anymore. I could tell all three of you boys apart before. Your cry was deep and slow. Weston was throbbing and higher. And your brother Logan always sounded like it was the end of the world. The first time I heard your brothers cry after Saturday night … I didn’t know who’s baby was crying.
Can they feel that you are gone? Do they realize what is going on? Do they feel the loss of once being three and now being two? You know what I think Owen? They knew you were gone before I did. They felt you leave this earth before I found you in your crib, before the hospital, before today. Please stay close to them in the years to come. Help them know you in a way I can’t. Be with them.
If you can hear me, know that we have caused a shortage of Orange in the greater Milwaukee area. People are wearing Owen Orange around the world for you today! Can you feel how much people love you?
When you were with us, you were always so relaxed. When you did fuss it was usually about something good. Oh man could you work that pouty lip! About three weeks ago you started making these raspberries that almost sounded like your own language. Were you trying to tell me something? Were you were trying to tell me that your time would soon be up? Were you trying to say goodbye? Or were you being a warrior and telling me everything would be ok? Owen, I wish I would have heard you …. Please forgive me for not hearing you … For not protecting you like a good mother should. If only I had heard.
I’ve been trying to live in the hope. Living with the idea that the prayers of two other families have been answered. I’m trying to believe in God’s will, His greater plan. The truth? What about the plans I had for you? Raise you to be a mama’s boy. I selfishly thought I had a great calling … A worthy job … God’s work … To raise four amazing men who would take care of four lucky girls. I pictured us dancing on your wedding night. Imagined how you would hug me when you were tall like your dad and towering over me. I looked forward to your endless sporting events or concerts.
It’s no longer.
Owen, you have taught me, your mother, so much. I’m supposed to teach you. And I know you already know this … But you will be remembered in everything I do. Every step I take will be a little heavier, each breath a little tighter. But know what Owen? You are my hero. I hope one day to see your face again. I hope to live a life that is worthy of you.