A letter to Owen

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.

Love, Mom


  1. Tears flowing as I read this. Tears for you, Owen, Logan, Weston, Jaden, and Doug.
    Prayers. Prayers for you all.
    Continue writing. Cry when you need to. Scream when
    you need to. Share the stories of your other 3 boys, too;
    for through them, Owen lives. Through you, Owen lives.
    Through Doug, Owen lives. Owen will live on in the hearts
    of so many. I know I will never forget him, and I never
    even met him. He and your family are in the hearts
    of many, and will remain so. God bless you during
    this most difficult time of sorrow. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. I just came across your story and wanted to offer your entire family my deepest condolences. I don’t know any words that could help except peace. I hope you find peace in your heart and mind. I hope you find peace in your soul. I will pray for you and your family and the strength you need to get through this difficult time.

  3. Mel and Doug and boys
    My prayers are with you all. Owen is now smiling down on you and is living on in others. I just wanted to thank you for allowing the donation of some of his life. Last year my cousin’s daughter was the recipient of a new heart. She is alive because someone cared enough to share despite their loss. I truly believe that Owen is proud of you.
    May your tears of sorrow lead into smiles of memories
    God bless you all

  4. I ran across your blog on a friend’s blog and spent all last evening weeping as I read your family’s heart wrenching journey over the past couple weeks. I’m sure there are many people such as myself who are hugging their kids a little tighter, making every minute count and praying for you and Owen. Thank you for sharing Your strength in amazing and we will be praying for Owen and the whole family!

  5. I also do not know you but came across your story. I have been thinking about you and your whole family. I pray that as time goes on that it gets easier for you. I have raised 3 kids myself and I almost lost my youngest son the same way. I will never forget going over 80 mph to get to Waukesha Memorial as fast as I could, and then having that ambulance come from Children’s Hospital for him.We were lucky to be in the room at the right time. If you ever need to talk please email me at imfirstnw@aol.com.


  6. This broke my heart into a million pieces. Owen was a lucky boy he had an amazingly loving and brave mommy. In my thoughts and prayers always! As a sister of a angel, I have to tell you to love your three boys with everything you have and to be honest and open with them about Owen. They will appriciate it as they grow older!

  7. Melissa,
    What a beautiful letter you wrote to your son. It is amazing how God is present in all of those moments, sending us subtle messages. You are an amazing woman who has really spoken to so many of us around the world. This has certainly been God’s will that you spread his word for all of us who will no doubt experience pain and suffering at some point in our lives. I recently experienced a bout of post partum depression, followed by an acute stress reaction (similar to post traumatic stress) due to a traumatic hospitalization. I experienced severe depression and anxiety following. So I want to offer you some tools to help you cope with this experience. #1 Journaling (which obviously is a no brainer for you); #2 Devotions (thanking God even during the hardest times) #3 GARDENING #4 Exercise #5 Good nutrition (diet high in Omega 3s) The more you tell your story the easier it becomes. Also lists….when I was too overwhelmed to know what to do…I relied heavily on lists that would help me to accomplish even the most simple goals. I managed to get through the most difficult times (while taking care of my 3 children) with many of these tools. My kids were a great help too. My daughter’s words even at 4 years old had healing powers beyond my belief. Also, getting out of the house (sometimes I would just sit at my husbands work or meet someone for lunch.) Slowly I was able to cope better. Take your time to experience the feelings you are having, because they will return if you bottle them up. I hope this helps. I cannot express my symapthy enough for what you are experiencing. You are and will always be Owen’s warrior as he has been and will always be yours. Love and prayers sent to your family!
    P.S. I also have a book that was given to me from a friend of my parents, passed on to her by her sister. Devotions for Every Day of the year (Sarah Young) Jesus Calling Enjoying Peace in His Presence. I would love to send it to you, please contact me if this is something you would be interested in.
    Leah (1997 Alum of Waukesha North High)

  8. Here is the Devotion for June 2nd…
    Relax in my healing, holy presence. Be still, while I transform your heart and mind. Let go of cares and worries, so that you can receive My Peace. Cease striving and know that I am God.
    Do not be like the Pharisees who multiplied regulations, creating their own form of “godliness.” They got so wrapped up in their own rules that they lost sight of Me. Even today, man-made rules about how to live a Christian life enslave many people. Their focus is on their performance, rather than on Me.
    It is through knowing Me intimately that you become like Me. This requires spending time alone with Me. Let go, relax, be still, and know that I am God.

  9. Your letter to Owen is beautiful and perfect. There is no doubt about his Mother’s love. Your family has touched so many people; Owen will not be forgotten. My husband’s favorite color is also orange, now the color will also be a beautiful reminder of your little warrior. I pray that your heart will heal, but that you will continue to share the memory of Owen with the world. God bless

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. May god bless his soul. He was lucky to have a mom like you.
    I believe God has everything written for us, and he had written something greater for Owen. Your family is in my prayer.

  11. That was absolutely beautiful! I also have an angel baby in heaven. It has been nine years, and he is with me in every breath I take. You are a wonderful mother, and us fellow triplet moms have been inspired by your honesty and strength. Always here for you.

  12. God Bless you and your family. My Owen is 5 years old and we thought we were going to lose him when he was 16 months old. It was a horrible time for our family that I will never get over. I pray that time and prayer will heal you and your family. God Bless You!

  13. I am Rachel Wood’s mom and I continue to pray for you, even as I read the letter you wrote to Owen. Rachel sent it to me. You mentioned that one day you hoped to see Owen once again. And that is a promise we have from God. Those of us who have a relationship with Christ will be reunited with those whom He’s chosen to take earlier in life. And I know Owen will be waiting for you in heaven. Mel, you have such great faith and are an encouragement I’m sure to those who don’t have that personal relationship with our Lord. What a blessing Owen’s life has been to me and others. I feel like I know him because of the things you have written about him. As Rachel told you, there are many of us praying for you and Doug and rest of your sweet children. And we will continue to do so in the coming weeks. My prayer for you as a family is that God will continue to surround you with His loving care and show mercy to you as He provides the peace for you. I’m sure you are aware that even though Owen was here for a short time he, even now, is an encouragement to so many through your stories about him. May God strengthen you all in the days to come, this I pray in the name of our Lord.

  14. I came across your website last week, and I have been glued to it ever since. Each time I have read your posts about Owen, I have sobbed. I think you are such a strong mom for sharing your story. We recently had a baby boy, Ty, two months ago. I also have two other small children, and at times life here at our house can be super crazy. Owen’s story has made me slow down and hug my children tighter. Through Owen’s story, I am realizing even more that our children truly aren’t ours. They have and always will continue to belong to Him. Thank you so much for sharing Owen’s story, andn please continue to share it. I have been thinking about you and your family since I read your first post. I have also shared Owen’s story as well. You have prayers being lifted up for you and your family here in Georgia. I pray that you find peace knowing that sooo many people have been effected by your precious angel’s story.

  15. Mel-
    There are not words adequate enough to fully encompass the emotions, tears, loss, grief, etc. I found this song to bring my heart little bits of peace and I wanted to share it with you….The song is Borrow Mine by Bebo Norman….attached are the words……

    Take my hand and walk with me a while
    Cause it seems your smile has left you
    And don’t give in, when you fall apart
    And your broken heart has failed you
    I’ll set a light up
    On a hilltop
    To show you my love
    For this world to see

    You can borrow mine
    When your hope is gone
    Borrow mine
    When you can’t go on
    ‘Cause the world will not defeat you
    When we’re side by side
    When your faith is hard to find
    You can borrow mine

    Take my love when all that you can see
    Is the raging sea all around us
    And don’t give up ’cause I’m not letting go
    And the God we know will not fail us
    We’ll lay it all down
    As we call out
    Sweet Savior
    help our unbelief

    When you are weak
    Unable to speak
    You are not alone
    The God who has saved us
    Will never forsake us
    he’s coming to take us
    Take us to our home

    Know there are lots of people from whom you can borrow faith and hope in moments when yours is lacking….

  16. My heart weighs heavy every minute I think about him and of course when I see Orange. I will forever think of him when seeing and/or wearing Orange. What a strong little guy and it is easy to see where the strength comes from. Such a strong mom and dad and then of course all of his brothers. Thinking of you always…

  17. I am sorry I couldn’t stay to hear this in person. Shaun said everything was beautiful and the people surrounding you…amazing! You are a strong woman and I admire your outlook on life and your insight into your faith. My church has been praying for you and we continue to do so as well. We are here. Please let us know if you need anything. We are here for a shoulder to cry on….or maybe even a night on the town. 🙂 You haven’t left our thoughts and neither has Owen. We are here….

  18. Such a beautiful letter to your beautiful Owen. A friend posted your blog and I have been reading every day. You are such a strong woman, even when you want to fall apart. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  19. Mel,
    Wow, I am just ion tears as I was reading your letter to Our little Owen. Wow must he be proud looking down on his mommy talking so great about him. I know its got to be hard when you have already pictured all these things Little Owen could have done as he got older. Just know he will forever be in your heart. God bless you Mel for being so strong. Owen will forever be in my heart. I wish I would have had the chance to meet him, he looked like such a happy little chuny monkey that he was. He will be truly missed even by those of us who never met him but only by your stories. God bless you and your family for continued strength.

  20. Mel,
    You’re letter is beautiful. All of your boys are so lucky to have a mother so wise and strong. Owen is so proud of you, and the way you have shared his story with the entire world! He and your family have made a huge impact on our family, the way we cherish the moments, the way we hug our baby, and the way that we continue on with faith. Our prayers continue for all of you.

  21. Deaeest Mel,
    You are so worthy !!!! Prayers n hugs to you Doug and your little men !

  22. Mel-

    You are a wonderful mother-that is so evident in your blogs! You have protected your babies the best you could!! Unfortunately from our perspective, there are times when God has other plans and we can’t do anything about it. Owen is with you always-and know that you are already living a life that he can be proud of. You are so strong and your faith is unbelieveable! You have touched me so deeply with your faith and strength that I don’t even have the words to describe how much you have impacted me, and I’m sure many others who don’t know you personally but now feel as if they do because of your words. This morning on the way to work I listened to two songs by Richard Marx: Angel’s Lullabye and Until I See You Again; both made me think of you and your family, Owen and the battle you’ve been facing. They brought tears to my eyes just as much as reading your letter to Owen did. Treasure his life; short as it was and those of Jaden, Logan and Weston. And know that myself as well as others are thinking of you and praying for your family every day….I hope that you find peace in others words as we have gotten peace from yours.

  23. Mel,
    You are soo brave and a great mom. You have taught you so much in the last couple days.
    Please continue writing. I pray for you and your family and Owen-

  24. mel – what a beautiful tribute to your beautiful little boy – I am so sad I could not stay for the entire funeral – I hope you know I really did want to. I am so glad I got to at least give you a huge hug and let you know how truly saddened and sorry I am. Owen is such a hero! you are so right. please let me know if there is anything I can do for you – even if you just need a distraction or a playdate – 🙂 much love

  25. that was so beautiful! You have such a way with words! Just remeber that you are a great mother! So strong and brave. Owen will always be remembered! I have never meet him, or you for that matter, and I will always remember little Owen! Take care of those other little men in your life, and Owen will always be with you!

  26. AMAZING! Your Owen is SO proud! What bravery and courage you show for your family! You are truly, AMAZING!

  27. Mel,
    Thank you for sharing your letter to Owen. My youngest is wearing orange again today. Today while cleaning my boy’s room (I’ve been in school full time for the last 2 years, and so I’m doing some major cleaning), I found an orange feather under the radiator and I thought of Owen the warrior. No idea how the feather got under there, and orange no less, but was a nice Owen moment that I thought I would share with you. He is still around in the thoughts hearts and prayers of everyone who has heard of his life. Even if you can’t see him, know he is everywhere.

  28. What a beautiful remembrance of your sweet Owen. You are such a strong woman, Melissa. Your family is always in our prayers!

  29. That was a beautiful letter, you are so gifted as a writer… I am sure Owen knows how you felt even before you spoke… I wish I could have been there in person… I have no words to ease your pain and grief… I wish I could take it all away for you… I wish I could wake you up from this nightmare… all I can do is pray for you, and that is what I do, everyday and everynight… you and your family are in my thoughts always… and I will always remember Owen’s story.

    I pray that the Lord will strengthen you and give you the courage to go forward. Kiss your boys and lean on your family and friends… Trust in the Lord, he is there holding you up….

    God Bless you, your family and Owen.

  30. Thank you for writing all of this…I know where Owen got his “warrior-ness.” I know about the moment when you realize you will not see your loved one’s face again. While I haven’t lost a child, I lost my mom 2 years ago. And that moment was the hardest part for me…it isn’t something you can explain until you live it, no matter how prepared you think you might be for someone to pass. I can only imagine it is that much harder when someone is taken so unexpectedly. While I don’t pretend to understand God’s ways or His will, I can tell you one thing for sure. This place where God has you has caused change in SO many others lives…lives you don’t even know exist. You, and therefore Owen, have shown more people who Jesus is through this than most of us could ever hope to in 75 years. You may not be able to see that, but I want you to know it is true. And how cool is it that your mighty warrior has potentially brought 10’s, hundred’s, even thousand’s of people to Christ. That is the only thing I can hold onto in times like this….I pray it will help you, even just a little. Know there are many here in Sussex (and all over the world) who are praying for you! I hope to someday be able to meet you and your amazing family.

  31. Mel,
    I am soo sorry for you loss.
    I am prayed and sobbed with you for the last couple days..
    You write so beautifully…you inspire me and others around you.
    You need to publish your writings as you have a way to touch people with your words and inspire them…
    I will continue to pray for you-

    May God bless you , your family and Owen

    • Mel–

      I agree with Hope. While I have never met you, I have heard much about you from my co-worker Janet who is a family member of yours. I too have read your blog daily and am awestruck at how strong you are as a woman of God and the faith and hope that you show every day. Reading your posts and the way you are able to word things has really made me look at my life and my priorities in the past week. I am a working mother of two–I have a baby who is just 2 months older than Owen– and unfortunately am not able to spend as much time as I would like with my family but I realize I need to do better–I need to make more moments count. Now may not be the time, but I do think you have a great talent for sharing your experiences and that God is working through you in your ability to write and touch people’s lives. I know you have greatly touched mine. I have shared your story as well–usually with many tears and my family and I will continue to pray for Owen, those who Owen has helped and you and your family. God Bless!

  32. I have prayed for your family and my heart has broken for you. I have 5 kids and hear the words “It’s not fair!” daily. I can’t help but feel those words for Owen, for you, for your family. But I know there is a plan. His plan. I know that it will all unfold perfectly. I sit impatiently, humanly, prayerfully with you. You will hug your sweet baby again.

  33. I am so sorry for you loss. I do not know, but found your story on a friend’s blog, While sadness overwhelmed me when reading the last couple of weeks of Owen’s live, I realize that you effectively told the REAL story here. …that God loves us and through Him there is victory! You are an amazing woman, mother and writer. I will be praying for your family, and I will keep up with your story. You have given hope to many and shown us all, that we may never know why things happen, but we know that God knows. Romans 8:28
    Thank you for sharing with us, and bless you!

  34. Owen is so proud of you. That was an amazing letter. Owen know’s that you did everything that you could do for him.

  35. This brought me to tears. I feel your pain and I want to let you know that you are not alone. I lost my 3 month old daughter, Madilyn almost a year ago. Your story is very similar to mine and brings me back to her funeral and wanting so bad to close my eyes and make it go away. Words cannot heal or make this any easier but I praise you for expressing this. I sometimes wish I kept a journal of this journey in hopes of helping others.

  36. “”It Is Well with My Soul” is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.

    This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

    Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.” – Wikipedia

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWN2gKowEPs&w=560&h=349%5D

  37. No words real enough for this, but know a stranger found this blog randomly and thinks you brave and wise. I am so sorry for your loss, your family’s loss. Not a blog you wanted to write or a life you wanted to live, but an incredibly powerful one touching many people. Thank you for giving such beautiful, honest voice to Owen and your own grief – all of us reading are honored to witness it.

  38. Mel, what a beautiful letter to your beautiful boy. He lives on in his brothers, in you, in his father. And in the thoughts and hearts of all those who had the privilege to know him, and those who read his stories through your blog. You and your family are in our thoughts. xo

  39. That is beautiful, Mel. Your little warrior was looking down smiling for sure. I continue to think of you and your family, wishing things could be different for you all. My deepest, deepest sympathy to you, Doug and all who loved Owen.

  40. Thank you so much for sharing your story with so many people. Your faith is a tesimony to many and Owen is very proud of you. Orange is my favorite color and I will forever think of Owen whenever I wear it!

  41. I wanted to say that your story has reached basically across the world. Owen isn’t just known in your town or your state or even your country he is now world wide. We wore orange my little guy wore orange on the day of the funeral. I know my friends wore orange, and they are in australia I told them about your story and they wore orange in honor of Owen. Your family’s story has touched so many people hearts and has reminded so many of us not to take those little moments for granted. In another note I admire your strength to donate so others could live. Because of this my husband and I had a discussion and we have made a decision now that if the time comes where any of us can help someone with a donation that we will. I don’t know if I would be strong enough to make the decision at that time so we have now had that very important talk and know this is what we would want to do if need be. For that I have to say thanks without reading your story we probably would not have addressed this very important issue.

  42. I just want to express my deepest condolences to you and your entire family. You have such a gift with your words and expression. I’m sure Owen is watching over you and smiling at how much he is loved by all those who knew him, as well as all those who didn’t. You are all in my thoughts and prayers always!

  43. You and Doug were amazing…I feel so blessed to have been there to see such amazing faith filled service.
    When I got home from the funeral my husband went grocery shopping, he bought single packs of kool aid…red blue purple and orange…guess which one leaked out into the grocery bag…that’s right Owen Orange…we looked at each other and smiled my husband said its Owens color.
    I love little things that happen like that I think its Gods way of saying everything will be alright.
    God Bless your whole family…Amy non-G

  44. Mel-
    Beautifully written. I agree with some of the ladies on here, you should publish your story. Though I have not lost a child, I did lose my mother, and reading your words have actually helped my grieving process. You are an amazing woman with amazing strength. Owen got his strength from you. Your story has touched so many lives. Owen has touched many lives.

    May God Bless you and your family.

  45. Mel, you are truly and an amazing mom and person….I don’t know you personally, but I can tell from your words that you have strength beyond most. Your boys are so fortunate to have a mom like you and I have no doubt that you will honor Owen’s memory for the rest of your life here on earth. God bless!

  46. Thank you for sharing Owen’s story. I can not imagine the depth of pain your family is experiencing. I wish upon you all the strength and love you will need to go on and be an excellent example to your boys. By sharing what you are going through with us, you have taught me to love my baby girl even more. I pledge to be even more cognizant of drinking in every blessed moment I have with her. I am so sorry for your loss.

  47. I am sooooooooooo very sorry for your loss! What a heart break. My mother had twin girls right after me and they both passed away at the hospital. My mom never had a formal funeral for them and she is still hard on her self for that. I have a friend who recently lost her 20 month old boy, if you would like to stop by her blog it is http://sunshinepromises.blogspot.com/ I hope that you are able to heal well and that the bright spirit of your boys will constantly delight you.

    PS I found your blog through Top Mommy Blogs {I am a member too}

  48. Sorry for your families loss of your baby Owen.
    I came across your blog by accident, while looking for things on my own baby boy Owen, who passed away 5 months ago.

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