Saturday, March 04, 2006

Letter to Theo from Mama

This letter was written in mid-January, for the purpose of being read at Theo's funeral. While I wrote it, he slept beside me on his boppy pillow. I read it at the funeral service after Jamie read his. It was very difficult to get through, but I'm glad we did it. Both our letters were handwritten to him with decorated envelopes and we placed them in his arms after our readings. I originally wrote mine in a journal and re-copied the one for him to keep. Here is a copy to share with all of you:

My Dearest Baby,

I don't know what I can write to you that you don't already know. What can I say that you can't feel? How can I make words come for which there are none? That which is between us is beyond words, beyond pen and paper, beyond language or speech, beyond ritual or tears.

A friend told me once that having children is like taking a piece of your heart and sending it blindly out into the world. Like sending you very own defenseless heart out into an uncertain place where you can no longer provide it protection or shelter. Taking chances every day with your heart.

I know that what we have been through,and continue to go through, strikes fear into the hearts of every mother and father. For this is the greatest pain we can imagine. And when I read this, on that day when I stand before all those who love us and share this testament, I will have then realized that greatest fear. The pain, I'm sure will be like a dark stone in my heart, weighing me down, lingering on. But what can I do? I can be devastated, torn apart inside that you are gone, but I can also be thankful that I was fortunate enough to have known you at all. I can be heartbroken that I will never hold you or kiss your sweet face again, but I can also be happy that I felt you move in my belly, that my body was your home, that I was gifted with the chance to gaze into your beautiful eyes, however briefly.
I was there when you entered the world and I held you in the circle of my arms as you left it. I shared your life, I saw your eyes light up, I heard you laugh, I fed you, bathed you, stroked your hair and felt the silky smoothness of your skin. I breathed your breath and held you close and slept with you in my arms. I gazed upon your face and saw myself reflected in your features. I am thankful and glad in my heart to be your mother.

Though the pain of missing you is terrible and heavy and will be with me all my life, and I will always long for you to be here with me, I know that you aren't really gone. You will be with me always. In the wind and the rain and the sunlight. In every flower blossom, every starshine, every snowflake and autumn leaf. In all that is beautiful and bright is Theo. Every blade of grass, every fluffy cloud, deep velvet night and bright shining morning. In every birdsong and butterfly, in every rainbow reflection on dragonflies wings. In every tear from my eyes, with every beat of my heart, every time I feel peace, joy and love, you are with me. And as long as I have breath, I will love you and keep you close.
Until I can see you again.

I love you my sweet Baby.



Nancy Deal said...

Hey Karla, it's me, Nancy Deal, old friend of your Mother and Dad.
Allison emailed me with the sad news about Theo. She also send the address to your blog. I have read it with great admiration for you and Jamie. It is amazing to me how your strength and love is expressed so beautifully. Just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. My mother passed away in 1995 with a brain tumor. She lived 6 years in a nursing home after her surgery. I know it's not the same situation as with your darling baby, but some of the same emotions I felt during her illness was expressed so beautifully by you.
Thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

I have just read your letter, and I am again astounded by your ability to show so much grace and courage during a living hell. I know that you have to be - Theo deserves that. I have been searching my bible for something to share with you to give you strength and courage, but after searching for a while, I realized that no words can heal a broken heart and soul.
I guess the only thing that I can offer is prayers for strength and the courage to make it through another day. You, Jamie, and Theo weigh heavily on my mind.
After sharing my story about Curtis with you, and reading what others have shared about the deaths of children in their lives, I hope that I have not added more saddness in your day. You must feel that everywhere you go now, people want to share their story. It must make them feel good to share their story with you. A friend of mine died from anorexia several years back, and I recently ran into her mom and we talked about her. Her mom said how nice it was to hear her daughter's had been so long since she heard someone speak her name to her. Isn't that awful?? Time may help heal, but it doesn't make one forget.

Do the stories shared help in some way, or does it make you feel like you can't escape it? Your anaolgy to the club was so right. My mom still talks about Curtis and shares her story and feelings with me at times. She would be a great resource if you need someone who has gone through this. She talks about going through the range of emotions...even being upset when she saw people having fun and laughing...thinking, "I will never laugh again." Until now, at my age, and reading about your experience, have I realized how truly brave she was. How in the world did she even get up and deal with me during all of that??
No two stories or lives are the same, but maybe one day you will want to ask her about it. She is crazy like me and easy to talk to. Just a thought.

Again, I hope that I am not bothering you. I just want you to know that there are people out here reading what you write and gaining strength just from seeing your grace with what you are going through.
I hope you sleep tight tonight. I hope Jamie's headache subsides. I can only imagine the feelings of withdrawl you must be suffering.
In deep admiration, Angela

Anonymous said...

PS...geez you can't get away from me, can you??
I wanted you to now that I didn't even have the internet in my home until a couple of weeks ago...I know...what??
I truly feel like I missed out on the posts and talking with you throughout everything.
I sent you a couple of cards, but BIG DEAL!
Please know that I think of you often and wish I had know as this was happening. Thank God for Jen sending me that letter. I apologize for not being there physically. Angela

Anonymous said...

Hi Karla and Jamie,

I have followed your journey from the day you told me you were pregnant with Theo. I still have a picture in my mind of you carrying a watermelon not long before Theo was born. I've wanted to do something special for your family and was at a loss for what to do or say. So, I wrote this poem for Theo that I wanted to share...

And come the day
when I see you again,
where we remind each other
that this was the plan

All along
we knew this would be,
but while on earth
it was hard to see

That there was a purpose
behind all the pain,
that you weren't born
just to die in vain

You taught us to love deeply
and appreciate life,
despite all it's setbacks
sadness and strife

To take every moment
like it could be our last,
to connect with loved ones
we've lost touch with in the past

So when we are sad
and get lost in the pain,
please remind all of us
in those little ways...

The smile of children
the stars in the sky,
the sun on my face
The Dragonfly

We will always remember
you've touched my soul,
The world is a better place
because of you, Baby Theo.