Dear Jakey,

As with so many of my letters to you, this has been written in my head many times over. I have been grappling with so many different versions and struggling to find the right words for so long. And sometimes I feel like through the podcast I have been talking about you so much (which I love) but that I also find to be a bit emotional and draining. And then sometimes I feel like no one wants to hear a damn thing I have to say.

I have also been talking to you so much in my head lately, I think about you turning 18. And the debate in my head whether you are forever 4 or actually 18. Do you look like Ethan? Are you tall like him, or are you shorter? I think of when you were born – you weighed more than Ethan did at birth but was shorter. I wonder if your build would have stayed the same. I wonder what you are like in heaven. I am not overly religious and become less so each day it seems. Yet I cling to this idea of this other world. This world where you are happy and waiting for us. And I think of you making friends. I think of you welcoming Liv.

Thursday night we went to see Bruce Springsteen at the Dome in Syracuse. I don’t know if you remember that I wrote to you back in 2012 after a Bruce show. I didn’t actually remember it until the show started and I remembered thinking of it as a religious experience. Something about the words of the songs with the music and the connection among the crowd makes me feel close to you. I wasn’t really expecting it to happen again but it did.

At the risk of sounding wacky, I felt you there. And I kind of think I felt Liv there too. Hopefully, you are friends. There are just so many of his words that make me feel like there is more to life than what we have on Earth. Maybe it is because your mom is getting old, but I actually wrote them in my notes app on my phone to have them as a reminder and to not forget.

A few of the gems that get me through:

Grief is the price for loving well.

And though my soul feels like it’s been split at the seams
I’ll see you in my dreams

Everything that dies some days comes back.

I will recite these phrases in my head and use them as mantras to try and stay sane. It is hard to believe you are soon to be 18. I think of when Ethan turned 18 and while not much changed, some things did. And I feel like that is happening with you as well. It is a good time for Daddy and me to figure out our next steps – both boys will be adults (technically!) and it seems like as good of time as any to figure out the future!

Wish us luck!