Dear Jakey,

The last few weeks, or maybe month, I have been inundated with thoughts, conversations, and different ideas about grief. I have talked more about you in the last month, and to more people, than I have in the previous few years. It is not that I didn’t talk about you before, because I certainly did at every chance I could, but now it has sort of become my job. And while there have been some moments where all this talk has weighed on me, for the most part, it has given me so much joy. It reminds me of how I felt writing these letters that first year – it feels like what I was meant to be doing.

Sometimes I wonder what you think about all this talk. Like do you get annoyed by it like a typical teenager? Are you wishing I would shut the eff up? Or do you like it? Do you like how hard we work to keep your memory alive? I hope you like it, but I also sometimes picture you as a sort of surly 17-year-old. I picture you like your brother at 17, and then I picture you as you would be if you were still here. I visited with Milana last week and I see how far she has come. I think about what it would be like with you here. I would give everything up to have you back in this life with me.

But instead, we make this life on Earth work without you. Sometimes we make it work better than others. When you first left, we took Ethan to Disney. It seemed like a way to honor you and a way to take you with us to see the world, in a way that we couldn’t when you were here. We still do that, Dad and I. We tackle our bucket list and we keep you close when we do it. We leave next week for New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We rented a house and will be with a bunch of our peeps – and your peeps too. Every one of them knew you. They knew you before you got sick and they knew you after. Something about being with them just makes me feel more myself.

We booked 4 days away in March too, at a place called Jakes Hotel. It is probably a weird reason to pick a place but to me it makes sense. Time will tell if it was a good choice.

With all the love,