Dear Jakey,

Here we are again. Quickly approaching December 8th. About three weeks ago, I came to the realization that the next letter I wrote you would be my last one. With that realization came a sense of calm and resolution, yet somehow I couldn’t get myself to sit down and write it. I would write it in my head at 4:00 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep or driving in the car or zoning out while watching football but I couldn’t quite bring myself to sit down and do it. But Ethan just got on the bus and I am sitting in the front room, the room I still call the therapy room even though it’s been close to 6 years since it served that purpose and it seems like now is the right time.

When I close my eyes, I can so vividly remember writing my first letter to you. You were siting next to me on our old couch. What I can’t remember is why I started but I think it had something to do with Hunter and Jill Kelly. I remember when I wrote with you next to me and how it helped me feel so connected to you. And I remember the freedom it gave me and continued to give me for quite some time after you died. And I remember thinking how grateful I was that I sat down that first time to write to you with you next to me because I wouldn’t have had the strength to do it after you died had I not already started.

Somehow along the way though it became something else. Not just a way for me to connect with you but a way to share with others how I was doing. And something in that lost its truth for me. And with that became a different kind of grief and anger and even guilt. Should I write more? Should I write less? And why was I writing if it wasn’t just for you? The truth is that after almost 6 years without you, nothing is easier. Absolutely nothing. And while I used to find solace in the routines created after you died, I don’t anymore. I want to but I don’t. And that’s what got me to thinking that it is time to re-create my routines and my way of communicating. I don’t yet know what that is but I am open to ideas (from you only). I trust that you will show me the way. The way you did with the cardinal. And the way you did when I started writing.

So much of who I am now is because of you. I find comfort in the fact that if you were here you would still 100% know who your mom as. Good and Bad. I know that because of you I have a sense of what is important in life. And while I can get wrapped up in the minutiae like everyone else, I try to really remember what is important and where my truth is. And when I feel like I am going to lose it, I am blessed to have friends that I know only because of you to help. Friends like Milana.

Milana reminds me so very much of you. I remember when I first met her when JHFH first was starting out. She was probably only 2 at the time and so sick. But sick like you were. The horrible unknown rob you of your life kind of sickness. The kind where you get tired of people asking about it and tired of people feeling sorry for you all at the same time. The kind that makes you wonder what the fuck you ever did wrong to make this happen. But also the kind that makes you learn about human spirit and perseverance and dignity. Anyways, Milana is 7 now and she is something amazing. She stands in her stander which is the same as yours. She is on the keto diet, she has osteopenia, she broke her femur, she seizes, she sounds junky but nothing stops her. She smiles and it lights up the room. She smacks at my hand when I try to wipe her nose. She brings me the most joy I have had in a long time and brings back all those feelings I had with you. The feelings of pride, the sense of what it really means to dig deep and plug along and also the feelings of fragility – because it is all so fragile. Every breath is not a given and that fear can be gripping. I can remember with so much clarity when you took your last breath. And when I told Daddy on the phone that I think you died. And just how horrible those moments all were. And I don’t like to go to those moments but I just miss you so much. And I can’t wrap my head around that I’ve had more time here without you than with you. It’s going on 6 years, you should be 10.

But we will keep doing what we do. I will not write anymore at least not letters. But I will find a way to stay connected. Or rather I will follow your lead. You led me to Milana and I trust that you will always lead the way for me. I’ll get through the next few weeks as there is no other choice. I’ll try to not lose focus. And when I do I ask for your help. We have our Cantina day next week and Uncle Steve is coming, we go to Montreal to get out-of-town, we have our last JHFH board meeting and all that comes with that, I have TKD testing (I bet you never thought your mom would keep plugging along and work towards black belt!) and then just like that we’ve made it through.

I love you more than you could ever imagine Jakey. You are the very best part of my life and I wish you were here.