Dear Jakey,

The last letter I wrote you was a happy one and I made a mental promise to myself to try and keep my letters to you more positive and really share with you everything that is going on. And that didn’t work so well because I haven’t written in over a  week. Not for lack of things to say just because I am not sure I can keep it upbeat. It is funny Jake, because when you were here we were together so often that you  got the brunt of everything – happy and sad times, the times I was so scared and worried about you, my obsessive watching and recording of every potential difference that might mean something to someone about you, the fun, the lazy, everything. And without you here it really is just me, because so much of what we shared can’t be shared with anyone else. But anyways, I want to do better at sharing it all with you and not just the mopey sad me that misses you tremendously but all of it. So to catch you up, in no particular order, is a list of ten things that I think you should know for certain about this last week:

1. Ethan started 1st grade on Wednesday. It was so rainy! We went to see you before school and I wanted to get a picture of Ethan talking to you in his first day gear, especially his new sneakers which he is so proud of. But the rain threw me off and I didn’t get one. He came home though and loved first grade. He said his day was great and Mrs. Barrows was nice.

2. Lots of people thought of me and us on Wednesday. People knew that would have been your first day of kindergarten if you were still here. Oddly enough that part wasn’t hard on me. It was part of our story that was just so different and that I just got used to. While it always made me sad, I accepted that you and Ethan would never be in the same school. And that all of the milestones were different. There was no way to compare and we didn’t. You going to kindergarten would really mean being going across the street at Prospect. What did make me sad though was two big things. One was that there was no family pictures, and by family I mean the four of us. Those pictures from last year (Ethan’s 1st day of kindergarten on Wednesday and your first day on Thursday) were priceless. And the second thing was when I think about Prospect and I think about when Daddy and I went to visit there, I can’t stop remembering their music sensory room  – it was so cool and they would have been able to wheel you in there and you would have loved it. I know you would have and I am sad that you aren’t experiencing that.

3. The day after the Lip Dub, me and Daddy where on lots of newspapers and pictures. You would have gotten a kick out of it. I wish you were there. It was such a fun day and the only thing missing was you.

4. Ethan has on numerous times told me the only thing he doesn’t like about you.  Every time he says it, it catches me off guard until he finishes his thought. Each time it finishes with the exact same thing. The thing he doesn’t like about you is that you died too early. It’s true. You did.

5. Tomorrow is 9/11. A day that happened before your time. A day that changed a lot for all of us and tragically altered many lives. It marks ten years tomorrow. Last year you were with me when I was trying to talk with Ethan about it and this year I have been doing it again. We watched a piece about a girl who lost her mother and every year she sends balloons to Heaven. When she said that I thought it was kind of great since we send balloons to you. I though Ethan might like the idea of Heaven having a lot of balloons for everyone up there from all of us still down here. He got kind of mad at me though and told me to stop talking. He said it just made him sad to think of so many people down here having to miss people up there. I get it.

6. Today was the first day of fall soccer. We missed you. It wasn’t the same without pushing you down the middle of the fields, stopping and talking along the way. I felt a little lost without you. Ethan kicked butt – your brother is a good player. He understands the game and he understands being nice which is what I like best. With the reminders from Daddy, he knows not to show off how good he is which he doesn’t really need to do – it is pretty clear to everyone that he is pretty damn good. And he is passing to his team mates and giving everyone a shot. No one wants their kid to be that kid that is a show off athlete – at least we don’t. And you would have been proud of him.

7. This will give you a chuckle. Kate was with Ethan today. They went on a long bike ride and my bike sort of scared her. And Daddy’s was too big. So she rode Sarena’s. Pretty silly huh?  I keep picturing it in my head and it makes me laugh!

8. It has been over 9 months without you. It sucks.

9. At church last week there was a guest priest from Brooklyn. I liked him. He was pretty eccentric. This has happened to me before but I really can’t stop thinking about the way he spoke. It was close to Communion time and he spoke about Jesus and he talked about Heaven in such a real way and talked about all the departed celebrating around the table. He made it seem so great that I got tears in my eyes. Just because I need to believe so much that you really are in a better place. And that you really came here with such a strong and amazing purpose. And that as your brother stated tonight, you were so brave here. And anyone who was so strong and brave on Earth has to be in the best place ever. I just can’t wait to see you again.

10. I leave you with the quote I just read in another piece written by a brother for a brother that was lost in 9/11, He quotes Thorton Wilder who once wrote, “the greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” And that leaves me with just a Thank You Jakey. Thank you for spending 4 years, 7 months and 4 days with me. Thank you for teaching me about what is important. Thank you for reminding me of what is important when I start to forget. And thank you for being my son. I love you so much and miss you more than words can say.

With so much love,