A Letter to Andy on His Fifth Angel Day

“At any given moment, you have the power to say ‘This is NOT how the story is going to end.’”

Dear Andy,

I’ve been writing – and rewriting – this letter to you for weeks, as I counted down to your angel day. Here it is, the fifth anniversary of the day that you left us, and I still can’t find the right words. Maybe that’s because there are none.

Andy, I miss you more than words can express.

But here I sit, still trying to find a way to describe the depth and breadth of my feelings for you. A way to say how much I love you without hyperbole. A metaphor that I haven’t used before. A literary device that will allow others to know you as intrinsically and fully as I do. To make them feel the cold emptiness of your loss on this hot June day. To wholly capture your essence and legacy on paper.

I’m just not a good enough writer.

And so people talk in platitudes about you – telling me that you’re in a better place, that you are at peace, that I need to embrace the blessings I have, that you’re watching over us all. Those words hold little solace for me.

Five years later, I’m still searching for meaning – something tangible and real to cling to in your absence. I’m still grappling, every day, with emotions that I can’t explain. I’m still fumbling with words when someone asks me how many children I have.

Or when your little sister Lucy, who is now almost four, asks me where you are.

We are five years removed from your loss, but it is an entire lifetime for the siblings you never met. Everything has changed. You father and I are completely and irrevocably different people. What words are there to bridge the gap between who we were when you were here and who we are now? How can I translate my living, breathing memories of you into a language that your sister and brother understand?

To Lucy, you are a dragonfly in the summer sky. You are an angel with a broken wing, healed and flying in heaven. You are the thunder in a rainstorm and the rainbow after it. To your little brother Will, you are a smiling face in a picture and another character in a story. You’re not real to them, and that stark fact breaks my heart.

But, I won’t let your story end. Grief won’t silence me. I know nothing I say or write can bring you back to life – back to us – but I won’t stop trying.

So, today, on your fifth angel day – the day after you should have graduated from pre-kindergarten – I will gather Lucy and Will on my lap and tell them all about you once again. I will hold them close, breathing in their sweaty summer scent and remembering the smell of your skin. I will kiss the tops of their curly heads, so much like yours. And together we will begin to write the next chapter.

I love you always and forever,

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2 Responses to A Letter to Andy on His Fifth Angel Day

  1. Rosemary Perry says:

    Just keep talking and writing and hugging and kissing Alan, Lucy. and Will because you will also be hugging and kissing and loving Andy.

  2. Zanne says:

    My 2nd daughter was diagnosed with mosaic Trisomy16 afew months after she’s born. I just lost her a month ago after she went for her heart surgery. She was 4 months old then. I read your post on “Getting Over It” and its exactly what i am going through now. The pain of losing my child is just too great to bear. I am struggling to cope and taking each day as it is because i miss her so so much.
    I hope to seek some comfort in your writings and will continue to visit your website. Thank you for all the eloquent words that i just cannot translate these emotions myself….

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