“Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death, as a school in the art of dying. I do not mean this in a morbid way. On the contrary, when we see life constantly relativized by death, we can enjoy it for what it is: a free gift.” —Henri Nouwen, A Letter of Consolation

Nine months before Vincent was born, I had no idea we were having another son. Nine months since his passing, I have no idea how to live without him. He was an unexpected gift; neither did I foresee giving him away. I figured he would still be here. Perhaps I assumed too much.

Strangely enough, I don’t want the pain to stop—not all of it, anyway. Tears and memories are my connection to Vincent, proof that he still matters to me. There are few things I dread more than numbness toward what I cherish most. To stop feeling is to stop caring.

I hope I never stop missing that little boy. I can no longer see him playing with toy trains, hear him laughing with his brother or pick him up when it’s time for a bedtime story. I may not enjoy the pain of living with a broken heart, but I hope to always feel something when I think of my son. The best gifts stay with you forever.

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