A letter from me to my angel baby on today, his fifth birthday:
Hey Angelo. Just wanted to say I still love and miss you and hold your memory dear. It has changed over the years; the wound that your death caused has turned into an old (but not too old) scar—a tattoo on my heart that I run my fingers over when I need a little comfort in my day. You are a reminder of the time in my life when I knew that the most important thing in the world was love. The time when my only job was to care for a baby that I would never truly meet or know–who would never look me in the eye or smile at me or call me Mama.
A mother gives so much to her children, but she also asks so much from them—love and affection, success, happiness, thoughtfulness, gratitude. You are the one son who I never asked anything of. It was my job to love you unconditionally, with no expectations. And somehow, without asking for anything from you, Angelo, you gave me the greatest gift of all. You gave me the gift of selfless love.
I go on loving you but somehow, Angelo, but I don’t ache anymore. Like a child who is given the gift of their dreams and she plays with it and loves it and it is real to her, but over the years the toy itself is not needed anymore and one day she looks back fondly at that gift and remembers it, and that alone rekindles her feelings of joy and tenderness and love and specialness, and the memory doesn’t make her wish she still had the gift to play with; it makes her happy that she ever had it in the first place. She knows her childhood would have been so barren without it.
That is how it is with you, Angelo.
I love you, Angel Baby. Happy birthday.
(Angelo in utero—how I knew him best. The picture was taken at a spot in my backyard where we built a garden for Angelo; behind is the lake where we scattered his ashes.)