Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Sal

To my son Tommy,

This is a difficult letter I write to you today.  One year ago on the 23rd of August 2011 your stillborn brother was delivered into this world after approximately 18 weeks of being in the womb.  You were only 2 years old at the time and I doubt you will remember or comprehended any of the events.  You barely understood about a baby brother in your mom's womb.  Some time we will sit down and discuss Salvatore Joseph Downey but that will be in the future.  It is not that we are hiding or shielding the event from you, just need you to get a bit older to understand.

So for now, you will have to just wonder why your mom and I are sad today.  You will once again question where we are going as we head to the grave of Baby Sal who is buried with your Great Grandfather Sal Maggio.  But, unfortunately, some day you will come to some type of understanding about death and it will click in your mind what is going on.

Losing a son at any age is difficult.  Such an event can cause depression, alcoholism, divorce, and loss of religion...if you let it.   Death of any kind makes you want to scream at God "WHY!?" and even question His existence.  It can devastate relationships and destroy your soul.  All the questions... why, how, why me, when, where, what...  none of them ever got answered and it takes some time to accept that none of them ever will be answered.  When Sal passed, your mom and I searched for answers but what we were really searching for was comfort.  An uncredited quote I found did help me a bit
"The amount of time on earth matters very little: a man can live in greed and pride 90 years and never find God, know Him or accomplish His Plan. A stillborn baby on the other hand, teaches people to love, brings people to the Lord, teaches us the tenuous nature of life and teaches us a faith that those who have not suffered loss can never know. A child not even breathing for an hour, can have an impact greater than a famous preacher. The purpose of a life is not ours to decide nor in our hands: it is brought about by God" Source Unknown
That helped me a little.  For it is true Baby Sal taught me so much about love and life.  Your mother, you, and your brother have all taught me more about love and life and changed me more than any other person in this world. There were so many things we found in other peoples words on the internet and in books and in person as we searched.  Beautiful words and images filled with love and faith and hope from others who have experienced the same thing.  It is amazing to me that even in the darkest hours of despair you can find such beauty and love and behind those you can find God.  One image or quote I found was a chiasmus.
"God, I was going to bounce my baby on my knee and tell him all about you.  Can you now bounce him on your knee and tell him all about me?"  Source unknown
I need to stop writing now as my tears might flow into the keyboard and my emotions have so much pouring out that I cannot organize my thoughts and feelings to express to you.  I hope that one day you can understand life and death and all about your brother Sal.  We will always remember your brother and even though he did not take a single breath in this world we are thankful for his time in our life.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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