I don’t want your death to harden me and I’m afraid it is. I have had a lifetime of hardships but I’ve still managed to have a lifetime of laughter until now. I absolutely know that you love my silliness and humor and my love for life, just as I love these traits in you. I don’t want to lose them. I want to remain happy through the trials, even this one, but this one is so big. It’s too painful, so for now I have put so much of me away. I need to remember where to find it one day for me and for you. I believe you can see me at times and I believe you want to see me laugh and smile. I promise I will try, Jake.

Tonight we went to that property we’ve been looking at. It’s so beautiful. We walked all the way around 9.5 acres and guess what? We saw a monarch butterfly, and in all that time we only saw one. It’s sort of become your trademark.

Ever since you were a little boy, you would always tell me, “Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to buy you a house, and you can live right by me and when you’re old, I’ll get you a golf cart so you can ride to my house”. You even said that as recently as last year. There was so much of your life when I was a single mom, and I know it must have created a desire in you to take care of me. I always told you that you didn’t need to get me anything. All I ever wanted was for you to love me and you did that so well, Jake. I always knew you loved me and I can feel it even now. If we get this property, we will build that house you wanted for me, and I remember that the kitchen has to be big because I’ve never had that. I will remember that requirement you insisted on. I will miss having you and your family next door, but I will plant milk weed to attract the butterflies, because that way you will be there in my mind as I see them flutter about.

The very best thing I got to do in this life was to be a mom; to be your mom. Nothing has ever made me happier than being with you and your sister. Every single day I spent raising you brought me so much joy. It seems silly sitting here writing this to you as if you don’t know, because you do. You do know how much I love and adore you. You will always be the best thing I’ve ever done.