I haven’t written in awhile. I had your sister here visiting with her girls and we were as busy as you can imagine. We had a princess tea party for Emma’s birthday and I invited all the girls that are her age from church. She had so much fun. Me, Hannah and Emma wrote messages to you on her birthday balloons and let them go. We watched them until they were no longer visible and that’s when Emma said, “They’re in Heaven now”! I have no doubt you got the messages. Emma talks about you a lot. She tells everybody that you are in Heaven with such matter-of-fact innocence. She knows she will see you again and I am sure she’s right. I pray that we will all be together again one day with our Father in Heaven. It is my greatest desire.

Although it was wonderful, having Hannah here made me keenly aware that she is all I have left. I remember when I made the decision to have only two children, your dad said to me, “What if something happens to one of them”? I never believed I would lose either of you, and the thought never crossed my mind until you were deployed and still it didn’t seem real. As I watched the little ones run around and interact with Hannah, I realized that I will never have this with you. When people talk of getting their family together for holidays and birthdays, for me it’ll just be your sister and her girls. I’ll never see the girls interact with cousins and I’ll never get to see both of my children find joy in one another’s kids.

I loved watching you with your nieces, as I imagined what kind of father you would be. I anticipated watching your family grow and wondered what your children would be like. My heart breaks when I think that you will not leave a legacy of children and grandchildren. It breaks for me, but mostly for you.

I have sentimental things that you were to inherit. You were so excited about getting grandpa’s gun that you asked if I would give it to you as soon as you were back from Afghanistan. I said, “We’ll see”. Why didn’t I say, “Yes”? Jake, I want to give you everything and now there is nothing I can do for you.

I was in Costco today for the first time since your death. I was shopping and feeling just fine until I saw the protein bars and the Jerky I would send in your care packages. Jake, I want to send you a care package. I want to make you smile. I want you to know I love you and that I’m thinking of you. I want to make your day better and happier. How can this purpose in my life be gone? I cared for you for almost 22 years and now I can’t. I can’t do anything for you. Will the pain ever go? Jake, I can’t imagine I will ever be able to live without you and be the same person I was before. I still pray for you and I still talk to you. I hope you can hear me.

I know you’re busy doing incredible things and I know you are helping everyone around you and that makes me smile, even through the tears. No mother has ever loved her boy more than I love you.