Writing Landon and Blake’s letter felt so good. Was it emotional? Of course, but to put the words that have floated around in my head all these years into coherent, tangible form has allowed me to feel some relief from the pain of having them gone unsaid. My letter to Gabriel, while not as painful as the first two, is no less emotional to articulate. And so, here I go.
Finding out that you were coming into our lives was simultaneously joyful and terrifying. Daddy had not had testing done to determine if he carried the gene for San Filippo, and though we knew that we desperately wanted to have you, not knowing your fate was so scary. After deciding to do the testing, and then finally getting the results that you would be healthy and free of MPS, we were finally able to allow the excitement be our only thought, and the anticipation of your arrival was wonderful.
You see, before you, and even before daddy came into my life, I had given up on the possibility that there would be life after Landon and Blake left me. I had decided (or so I thought) that I would be alone, and solely focus on caring for and loving your brothers until they were gone and then, if I wasn’t swallowed up by the darkness and emptiness I felt, I would have a life outside of them. I was so buried in my grief, and I couldn’t see the light anymore. I was barely handling the reality of the situation and I thought that if this was how it made me feel, there would be no way someone from the outside would be able to come in and deal with such sadness and heartache. I thought it would be selfish to expect anyone to.
Then out of nowhere, your daddy came into our lives and helped me to find the light again. As hard as I tried to push him away, in my attempt to shield him from the pain that I thought he couldn’t handle, he refused to be moved. He stepped in and stepped up, and I was, and still am in awe of the strength and grace in which he handles this oh so different life. It’s hard enough to come into a relationship with children that are not your own, but to come into the lives of children with such complex needs and to know that you are building a relationship and bond with them, and then someday losing them is such a testament to how strong and special your daddy truly is.
Your daddy and I went through hell and back to make our relationship work, and even though there were a million reasons why we should never have made it, we did, and we now know we can make through anything. Adding you into our lives has solidified that love and has brought it full circle. The day you were born was such a wonderful, happy day. A perfect day. You were beautiful, and alert and you brought a new kind of hope into our lives. For the first time, thinking about the future didn’t hurt. I didn’t want to cry when I thought about what life would be like in 10 or 20 years. The thought of losing your brothers is absolutely no less painful, but knowing that I must be strong and continue, because you will demand it of me helps lessen the blow.
Being born into this family, you will certainly have to deal with things that most could never imagine. You will grow up with your brothers and then one day, they will be gone. You will have to be stronger, kinder, more understanding and compassionate, and will have to deal with not one, but two devastating losses. But you will be a better person and a stronger man for it. You will have a greater appreciation for this life, your health, and the love of family because of your brothers.
I have so many hopes and dreams for your future, but I promise to try not to hold on too tight, or let my fears of loss interfere with your need to explore, your need to be your own person, or your need for independence. In all honesty, my greatest hopes are that you feel loved, have success, and find deep and meaningful happiness in whatever way best fits you. I promise to love you unconditionally, accept you for exactly who you are, and be there for you and support you in any way that I can, always and forever. You will always have a home where you are loved, appreciated, and cherished, and remember: no matter where you go, no matter how old you are, you’ll always be my boy.
I love you so very much, and I am so excited to see where your future takes you.