letters to logan ...
Every year it's the same thing. August arrives and it's time to think about your birthday … again. Somehow another year of life absent of you has passed and all that remains is the question, “What do you want to do for Logan’s birthday?” What do I want to do? Now there is a loaded question. I think this year I would like to answer it differently than I have in the past …
I want to run into your room, jump on your bed and yell, “Wake up Birthday Boy!!”
I want to give you kisses and tickles until you open your sweet little eyes and your room fills up with laughter …
I want to dance and parade our way down the hall to the kitchen where Dad is making his famous mickey mouse banana pancakes. Yours of course will have chocolate chips and whipped cream today. After all, only the best for my birthday boy ...
I want to sit next to you as you eat, run my fingers through your crazy hair that seems to be the trademark of all my children in the morning, and admire God’s handiwork …
I want to bring out the biggest birthday present you have ever seen and watch pure joy consume your face as you squeal in anticipation about what could possibly be hidden inside …
I want to watch you tear into your package with the zeal and aggression only a little boy could muster and take a picture just at the moment where your eyes finally meet what they were so desperately looking for …
I want to hide my laughter as your little brother and sister chase you around the house trying to get their little hands on your new possession, as you scream and cry in protest ...
I want to spend the entire day by your side being able to hug you, kiss you, and pick you up and toss you in the air like superman whenever I feel like it …
I want to look into your big blue eyes, cradle your face in my hands and tell you how much I love you and how you are my heart’s delight …
I want you to be so tired after such a long and fun day that you fall asleep in your bed before we can even finish our prayers, and I want to stare at your beautiful sleeping face with awe and wonder and thank my King endlessly for you ...
But instead ...
I will go to your resting place, drape my body over where I once buried yours and cry my weight in tears because those things will never be and that is not our story.
I will send you a balloon with a letter saying how I miss you so, and with a childlike faith I will believe it somehow ended up in your little hands …
And yet through it all, I will choose to believe that God is good - even though so much around me today screams the opposite. I will still choose to thank my King for you even though I had to say goodbye far too soon … and I will choose to believe for the remainder of my life that God did not take you from me, but rather, gave you to me forever.
Until we meet again sweet boy.
Love you to the moon and back,
My Dear Sweet Logan,
I just told your little brother that today is your birthday. He instantly squealed, clapped his hands, and jumped up and down in anticipation of your big day. He said we should have chocolate cake with chocolate sprinkles … and probably some chocolate cupcakes too. He then casually asked how we were going to go up to Heaven to get you. Moments like this catch my breath. His innocence is so beautiful and refreshing, and yet, is able to cut deeper than almost anything I have experienced since you have been gone. I told him we couldn’t go get you and the look on his face said it all, “How are we supposed to celebrate Logan’s birthday if he is not here?” I ask myself that very question every year.
Sometimes the life I lead feels like a facade. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, make myself continue, consume my time with family, kids, work … and all the while keep forcing down the ever constant - but deeply hidden - need to scream your name. My life is good, but often I live in a perpetual state of denial when it comes to you. This is my normal now and for the most part I have learned how to embrace … no scratch that … how to tolerate it. I talk about you when given the chance and most of the time am able to do so with a straight face. A select few have the ability to occasionally break through what has become a very thick shell and bring me back to you. In those moments I allow my self to remember. I sit in the tears, the pain, the ugliness of grief and I remember. I still laugh, I still smile, but deep beneath it all - I still hurt. You’re gone. My sweet baby is gone. You should be turning 5 and according to your brother I should be baking a ridiculous amount of chocolate treats. Instead, I will pick out flowers for your grave. I will take way too long choosing the right ones, fuss over the color scheme and then meticulously arrange them in your vase because … IT’S ALL I CAN DO. There is nothing else. You are not here and I cannot “Go up to Heaven and get you.” If only God would let me borrow you back for a day.
And yet, even in your absence you gave us a great gift this year. Ironically, you are the one doing the giving on your 5th birthday …
On the day you were born we were able to hold you for 54 minutes before Jesus took you home. What is the value of a single minute? Some could argue not much … after all, so many come and go throughout a day, a year and ultimately, a lifetime. I would argue that mere minutes create moments and moments make our memories. Sometimes - like in the story of your life - a memory is all we have to hold on to. 54 has since carried a very special meaning in our family. Just a number to some, but to us … it represents you.
Your Dad figured out very recently that 54 in Roman Numerals is written out - LIV. You may not understand the significance of this son, but Roman Numerals don't make words often - let alone very appropriate ones. Some would say that's a crazy coincidence, but I don't believe in coincidence. I believe in divine appointments. I believe God's hand is always moving for a purpose and I believe He loves us so much that five years ago He chose the length of your life - down to the minute - so that today we could be reminded of that great love. Had your life been a moment shorter or a moment longer, we would not have such a beautiful and poignant reminder that you did indeed "LIV." I need that reminder today as we try to navigate yet another birthday without our birthday boy.
I then realized for the first time in five years that we actually COULD get you something for your birthday. We could carry a piece of you with us wherever we go, we could honor your life proudly for all to see, and for you my sweet boy, we could "LIV" this life to the fullest until the day we too are called home.
Thank you Logan for reminding us to keep pressing forward, even when we cannot see where God is taking us. Thank you for reminding us we can TRUST His direction and TRUST His character, even when we don’t understand WHY His hand has moved a certain way. And lastly, thank you for reminding us that EVEN IF He leaves mountains un-movable, we can still know for certain that HE IS GOOD.
Happy Birthday My Love. I am sorry I cannot be with you today.
Love you to the moon and back,
PS … Sully said he loves you and if you were here he would share his chainsaw with you. That’s a big deal buddy - he LOVES his chainsaw :)
My Beautiful Boy,
Every year as your birthday approaches I am at a loss for words. And yet, when I finally find myself facing the day of your birth and death, the words pour out endlessly ... almost as if they have been held silent by a dam, just waiting for that one time a year when I allow myself to open the floodgates.
I only write to you once a year. I used to write to you every day, and then gradually it became a few times a month, and then a few times a year and now … August 9th. I also used to hate Thursdays because you died on a Thursday. And then eventually I stopped counting the weekdays and just hated the 9th of every month. Now, six years from your death, I no longer count weeks and I no longer count months. I only keep track of one day a year. Just so happens that day is today … ironically, it also happens to be a Thursday. An unexpected revelation and a bit of an extra punch in the gut to put on my tab for the day. We have in a way come full circle, and yet, I still don’t have a party to host or a cake to make. I don’t have a birthday boy to love on and spoil. I don’t know what else to do, and so I do the only thing I can to honor you ... I write.
Your birthday seems to be the one time I find energy to do something I truly love, but at the same time find incredibly draining. If I’m honest, it’s like having a one sided conversation. Like spending too much time picking out the perfect gift, wrapping it beautifully, waiting anxiously for the big day to arrive … and then putting it on a shelf to collect dust. I pour my heart and soul into your letters and try my best to believe they somehow actually end up in your little hands. But do they?
The child within me wants to jump up and down and scream, “Yes! Have some faith! Of course they do!” The practical adult in me looks down at that very child and rolls her eyes. Here’s the thing Logan … the Bible says in Heaven there is no sadness, no tears and no heartache. My letters, in contrast, are always sad. How could they not be? You are not here. My life IS blessed. My heart IS full (well mostly). But … there is always this intense ache and this emptiness that is in the shape of you. I guess I just don’t think it’s realistic for you to read my letters, because they in turn, would make YOU sad. I know God can do anything and of course has the ability to filter you from the pain and still allow you to get glimpses of me … but do you see the bigger problem? Something so sad has no place somewhere FREE OF SORROW. So even if Jesus would put you on His lap and read them all to you right now, there is a different - and overwhelming - side of me that would ask Him not to. I know that probably is incredibly confusing. I just don’t ever want you to feel what I do. I never want you to know any part this pain. So today, on your 6th birthday, I am doing things a bit differently.
In the Bible God tells us to have “childlike faith” and in that spirit today, I am also resorting to “childlike reasoning.” After this I may be the one now getting the eye rolls, but it’s for you son … SO I SIMPLY DON’T CARE. This year I celebrate you. This year I am doing my best through the tears to make this a joyful day and a letter full of just one thing - LOVE. This year I send you something different … something that maybe, being void of my pain, might make it past those pearly gates and into your beautiful hands.
So God ... this is now in YOUR hands. Would you please make sure it gets to my son?
Happy Birthday baby boy! All I want to tell you today is how much I love you and how proud I am that you are mine. There is a story I tell your brother and sister often, and today for your birthday, I want to tell it to you too …
"One day God was creating a heart. He took extra time and special care with this heart and when He was finished He said to Himself, “Wow! This is one of the most beautiful hearts I have ever made! It is full of so much compassion and love! It looks a lot like mine. Now ... who in world should I give this heart to?” So He searched and He searched and then He said, “Of course! Logan Andrew Stewart! He is exactly who I made this incredible heart for!” He then put that beautiful creation into YOU and breathed his life into it. Ba-Bum! Ba-Bum! Ba- Bum! And that my boy, is the day your heart started beating. God gave you a heart overflowing with compassion for others Logan, and He is going to use it to change the world. So now take that precious gift, let His light shine out of it and ... GO CHANGE THE WORLD."
And guess what Logan? God did exactly that. Through your heart He IS changing the world. YOU sweet boy, are changing the world in ways you could never imagine and I couldn’t be prouder. I cannot wait to tell you all that has happened because of you. I can’t wait for you to run into my arms, so I can hold your face in my hands and tell you just how delighted I am that you are mine.
I love you buddy. Now go have the best birthday ever and take a very special birthday walk with the Creator of that beautiful heart. I can only imagine time in Heaven is different than time here … so maybe … at the end of that walk turn around ... and I will be there.
I Love you to the moon and back sweet boy,
Thank you God for giving me not just one, but THREE, of your most beautiful creations. Why you chose me for such incredible gifts? I do not know. I don’t deserve them, but am forever grateful. What I do know is this … my Logan the COMPASSIONATE, my Sullivan the LOVING, and my Emersyn the BRAVE, WILL change this world and I have a front row seat to watch it happen. Today above all else I choose to focus on that.