Pieces of my heart

Dear Carter,

I realized something when I was talking to your dad last night. I asked him how his day had been, and he asked about mine. I was honest when I told him that it had been a hard day. I missed you so badly yesterday, and I cried a lot. But I told him that I was feeling better since I was home with him and when I said that, I realized why.

You see, little one, we give a piece of our heart to each person we meet. Some people we only meet once, and they only get a teeny, tiny piece…like the size of a grain of sand. Just a speck. That tiny piece can be filled with love — in the form of a smile to the cashier at the grocery store, or saying thank you to the driver who let you in, or leaving the server a nice tip. We choose how we give that tiny piece — with love or with some other emotion — but it feels better to give them with love.

Some people get a bigger piece of our heart. Our coworkers and friends, people we see frequently and with whom we share parts of our lives, they each get a piece. We get pieces of their hearts in return. This sharing of hearts is what makes our lives rich and full. Family gets a still bigger piece because they’re the ones that matter most (be it family by blood or family by choice). Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, parents, siblings all get a big piece. The special person you fall in love with gets a big, giant piece (for me, that’s your amazing dad).

The thing I didn’t realize until you came was just how much of my heart would belong to you. Your Gigi (my mom) has told me for a long time that having a child is like “your heart walking around on legs.” And what do you know? She’s right. You captivated  so much of my heart with your soft skin and your long eyelashes and your funny faces and your sweet little sounds and your crooked smile. I didn’t know how big my heart was until I met you.

So here’s what I learned last night. Having all those pieces of my heart out and about leaves me feeling incomplete, which is why it hurts so much that you’re gone and never coming back. There’s an emptiness that will never be filled. Some of the rawness of the wound will be healed by the kindness and love of those around me, by time, by your memory…like a salve takes away the sting. But your special space will always be there, just waiting for the day we get to be together again. However, some of the other holes in my heart are filled when I am around those that hold the missing pieces and are still here on Earth with me. So when your dad and I both got home last night and were finally together after a long day apart, that hole in my heart was filled. The piece was back where it belongs. And I felt more whole.  A little stronger. A little easier. Being near to those who hold pieces of your heart is important. Spending time with them is essential to feeling well and whole. Whoever they are, blood family or chosen family, we must make those relationships a priority in order for our hearts to feel full. If we don’t, our hearts are weaker and less able to give out those tiny grains with love. We risk our hearts becoming brittle, cynical, jaded. And that’s not the way to live.

Relationships matter. People matter. Love matters.

Beautiful boy of mine, you taught me so much in your short life. I hope I’m doing your lessons justice. I know you’ll tell me how I did when I see you.

I kiss you.

Love you forever,

Mommy

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