What I did for love

Dear Carter,

A year ago today, Daddy and I made the excruciatingly and agonizingly painful decision to  turn off the machines that were keeping you alive. I’ve wondered so many times over the last year if it was the right thing to do. If it was the best decision we could have made. If we somehow missed out on a miracle that could have brought you back to us. But every time my mind takes me through these questions, the answer is always the same. Yes, it was the right thing to do. Yes, it was the best decision we could have made. And no, there was no miracle that could have brought you back. Truthfully, you were already gone. Your soul and mind had left us 4 days earlier. All that remained was your beautiful body, and even that was beginning to fade away. You couldn’t regulate your temperature, you couldn’t move your muscles, you couldn’t breathe on your own. You didn’t feel pain anymore.

So we let you go. Holding you in my arms while your body gave up its fight was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Watching your Daddy weep as he cuddled you to his strong chest was the most painful thing I’ve ever witnessed.

But I would do it over again a million times, because of how much I love you. It wouldn’t have been fair to ask you to stay just to ease our pain. It wouldn’t have been right to ask the medical team to keep poking you and trying everything to make you come back when clearly you were already gone. Even if there had been a shred of hope that you could live (there wasn’t, but just imagining if there were), it wouldn’t have been okay to make you live a life devoid of any quality, where you would never walk or speak or eat.

A song I hadn’t heard in a while recently played from my playlist, and it spoke to me about the decision that we made. It’s from an old Broadway musical called A Chorus Line. In the show, it relates to the characters’ decision to pursue their dreams no matter the cost and no matter the outcome. But in my life, it perfectly describes how I feel about the decision to let you go. Here are the words:

“What I did for love”

Kiss today goodbye
The sweetness and the sorrow
Wish me luck, the same to you
But I can’t regret
What I did for love, what I did for love

Look, my eyes are dry
The gift was ours to borrow
It’s as if we always knew
And I won’t forget what I did for love
What I did for love

Gone
Love is never gone
As we travel on
Love’s what we’ll remember

Kiss today goodbye
And point me toward tomorrow
We did what we had to do
Won’t forget, can’t regret
What I did for love
What I did for love

Gone
Love is never gone
As we travel on
Love’s what we’ll remember

Kiss today goodbye
And point me toward tomorrow
We did what we had to do
Won’t forget, can’t regret
What I did for love
What I did for love
What I did for love
What I did for love

Here’s a video of the version I have in my playlist. There’s lots of other great recordings of this song by amazing artists like Josh Groban and Aretha Franklin, but I love the purity of Lea Michele’s voice and the beautiful arrangement of the strings as the song builds.

You truly are a gift, sweet Carter. I’m so very thankful you were ours to borrow for just a little while.

I kiss you.

Love you forever,

Mommy

 

3 thoughts on “What I did for love

  1. I can’t imagine making that decision, but it was definitely the right one. And it shows the strength you and Joshua have; knowing how much it would hurt, you still did the right thing. I love you two; “you’re gonna make it, I know you’re gonna make it. My bags are packed for you!”

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  2. Katie and Josh,
    It’s so hard to believe it’s been one year ago we said goodbye to Carter. I’ve been thinking of you and Josh a lot lately. Please know you are both loved so much, I hold you close to my heart and I continue to pray for peace and comfort. Katie, you speak such beautiful words of strength and love that has come out of this loss. My hope is that others who might be going through something similar will find your words and be strengthened by them. Love you guys! ❤️ Casey

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  3. Katie, your words are profound and touch my heart. I am praying for you and Joshua on this anniversary of Carters death. Sweet little Carter touched the hearts of all of us and his life impacted us profoundly. What a precious gift he was to you and Joshua , to all of your family and to us!! And his life will continue to be etched in our minds and hearts forever!!
    You and Joshua have shown an incredible strength in this last year even in the midst of such deep grief.
    I continue to pray for comfort in the coming days for all of your family.
    We love you always. Donna Lehman

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