I am sorry that I don’t tell you I love you more; look at you and see how beautiful you are, or appreciate all you have been through.
I am sorry that I ignore your needs and wants and instead focus on your failures.
I’m sorry that after all you have accomplished in this life, I still focus on what you have not done. I do not recognize your achievements and successes. I do not notice how hard you work on a daily basis to live life to the fullest. I focus on your failures, where you are lacking, and how others have accomplished more. Instead of praise, I belittle you. Instead of seeing your beauty, I see how others are more. Instead of loving you for exactly who you are, I look for why I could love you more if only you did this or that. I am sorry.
I am sorry for the heart breaks I have caused you. For not seeing your value and potential at all times. For not recognizing you are the greatest gift I have ever been given from our Father and the Creator of the Universe. You are exactly who you are supposed to be in this exact moment. Everything you have already accomplished is far greater than anything I could have ever expected in life. You are more beautiful than anything I could perceive. You are more successful than you were yesterday, a month ago, a year ago, 10 years ago. You will continue to outshine in this life and go places you never thought were possible.
I am sorry for holding you back until this moment.
But I promise, from here on out, I will step out of your way and watch you soar. When everything starts to be hard again (which it will, this is life), I promise to build you up and support you. When you start to cry, I promise to make you feel special again and loved.
When life gets too serious, I promise to remind you to laugh and not take it so seriously.
When you don’t want to get out of bed, I promise to remind you why you started this path in the first place. I promise to take care of you and love you always. I promise to work to keep you healthy and strong- mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I promise to look after your well-being. I promise to tell you how much I love you as much as possible and remind you of your beauty.
When your past becomes baggage, I promise to help you carry it. To see your scars of pain as reminders of your strength. I promise, this life will have it’s ups and downs, but I am with you and for you, and together, we can do this!
I’m sorry I couldn’t be enough for you. I’m sorry that my choices and taste in clothes made you uncomfortable because I didn’t follow the same gender norms all of your girl friends did. I’m sorry I was depressed all the time and couldn’t pull out of it. I’m sorry I liked riding bikes with you instead of playing with dolls. You were so cool and comfortable; I just wanted to be like you. I wanted what you had, which of course, meant I would never achieve it.
To you, it was simple, if I changed my clothes, more people will like me; I’d have friends and be less lonely. You didn’t know that it doesn’t work like that. You had no idea what you were doing to me. Backhandedly, I think you even thought you were helping.
But that wasn’t me. I couldn’t pretend to be something I wasn’t and that made the loneliness worse. I couldn’t escape the discomfort. At school, I was an outcast, at home, a disappointment.
I’ve always alternated between arrogance and feeling worthless and never being able to make you proud added to that pile. Between rejecting your acceptance and needing it, I left myself totally conflicted. I’m sorry I gave you so much power over me. I’m sorry I trusted that you knew what was right for me and doubted myself for so many years. I’m sorry I was so much for you to deal with…And, I’m sorry I embarrassed you. You really were my best friend and arch nemesis and I could never win with you.
We had glimpses of pulling out of the rivalry and I genuinely believe if we had a little more time, we would have become the friends that were reflected by how close we really were.
I’m sorry you died before we got the chance to work through it. I’m sorry you won’t get to see how I’ve turned out. You didn’t see me get my drivers license or graduate high school and college. You didn’t get to see me thrive in the grimy town I glamorized while growing up with you in that shithole. You won’t meet my kids or joke with the love of my life. You didn’t get to see the world and you’ll never know the joy of getting stamps in your passport. I’m sorry you’ll never see fireworks around the Eiffel Tower or know what it’s like to sleep on a rooftop terrace in Africa in the middle of summer. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see how fun being an adult could be.
It’s been ten years and I’m now seven years older than you were and I’m sorry you missed out on so much.
A Lonely Little Sister
You were a good girl and you lived for 11 years in the pocket of my heart. Are you happy where you are?
‘She’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge’ they told me. ‘Where is that?’ I asked, eyes brimming with tears, not quite able to understand. ‘It’s the bridge connecting Heaven and Earth’. Now you were free.
I chose to euthanize you at home. Surrounded by love. Surrounded by the familiar and in my arms. Choices I made out of love and respect for your important place in my life, carefully orchestrated ahead of time so that you could go gently. When I woke up on Saturday December 8th 2012, your body had changed. Even though the lymphoma had been eating away at you, you were always full of life force and always radiant. Suddenly your skin sagged and your bones felt light, almost like they were turning to dust. The light had dimmed in your eyes and I knew it was time. When your paw touched my face, I opened my eyes and there you were, sitting on the pillow, watching me sleep. I saw it then. I saw that the physical pain of the last 8 months had truly caught up and the cancer bird was circling, ready to make it’s final descent and get it’s kill. The moment I thought I’d never be emotionally ready for was here. The call I had been dreading to the vet : ‘Please come, it’s time’.
Thinking back now, after that initial eye contact upon waking – when you let me see inside your soul and let me feel how bad it had become – you never looked at me again. We settled into the couch at 10am. The next 3 hours would be the hardest of my life because I knew they were our last. Rob and I opened the fridge and pulled out every forbidden treat we could think of. Chocolate, peanut butter, bacon…. we offered them to you with a heavy heart because I knew I would never have to lovingly push you away from them again. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and I suddenly realized that there would be no leftover holiday turkey for you. I’d never have to push you off my knee at the dinner table, paw swiping my food plate, trying to steal something. I’d never have to apologize to dinner guests when you constantly tried to jump on the table…. but you didn’t want any of it. You simply lay out on my legs, facing the other way and fell asleep. I stroked your fur, watching how difficult breathing had become for you, how sharp your bones felt and I wished for you, a painless death.
1pm. Your time of release.
You sat up and I took this last photo with you. You looked up to the ceiling, eyes wide and I like to think that you saw something that helped usher you over.
The doorbell went. The vet came in.
You slowly stood up, gently jumped down, walked to the scratch pole and took one long languorous stretch.
You sat in the middle of the floor and I watched as the 3 other cats came and sniffed you. Maya licked you. They had begun to reject you because you smelled differently. Cancer. In this final moment, you closed your eyes and let out a long sigh. Suddenly I wasn’t ready. You were showing me you were ready and my human will to keep you here forever, kicked in. I was panicking so hard about how to do this ‘right’ that I forgot to look you in the eyes. I forgot to pick you up and hold you and tell you how much I loved you and how much joy you had brought me in our time together. I forgot to tell you how brave I thought you were and how much dignity you had. I forgot to tell you how beautiful you were. How much peace you had brought to my heart. I forgot to thank you for being light wrapped in fur.
The doorbell went. The vet came in.
You walked right up to her. She picked you up and put you on the towel on the table. The vet asked me to step out for this part. She explained that she did not want me to be the ‘bad guy’. She wanted our goodbye to be less fraught. I was panicking because I knew after this, you would be in twilight sleep. My inner voice was telling me that I still hadn’t looked directly in your eyes and told you it would be okay. But I didn’t speak up. I stepped back and watched as you fought them when the anesthesia needle went in. Then you were still.
I was on the couch. I lay down and she placed you across my chest, face in the crook of my neck, as you had always snuggled as a kitten. I whispered my love to you, I rocked you and reassured you through my tears, as I felt your hot breath. They shaved a little patch on your leg where the final injection would go. Then you started to fight. You sat up a little and struggled to breathe. Now I looked at you. Your eyes were glazed and far away. Your soul had departed and left your feline vehicle to fight the last fight. The cancer bird swooped down and then there was nothing.
I often think that apologies are best suited face to face, when you can look eye to eye and soul to soul. My apology comes 7 months later because I just can’t forgive myself for not looking you in the eye one last time. I was too busy jumping to the next step and trying to make sure I did it the way the vet and I had talked about, that I didn’t take a moment to make eye contact.
Did I do it right Kayla? People always talk about how their loved ones come back and give them signs. The depth of your departure echoes heavily in the house. You are gone and your presence is missed every day. I hope that your journey across the Rainbow Bridge was peaceful and that you felt enough comfort in the end.
I hope wherever you are that you are at peace.
“There’s a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of it’s many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge is a verdant land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass. When a beloved pet passes, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. Old and ill and frail animals are made whole. They play all day with each other in the beautiful sunshine.
They are happy and content but there is one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth.
So, each day, they run and play until the day comes when, suddenly, one stops playing and looks up. The nose twitches. The eyes are staring. And this one suddenly runs from the group. You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her into your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated”
I’m sorry my depression has cost you your marriage, your time. I’m sorry that every day that my depression gets worse that you have to sit there and hold me instead of going out. Im sorry that I fought you and almost scratched you that night. Im sorry of the bad thoughts I have in head… i cant stop. Thank you for always being there. I love you So much! ♥
Although these words will never meet your ears, I’m apologizing anyway. You are and will always be protected by what I felt that day, in that moment. After all, I’m a mother. I’m your mother. It’s my job to protect you.
Admitting something I’m deeply ashamed of isn’t easy. Even your father doesn’t know this. How could I tell him? He didn’t share my feeling. He didn’t share my fear. I didn’t want to look less in his eyes or risk losing a piece of his heart. But, this isn’t about him. It’s about you and me.
During my pregnancy, nothing was out of the ordinary. Although it had been eight years since your sister was born, it was like riding a bike. The only difference: I was deemed to be “high risk” because of my “advanced maternal age”. At 40, I was five-years deep into the label. I didn’t mind. I felt great.
Besides the standard “what sex is your baby” ultrasound, (I’m sorry my heart sank a bit when they told me you were a boy. Your sister has proven that raising one girl is more than I can handle.) I was advised to get a genetic one due to my ancientness.
The initial genetic ultrasound showed you were perfectly healthy, but the physician mentioned your arms and legs seeming a bit short. He didn’t seem concerned. In fact, he spent most of the time joking around and speaking of his Eskimo roots. After the exam he asked if we wanted an amniocentesis, which we quickly declined. We told him you were stuck with us no matter what. Dr. Alaska, as I’ll refer to him, wanted us to come back in about a month to recheck your growth.
The second exam wasn’t much different. Dr. Alaska made similar comments regarding your limbs and added that your head seemed a bit large. Much to your father’s dismay, he meant the one above your neck. He asked if any of our relatives were disproportionate or had problems wearing hats or helmets. I couldn’t help but laugh and asked if there was a problem. Was he saying you were a little person or had another genetic disorder, like Down syndrome? He said “No,” and added that none of the findings were cause for concern. He said his kids had big heads, which didn’t please his wife during labor. Then, he talked about working with little people. Basically, he knew little people, and we weren’t having one. Despite his lack of concern, a final genetic ultrasound was scheduled two weeks before my due date.
When I arrived for my final ultrasound, I discovered Dr. Alaska had left the building, literally. He returned to Alaska to open his own office. Instead, I was left with Dr. Constipated, who was knowledgeable, and professional, but lacked warmth and personality. It didn’t take him long to express concerns about your low birth weight, lack of fluid in the amniotic sac and by the way… it seemed you had genetic markers for Down syndrome. That news should’ve hit your father and I like a ton of bricks, but it didn’t. In fact, we dismissed it in our minds. After all, we saw Dr. Alaska. He was confident there were no concerns. He laughed and joked with us. He was someone we could hang out with. Why would we believe Dr. Constipated over him? Our answer: We wouldn’t! Anyway… His concerns led to me being induced the next day. I was excited. I couldn’t wait to be a new mom holding her son, instead of a waddling pregnant new mom-to-be.
I’ll save us all the trouble of real timing the labor. Aside from your father announcing my contractions each time they appeared on the monitor (as if I didn’t know), it was pretty standard stuff.
Let me thank you now for your speedy arrival. It only took a minute or so, and you were out. Of course, your father couldn’t believe it. After the second push, I saw his eyes bug out, and I heard him ask the doctor if I should have a C-section. Your father had no clue.
You popped out and the doctor immediately took you to the side. You were surrounded by nurses cleaning you up and assisting in examining you. It felt like forever. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I began to cry and asked if you were okay. No one turned around to answer me. You father, who tried spying on the huddle a few times, said you were perfect. At that point, I was getting pretty upset that the one person, who did all the work, couldn’t see the finished product.
Finally, they gave you to your dad. Still crying, I asked if you had it (Down syndrome). He simply responded you were fine and put you in my arms. Here lies my shame. I looked at you. Without hesitation or a mental filter, I thought, “This isn’t my son,” and I wanted to give you back. My heart didn’t fill with immediate joy as anticipated. I just looked at you, analyzing the size of your head, the red patchy skin, the appearance of your eyes. I felt scared and insecure about being your mom.
Then, they took you… again. I only held you for a minute, and they took you. It was in that moment that I snapped out it. You were gone for hours, and I was aching to have you back in my arms.
When I recall my initial reaction to seeing you, I want to smack myself. I want to yell and scream and call myself a horrible person who doesn’t deserve such a wonderful gift. I’ve tried to figure out why I felt that way, but I can only speculate. Was it your appearance? You looked like a malnourished alien because you needed some meat on your bones. Goodness! You were only five pounds nothing. Your eyes looked funny because they applied ointment, causing them to swell. How can I judge someone who just came out of the depths of me after nine months? I’ve looked worse after a night of drinking. Was it the anxiety of not being able to hold you immediately? OR… Was it hearing “Down syndrome” only the day before your birth. I don’t know the answer.
I need to apologize for not feeling overwhelming joy the second you were placed in my arms. There is no excuse. But one thing is certain; I loved you beyond reason, before ever laying eyes on you. I still do. You are perfectly spectacular. There is nothing I would change.
And… Let’s forgive Dr. Alaska for not knowing his stuff. You have Down syndrome, and your cute little head hasn’t met a hat it can’t wear.
A nine-year-old Australian boy felt so bad about pinching his little brother’s testicles he felt compelled to write him a letter.
The sweet note, which has since gone viral upon being posted to Facebook, expresses the boy’s sincere regret at causing his brother pain.
Identified only as Zac, he is said to live in Adelaide.