TCF of the Valley Newsletter – October, 1993

Dear Jason:

I’ve changed so much this year; the year you’ve been gone. On October 9, I will be three years old! Last year, you wanted so much to help with my second birthday party after your surgery. Instead, we blew out candles together a week before, and our last pictures together were taken.

When you died after your surgery, there was a funeral instead of a birthday party.

This year I’m having a party – but it has to be different from any of yours or mommy will cry. I became a big brother this month. A year ago you were the big brother. But sadly, although at 5 ½, you were 3 ½ years older than me, I’m bigger now than you ever were.

I can still wear some of your clothes – I know it comforts mommy. After you died, our house was so sad. Mommy was sick in bed and crying all the time. Papa was always working, and I was worried.

I had tantrums and cried, too. I couldn’t talk at all when you died and no one could explain where you went. The only time I felt comfort was when mommy and I watched you on the videos together – it felt like you were still there. You were so much fun – always talking, singing, and dancing. I felt so lost without you.

Now I’m learning to talk. My first word after you died was “mom” (I knew how important that was for her!). I have new interests, friends, and a whole different life now. When I look at videos now, I think you are really me, and that baby is my new baby sister. And although I won’t remember you too well when I’m grown up, just know that when I was two, I mourned your loss greatly. So much in fact, that there were doubts about whether I would ever smile or laugh again. But momma and papa had those same doubts about themselves, too.

I never could replace you, but you are always a part of me in some way. It would have been hard to see you grow up and suffer – but I’ll always wish I could have grown up with you, my older brother.

Love always, your brother forever


My little freckle-faced boy named Jason was the most precious thing that could have been taken from me. Sometimes, I envision a parable to describe the horror. I once lived in innocence and I was rich beyond belief because I had a precious jewel. I polished and took such good care of it until the day it was stolen from me. Now, although I’ve been entrusted to care for other precious jewels – I no longer am relaxed to polish and care for them. As valuable as they are to me, I now live in constant fear that they too, will be taken. How I wish I could feel innocent again!


TCF of the Valley Newsletter – May, 1995

In the very beginning, I carried you and my entire life was changed from that moment on. It seemed like you were safe inside me and I was completely absorbed by pregnancy. You were to be my first-born child.

When you were born, you were carried away from me – near death. But for some reason you were given back to me. I was able to experience your laughter, smiles, your sing-song voice and your love. For five years I continued to carry you and we were deeply connected.

I carried you to the emergency room for many cardiac emergencies. I tried so hard to ease your fears and take away the pain as only a mommy could.

I carried you to birthday parties and outings; where you were always so tired. You were very small and light because you never could eat – it was easy to carry you.

I carried you to your final surgery; where you were far braver than I – saying your goodbyes as if you were really going to wake up.

And all those times when I carried you, your little head would press only my shoulder and I felt your warmth across my body. You needed me so, and my sorrow was enormous to not be needed by you anymore. With your death, I collapsed in a heap with my heavy, empty arms.

A few years have passed since your death. Now I am carried – I am carried by the memories. You are my angel and will always remain a darling, freckle-faced little boy who truly loved life. In the darkness of my grief, I can still see you singing and dancing.

Your Mommy


TCF of the Valley Newsletter – October, 1996

The ache in my heart

Goes everywhere with me

It follows me through time

And never really leaves

With every breath I push it away

And hope it won’t remain because

I can’t accept that it will stay

With me for the rest of my life

But four years later, it’s still there

In the loudest or quietest of moments

I strain to remember your voice

In the daylight or in darkness,

I’m searching for your face.

In the happiest of times, the ache in my heart

Reminds me that tragedy can always strike

The thought of more agony

than your loss alone is unbearable

So, sometimes I wish the pain away

And pretend it never happened,

Or it happened to somebody else,

Or maybe you’re better off,

Or maybe I am too.

But it never really matters,

Because the ache in my heart never leaves.

Even when I’ve thought it’s gone

It’s only disguised.

It becomes the guilt that now I’ve forgotten you,

Or loved you less.

I guess the ache inside is what remains

And though the pain is no longer raw

I can’t believe that time can heal.

How can my heart ever heal,

when it continues to bleed?


“Somehow, Michael and I feel like we’ve let him down. We promised him we’d be there when he woke up and we had so many more plans to spoil him. We know how much he loved us, and we want to be there to take care of his special needs.

Thank god he never really suffered. We prepared him for everything except death. Our pain is so great because we’ll never know what he could have become and we’ll miss him so much. We’re afraid he would have suffered had he lived, and because he didn’t we are relieved. He lived five perfect years and he was so happy. We’ll all miss his intelligence, his jokes, and his profound insight.

We can only hope in time that all the good memories and pleasure will replace the pain. We have no regrets and we said our goodbye’s to that precious angel who really only went to sleep.

I still remember checking him every night while he slept, and I always knew he wasn’t mine to keep but I felt so lucky to have him at those moments. It’s going to be hard to not worry about him anymore.

It may seem impossibly painful and dreadful to bury a child that lived only five years, however, Michael and I feel it was a great privilege from God to be his parents. We are so grateful to have been chosen, just as he was so lucky to have been loved so much.”

Memorial Plaque for Preschool – Artwork and Song Lyrics by Judy

© Judy Unger and 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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