Dear Elliot: A Letter to My Son in Heaven

Dear Elliot,

Happy birthday. Your mommy and I miss you so much.

One year ago, I saw you for the first time. I remember seeing your perfect little fingers and toes, and your beautiful eyes. But you had already gone to heaven to be with Jesus.

Your body was very fragile, so I never got to hold you. But even if I had been able to hold you, it wouldn't have been the embrace I'd been waiting for in the previous months, when you were in Mommy's womb.

What would your life have been like, if you'd had the chance to live it with us? Would you have grown up loving sports, music, and Star Wars, like your older brother? What would your favorite subject have been in school? Would you have become an engineer? Would you have become a husband and a father, or would you have joined the priesthood?

What is heaven like, Elliot? Do you talk to your sister Lucy? Do you see your earthly family? Can you feel our love for you?

Your baby brother Charlie was born a week and a half ago. He makes me very happy, but he doesn't fill the hole in my heart from losing you. Nothing and no one ever will. I will save that place in my heart for you - save it for when I get to see you again.

I love you so much, and I can't wait until the day I can finally hold you in my arms. In the meantime, please pray for your family. Pray that all of us will make it to heaven, to spend eternity praising God with you.


Today marks one year since we delivered Elliot. It's not the day he died, or the day he would have been born if he had survived, but we can't know either of those days for sure. So this is the day every year that we will celebrate the brief time we had with Elliot. After lunch today, we honored Elliot by singing "Happy Birthday" and sharing a chocolate cake. Tim dove into his slice face first. I'd like to think that made Elliot laugh up in heaven.

A few months ago, I posted a similar letter to my daughter Lucy. I gave a few reasons why I post letters like this, which you can read about here.

If you have lost a child, or another loved one, I am truly sorry. I hope that reading this letter was meaningful to you in some way, and I hope that you are able to find some way to process your grief - whether it be through writing, conversations with others, or prayer.

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