There is a picture of you getting ready to go to your senior prom and holding me as a baby. You were all dressed in your tux and I was about four months old. Fast forward to Christmas 2017: I was pregnant for the first time and walked out to your car after Christmas dinner to give you a hug. You said, “Take care of that,” and pointed to my stomach. I said, “Take care of yourself.”

That was the last conversation I will ever have with you. That picture and that memory define our relationship perfectly.

You were my crazy, fun, loving, proud uncle—practically like a brother to me. You were a huge part of my life. So many of my childhood memories—and even my adult life—involved you. I looked up to you. I always knew I could talk to you. If I ever needed a laugh, I could count on you for it. You always had some crazy story to tell that would have us in tears from laughing so hard. You were so full of life. Everyone loved you. It was rare to see you without a smile on your face.

Now I have to learn to live without seeing you at all.

I don’t know where to begin. How can I try to put into words this great loss when there are no words to describe it? How does one go on living with just the memory of a life? I can hear your voice, even your laugh, perfectly. All your mannerisms are still there embedded in my head. If I close my eyes and really allow myself to, I can picture every detail about you. But once I open my eyes, I am reminded that these are just my memories and all I have now.

This is a daily struggle I have, but now I am a mom and this struggle has turned even greater because I am sad my kids will never meet you. Someone who was at every family holiday, took me to amusements parks and rode all the crazy rides with me, someone who asked my opinion on the new girl you were dating, even asked my opinion on your current outfit, someone who bragged about me because he was proud of me . . . this is just flat out not fair. My kids deserve to meet you and you deserve to meet them.

I feel like no matter how much I try, I cannot do you justice—but I promise I will try every single day.

I will tell my kids all your stories. I will tell them how important you were and still are to our family. Not only will your memory live on through me, but it will through them as well. Grandma said, “Maybe a life had to leave this world so a new one could come in.” I will make sure my kids know that their great uncle made that sacrifice for them, and I can’t thank you enough for that.

I will make sure they know they have the best guardian angel. I will show them the picture from your prom night and tell my daughter you met her while she was still in mommy’s tummy. So, as I deal with my grief, I will also help them with theirs. This is a loss for them, too.

I am sad my kids will never meet you, but I promise they will know you.

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Shaina Sweeney

Hello everyone! My name is Shaina Sweeney. I am a very proud mommy to a beautful baby girl and adorbale pup, and let's not forget, proud wife to an incredible husband! I just want to share my experiences becoming a new mom so anyone who stumbles upon this will know, they are not alone! Motherhood is truly a blessing.