My Dear Sweet Turner,
It has been 16 weeks since our last perfect day together. You would be 4 months old. You would be rolling over by now, starting to try and push yourself up onto your hands and knees, possibly starting to teeth. You would be making noises, and possibly laughing. I would do anything to hear those noises. To know what you sounded like. To have the true blessing and miracle of watching you grow, learn and live outside of my body. To watch your little personality flourish.
This week we have been getting ready to go on vacation to your Grandma and Grandpa Herings house in Wisconsin. Every summer we usually go to their house for a couple weeks during the summer. It is something your siblings look forward to. I have usually looked forward to going every year as well. This year is so very different. I was apprehensive about going this year because I knew you would be 4 months old when we went. I wasn’t sure how I felt about driving all that way with a 4 month old. I hoped I would still be able to go, and told the kids our decision to go depended on how you were as a baby and if you could handle the 16 hour drive. This trip was tentative this year.
Now, since you aren’t here, the decision has been made for me. We ARE going because I don’t have the luxury to “worry” about driving with a 4 month old and what that meant. What I would do to be able to have that be my issue, my problem, my only worry right now. To have the worries, struggle and frustrations that come with having a baby in your arms. I would gladly take every single hardship that comes with a baby because the alternative is shattering. The alternative is feeling devastation every day of your life.
I am getting more and more anxious to leave on vacation. Leaving on any vacation from now on means leaving you behind. Not being able to sit near you and be with you each day. Not being near your precious body everyday. Knowing you aren’t alone because I sat with you and talked with you. I know YOU aren’t there. That your physical body is what I visit each day, but your body is what I long to hold, what I long to see, what I long to take care of. Your physical self. Of course I want your spirit in your body too, but to know I am near you brings me comfort and a warmth I need to feel each day. Visiting you is really the only time I feel somewhat whole, because I am near all of my children when we are out there with you. All 5 of my children are with me. And me with them.
The thought of not being able to visit you each day is bringing me much anxiety and uncertainty about how I will feel being away from you. I asked your Grandma Crocker if she would go and be with you each day while I am gone. She of course said yes. I just need to know you aren’t alone every single day while I am away. Knowing she will be out there with you eases my fear a little. I also have 2 other sweet friends who said they will go visit you a couple times while I am gone. My friends are amazing. That they would do that for me.
Your siblings and I have talked a lot about you this week. Andrew in particular has been asking lots of questions and wondering when you are coming home. Those conversations are hard to have. Andrew usually says, “Mom, I miss baby Turner. I want him to come home. I want to give him a kiss and hold him. He was in your belly, but then he came out. He died and is in heaven with Jesus.” He says it in the most begrudging way as though he understands but doesn’t like it at all. He asks me why you died, why you are in heaven, why you can’t come home. He also tells me Every. Single. Day. Since you passed away that he misses you and wants to hold you. To know he won’t experience the joy of being a big brother to you here on this earth is awful. Y’all would have been the best of friends and he would have taught you so much, including he to get in lots of trouble together. Oh what I would do to watch and experience the two of you getting into trouble.
Reagan just wants you here. She wants to be able to take care of you. Be a little mommy to you like she did with each of your siblings. She keeps saying that she is so happy when she sees other families with their babies because that means they didn’t die. That their family doesn’t know this pain every day of their life. She is such a sweet girl and she would have been the best big sister to you.
Scout asked me last night why God took you away from us. I gently explained to her and your other siblings what we believe about Heavenly Father. That he loves each of us more than we can ever understand. That he loves us just as a parent loves their child. That we are each His children and he doesn’t want to see us in pain. I told her He didn’t “take” Turner away from us. Rather, for what ever reason, reasons I may never know or understand, Turners life here on this earth just happened to be much shorter than the rest of us. Reagan expressed sorrow that you didnt get a chance to live here on earth. I told her that you DID live on this earth. For 9 beautiful months. You lived, thrived, felt warmth, joy, happiness and love constantly. You never felt any sadness, pain, or sorrow, and knew each of us loved you more than anything because we all talked to you, enjoyed feeling you move in my belly and watched you grow. I explained that you did live on this earth. That you had a body, a perfect beautiful body, but you didn’t have to experience the hardships of life outside of me. All you knew was constant and utter love. That you came here to earth, received a body, and became a part of our family forever. The only difference between all of us here on this earth and Turner is that he died much earlier than most people, but that each one of us will also die. Nothing different happened to their brother. He lived. He very much lived just like each of us do and was a real person, a newborn son. His time here on earth was just very short. It was a beautiful and also sorrowful moment me teaching the kids about where you are, why you aren’t here and that we will see you again. Once your siblings heard these things I saw a little bit of glimmer in their eyes and could see that this brought much happiness to them.
Thomas finally talked about you today when we were all having this conversation. He was beaming with pride and joy knowing you are his brother. He talked about how beautiful your were and that you were simply perfect. He told me, “mom I was so excited to see him after figuring out Turner was born. When I found out Turner died I didn’t want to believe it. But when I saw him I knew it was true. I didn’t want to cry because that would mean Turner wasn’t here. But when dad said 4 words to me I knew I could.” I asked him what 4 words your dad told him and he replied, “it’s okay to cry”. Seeing him finally talking about you made my heart happy. Thomas hasn’t wanted to talk about you because he says it makes his too sad and he doesn’t want to think about you with sadness. I think he has a special understanding that he will see you again and he focuses more on the fact that you are always his brother and he will see you again rather than the sadness he feels each day for you not being here.
I hate that your siblings have to experience having conversations like this, that these are their real conversations. Conversations no 11, 9, 6, and 3 year old should ever have about their baby brother. At the same time you have taught them so much. So much they would have never learned if you were here with us. Of course I would do anything if that meant you were here again, but I can’t do that. I’m so extremely grateful for you teaching your brothers, sisters and myself so much more than we could have ever have known. You teach us something everyday. You are continuing to live on by the blessings and gifts you give us and those who know us each day. You make me extremely proud to be called your mom and your siblings mom. You have changed all of us. What a mighty little spirit you have son.
Please be ever near me while I am gone on vacation. Please help me feel at peace. Please help me to really learn how to lean on Heavenly Fathers love for me again. Please be ever near my side my dear precious baby boy.
Love Always and Forever,