Letter To Ellis

Today was Ellis’ due date. We’re at the beach, a special place for us, and will spread some of his ashes in the ocean tonight. A month ago we took some of his ashes to Enchanted Rock overlooking the Texas Hill Country and read letters to him written by me, Hunter, and our families. Here is my letter...

Our sweet, precious firstborn baby boy. Oh how we wish you were still here with us. I find peace in believing you came here so briefly for a reason—to bring us gifts we have yet to fully receive.

What a special 202 days we shared together. We were overjoyed to learn we had conceived you and couldn’t wait to tell our families. It was such a thrill the first time we heard the thumpity-thump of your strong little heart, racing at 140 beats per minute like a horse’s gallop.

I first felt you move at 17 weeks and wondered, “Is that you in there?” At the 20-week anatomy scan we saw that you were perfectly formed—your brain and spine and arms and legs—you were curled up like a little pup against the wall of my womb. We asked the technician to conceal your gender inside of an envelope and waited to open it on top of Enchanted Rock. We were so excited to learn that you were a boy—your daddy was especially proud.

Each day your precious rhythms grew more in sync with mine. When I woke in the morning I felt you stir and stretch. You poked and jabbed me during loud movies, as if to say, “Mama, what’s going on out there?!” You danced along with me at the David Byrne and Fleet Foxes concerts. You got bigger and stronger and started doing karate chops into my right side—sometimes you made me jump! I could feel you doing flips and marveled at how my whole belly could shift around.

The last time I remember you moving was at a party while I was talking with friends—I felt your little hiccups and told the group about you. That afternoon I took the one and only video of you stretching and kicking in my belly. When I noticed you weren’t moving that Sunday I knew something was wrong. I wish I could’ve prevented whatever happened to you. I did the best I could.

When you came into this world you were still, like a sleeping lamb. Your skin was the softest I’ve ever felt. You had a head full of wavy brown hair and cherry red lips. Your little shoulders had peach fuzz and your sweet button nose was squished. You were perfect. Your hands and cheeks looked just like your daddy’s. You had your mama’s nose and hair, and maybe her eyes too. I wish I could’ve looked into your eyes.

We brought you back to this sacred place, Enchanted Rock, where your body will come alive again...as part of the moss, the flowers, the trees. The sun will keep you warm and the rain will cool you down. Changing seasons will show you growth and death, and new life. We’ll go to visit you there and make new memories with you.

Ellis, your body left permanent traces in my body and your soul has a permanent place in my heart. During the darkest time, you’ve brought us so much light. I’ll love you as long as the sun still rises and the moon still glows. I’ll always be proud to be your mama. We love you so much.

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