Conner, today is your 1st birthday.  It has been 12 months since your death and it hurts just as much today as it did then.  Time has a way of helping you control your tears while around others but when alone, it is very easy to shed them.  I miss you so much.  I am only your grandmother; I can’t begin to imagine the pain that your mommy and daddy are going through.

I came to work today but I shouldn’t have.  I have been in the bathroom many times crying.  The pain is so intense.  Special days and holidays are hard now.

Instead of 1st birthday pictures, I have pictures of a headstone and flowers with a birthday balloon on it.  I find myself looking at other children that are about 1 year old.  I try to imagine: Would you be stocky like your big brother or would you be more petite?  Would your hair be blond and your eyes blue or would your coloring be completely different?  Would you have talked as early as your brother and be just as outgoing or would you have been more reserved and shy? I will not know these answers until I see you in Heaven.  I still have a hard time understanding but I lean on God to help me through these times.

I called your mama and she is feeling very sad today, as I knew she would.  I sent her some flowers and I bought her a Precious Moment figurine to remember your 1st birthday.  I know we both would rather have had some pizza, cake and gifts to open but that is not what is going to happen today.

It is going to be a bittersweet Easter weekend.  It just happens to fall on my mom’s 70th birthday as well as being Easter, just a few days after your birthday.  We are going to surprise my mom after church today.  My youngest brother is bringing her to the restaurant and we are going to have a surprise birthday gathering with our family.  All three of my brothers and their families will be there.

We did go to church a ndit was hard.  The tears flowed.  There was an Easter lily on the podium with your name on it.  Why couldn’t you just be here and be going on an Easter egg hunt with your big brother?

As I was sitting in my pew, I prayed and asked God to please help me with this horrible pain.  A feeling of peace came over me.  I heard Jesus tell me not to worry about you, Conner, because you are happy and playing in Heaven, safe in Jesus’ arms.

Sherry Van Pelt 2011

Sherry Van Pelt

Sherry Van Pelt

My name is Sherry Van Pelt. I am a wife to my husband Max of 43 years, a mother of three and a grandmother of three. I am also an author and speaker. When I was 13, I lost my very best friend in an accident. The night before, we had gone roller skating and were laughing so hard we could hardly stand up because we were having so much fun. The next morning she was dead. I went to her funeral and I couldn’t believe she was lying in a casket! There weren’t support groups like there are these days. So I put my all my feelings and thoughts on paper. It was how I coped with her loss. Years later, when I lost my grandchild, I once again used the tool of writing. I didn’t know how to deal with the pain of losing him, so I put my thoughts on paper. I wrote it in the form of a letter as if I were talking to him. Thus the book “Dear Conner, a Grandmother’s Pain” came about. All my private thoughts are in this letter and because I did allow this letter to be published, I have helped many others. In turn, the thank you notes, letters, and phone calls I have received as a result of this book have been a blessing and a healing process for me too. So I feel when we reach out to help others, the blessing will come back and help us double.

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