My Heart of Gold
by Carol Winter 
May 8, 1994 was my first Mother’s Day without Jake. It had been almost a year since his birth on May 24, 1993 and his death three weeks later. Lots had gone on in that year; we had moved twice and had been blessed with our second son Luke by March. In fact, May 8 1994 was a special day because Luke was baptized that day and it was the first day in our new home.

But what everyone seemed to forget was that it was a bittersweet day for me because I could not be a mom to ALL my kids. Besides Jake and Luke, we have a daughter, Samantha, who was not quite two t the time. I looked around me and felt so blessed yet so sad…How could anyone understand? I hid my emotions deep inside until my husband Bill gave me my Mother’s Day gifts. In a small wrapped box, lay one of the most precious gifts I have ever received (besides my three children), a gold heart-shaped key ring with my name engraved on the front. When I turned the key ring over I was not prepared for what I saw on the back.
Happy Mother’s Day
May 8, 1994
Love, Sam, Jake and Luke
The tears overflowed and I looked up to my husband in awe. He understood! He knew! Jake was there with us. I am his mom and someone had recognized how important and hard this day was for me. I had three kids, not just the two that are on this earth with me. Our new son had not replaced Jake like many people thought or wanted to think! Even though it was a special day for Luke, part of the day belonged to Jake too.

Since then, Mother’s Day has become easier to face each year. Having living children helps, yet there is still a void since Jake is no longer with us. But we include him in our celebrations. We sign his name on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards. Usually I try to pick out a card that has three kids, bears or whatever on it. Then I label each “critter” with the kids’ names. We speak of Jake frequently, especially on those days. One year on Father’s Day, I gave my husband a shirt that said “Jacob’s Dad” on it. My husband has given me earrings with Jake’s birthstone in them. These things have all seemed to help.

I strongly believe that mother hood does not just begin when a baby is born. From the second you conceive, you are nurturing and caring for your baby. So for however long you are blessed with that child’s presence in your body, be it weeks or months, you are his or her mom. A mother’s love doesn’t suddenly materialize in the delivery room. Most people have nine months to prepare themselves to share that love with their precious child, for years to come. Some of us are not quite that lucky. But we are blessed to have been a mom at all to our little angels in heaven, for however short a time that may have been!

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there!
With much peace and love,
Jake’s Mom