An Open Letter to My Boy on Love, Grief, and the Holidays

Written by Samantha Eason on December 7, 2017
letter to my boy

Image source: Eichar Photography

Health and wellness touch everyone’s life differently. This is one person’s story.

When I was in high school, my mom and I used to fight a lot. Sometimes I’d write her a letter, explaining why I was upset. It helped us to really feel each other’s emotions.

Letters might be considered “old school,” but they’re extremely underrated. Whether you’re writing a thank you note, a birthday card, or a letter to your camp boyfriend, written notes are a much deeper and personal way to get your message across.

I wrote this letter to my son because it was incredibly painful and confusing to watch a role model — my father — struggle with, and then pass away from, alcohol. I want Isaac to know how important it is to me for me to not be a distraction from his growth and learning. I want him to focus on and appreciate being a kid — rather than worrying about his parents’ issues.

Dear Isaac,

When I look at you, I’m the happiest. All that matters is that you’re loved and cared for and nurtured. I never imagined my life could be so fulfilling at every moment.

The instant you arrived, my life wasn’t really mine anymore. It was even better. In the past, I’d spend my days in pursuit of things that could help me feel more — by achieving, buying, doing, experiencing. But it was never enough.

You are.

But how do I teach you about all the imperfections you’ll face in this life? And how to avoid the pitfalls that make navigating this world so much more difficult than it has to be?

Pitfalls like grief.

How can people we love just leave? It’s ugly, and it hurts, and it makes no sense. It really sucks that you’ll never meet your Grandpa Rich. My dad was so many wonderful things. He was playful, always just as invested as my 12-year-old self in tag (unlike other dads who’d prefer to read the newspaper). He was also insanely selfless, as well as loving, comforting, compassionate, tough, and giving.

I didn’t speak to your grandfather for the full year that he was in the hospital. I was angry — all of his health issues stemmed from alcoholism — and I ignored his existence. Rather than forgive him, I selfishly blamed him for picking drinking over our family.

And I learned a bitter lesson: hatred, mixed with everything else I was feeling, was destructive to my personal growth. If you ever think you’ll teach someone a lesson through anger, spite, ignorance, or resentment, you’re wrong. Love is always the answer.

I’m driven to ensure that you get not just a life filled with your basic wants and needs, but also the best possible example of how to be unconditionally grateful. You’re already blessed in many ways — even the most essential things like a roof over your head and good food on the table are things not to be taken for granted. It would be heartbreaking to hear that you weren’t getting enough from me.

But I don’t believe you’d ever say that. The magic in your day is in the simple things, like going to the park or running to the hardware store with Dad. Your unassuming disposition is always evident, and I love learning from you. You constantly show me how to slow down, appreciate, and be PRESENT. It’s damn hard to do those things as an adult — especially as a mother! — but you help me do it. I’m constantly thinking of ways to fill our day, although sometimes the best days are the ones spent at home randomly playing together. Witnessing your preciousness daily... this mama/son bond is no joke.

It’s ironic. As a child, losing your parent is the most brutal thought imaginable. And now, here I am, painfully aware, that as a parent the most brutal thing would be… I can’t even say it. This is why I have made clean living, accountability, responsibility, health, discipline, self-awareness, and quality of thought such priorities. You’re incredibly resilient, strong, and smart. I owe it to you to teach you how to not lose these qualities as you move forward in the world. This is what I can do to set you up for success.

This time of year is especially difficult for those who have lost loved ones. It’s hard to be grateful for the good when the bad weighs so heavy on your heart. And it’s easy to be sad and want what others have. But be humble. It’s the little things — like even having someone to text, call, or be there for you at all. Or being able to be there for them.

So, I want you to strive to be selfless, humble, giving, inclusive, respectful, patient, and unconditionally loving. Always, to all.

Finally, I want to thank you for being you, and for teaching me balance. For showing me grace. For the constant reminders that it’s the imperfections in life that actually make it perfect. All the unplanned moments and last-minute adventures are what shape our very real, amazing lives together. I can’t wait to see how and what you do with all that you’re capable of.

Love, Mom


Samantha Eason

Lifestyle and mom blogger Samantha Eason was born and raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts, but currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and son Isaac (aka Chunk). She uses her platform, Mother of Chunk, to fuse together her passions for photography, motherhood, food, and clean living. Her website is an uncensored space that covers life, both the beautiful and the not so beautiful. To tune into what Sammy and Chunk get into daily, follow her on Instagram.

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