November 29

November 30, 2011

Yesterday marked eleven years since my youngest brother, Shepard, died of cancer.  He was three and a half.

Since Ella was born, I find myself thinking about him more often. Having my own child makes me feel his loss and what it must have meant to my parents in a way I just couldn’t fathom as a self-absorbed teenager. 

Now I think of Shepard, and I squeeze my baby a little tighter.

I don’t think Ella looks particularly like Shepard, but I see a lot of similarities in this photo

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  • Reply Merrick November 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I think it's the straight blond hair that they both have that makes them look similar.

    And I totally feel the same way since having a baby.

  • Reply Saskia November 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I'm sorry for your loss, as I am every year that you post about it. I like that you take the time to write about something so deeply personal and share it with us.

    You go hug your kid for everyone that's ever lost a child.

  • Reply Shalini November 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I'm so sorry, Janssen. I've been thinking a lot about my FIL, who also died 11 years ago just around this time of cancer, but of course that's not nearly the same as a little baby brother.

  • Reply Janelle November 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    The thought of babies (and small children) dying makes my heart hurt. You can never hug your kids too much, but I sure do try.

  • Reply Jenn November 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    It's amazing how quickly and dramatically your perspective deepens once you have a baby of your own. My heart aches for anyone who has ever lost a child. I wish your family continued comfort and peace.

  • Reply heidikins November 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    This made me cry. I don't have a child, but the idea of losing one is overwhelming to me.

    Hugs to you, and Ella, and your family, and Shepard.


  • Reply Elsha November 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    It is amazing what being a parent does to our perspective. My mom's first pregnancy was twin boys who ended up being stillborn. I always recognized it as being sad, but I didn't realize until I had my own kids how heartbreaking it must have actually been.

  • Reply Elizabeth November 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I think of your brother often, because you've written so beautifully about him that his story resonates with me. And I am thinking of you extra on this day.

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife December 1, 2011 at 12:01 am

    I'm so sorry for your loss. How wonderful that your sweet daughter makes the memory of your brother that much more vivid – I hope with time the happiness of the memory outweighs the sadness.

    Thinking of you and your family.

  • Reply Angela Noelle of SK December 1, 2011 at 6:13 am

    How did I not know this about you? What a character-defining thing, to have in your past. And what another striking name and face (no surprises there). I hear you, on the way it changes, once you comprehend your own love as a parent. My friend lost her son a month ago…and reading her blog is…defining me in ways I could never have imagined.

  • Reply Creole Wisdom December 1, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I just can't imagine. I remember reading a blog post of yours from a while back about him. He's certainly an angel. Life is just hard to understand sometimes.

  • Reply Erica December 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    My heart aches for any parent that has to bury a child. It should never be that way. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  • Reply preethi December 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Just a virtual hug. That's all.

  • Reply Melinda December 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Sorry Janssen and Janssen's family for your loss. I agree that having a baby changes a lot of things including our level of compassion for others. Boooo, cancer sucks!!!

  • Reply Angella December 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Big hugs, lady.

  • Reply Janet December 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I'm sorry it took me so long to reply to this, but I didn't want to read it and say nothing. I think about things differently now, too. I'm so sorry. Sending hugs (even if they are a bit late).

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