November 29

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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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!!

  12. 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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