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A Letter to Quinn

by John McCarthy

Dear Quinn,

Like any letter, this one's purpose is to tell you how we, your parents, are doing. Since you left we have realized just how much we wanted to tell you and never got the chance. This letter is now the only way we have.

Your mother is doing fine physically. She misses you very much. She even misses when you kick her. I didn't get to feel it, but I knew you were in there. I could feel it in my heart and in my head. You actually had me starting to act my age, being responsible. Boy, was I getting dull.

In case you didn't know it, we named you Quinn Daniels McCarthy. Somehow we both picked that name on our own. I figured you must have whispered it in our ears as you left. Everyone seems to like it. People all over the continent have told us. Well they told your mother at least. They said it sounds strong. I agree. I think you would have been a strong one, like your great grandfather. I hope you find him wherever you are.

I'm doing pretty well, also. I have my bad days and my good days. I've started to have more good days than I used to, although they still don't outnumber the bad. I find myself off in another world, trying to figure out what it's like for you. I heard one person talking about death in a way that comforted me. He said that the person who died didn't have their heart stop. Instead, it sped up. It sped up so fast that it passed the speed of light. At that point, matter turns to energy. And that energy is everywhere. It joins with everything and becomes one with all of us. I would like to see it that way, although I know that however I think of it you'll never leave me.

But how, you ask, can I have something of you if I've never known you? A lot of people don't understand this, but I have quite a few memories of the future. I have memories of your first day at kindergarten. I stay with you the whole day, and the next day you're so excited you don't know that I'm not there. I have memories of teaching you how to ride a bike. And of doing some gardening with you, which is weird, because I don't garden. I don't even like it that much. I also have memories of you having arguments with your friends over who does the cooking. They say mommies, and you say daddies. I also have memories of you getting me in trouble with your mother by getting me to take your side in an argument with her. Not something I was looking forward to, but now I wish I could.

So I'm doing better as I think about it more and more. I read a lot, because I'm trying to understand why I hurt so much. Part of me welcomes the pain, because it shows me just how much I could love you. As deep as the pain is, my love for you had to be even deeper. I told your mother that I wasn't sorry that you came into our lives even though you left it after so little time. You taught me so much about life. To quote someone you don't know, "The value of human life lies in the fact of suffering, for where there is no suffering there will be no power of attaining spiritual experience. Unless we agree to suffer we cannot be free from suffering." You leaving us, taught me to suffer, and I agreed to it when I agreed to love you. I could have stayed on the path that I was traveling. It took no twists and turns, but it didn't lead to where I wanted to go. Instead we took a different path. One that was dangerous, but it leads to a wonderful place. The funny thing about it is that the path never ends. The place you get to is inside of you. The only way to find it is to take the path.

I have to go now. I'll come visit as often as I can, but when I can't you can come see me. I expect you to look after your mother when I can't. Just because you aren't with us doesn't mean that you don't have responsibilities. Know that we both love you very much, and that we'll never forget you. You'll always be a part of our family. You'll always be our Quinn.

-Love Always,

-Dad.

P.S. Tell your great grandfather we say hi.

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