So Do I

Posted on April 16, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

So Do I

My book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, is intended to be funny, because let’s face it, sometimes kids are funny little creatures. They squiggle and giggle and see the world so differently than their moms and dads that it spreads smiles, even when things aren’t going the way we’d like them to.

But, sometimes, being a parent isn’t funny. For some, it’s downright sad. Being the mom of four bright and beautiful daughters has been a bittersweet experience for me, one that I’d never exchange for anything in the whole wide world. But, it’s not always enough.

Our oldest, Samantha (Sam as she likes to be called), got married last fall. Now, that was bittersweet. We love her and her husband, Sean, and admittedly are extremely happy for her and for the opportunity to open our arms to a son in our family. But, he’s not our first son.

For Mother’s Day, the four bright and beautiful girls gave me the most thoughtful gift they’ve ever given me. Dandelions and pretty rainbows are great, but they didn’t hold an emotional candle to the bracelet they had put so much thought and consideration into. Inside the velvet box sat a delicate silver bracelet, glimmering with clear crystal gems woven along its beautiful chain. Hanging from it sat one lone charm—a prayer box through which peeked one gleaming blue gem behind the outline of an angel.

The gift was spectacular, but the words meant more. “Mom, I will need something borrowed and something blue for my wedding day. It would mean a lot to me if you would share this bracelet with me on that day.”

I cried. Yes, I did. Although I try to be strong and keep it all in, there are simply times when it cannot be done. This was one of them. We didn’t say it, but we knew what the bracelet represented—it meant more than something borrowed and something blue. It represented the brother who would be the only one of her siblings who wouldn’t be there to watch her get married.

Sam’s always felt his loss more than the others. She was the only other child we had at the time. There are photos of her holding him and kissing him—mementos of a budding relationship that never bloomed. Throughout the years, she’s shared that with me.

“Mom, I still wish I had a brother. I’ve missed that in my life.”

So do I. Oh, so do I.

“Mom, he would have been 21 today. I wish I could have celebrated that day with him.”

So do I. You don’t know how much.

“Mom, I wonder what Matthew would look like now. I bet he’d be big and tall like Dad.”

So do I.

I’ve often wondered what our little boy would look like today. He was a handsome infant, perfect in every way, with his father’s face and a head full of dark hair. I’ve followed the milestones he would have followed in his life without him. I never told anybody before, but I even went outside and watched the kindergarten bus pick up the children on what would have been his first day of school. I waved when it went by, tears spilling from my eyes, wishing I was crying because he was on that bus, not because he wasn’t.

But, I can’t wish him back, although I want to so very much. I can’t take away that awful morning when our son didn’t wake up. So, I transfer my dreams to four bright and beautiful girls, knowing my life is full, but yet empty. I don’t talk about it anymore, but one bracelet changed all of that.

“All four of us would like to wear this on our wedding day. We think it’s the perfect way to remember our brother.”

So do I.

“Mom, I’m glad you like it, but I really wish that we didn’t have a reason to give it to you.”

So do I. Oh, so do I.

Note:  In memory of her son, Matthew McKenna, all proceeds in April from Patti McKenna’s book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, a humorous look at the realities of parenthood based on Patti’s experience raising four daughters, will go toward SIDS research. To order, visit the Bookstore at or you can order at .


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15 Responses to “So Do I”

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Wow, your post hit me like a sledgehammer. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. The loss of a loved one never does get any easier as the overwhelming feeling of sadness for what was and could have been lies just below the surface of your very essence. The constant wonderment of what happens to the dead… is he or she ‘ok’?, happy?, alone?, in a better place?, or is there a spirit that lives on past mortality?, can be all-consuming sometimes. Letting go has a whole new meaning after the death of a loved one. You feel guilty not just because of what has happened to your loved one, but also because you wonder if there was anything you could have done to prevent it, or you may wonder why it wasn’t you instead, or as time goes by, you feel guilty because you may not have thought about your loved one for a couple of days, although you know deep down inside that he or she will always be a part of who you are. Time may fade some memories, but you never forget.

Hi patti

many years ago I found a writing on one of those dear abby or her sister column about a child lost. I have lost it and everytime I see someone lost a child it remind me of that column.

Wish I could find to share because it give a lot of confort to all parents. My thoughts are with you and family.

Patti, so powerful… My mother lost a baby when I was about seven, and he or she hadn’t even been born yet, but I remember wondering at night who that baby was, and whether I’d see him or her again in heaven. I haven’t experienced SIDS in my life as a mother, only wanting a second child that I will very likely never be able to have, so I can only imagine what you’ve been through and what you carry with you, but I feel a corner of it in my gut. Beautiful and achingly sad.

We never know what is in store. Some might have 5 kids, and lose one. Some may only have one, and hold him/her forever. Be grateful for what you do have and never forget how very special your child is and don’t forget to love him/her every minute. There are mysteries in life that we won’t have the answers to while we’re here. You’ll meet your sibling someday, just as I will see my baby boy again. I am certain of that. Thank you for the kind words. I’m sending a wish out to the universe that you get that 2nd baby. Can’t hurt to try!

[…] This post was Twitted by CynSieWil […]

This was so sad it made me cry.

I am first time mom with a 9 month old son. Your story really hit me hard because I always have that underlying fear/worry that something bad will happen to my son. I now understand the love that you have for your children now that I have one of my own and you can never describe that love in any words. Your story touched me in a very special way and it will always remain in my heart.

I know the fears/worries, and how much they deepen when something tragic happens. Please, though don’t let worry or fear take away a single second of the joy of being a parent. Sometimes, there are things beyond our control or reasoning. All we can do is know that we loved completely and appreciated every moment. Nine months old is such a great age. It’s so full of wonder. And I agree – a mother’s love for her child is indescribable. It’s the most consuming feeling we’ll ever know.

[…] As I mentioned last week, October is SIDS Awareness Month. I’ve been sending out SIDS facts via Twitter and the Facebook Fan page to increase awareness and it has opened up conversations with some parents who have been sadly touched by SIDS. I wanted to share one mom’s story because it touched me so much. Her son would have been 21 this week and she and her four daughters still miss him. Please read her touching blog post this week here: One Word at a Time. […]

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was very powerful, and left me in tears. My daughter Haylee grew her wings April 13 of this year, and I find myself saying that exact phrase quite often. My two year old will sometimes tell me how she misses her little sister, and that she wants her back. “So do I baby girl, so do I” is usually the only response I can come up with. SIDS is such a terrible thing for anyone to have to deal with. Much love to you and your family… and I am confident that both of are angels are up in heaven singing sweet songs, happier than we could ever make them here on earth.

I am surprised as I hear of one more child who has been taken from a mother’s arms – SIDS is not as uncommon as I once thought. While it helps to know you’re not alone, it’s devestating to hear of one more baby and one more family who is forever changed by it. Your pain is still new and still fresh, although it never really goes away. It just finds a place within your heart where it can stay with you forever. A hug to you and your daughter, through you Haylee will live forever. If you have another child, insist on an apnea/heart monitor. I’m glad I did.

Awh Im sorry, what a great story!

Can barely see the keys to type, this is, oh, I’m so sorry for your family.

Beautiful. I’m so sorry.

cbower52405@gmail. com

not sure if you got my DM or not, but i’m just over the state line from you!

sending you an email, give me a sec to type it! Lots to say – maybe we should “talk”!

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