You would be 12 this year, dear Lucas, but it doesn’t seem possible. I wouldn’t have known you right from the start, though you’ve been a part of my life for many years now.

As I hold my new baby, I can’t help but think of you, Lucas, and how briefly you were held here on earth. She nurses, and I think of how you were not nursed, and I wonder, yet again, about the burying of a baby, and I marvel that I can see the good through the pain.

Your mother, who will be a saint someday, tells me that it’s an ache. I didn’t really understand until I held my own babies: a parent’s arms can’t forget that small weight, that soft skin, that gentle being. Your parents are the ones with the greatest strength in this, though the rest of us remember you, especially on this day of your birth. We don’t celebrate in the traditional sense, with cake and balloons, but maybe we do something better as a result of you: we go to Mass and we let our Father hold us as we gaze heavenward, waiting for the day when we hope to be reunited and hold you at last.

We don’t always understand why, Lucas, but we thank God for you and for the graces and strengths we’ve experienced because of the candle you lit within us. You have led us to deeper prayer and you have led us to seek refuge in the arms of our Father.