In case you haven’t heard already, I was supposed to be an uncle. However, after a long and difficult labor, my sister delivered Finnegan James Loch and he was not breathing. After doing everything they possibly could, the doctors pronounced my nephew dead. I’m experiencing the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, and this is the pain of an uncle having lost a nephew. I cannot fathom the pain my sister and her husband are feeling.
Even though I never had the opportunity to meet him, I loved Finnegan James so hard that it hurts. I want to express my love to him, and this is the only way I know how. This is for Finnegan.
Hey buddy, it’s your Uncle Colin. I want to tell you that I love you deeply, and your mom, dad, uncles, aunts, cousins, and family friends also love you deeply, but you already know that. You know you are loved, you know you are missed, and you know you are the most special boy in our lives.
Since there are so many things you already know, I wanted to tell you some of the things you don’t know. As your Uncle, there were some life lessons that were mine to teach you. Not too many, because your amazing parents would’ve covered most of them, but I still had some wisdom to impart. Indulge your Uncle for a minute, will ya?
First, I wanted to teach you about music. I can say from experience that our entire family would have told you about sports. You would’ve watched them, cheered for them, learned everything about them, and eventually played them yourself. To be clear, this is excellent. Sports would’ve taught you to be strong, to be assertive, and to be a good teammate. I would’ve taught you so much about music. I would’ve given you voice lessons, had you learn piano, and brought you to choir concerts with me. I vowed to your parents that I would make you a choir nerd. I wanted music to teach you to recognize beauty, to be hard working, and to find the meeting place between head and heart. I wanted to teach you the different uses music has; anything from wooing someone special to remembering a loved one who passed too early. Music evokes different emotions, and I wanted to teach you that. This leads nicely to…
Second, I wanted to teach you that men can have emotions. I know you would’ve been taught this in many capacities. You mother and father are so incredibly in tune with their emotions and the emotions of others, I know they never would have let you stifle that. However, I also know that society would have asked you to suppress them. You would’ve heard that big boys don’t cry, and been asked to tough it out, rub some dirt on it, and get over it. I wanted so desperately to teach you to never buy into that. Your Uncle Colin probably cries more than any normal human should. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m overly tired, or when I’m scared. I cried the first time I won a spelling bee, the first time I ate guacamole, and the first time I rocked you in my arms. In a world in which men are asked to be stoic and statuesque, I wanted to teach you to feel all your feels. It would’ve made you a better son, a better friend, a better husband, and a better person.
Third, I wanted to teach you to be inclusive. This would’ve been hammered home by our whole family – when one son is gay and another is a priest, a family learns to be inclusive. But, I wanted to teach you the trillion other ways you could be inclusive. We would have listened to music, read books, and had conversations about people from all different backgrounds. You would have been the little boy who was kind to everyone at school, and stuck up for the ones being picked on. You would have loved all different types of people, and seen more than their different or odd characteristics. I wanted to show you how to see beauty in every kind of person.
Finally, Finn, there was one more thing I wanted to teach you. I wanted to teach you to be a teacher. Even though you never took a breath on this Earth, you had so much personality, so much spark, and so much life. I wanted to teach you that what was important to me didn’t need to be important to you. I wanted to teach you to find the things that meant the most to you, and to teach them to others. You were, and still are, a gift. I wanted to teach you to use your gifts and passions to change the world.
Finnegan James Loch, I will never stop missing you. I will never stop crying for you. I will never stop loving you. As long as I live, I will live for you.
Thank you for being the blessing I didn’t know I needed. Thank you for giving me life.
I love you forever, my sweet boy.
My name is Colin Sullivan and I am currently a senior at Concordia College majoring in Psychology, Sociology, and Spanish. Along with my classes, I am the co-President of the Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) and also participate in Student Government Association (SGA), Cobber Forensics (Speech and Debate), and Choir.
My passions reside within issues of social justice and critically analyzing the ways in which Concordia and society on the whole supports diversity initiatives. I long for an environment within which one’s minority status does not pre-determine their likelihood for success.
Some other random facts about me: I am a Pisces with an inability to digest gluten. I have a debilitating fear of clowns and public restrooms and refuse to ride bicycles. I am 100% Irish, a recovering scarf addict, and my speaking voice is as loud as the average yell.
Please e-mail me at email@example.com or tweet me @csulliva09 if you want to chat. I’d love to answer any questions you may have 🙂