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Dear Finn

ColinOpinionA letter from Scarf Boy to his nephew

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.

FinnDear Finn,

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.

Uncle Colin



  1. Tami Tami February 24, 2014

    Colin…beautiful, just absolutely beautiful. Ii have lost 2 babies, early stages of my pregnancies & then I had a baby 8 weeks early 3 years ago & she was not breathing after they removed her during emergency c-section; after the NICU Drs worked on her they finally got her breathing & thankfully she’s a healthy, happy 3 yr old.
    I cannot imagine what your sister & husband and your families are going through, but your words are so beautiful & touching!

  2. Sonya Sonya February 24, 2014

    Thank you Colin. It is so wonderful to read these words from such a loving family.

  3. Debbie Gillespie Debbie Gillespie February 21, 2014

    Dearest Colin,
    Your words are just so profound and so healing to express, but what is in your heart is even more amazing! We are so fortunate to have been able to watch you grow up into such a beautiful human being… All I really know is that this same intense love you have in your heart is the same exact love that brings such pain…but where would we be without it right? Finn loves you for sure and will be guiding you and watching over you now forever…feel our love to you and your entire family…that is all we can do…

  4. Jessica Jessica February 21, 2014

    this is truly beautiful…

  5. Kristen Kristen February 21, 2014

    Beautifully written. Brought me to tears. So sorry for your loss.

  6. Shannon, RN Shannon, RN February 20, 2014

    Very beautiful letter! My heart is heavy for you and the rest of the family. Please let Meghan and Aaron I’m sending my condolences. I have kept your entire family in my prayers. I’m very sorry for your loss of this beautiful baby boy…

    Kind Regards,
    Shannon, RN

  7. Rachel Nystrom Rachel Nystrom February 20, 2014

    Thank you for reminding us that love never ends. Finnegan’s influence will not be measured in minutes but by the depth of feeling. I’m praying that God the Comforter walks with your family through the dark valley.

  8. Laura Radniecki Laura Radniecki February 20, 2014

    Oh Colin…

    My heart is absolutely broken for Meghan, Aaron and your whole family.

    You know how much I love your whole family, having been the Sullivan wedding photographer twice over.

    I watched eagerly as Meghan posted IG updates during her pregnancy, and I know how very deeply Finn was loved and how much his arrival was anticipated.

    This is the most beautiful tribute I have ever read. God bless you for writing the words your whole family has in their hearts. And thank you for letting us read it.

    I am so, so sorry that you are all going through this. The only comfort I can think of is that Finnegan is with God and will forever be a guardian angel for Meghan, Aaron, and for all of you… While it’s not much comfort right now, I hope it might be in the days ahead.

    My prayers for all of you continue.


  9. Alex Ford Alex Ford February 20, 2014

    Love reading your stuff Colin…as sad as this is. Your words were able to give such life to a little boy we never met. I’m sorry for your loss, hang in there.

  10. Michelle Michelle February 20, 2014

    A beautiful baby boy and this was beautifully written.

  11. Adelle Adelle February 20, 2014

    Colin simply beautiful! I had the priviledge of watching Finnegan grow through Meghan on their journey. Her love for him from day one astounded me she lit up my store with her amazing glow every time she walked in. My heart is so heavy for all who had the honor of knowing Finn and his amazing family. He is so loved!

  12. Bruce Vieweg Bruce Vieweg February 19, 2014

    Colin Sullivan – I do not believe I have ever read a more moving and meaningful message . . . not about loss, not about death, but about life, about gifts . . . thank you for giving your heart voice . . . we are truly all the richer for it . . .

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