For my son Theo…

6 05 2013

Some private thoughts from Don to his son Theo.  Written from the heart at that moment in time.


You are sound asleep next to me and your mother is asleep in the hospital bed beside us. This weekend was a bit hard. Mom slept a lot and I tried my best to keep you entertained. We played Sky landers so much we went through one set of batteries on the porthole base. It must be hard for you to see mom this way and not fully understand what is going on. It is hard for me and I do. I’m so sorry for my short temper; I try so hard not to be that way with you. Mom is slowly getting sicker and it is taking more of me to take care for her. It is not fair to you. You can’t do the things with your Mommy like you used to and you can’t hang with me because I’m taking care of your Mother. Life is very unfair and for that I am truly sorry Theo.


Today was a rough day for me Theo. Your Mommy had a rough day as well. I picked you up from school and as soon as we pulled in the driveway a nurse was right behind us. I’m sorry there are so many people in and out of our house right now. We watched Gnomeo and Juliette and had some laughs with Mom. Then I needed to give Mom her night meds and you just looked at me as I was giving them to her as if you were sad that we had to go through this as a family. I am too Buddy. The best part of the day is when just before you drifted off to sleep you rolled over put your arms around me and said, “I Love You Daddy.” Well I Love you.


Today was your last game of your first soccer season and the first time you played goalie. The game was a tie, and a good one! But at the end as you got your treat bag I could not help to think how would it of been if your mom was still here. A little more cheering, a little more go Theo! I know she was watching from the heavens cheering and smiling down on you. If for some reason I did not tell you enough, I love you.


It is almost a year since your Mom went to Heaven. The time has gone so quickly and you are growing up so fast. I hope I give you just the right amount of soft comfort on stern discipline. You are doing so well in school and hockey! You just starter this past winter and you are now “hockey stopping” and skating backwards. It is 1:33 am and you are fast asleep in my bed. You get so happy when I say you can sleep in my bed with me. You lay your head on my chest and say, “You are the best Daddy a Theo could ever have.” And I say, “You are the best Theo a Daddy could ever have.” I can only hope you always feel this way. As I lay here next to you I can’t help but think what our life was a year ago. I look back and have no idea how I was getting through the up every two hours to give your mother some kind of medication, take you to school, feed the both of you and try to take care of the house. We had a lot of great people helping us but it was still very hard. And most of the time in the last few days I would just lay there and listen to every breath, hoping it wasn’t her last, hoping for one more day but at the same time praying for her peace.  I wanted so much to take away her pain, her fear, but I couldn’t. Now I want to take all your pain and fears away and sometimes I think I can. But then some nights as I’m putting you to bed I see the pain in your eyes, the small pools at the bottom of your eyelids. You look at me and I can see it on your face that you wish it was Mommy there beside you. I ask what are you thing and you shake your head and simply say, “Nothing Daddy, I love you.” And roll over and fall asleep. I will love you with no end my son.

amy-race-for-the-cure-5-26-12-027  don and theo jetski  Don teaching Theo how to ride a bike, September 13, 2010. Photo by Amy Rauch Neilson.



20 responses

6 05 2013

Truly inspiring, Don!

6 05 2013
kerri daugherty

Beautiful words Don. You are doing a great job. And Theo loves you so much. Amy has to be very proud of the both of you.

6 05 2013

You are a wonder, Don Neilson. You boys are lucky to have each other. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you can’t go wrong.

6 05 2013
Molly MacDonald

Amy picked a great Dad. . . . . thinking of you all . . . Molly

6 05 2013
Rita O'Connor


6 05 2013

The thought of walking half a step in your shoes takes my breath away. As Molly said Amy picked a great dad! You, Theo and Amy are In my thoughts often, just keep up the amazing work Mr. You’ve got the world pulling for you!

6 05 2013
Laura Kasischke

She sure picked a great man to be the father of her child.

6 05 2013
Elizabeth DeWaard

You are amazing, Don. Your words are exactly what Theo needs to hear —what a team you are.Yes,Theo wishes that both you and Amy were there, but he’s getting the best support possible from you—and you from him. The agonizing effort you are expending can be felt all the way to Holland.

6 05 2013
brian Murphy

I was one of Amy’s profs, and we worked together on literature and language . . . and now I wish I could find the words . . . the words . . . and I find I have only tears in my eyes . . and astonishment at your, and Theo’s, love and resolve.

6 05 2013
Debbie Loumakis

Ditto to all of the above! Theo is blessed to have you and you to have him and Amy was blessed to have the both of you! You are doing a great job. Parenting will never be easy and it is filled with ups and downs but you and Theo are gonna make a great team.

6 05 2013
Deb Peters

That was beautiful…..

6 05 2013
Michelle dougherty

Don, I’ve long heard it said, anyone can bring a child into the world but it takes a special person to be a father, let alone the remarkable one, that you are to Theo. You and Theo will have a bond that others only dream of. God bless both of you!!!!

6 05 2013

Don that was so moving to read. You are a truly wonderful dad, definitely the best that a Theo could have. And of course he is the best Theo a dad could have. Sending love and and all good wishes xo

7 05 2013

Don…thanks for sharing the pain and joy of your heart. Theo is truly blessed to have you for his Daddy and Amy is truly loved and missed….I had tears in my eyes while reading all this. God’s love and prayers to you both!!! 🙂

7 05 2013

Thanks for sharing and God bless….

7 05 2013

This was incredibly touching! Amy would be so proud. Theo is very fortunate to have such a great Dad.

7 05 2013

Brought tears to my eyes. Don, you are an incredible father to an incredible boy!

7 05 2013

Awesome, Don. Theo is so lucky to have a dad like you. And you are absolutely blessed by that little boy.

7 05 2013
Helene Rabinowitz

Don, you and Theo were a blessing to Amy then, and are a blessing now. She knew from the beginning about the strength of your character. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with all of us who love you and Theo and Amy. And thank you for still leaving her phone active. I call to hear her voice when I get especially lonely for her, which is often.

14 05 2013
Ken and Gay

What a blessing that you are writing your and Theo’s feelings down. He will be able to look back and understand more when he is older of your and Amy’s love for each other and for him. I have tears in my eyes but know how much strength you have to carry on and give Theo what he needs most, your unconditional love and guiding hand. You’re doing great Dad!! Thinking of you both today as always!! Hugs, G. &. K. xxxooo

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