Dear Joshua and Caleb,
It has been nine years now. Goodness! When I think of that number it seems like such a long time ago! You would be in third grade. I often wonder who you would be, what you would look like, what things you would be into. School? Sports? Friends? It's fun to think about how our family dynamic would be different if you were still here with us. Five boys (six counting Daddy) under one roof would make for some interesting sounds and smells. I'd probably just give in all together and put in urinals upstairs and downstairs. And oh the schedules... I just can't imagine adding two more schedules into our already crazy lives. I'd do it in a heartbeat though... if that had been part of the plan. God had much bigger things than busy schedules, peeing on walls, and helping your brothers master the art of armpit farting, planned for you. You live in SO many other ways here!
You changed me. You taught me compassion. I used to feel sad when I heard that someone lost a baby but I couldn't fully grasp what that meant. You gave me the gift of true understanding though. Now my heart breaks every time I hear of another momma's loss. I can easily feel the hurt and shattering of my heart on the day that I found out you were never coming home with me. I can't breath thinking of these mommas that are just starting this journey. It's totally unnatural. You can go from painting a nursery to planning a funeral in a matter of moments. The shock is just too much for one person to handle. God never made me walk alone though. I may have frequently felt lonely but never alone. God carried me every step of the way and gave me your daddy, who never rushed my grief. He knew I couldn't walk it alone. My first prayer for these mommas is just that they would let God be a part of their journey. There will still be bumps and sharp turns and gravel roads that shake you to your core but they will NEVER be alone. And the roads will get smoother and more manageable until you can actually do life without the constant pressure of grief pushing down on your chest. Laughter comes back and all of a sudden you find yourself seeing the true beauty of everything and everyone around you. All God's gifts.
A few months ago we stopped our monthly support group. Families stopped coming. I'd love to believe that there just weren't any losses but I know that isn't the case. This was a very hard decision for me. Did I not do enough for these mommas? I pray that no one ever felt forgotten or like I didn't care enough. Was it our location? I don't know. Is it that there are so many virtual resources out there now? Maybe. Whatever the reason I had to make the decision to walk away from it. It was a beautiful when it worked. It was such an honor to walk with and see the progress that these mommas made to go from completely shattered to picking up the pieces and living again. I'm so sad though. I can't imagine not having the girls that were there for me after I lost you. My online support girls were all wonderful but there is something about sitting in a room seeing other mommas getting emotional because they can feel the same things you feel. And seeing firsthand what time does for grief. Sitting in a room with mommas a few years out, there is hope where there once was darkness. I'm sad that I can't offer that support to other moms anymore. I pray for God to show me another way to keep honoring you! I don't know what it is but I'm always going to feel the need to keep your memory alive here. I'm reminded every year though. You are not forgotten. I get calls, texts Facebook posts, even before I've said a word about what today is. I can only assume that is because you left your mark on those people too. It reminds me that you are still living on in each of the people that you touched. Your time was short but your footprints are large.
Nine years and I can still smell you. I can still go back to that day and it is all very real. Not like a memory but like I can still feel everything. I'm grateful that this doesn't fade with time. Maybe walking with other mommas makes it easier to remember. Maybe that's one of the biggest reasons I'm scared that our group is gone. Maybe it's because that group was helping me more than them. I don't know. But the fear is real. I don't ever want to forget, even the hard parts. That was my day with you. I pray it NEVER goes away.
I hope that you know that you live on in me each and every day. I pray that I never miss an opportunity to use your lives to help another. It is my goal to keep your memory alive in kindness towards others. I hope that I never let you down! Never! You made me a momma and your brothers gave me the job to go with the title. I'm so grateful for all of my boys. I will never be able to fully explain it but this job... being your momma and Case and Ty and Knox's momma is MY job. This is who I am and all that I ever wanted to be. Thank you for making a mom! I love you so much! Sleep well my forever babies.
|Sometimes on the long drive out I wish we had|
buried you in a closer cemetery and then I look
around the closer we get. You were buried in
the perfect place.
|Our traditional cookie cake|
|We bought you three balloons but in true|
grandma and grandpa form they came with
three WAY bigger balloons :-)
|Annual family picture|
|Subway at the cemetery|
|So grateful for your grandma and grandpa.|
They miss you too!
|We released all of your balloons... some of us|
before others (ahem... Ty).
|I came home to a box of flowers on my porch.|
These were sent from Ben and Court. So grateful
that they never forget you boys! They miss you too!
I can't wait to see these when the sunflowers open up!