Eight Years

It has been eight years since you left us.

The first year was like a sharp stabbing pain right through the heart. Shock and horror and disbelief; refusal to accept that this is real; refusal to accept this is my life, my tragedy.

The second year was still like a sharp stabbing pain but of acceptance instead of disbelief. Accepting that this is real; accepting that this is my life, my tragedy.

Years three through now have all been much the same but the pain is dull and achy and has lost the sharpness. I know you are gone; never coming back. All I can do is function inside the pain. The physical toll of the pain is real; I function but not like before. I focus on the mundane tasks of life; dishes, laundry, meals; it is survival. I do not have the physical stamina to do more than what is necessary and life sustaining. Taking care of the daily things is more exhausting than I could ever explain. I am bone tired and soul weary.

So much as happened in the years since you left us. Some of it, I am glad you missed if I am being honest. I have lost more loved ones. It sometimes feels like you are collecting my people. You now have all of my grandparents and one of my parents; my Jenni girl and Landon; you have both of Randy’s brothers and parents; you have a sibling. If no other tragedy strikes and the natural order of things is not again disrupted, you will likely have my mother and husband before I get there. I pray everyday you do not have another sibling before I get there. I fear a third child loss would likely be more than I could endure.

People like to say that you are watching down on us and I truly hope this is not true. I believe in Heaven and it is a place of perfection. Perfection would not include watching us struggle with our worldly troubles. Your perfection should not include the things we deal with here on earth. Heaven is a place of peace and no suffering, if you were watching down on us you would see our human suffering which would cause you suffering and give you no peace. So, no I do not believe you are watching and I am glad you are not. Your soul is free and joyful, that is my only consolation for living without you.

Yes, it has been eight long years since you left us. I am still here, surviving the seemingly unsurvivable.

I love you and miss you every single minute of every single day.

Gone, never forgotten

Gray Areas and Happy Birthday

I like things that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I am drawn to symmetrical patterns, things with a sense of balance. I usually view the world in a very black and white manner, always a right or wrong to choose from.

I struggle with the messy, the assymetrical, the unbalanced, the gray areas. I struggle when there is no sense of a right or wrong choice.

Grief is not aesthetically pleasing, not symmetrical, not balanced, nor black and white. Grief is messy, assymetrical, off balance, and a very gray area. Grief has no right or wrong.

I have finally learned that the gray area is where conflicting emotions reside. I have finally accepted that conflicting emotions can hold the same space; neither detracting from the other.

I have joyful moments AND am sad you aren’t here to share in them.
I have unjoyful moments AND am glad you aren’t here to bear witness.
I celebrate new babies born AND hate that you never had children.
I celebrate marriages AND hate that you never found your soul mate to share your life with.
I celebrate birthdays AND hate that we only celebrated 21 birthdays with you.
Every day that I am alive, it brings me one step closer to death; happily reunited with you AND sadly separated from my loved ones that I will leave behind.

Yes, AND is a newly learned skill for me. Nothing has to be added nor subtracted nor cause a cancellation of something else. Here in the messy gray areas, all things coexist and still hold their value.

Today, I am sad that I will acknowledge your birthday without you here AND I am joyful that you have a birth date, 29 years ago that made me a mother.

Happy Heavenly Birthday Son. Not a day goes by that you aren’t in my heart and my thoughts. Not a day goes by that I don’t love and miss you with every fiber of my being.

Gone, never forgotten.

Breath Taking, not in a good way

It’s breathing taking, not in a good way.

It is heart stopping in the worst possible way.

My first born and his first born. Her ashes to be laid to rest in his coffin when his time has ended. His ashes to be laid to rest with my ashes when my time has ended. It doesn’t seem real but it is our harsh reality.

Life is so much meaner than I ever expected. The unfairness has elevated to cruelty.

Whenever “the whys” and “the why me’s” and “the what did I do to deserve this” cross my mind. I do my best to remember Ecclesiastes 9:11–

“I have seen something else under the sun: the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time an chance happen to them all”

The universe did not call me out, time and chance happen to other people too. Cruel, misfortunate, heartbreaking, gut wretching things happen everyday to lots of people. I have not, in fact, cornered the market on pain and agony.

I have often heard that fact is stranger than fiction. I am fairly certain that fact to also more horrifiying. Fiction allows you to lay down the book or turn off the screen. I have no such luxury, the grief and pain are relentless.

Zachary Donovan Vaughn

Mandy Dawn Thomas

Gone, never forgotten