Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remembering Austin

One of the worries of a parent who has lost a child, is that they will be forgotten.  That over time, people will just not remember your child anymore.  As a parent, you want so much to hold onto their memory, to keep their spirit alive by sharing with the world who they were (and maybe even who you knew they could have been).

With each new generation that comes after their passing, you feel pain in knowing that they'll never get know the person your child was.  And it's an added hurt in the people you meet after their death that didn't know them and will now never get to.  You lose a lot of conversations and memories in those first weeks and months anyway, just because most people are afraid that if they mention your child you will cry.  I find that's even the case today.  True, tears may fall - and still do nearly three years later - but they aren't always through sadness.

It will always be hard.  There will always be an emptiness, lingering pain, and a sense of sadness because you can't lose a child and NOT feel those things.  However, every memory shared about them fills you with a bit of hope, especially when those memories are from others.  When someone takes the time to mention him, remember a moment they had with Austin, or even comment on that they miss him, it shows us he was loved and is not forgotten.

This past week the Facebook group I created in his memory, shortly after his death, was at risk of being lost.  Because it was nearly three years old, it wasn't in the new format Facebook was merging to.  While the group would be archived, we would lose the 1200+ members and many of the posts they'd made about him through the years.  This didn't seem possible.  Whatever it took, I could not let this happen!

In reading their FAQ page, I learned that new activity to a group could lead them to offering an invite to "upgrade the group" to their new format.  This set me on a mission.  Messaging all the members, I encouraged them to revisit the site and post a memory of Austin, hoping it would be enough to save it.  Within minutes, it seemed, posts began to pour in supporting Austin and spreading love.  The next morning that special offer arrived and I quickly accepted the upgrade.  His memorial group was renewed!

Most touching though were the comments that people left.  So many from unexpected sources, each warming my soul.  Even strangers who didn't know Austin, but because of the stories I've shared and the legacy he left behind, they felt like they knew him and wanted to share the impact his life made on theirs.  I can never express what that means as a mother.  I knew how special Austin wonderful and helpful and loving.  He was my world!  To hear others express the same though is just incredible. 

Every comment has been like a hug for my heart.  I look forward to reading them each day and am excited to see new posts.  It's like receiving a card in the mail, each one a sweet surprise.  They've certainly brought me unexpected and uplifting JOY this week. 

I'm so proud to be Austin's Mom...honored to share his story....dedicated to continue his legacy!

Pensacola Vacation - July 2008


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