Thursday, July 9, 2015

Signs and Milestones

Yesterday was tough.  A bite your lip, distract yourself, get through the day kind of day.

It was busy at work, which was helpful in some ways, but a big piece of my heart and mind were elsewhere.  A day spent teetering on tears - misty on the way to work, praying throughout, and sobbing the moment I walked out the door and got into my car.

Driving home, I ended up at the cemetery.  Not a place I normally find comfort, but I needed somewhere to cry in peace.  And I knew I could do it beside my sweet boy.

July 8 would've been Austin's 21st birthday.

It was harder than I expected.  Not that any birthday, or holiday (or any day) is easy after losing a child.  But some of his birthdays have actually been unexpected blessings, like last year.

So, unlike the early years, I didn't schedule off and expected that I'd make it through ok.  In this walk with grief though, I've learned there is no time limit on the pain and you can never plan or expect, it takes you where it will, when it wants.

Sure, there were signs, as always.  More yellow butterflies than I could count, darting in and around my car wherever I went.  Many dancing around his grave.  My radio is never off and every time I got back in, whatever song was playing seemed to be a hello from above or a needed hug.

Still, I had a job to do, so I stored up and pushed away so much pain that by the end of the day exhaustion set in.  Tim saw it, felt it himself I'm sure, but stepped up last night and took over roles I normally fulfill.  He cooked us a small and simple dinner and went to get the kids from church.  We called it an early night and thanks to prayers of many, fell into a deep and restful sleep.

Yesterday, I think I grieved what I lost, what I never had, and where I would be at this point.  It was coming to terms with not having a child anymore and the realization that, if he were here, he wouldn't be a child anymore either.  I just didn't have the past seven years to watch him mature into the man he would be now.

Seeing his baby brother, Noah, towering over us, watching the days fly by on the calendar as he counts down to his own milestones, like driving, makes me want to push in the brakes even more.  I want to fully saturate myself in them - with him.  I don't want to miss a moment.  Maybe because I know how precious and unpromised they are.

And of course, just like his big brother, Noah has a heart of gold.  My gentle giant, I call him.  Dropping them off to church I ensured he had enough money for the snow cone, where youth were gathered.  He smiled and said, "21 and some change."  I knew what he was doing and prayers were sent up all the way home that he'd get a blessing from it.

Getting there early, as they prefer, he walked up to booth before the line wrapped the corner and "Paid it Fwd" for Austin.  $21 in memory of his 21st.  Noah waited an hour before he got in line, hoping that the fwd would last enough for most who'd arrived.  He was hugged from above to find out others had continued to pay it forward and his was also free.  This morning I received a sweet text from the owner saying it gave her chills and many were touched by the night.

Noah and I laughed later that it would've been just like Austin too.  Never one to like alcohol, he would've preferred to ring in his 21st with a giant snow cone to celebrate his big day.  Fitting the name of the place is Paradise, since we know that's where he is.

Here's one for you, Bub, swirled with lots of love.  

Linked with #DanceWithJesus


Dennis Cook said...

very good

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