This day three years ago I was holding Nolan with no idea what the future held.
This day two years ago I was holding Nolan in my arms as we selflessly agreed it was time to let him go.
That reminder that time is precious, and the future is never guaranteed is certainly a constant in my head. As if I needed any more reminders…the last few weeks with Landon have certainly made that clear all over again. Time is precious. Love is eternal. Grief is endless.
Maybe because grief is also endless, maybe because “moving on” is such a silly phrase, maybe because losing a child isn’t something you recover from…I’m proud of the last two years. They have been hard. Very hard. Far harder than I’m willing to be fully transparent with you about.
But I’m here, two years later. And I feel stronger than I ever thought I could. I’m saying this out loud mostly because I’m friends with lots of moms who have lost or will lose their children. Our online community cheers each other on, and we watch each family fight, sometimes winning battles, sometimes losing the war.
If you’re reading this and have experienced a loss, just because the war is over doesn’t mean you are no longer a warrior. You’re still fighting every day. You’re still working hard for every smile, every laugh, every ounce of normal you feel. You’re fighting for your family, for your marriage, for your other children perhaps. You’re fighting to be at work, or to care about your own health. You’re fighting for your faith, or to remember what matters to you. Some of you had to fight to get out of bed this morning.
Maybe this is an odd thought for a parent to have for a child. But this morning when I was reflecting, I found myself hoping Nolan is proud of me. Proud of how I’ve cared for Landon. How I’ve advocated for Isabella’s diagnosis and care. How I’ve loved Karson. How I’ve tried to do what is best for our family. How I’ve taken care of myself. How hard I’ve fought. All while proudly protecting a Nolan sized hole in my heart.
Yes, grief is endless, but love is eternal, and thus so too is the fight.
Laura Clark said:
You write so beautifully!!!
Roberta Hansen said:
It’s never over, but there is growth. After 16 years, there are moments that I am surprised by joy and sweet memories, but also surprised by streams of tears with a sound or visual reminder. Great love, great grief. She was my girl and I am so grateful for all that my Aimee has and continues to bring to our lives. I don’t feel like a warrior any more, I feel like a tree that has weathered many storms but now has deep roots and stands. I send you love,prayers and encouragement that when you have nothing left, you can stand still and let the LORD fight for you. He will carry you. 💕
Patty Riggleman said:
God certainly chose a special mother for them. You are such an inspiration.
You’re an amazing person! The strength you show is beyond belief. Thank you for your gift of words to us. My prayers for you and your family. 🧡💚💙💜
Kathy Loy said:
Gods blessings to you and your family as you face the future one moment at a time. I had the privilege of meeting the boys while they were in my daughters, Kim’s, care at the Y. So special and so loved! 💙💙
GaryKaye Strawn said:
The strength and faith you & Justin have has enabled this Great-Grand Pop & Nan to struggle through the loss of Nolan and to prepare for the future with Landon. You are such wonderful inspirations and your faith has made all of us stronger Christians sharing this time with you.
Gary Kaye Strawn said:
The faith and hope and love that you and Justin have for each other and for your family is beyond any words that we can express!! God has held you all and has taught us how to love unconditionally, keep our faith strong, and to have hope eternal!! We are so grateful for the feelings you have shown us and continue to teach us through this walk with you!!