From the Heart

a birthday gift for Jackson

Posted by on Apr 21, 2018 in Grief | 0 comments

“They said we could take her back,” I reminded Eric. We hadn’t even owned her for 24 hours, and I was already wanting to back out of the deal. For weeks I had been trying to talk Eric into getting a dog. We were young and only dating, but throughout my childhood, we had a dog as our family pet, and I thought I was ready for that next step. The Humane Society was going to be at the Bonita Lakes Mall, and somehow I managed to talk Eric into driving over there and “just looking” at the animals needing a forever home. Well, it took one second for...

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time doesn’t heal everything

Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 in Family, Grief, Hope, Jackson's Jam, Joy after loss, Life Lessons, Moving Forward, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ryder started asking to take swim lessons this winter. Wanting to take advantage of his willingness and desire to learn, I signed him up at the only place offering them during the crazy cold months – our local YMCA. The Y used to be my oasis when Kate and Jackson were young. As a stay-at-home mom, the days can be pretty long with two little ones, especially during our harsh winters. The kids could run and play while momma worked out and regained her sanity. I haven’t frequented the Y since Jackson moved to Heaven. I ended our membership...

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Drumroll, please…

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Family, Grief, Hope, Jackson's Jam, Joy after loss, JR Hearts, Moving Forward, Nonprofit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I first started thinking about starting a nonprofit in Jackson’s memory, I did a lot of research. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I should start. I called lawyers for professional advice, I spoke to friends who work in development, and I prayed for guidance. Overall, the feedback I received was positive, but there were a handful of doubters. “If you aren’t raising millions of dollars, it isn’t worth your time,” some told me. Another literally laughed at my goals. And pretty quickly I started second guessing if I should do...

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june 10?

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in Family, Grief, Hope, Jackson's Jam, Joy after loss, JR Hearts, Nonprofit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I think about the date, June 10, nothing significant comes to mind. It’s not anyone’s birthday. It’s not a holiday. And I can’t recall anything significant happening on that day. But when I opened Facebook a few weeks ago, a memory popped up reminding me it was one of the happiest days during my 34 years. There weren’t any pictures to jog my memory. It simply read: “Today was the best day of my life!! Welcome home Jackson, welcome home!!!” Six years ago on June 10, 2011, after open heart surgery and almost two months in the Cardiac ICU,...

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i choose gratitude

Posted by on Apr 20, 2017 in Family, Grief, Hope, Life Lessons, Moving Forward, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’ve been thinking for weeks about what I would write today on Jackson’s Angel Day. Something inspiring, something that might help others, but I can’t find the words. Not today. Today, I’m tired. Grieving for four years has taken a toll on my body, mind and spirit. I’m not the same person I was before Jackson moved to Heaven. Even though most days I choose joy, the heartache is constant. I can’t brush it aside. I can’t ignore it. I have to allow my body to feel the pain otherwise it would tear me apart. I often read online or hear from others...

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a long lost gift

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Family, Grief, Hope, Life Lessons, Moving Forward, Uncategorized | 0 comments

On the eve of Jackson’s second birthday, I left the house to go shopping. My lack of planning and busy schedule (like most moms) had me out and about at the last minute searching for birthday presents and party decorations. I wasn’t planning much in the way of gifts. The house was already overflowing with toys, and beautifully wrapped boxes from family and friends lined the mantle waiting for the birthday boy. But I wanted him to open something from us on his special day. I left right after I put Jackson down for his nap. Selfishly I was...

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today we celebrate

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Family, Grief, Hope, Joy after loss, Life Lessons, Moving Forward, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ever since Jackson moved to heaven, I find it hard to celebrate anything. The holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. Everything is more difficult to get through without him here. But today is different. Today we are celebrating. Eric is graduating today from Marquette University with an Executive Master of Business Administration. To say I am proud of him is an understatement. More than 14 years ago Eric decided he wanted to go back to school and get his Masters. We still lived in Mississippi, and he began taking a couple of prerequisite...

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day of the dead

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Family, Grief, Hope, Joy after loss, Life Lessons, Moving Forward, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was busy in the kitchen one night chopping onions and preparing dinner. My mind was wandering like it typically does when I’m doing little tasks. Kate and Ryder were plopped on the bar stools busy with homework and a snack. The house was fairly quiet for this time of day, the only noise were vegetables sizzling in the skillet. “Hey mom, do you know what this means? Dia de los Muertos,” Kate spoke slowly, struggling but determined to pronounce each word correctly. “Um. No, I don’t,” I replied. I knew she was speaking Spanish, but I took four...

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the numbers are in…

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Grief, Hope, Jackson's Jam, JR Hearts, Nonprofit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This had been a year in the making. When I thought about organizing our flagship event for JR Hearts 12 months ago, I had no idea what it was going to be. I didn’t even know what JR Hearts would look like yet. I sat around the table with three incredible women and we brainstormed. When it comes to doing anything in Jackson’s name, I can be pretty indecisive. It has to be perfect in my eyes. We had several concepts brewing, and after a couple of months, they morphed into the grandest idea. With Jackson’s love of music and dancing and Eric’s...

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keeping my promise more than three years later

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Briggs and Al's Run, Children's Hospital, Grief, Hope, JR Hearts, Moving Forward, Nonprofit | 0 comments

“Instead of asking why they left, now I ask what beauty will I create in the space they no longer occupy?” – Rudy Francisco A couple of days after Jackson passed away, my cousin called to offer her condolences. Through the tears, I told her, “Something good will come from this. I will make sure of it.” I don’t quite know where I found the strength to make such a grand promise because as I sat there on the phone, my heart was broken into a million tiny pieces. But I knew from the beginning that I would not let Jackson’s death be in vain....

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