i choose gratitude

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 that “it will get easier with time”. Maybe for them it does, but what I’ve found is that yes, the pain changes with time, but it never heals. The hurt is there every single day, no matter what. I’ve learned how to mask the...

a long lost gift

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 looking forward to a couple of hours to myself while soaking in that my boy was turning two, a milestone for our heart baby that I didn’t take for granted. The gifts wouldn’t be extravagant. Just a couple of presents to highlight...

today we celebrate

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 classes needed. He got through one semester, and then life got in the way. There were layoffs and moves across state lines and then children. It just seemed there was never a good time to start again. But Eric never let his dream...

day of the dead

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 years of French in high school and two years in college. I don’t know a lick of Spanish, except if I want to count to ten. “It means Day of the Dead,” Kate said with a smile. A little shocked, I asked what she was talking...

the numbers are in…

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 musical background and sound production success, an all day music festival filled with fun activities for the entire family just made sense. Thus, Jackson’s Jam was born. As we began planning and organizing, businesses started...