time doesn’t heal everything

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 abruptly after, and never looked back. I was gently reminded why I made that decision shortly after Ryder’s first swim lesson. As a reward for doing well in class, I told Ryder we could swim in the pool together afterwards....

Drumroll, please…

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 anything at all. But I knew in my heart this is what I wanted, and I kept going back to what Eric and I have said from the beginning. “If we can help one family, it’s worth it.” So I pushed forward with a stronger determination to...

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...