seven years, a five year old and hundreds of rainbows

“A coincidence is a small miracle when God chooses to remain anonymous.” – Albert Einstein Kate and Ryder’s birthdays are seven years and two days apart. August 16 and August 18 respectively. Today, on Jackson’s Angel Day, Ryder is the same age, almost to the day, as Kate when her oldest brother died.  She was just five-years-old.  As the years pass, it’s hard to remember certain things about that day and time that we lost Jackson, but I will never forget Kate’s reaction to losing her best friend. It’s engrained in my head. The deep moans and gut wrenching cry from such a small body still rings in my ears to this day. Her happy, vibrant life changed in an instant.  When I look at Ryder and let those memories sink in, I can’t fathom...

The Rotted Banana Peel

The days were dwindling, and the packing wasn’t near complete. As I sat on the hard linoleum floor with my face buried in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, I couldn’t find it. I packed up the miscellaneous junk, that no matter my best efforts, always accumulated under there. While boxing up garbage bags and cleaning supplies, I was also searching for something important. But with my box now full, and not much left besides the plumbing, I was losing hope. Days before Jackson’s second birthday, he enjoyed snacking on a banana. When he finished, I reminded him to throw away the peel. Excited to do something all by himself, he ran into the kitchen, threw the cabinet door open, and tossed that bright yellow banana peel into no man’s land, missing by a mile. I...

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...