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...

keeping my promise more than three years later

“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. One of my greatest fears was that people would forget about my child. It scared me more than anything. As I started organizing our team for Briggs and Al’s Run just a couple of months later, I think I surprised a lot of...

moving and memories

Eric and I have moved three times since we’ve been married. They’ve all been big moves to different states, traveling a couple of hundred, and sometimes almost a thousand miles, to our new destination. I embraced each move and looked at them as adventures to new areas. I loved house hunting and finding something that our family would soon call home. There’s something exhilarating about it all – starting over fresh, the unknown, experiencing new parts of the country. I could have done without all of the paper and boxes and packing, but I guess that just comes with the territory. Within the last week, two of my very dear friends in town, as well as my parents, have packed up their belongings and moved. I am thrilled for them because they are experiencing...

does it get any easier?

Sigh. Here we are again. In this crappy month of April. On Jackson’s Angel Day. This is a hard day. And I don’t think this particular day will ever be anything but. This is the day, three years ago, that our lives changed. Forever. It’s the day my heart cracked wide open, never to fully heal. It’s the day I realized “it” could happen to me and that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. I hate the month of April with every ounce of my being. And yet I love it with all my heart. How is it possible to feel such vastly different emotions about one thing? It’s a constant tug of war in my heart because it’s the month that took my son away from me, but it also is the month that gave him life. I have an immense sense of gratitude for having Jackson with us for his two...

a seat for one

I love going school supply shopping. There is something about a new school year and new supplies. They are untouched and unblemished. Fresh. Ready and waiting to be opened and used for the very first time. Blank pages are filled with hope and excitement for the year ahead. Earlier this month, we embarked on the annual trip for Kate’s school supplies. She starts third grade tomorrow (She is growing up too fast, but that’s another post for another day), and it’s a nice, long list we have to fulfill. Last year, I made the mistake and took her a little too late in the summer to avoid the crowds, and everything was picked over. Needless to say, we made the trek a little earlier this year. As we arrived in the store, you couldn’t miss the school supply section. It was...