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 how such a young child can understand a harsh reality. One moment your best friend is here, and with the blink of an eye, he’s gone forever. 


Ryder seems too young to understand how a little person can be in Heaven, but that’s how young Kate was, and she fully understood that Jackson would never be coming home again. And it devastated her to the core.

Staring into Ryder’s eyes, knowing these things, all the feels from seven years ago are rushing back at me. 

Kate experienced major trauma at a terribly young age. I find myself trying to protect her every chance I can. I don’t want her to go through more than she already has. It doesn’t seem fair. But I also have to know that this is part of her journey, just like it is ours. God is growing her into a pretty amazing young woman who has a level of compassion for others because of her life experiences. I constantly remind myself of this when Momma Bear comes out, and I want to push the world away. The trauma and heartbreak is transforming her, and I am so proud to call her my own. 

Seven years looks different for all of us. We’ve all changed from who we once were. But grace has eased into our lives, and we’ve found a rhythm that works for us. 

This is our first year in our new home on Jackson’s Angel Day and birthday. There are less triggers, less anxiety inside these walls, but there’s also fewer memories. While extremely difficult to move, and leave the only place we knew with Jackson, to begin again, this restart has been good. This past year has been a refreshing shift for our family, and we’re all breathing a little easier. 

I have yet to decorate the house or hang up any pictures. Because of that, sometimes I feel like Jackson doesn’t have a presence here with us, and I feel guilt. 

But then…

As the sun begins to move across the late afternoon sky each day, its rays invade our bedroom, reflecting off two crystal chandeliers hanging in the corners. Hundreds of tiny rainbows embrace us for a moment in time until the sun continues on its path, and they slowly fade away. 

And I remember – he’s here

And hearts, our sign from Jackson since day one, appear every time I write our new address – Hartland.

And I remember – he’s here.

Even though it’s been seven years since Jackson moved to Heaven, it’s only been seven years since he moved to Heaven. And we miss our sweet little boy with every ounce of our being. These rainbows and heart aren’t coincidences. They are tiny miracles sent to remind us that it’s not the location or the home we live in. Jackson is in our hearts every second of every day no matter where we rest our heads.