How I wish that you were here celebrating turning 24. I can still remember the last time that I saw you just like it was yesterday. You were 18 and were headed over to your friend Tanner’s house to spend time with your friends. I remember your big smile and your loving hug. Oh how I wish that I could wrap you up in a hug and tell you how much that I love you.
I am so thankful for each moment that I had with you. You brought such incredible joy to my life. It was such an honor to be your mom. Every moment of your 18 years, I knew that I had such an amazing gift having you for a son. You sure loved your momma and your family. You were a true joy bringer. Your zest for life made each day such an adventure and so much fun. I miss that energy so much PK. I miss the incredible joy that you brought to my life. People ask me… “are you better now?” I always feel a little confused on how to answer that question. I guess through these last six years, I have just learned to repeat what I believe is my truth. “I do not miss my son any less. I do not love my son any less. I am learning to live with the pain of not having him here.” Sometimes people will tell me how I should just be happy for you being you are in heaven. They tell me that you would not want to come back if you had the chance to. I don’t believe that as I miss you with all of my heart that is because I am doubting that things are wonderful for you in heaven. I believe that I am missing you because of all of the incredible joy and love that you brought to my life and into the lives of so many others. I believe that I am missing you because I love you my dear son with every fiber in my being. I miss your presence in my life. I am so thankful that I had the time with you that I did, but my heart sure longs for more. It is all wrapped up together in indescribable love and grief.
I would have loved to still have you with us. During what would have been your college years, then I felt a little more sure that I could be picturing what you would have been doing during those four years. You wanted to be a college football player. When I would go to college football games during those years, I would have so many times of longing to see you out there on the field living your dream. I could picture those years more clearly. Now that you would have been turning 24 then I feel so much more uncertain about what you would be doing at this point. You were not sure career wise what you wanted to do when we lost you that horrendous day in June 2013.
At this point, your best friend Jackson is married. He honored you at his wedding with purple in his boutonniere and your picture on a table to remember you. He brought you to his wedding in those special ways. I picture how happy you would have been to be a part of that. Jackson was one of your true best friends. I still remember when you met him when you begin playing community tee ball. You loved him so much. You talked about Jackson all of the time. He lives in Florida with his wife and is serving in the military. I have no doubt that you would be so proud of him. So many of your friends have now graduated from college. Lexie and Garrett and Sydney have all gotten married now too. You used to marvel at how long Garrett and Sydney were together… I cannot imagine how amazed you would have been to be at their wedding after all of these years together.
I wonder so many things PK. I wonder what you would be doing for a job. I wonder what your relationship status would be at this age. I wonder what your thoughts would have been on how many kids you would have had. You were so wonderful with kids, and I was so excited to see you become a dad some day. I just knew that you were going to be such an incredible dad. You had such a zest for life and so much joy. I can still picture you laughing so much throughout your 18 years. Oh how I would love to hear that laugh now. I can’t thank you enough for the joy that you brought to my life. I miss that joy so much.
I know you would continue to be so proud of your sisters. Kylee has graduated from college and is beginning a master’s program. MiKayla has finished her freshman year at the same college. They are both thriving and in Asia on a mission trip together. They both miss you so much. Kylee has become more open and expressive in her grief of missing you. She left me the most beautiful letter to read this year on your 24th birthday while she was in Asia. Part of what she said to me was this…”I know today will be a rougher one because it’s PK’s birthday. I’m sorry that we aren’t here with you today, but know that we are thinking of you and praying for you. I can’t believe he would’ve been 24 today… I miss him a lot lately. I think it’s because I still think I know what he would be like, but I don’t know where he would be or what he would be doing. He was such a big dreamer. Sometimes I imagine the different possibilities he could’ve had at this point. No matter where I imagine him, I always still picture him very involved in our lives. You raised a good man while he was here Ma. You are doing a great job with us also. We are lucky to have had parents and a community like we did….” Big sigh. Bigger tears. So much love and truth from my first girl. 🙂
Kylee, MiKayla, and I talk about you often. We laugh about the memories. We long for more even though we know that we will not have them on this earth. You were always so proud and protective of your sisters. I know that you would be so proud of each of them now as you always were. They are such wonderful young women. They are truly honoring you and dad with the incredible ways that they are living their lives. They want to grow in their faith and to be a blessing to others. They have continued to strive to be their best even in the midst of losing you in June 2013 and losing dad in August 2011. They inspire me. When I have been in my deepest pain PK, I remind myself that they deserve my best just as much as you did. I know this is truth. As much as I miss you and long for you to be here, I want to be the best mom that I can be to your sisters. I know that you would be so proud of each of them.
I wish that you could see Kim as a mom now. Her little girl is just about 2 1/2. You would be having so much fun watching her as a mom. She loves her little girl so much. For some reason, you always saw my sister as your peer more than as an adult in your life. Perhaps because she was so dedicated to having so many times of joy with you throughout your life. She adored you from the moment you arrived. She told me on your 24th birthday how very much she missed you. We still laugh so hard when we talk about the time that I told you that she was becoming a psychologist, and you said to me, “Wait! People are going to pay money to talk to Kim?” Oh how Kim and I laugh about that. I wish that you could have met her little girl. She is so smart and so funny. You would have had a blast with her, and you would have loved watching Kim as a mom.
I know all of this longing and wondering are just parts of grief. How would I not miss the only son that I ever had with all of my heart? How would I love you any less even though you have been gone from me now for almost six years? I think that it is difficult for others to understand because their lives continue on. It makes perfect sense to my heart.
I will always love and miss you, and that is just fine. I have no goals to diminish any of the love and longing that I have for you in my life. Why would I? You are part of my heart for always.
I have sadly met so many other parents that have also had a child of theirs die. It breaks my heart for them. Each situation is different on how it happened, how old the child was when they died, and how the parents and families are dealing or not dealing with their grief. Yet, we do all have this in common… we understand the tremendous pain and suffering of burying a child, and we understand each others’ love and longing for our children to still be with us. We can all relate on that aspect even though our situations are all different. Not once have I had a parent who has lost a child ever wonder why I miss and long for you so much. They understand that with all of their hearts because they long for their child just as intensely as I long for you. They understand the pain and hurt of that loss and of the painful journey of being forced to live without you in my life. They get it. They understand the struggle of wondering what you would be doing now and wishing that I would have had so many years to come. They understand my dear PK that my wishing and longing for you to still be alive does not take away my thankfulness for each moment that I did have with you.
I don’t know as your mom how I could not wish for that or why I would even want to. You brought so much to my life and to all of those who were so blessed to have you in their lives. I am so grateful that I had the honor of being your mom and for every moment that I had you in my life.I know that you would be so excited and proud of the different ways that you are remembered and honored. I believe that you would love the scholarships that are given out each year in honor of you. So far, we have given out $18,000 worth of scholarships to student athletes in honor of you. I am so thankful for the people who started these scholarships in honor of you. I am so thankful for those who give year after year to the funds. I am not sure if they understand how much this means to me, and how much this helps us to have this outlet of honoring you by blessing others. I truly believe that you would be so excited about this.
I also believe that you would be so touched to see how others remember you and the special things that they do to display that remembrance. It sure blesses my heart to see it PK. It is so touching. I try to highlight different remembrances on your facebook page to create a way to look back on your life and to see the impact that your life continues to have. It is a blessing as your mom to see how you have touched others’ lives and inspired others by your example. I believe you would be so proud of all of those things. I know that it would touch your heart to see how much your friends and family love you and miss you and how they remember you. I know that it would be a blessing to you to see how you have impacted those who you have never even met. I know how much that it touches my heart.
Happy 24th my sweet son. I love and miss you for always.