Happy birthday to my sweet son.
PK, words are not capable of describing how much I love and miss you. As I reflect on your birthday this year, my heart is filled with so many things. My heart overflows with gratitude for every moment that I had the joy and privilege of spending with you. Each moment for the 18 plus years that you lived on this earth with me brought so much love and joy. My heart also feels the deep pain of missing you and longing for the experience of all of the moments that I so wished that I had been able to enjoy with you.
As I think of what it would have been like to watch you celebrate your 26th birthday this year, then my heart cannot help but wonder so many things. I wonder what career path you would have chosen. I have watched most of your friends graduate from college and enter the workforce now. Many of your friends are married now. Your best friend Jackson and his wife Haley had an adorable daughter this past year. As I witness your wonderful friends experience these milestones, then I know part of my pain is all that I had hoped to still experience with you. Oh how joyous it would have been to see you reach these milestones as well. I know that this is a normal part of the grief journey… and most especially when a parent has had to bury his/her child. All of the moments that I thought that I was still going to be able to experience with you that never occurred bring a pain to my heart that is difficult to express. These milestones that I watch others experience bring such a joy in my heart for those who are living them, and yet at the same time, my sweet son, bring such a longing for the blessing to have experienced those moments with you.
I miss the incredible zest of life that you had… your energy and joy that were such a blessing to be around. I so often wonder what God would have done with all of those gifts that He blessed you with through the next years if you would have had the opportunity to live here as a young adult. Grief brings so many questions to a parent’s heart who has had a child who has died. PK, I try to walk through these questions in transparency and allow my heart to feel the pain of the unimaginable loss of your presence in my life. At the same time, my heart overflows with such gratitude for each moment that I had the blessing of sharing with you. Words do not seem capable of expressing my gratitude in this nor do they seem capable of expressing all of the emotions and thoughts that are all wrapped up together in this journey.
Only other parents who have had to walk this heart wrenching journey of child loss are able to comprehend the depth of pain that a parent’s heart must walk through when their child dies. Everything in us cries, “This is not how things are supposed to be. Parents should not have to bury their children.” It is unbelievable PK how many other parents that I have now met that have also had to bury their children. My heart cries with them and for them. I think all parents know that they love their children so greatly; however, once your child leaves your presence and then you are expected to continue on in this journey without your child then the pain seems difficult to put into words. When our child’s presence is no longer here with us then we truly learn the incredible depth of love that we have for our child. I always knew that I loved you beyond words my son, but after I was left to journey this life without you then it was beyond certain the depth of love that I had and will always have for you. I thought I understood my love for you throughout your life, but throughout these past almost 8 years without you, then the depth and certainty of my love for you has only been more solidified.
One of my favorite quotes that I have shared many times throughout this grief journey of missing you my son is that where there is great grief then there is great love. Grief is truly a journey of love. It is different for each parent who is grieving the death of their child. For me PK, I long to hug you. I long to see you flash that incredible smile of yours at me. I long to hear the sound of your laughter traveling through our home and our vehicle. I have your pictures in our home and those that are on my phone and office. I love and miss you with every part of me. I carry you with me in my heart and in my mind for always.
It is such a comfort when others realize the blessing that they give to me when they say your name and talk about you. It is so painful when others show that they think that I should move on or get over the pain of not having you here with me. This journey is not something you get over or move on from. I will never get over being your mom or loving you or longing for you. These are things that others believe who have not had to bury their child. I try to explain to them PK that all they need to do is to think of the incredible love that they have for their own children, and that if their children were suddenly not with them anymore that their love for their child or their desire to be with them would not leave them. I believe you will forever be a part of me and my heart. You are my one and only son. You along with your two sisters are the best gifts of my entire life.
This journey of mine without you continues on day by day. Kylee has graduated with her masters and has started a wonderful job where she is surrounded with incredible people. I just know PK you would be so proud of her. She is an incredible young woman who loves Jesus and works hard. She continues in her fierce determination and dedication and faithfulness. Oh how proud you would be of her. Your baby sister MiKayla is getting married next month. I truly believe you would have loved her fiancée Benton. He loves Jesus and your sister. He is intelligent and compassionate. He longs to see the gospel lovingly presented to all the unreached people. He was even a football player in college which I know would have been an added bonus in your mind. Smile. MiKayla is entering her senior year in college and is going to be a registered dietician. She loves Jesus and does not just radiate outward beauty but also radiates so much inward beauty. You would love to see her joy and love for others. She has grown so much. Your sisters have had to walk through so much pain with first the death of your dad that you also painfully lived through and then the death of their only brother just 22 months later. Oh how they love and miss you as well. Just recently, MiKayla was crying so hard just thinking of you and dad not being it her wedding. This just breaks my heart for her. Oh how we all three love and miss you. I just know that you would be so proud of them my son. God has done so much beautiful healing in their hearts and minds, and He uses them mightily to bless others. I miss watching the three of you together with all of my heart.
This month it will be the 8 year anniversary of your death. As I miss you beyond what words can express my son then I want you to know that by the incredible grace and strength that God has given to me, that I will continue step by step to live in gratitude. I know that my grief for you is my love for you. I am thankful for each way that God used you in your life to touch others. I am thankful for your energy and zest for life. I am thankful that I am able to still see your smile and hear your laughter in my memories. I am thankful for the eternal hope that I will see you again. I am ever grateful for this eternal hope- the priceless gift from God of His immeasurable love for us that He put into action in the life and death of His own Son Jesus… the amazing grace that our hearts and souls know is so undeserved yet gives us the gift of eternal life. I look forward to this day of seeing Jesus and being reunited with you with all of my heart and soul.
My dear PK, I want you to know that I will live out my remaining years in love and hope. I promise to keep pressing on even in the midst of deep pain. Someday my dear son when I am able to wrap you up in my arms again then I know that the pain and longings will be gone. It seems unimaginable to think of how The Bible says that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. I have had many tears these last days thinking of your birthday and how much I love and miss you. I love you with my whole heart. Thank you for each moment. Thank You Lord for the eternal hope that someday we will all be with You.
All of my love to you my precious sweet boy. I will forever love and miss you with every part of me.