What's that saying again? Time flies when you're having fun? In this case time wasn't rushing past us because of great happy times. Who can possibly be having fun when they are longing for and missing someone. That part, not fun. Sure there have been some very wonderful, good and happy times in the past 5 years, but the heartache remains. The heartache remains.
For us, this drastic unexpected shift in our lives changed everything. We've been grieving not just the loss of our son, but the loss of innocence, of a world that once seemed safe. Light that left the eyes of our older children, a husband who has had a fight within himself because he couldn't fix it, couldn't go back and be the hero and couldn't protect. In me, a fear of not being able to make it okay, and know that I had to continue to get up daily and keep going no matter what was in front of us. It's been a definite struggle. It rocked our family to it's very core. 5 years later, we are no different than the day we learned Johnny would not be coming home with us. A part of us is still very broken, and no words or time will fix that brokenness. With time the hurt is not as raw, but, when a piece of your family is gone, it cannot be replaced. As a family, we've experienced a life change that changed who we are. Sometimes it's for better, but in all honesty, sometimes, it is not for the better. We look to God for help, and we receive that help. In this world though, we are going to feel grief, longing, have struggles, feel sadness, and yes, at times even hopelessness. Thankfully this is not a constant, and in all this we can and do find joy, happiness, peace, hope and even feel healing. Regrettably, the latter cannot exist without the other junk. Not a single one of us is immune of this.
What we are feeling, experiencing and have been from that dreadful day, can be found in the pictures that follow.
We have experienced great healing, but through this valley has come a change unexpected, some good, some bad, and completely beautiful. I see beauty and love unending when I look at this picture. I see hurting hearts, and pain. I see hope, and peace in this picture. That hope and peace only exists because we trust in a God bigger than all this stuff we go through, and a hope that one day we will be reunited with this boy we love and miss so desperately. We are being made new every day, and the sun continues to shine on us. We have love, hope, peace, and most of all we see JOY daily....but in each day, these hard days, they are still there.
In 5 years, so many things have changed for us. Every single day we choose to find joy, and we do. Don't get me wrong in this post. I am just sharing my heart, what we feel and have endured. We are not stuck here, but this goes with us, in all we do, and every choice we make. Today we celebrate this sweet life that we miss terribly. He is worth celebrating every birthday, and today, he would be 5. 5! It's almost hard to believe it's been 5 years.
This morning, as I watch the littles playing I keep getting little gifts of hugs and kisses from a sweet little boy not even 2 yet, filling my heart with more joy than I think I deserve. My nearly 4 year old as she flashes a beautiful smile my way, makes this day worth celebrating. Precious gifts after such sorrow. I do not take a single day for granted, and I love more desperately than I knew I could.
Today though, I have many tears and my heart hurts for what would have been, had he lived and been here to have a wild party for an amazing 5 year old.