Today is the anniversary of my little boy leaving me, leaving our family, for heaven. Today has been one year since the very worst moments of my life.
I so badly want this year to have counted for something. I want to sit here and pour out lessons and wisdom that only suffering could have taught me. But nothing brilliant comes to mind. And honestly, what could possible be enough?
There are moments when I feel a deep gratitude for how this journey has changed me. Sometimes it is easier to see compassion growing in new places or pride shrivelling up because humility’s fresh leaves have blocked its sun.
Other moments are heavy with overwhelming regret and fear. Some moments feel like a life sentence for an unforgivable crime. I fear that I am just not enough to create something beautiful with this broken life and I question why I would ever try.
Brody was so beautiful, so full of life and so deeply loved. I know he still is all those things, but he is not here with us the way he should be. And today, we sat with that, letting ourselves remember what we lost.
Yesterday was harder in some ways. I let myself cry hysterically while Bryson was at school. It is something I intentionally do not do often because it isn’t healing. I can’t breath. I make myself sick. I need to protect Bryson from that. I need to protect my unborn baby from too much of that. My head fills with the worst of my fears and they are such bullies, violently insisting that I agree with them.
I kept asking myself how we would possibly survive this week and the voice in my head kept yelling that I am just not enough, we are not enough; we will not make it through.
I reminded myself that we do, in fact, have everything we need to get through – in God and in community. We are well equipped to walk the road before us. Still, by 8:30 this morning, I already felt completely exhausted. I laid down on the couch and I heard that voice tell me again that I am not going to make it. But I had started my morning with scripture and quotes from some of my favourite books, and I remembered Cheryl Strayed in her tent on the Pacific Crest Trail. She is bruised and terrified and she asks herself, “Who is tougher than me?” and each night she answers, “No one.” And I asked myself, “Who is braver than me?” and I told myself, “No one. If anyone is enough to get through this, I am enough to get through this. I am going to make it through this day.”
And I did – we did. With good food and love from friends and family, we chose to create a beautiful day.
Brody, thank you for being my beautiful boy. Thank you for all the gifts you brought into my life and all the memories you gave me to cherish. I still just want to tell you to come back – as though you have that power somehow, as though you chose to leave. We love you so much. I promise we will do better this time. Bryson keeps thanking God that you are with Him and that you are happy and safe. I think it is a good sign that he is finding peace. He used to pray that you would come back to life, but time has passed now. Of course, we all still wish so many things were different. We still have all the same questions we did a year ago, but we keep reminding ourselves that the answer is just to love and to keep loving. Fear and anger are tempting, but love is the road that leads to you. Love is what will keep you closest in our hearts and will bring us back together one day. And I might just hold you for eternity, okay? One day.