40 weeks you've been gone, my handsome boy.
You've been gone longer than we awaited your arrival as a baby.
40 weeks of missing you.
40 weeks of tears.
40 weeks of heartache.
40 weeks of doing things without you.
40 weeks of trying to match our old traditions with our new reality.
40 weeks of grief.
40 weeks of wondering just how we're going to stay standing.
And on the flip side...
40 weeks of service.
40 weeks of phone calls, texts, email.
40 weeks of concerned looks.
40 weeks of "How is your heart today?"
40 weeks of meals, treats, cards.
40 weeks of seeing the love and concern of our Heavenly Father poured out so deeply through those who love us.
Last week I was teaching piano lessons. Megan's lesson. She was playing the song "For Good" from the musical "Wicked." That song hits me right in the heart every time... because I knew you, I have been changed FOR GOOD.
She played it beautifully, not needing any help, so I just sat back and listened.
And then, for just a very brief moment, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
No one else was here except Meg and I.
You stopped to let me know you are okay.
I had to catch my breath as she finished playing and I felt you leave.
Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Walk.
We've gone every year since you were just a baby.
Every year except last year.
Because you were at the hospital.
Just as we walked in, a single little leaf fell from a tree, and landed directly on my head. I reached up, took it off, and Daddy said, "Hi, Mom!" Yep, just a little love tap from my boy, again, letting me know that you're okay, and that you are there.
This week I've been thinking a lot about our traditions.
And at first I was angry that you didn't get to spend those last traditions doing things the way we always have.
But as I sat, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was gently reminded, again, of the love our Heavenly Father has for us, and how He knows the end from the beginning.
Brought into my mind was our last Halloween together. It was the weekend before Halloween actually. McKayslin and I had brought FunKins and carving tools to the hospital because you weren't allowed to be around live plants (fungus, mold, etc.). Our family spent that Saturday afternoon "carving" pumpkins.
You know what's awesome about that?
We have the last pumpkin you ever carved.
It won't rot.
It won't have to be thrown away.
Because it's not a real pumpkin.
See that tender mercy right there?
And then my mind wandered forward to Thanksgiving. Since you were old enough, you (and then you and Sis) have always decorated the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving with Grammy while Daddy and I went shopping.
Last year we didn't go shopping.
You were in-patient again, recovering from pericardial effusion and the surgery to relieve that.
McKayslin had the great idea the week prior to that, to pick up little fake trees, and all of the ornaments to decorate them.
That Friday after Thanksgiving, that's what you guys did.
We have both of your trees bagged up, ornaments still exactly how you hung them.
We'll get them out on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Because they're small, they don't have to be undecorated.
Yours will stay exactly as you so carefully decorated it.
Another tender mercy.
We'll always have your tree.
Oh how we miss you. Oh how we love you. Oh how we grieve.
You're a pretty amazing kid.
Your sister is a pretty amazing kid.
Your dad and I are pretty blessed to have been chosen to be your parents.
We'll stop by to see you tonight.
And again on Friday when we undecorate your resting spot after Halloween and put up the fall/Thanksgiving stuff we've found.
Love you, LOVE YOU!
Forever. For Always. And no matter what.
Have a great week, handsome!