I can’t believe you’re gone.

I just want to be with you, B.

I can’t believe your gone. It’s a wave of panic that comes over me every time I let myself go there. Go to the place of full acknowledgement, full awareness, fully present to the weight of your physical absence. 

I am trying, B.

Trying to take one grace-filled step after the other. I am making my bed AND feeling sad. I am showing up and doing hard things. When you are newly bereaved, again, even simple things are hard.  

I keep telling people it’s like finally being shot in November after knowing eventually I would become a target, starting the rehabilitation process in a hospital, only to be shot again as I was relearning how to walk. I wasn’t even discharged and sent home.

Days are like walking through mud. Even turning the corners of my mouth up to a smile is heavier. Life is heavier without you.

I thought about these days, even craving them a bit, if I’m really honest. The caregiving was so heavy, heavy and holy, but not nearly as heavy as grief. I realize I just wanted a break, not you gone. I wanted to hit pause, not stop. I just want you back and I am sorry for ever wanting a moment away. Because now, I’d give anything to have you play with my fingers or sing you a song. But I refuse to get trapped in regrets, because I know no matter how much I had of you it would never be enough.  

The house feels empty. Even the silence that once brought comfort in the chaos is now in need of redemption.

Did I mention, I can’t believe you’re gone?

I changed your bed. Did you see?
A twin mattress that doesn’t need sides anymore.
A big girl bed.
A nine year old bed.

Your sister thinks your room is her office because I have turned your playroom into mine. We keep the dutch door of the playroom open now, because you’re not here.

Because I don’t need to keep you safe anymore.
You are eternally safe.

I painted the walls white. Nothing stayed white when you were here. Do you remember all of the dents you and your brother made in the wall? Hundreds. Every one my finger felt this week served as a reminder of where you were that you are no longer.

But I needed reminders that remained.

I kept the now distressed window trim, full of toy hammer dings and a few bite marks. I kept the mysterious blue blotch on the ceiling from some ball- a reminder to look up. A reminder where to find you.

I needed the reminder that nothing is perfect, not even a white room, and plan B is where I am meant to stay.

My desk is the table that held your urn at the funeral.
The same table your brother’s urn sat on nine months ago.

I can’t believe he is gone.
Last year, today, you both were here.
You both got off the bus.
Just. Last. Year.

But the desk? Writing on it is trading ashes for beauty, my small act of redeeming even the darkest of things.

Every decision to change a space or leave it, is hard.
Every space an invitation to remember.
Every space an invitation to move forward with you.
Environments matter desperately to the grieving.

I chose white walls because to me, white is sacred. Holy. Light. All the things you point me towards. I was going to put chairs in the room for people to talk but decided against it. We will continue to gather on the floor like you taught.

“Get low, mom,” I hear you still inviting us.
“Never forget you must begin there each day.”

I knew it was too painful to see the room lifeless so I decided whatever came out of it had to honor the beauty that has already taken place in it. Words and life, tears and laughter, full of you and your brother and everything God continues to teach me.


So I will. My simple, tear-soaked offering to the world, full of light and love.

Keep teaching, B.
I am learning.
Learning it all for the very first time, again.

I can’t believe you’re gone.



4 thoughts on “I can’t believe you’re gone.

  1. Stephanie, let us turn up the music and dance like no one is watching, let us color outside the lines. I am with you all the way! Thank you for sharing, I really appreciate you. I love you with prayers. You help me to grow. I lean in, I lean into God, I sit on his lap and cry, scream, cry scream. This is where I find Peace. I find gratitude.
    Peace sista, Luvs, Christine


  2. Dearest Stefanie

    I am weeping with you even though we do not know each other personally.

    I have no idea of the unbearable pain you must be experiencing now after losing two indescribably precious gems from your deepest mother heart.

    Just want to say, if you ever needs an ear… I am here.

    Praying for you and your family.

    Love in Jesus
    Belia Bruwer


  3. Stephanie, your words are beautiful. I’m so sorry you had to join the ‘moms that have lost a child’ club. It’s a sad club to belong to- your writings hit right on though. I have so many things here on earth to be thankful for, but, Like you, I look at every day knowing I am that much closer to seeing my boy again with Jesus! You all are in my prayers! Love you, Bunny


  4. I am so sorry.
    You have more pain than any parent should have to shoulder.
    I have no words, only anger that nothing but money and research could help and it is our duty to help our young ones ALWAYS!!!!!
    I am mad. And I am thinking of you everyday and hoping that somehow you can put one foot in front of the other everyday and know that someone here ( Me!!), and millions of others, care.

    Liked by 1 person

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