Brooklyn, Brook, Brookie, Beebs. Beeba-leebs, Beiber, Leeber, Beezel. Sweet B. B. One name couldn’t contain you, but that’s your story, your light was not meant to be contained.
I can’t believe you’re gone.
I can’t believe I am standing here so soon.
Actually, I can.
You always did things your way and on your time. Continue reading “Uncontainable Light: A mother’s love letter from her daughter’s funeral”
Right after Brooklyn passed, a family friend printed off some pictures from when Brooklyn was younger during a season Justin volunteered with One-on-One, a inner-city Zion basketball camp. During camp, I would bring the kids up and they would run around and make friends with all the coaches and players. Jayden would dribble balls and shoot hoops, Brooklyn would dance and sing.
One of the pictures, now a bookmark in Justin’s Bible, is a picture of B wearing a shirt that says, “My heart belongs to Dad.” Sometimes, I find him fighting tears as he looks at it. They sure share a special bond.
I am not sure if this is true of every family, but it feels true for us. There’s just something different about the bond shared between a mother and a son, a father and a daughter. Not better or worse, more or less, just different. A boy needs his mom and a girl needs her dad. (I know both need both, but you get it.)
Maybe it has to do with protection. A dad protects his girl and raises his son to be a protector. A mother protects her son and raises her daughter to be a protector. Maybe it’s simply because Jayden was like his dad, and Brooklyn was a lot like me.
I don’t know why, I just know it was true for us and impacts how we are grieving.
Justin’s words about his sweet B that he shared at her funeral are so precious and the lessons he learned from her are really lessons for us all. Lessons about living life to the fullest, real heroism, love, and joy.
Continue reading “Everlasting Joy: A father’s reflections from his daughter’s funeral”
I am so tired.
I feel how Jayden looks-smashed and buried.
This weekend, I think I experienced every emotion God made.
First grade doesn’t stop for my youngest just because her sister died. I thought I missed her open house, but it’s tonight. I thought I missed the bus time, but I remembered they post it online. I thought school started today, but it’s tomorrow.
I’m all screwed up, but God knows.
What do we do on these days?
The days after the funeral?
The days when everyone else seems to move forward and we are left picking up the pieces of our shattered life?
What do we do when the cards and casseroles stop?
When people stop saying her name? His name?
How do we answer, “How many kids do you have?”
Continue reading “What do we do on Monday after the funeral?”
“This is what the things can teach us:
to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke-
One month since Jayden has been gone.
One month closer to seeing him again.
My mind is just now beginning to clear, or maybe it’s returning to fog. I am still not sure which is more foggy, the months before and after a crisis, or the days lived in between life’s defining moments. I think it’s the latter, because every decision surrounding Jayden’s passing was so clear to me.
Continue reading “Blue Jays and Laundry: What Grief Looks Like One Month After My Son Went to Heaven”
Dads, get out your notebook. Study his ways. Justin is worthy of being emulated. He is one of the best dads around. Selfless, affectionate, and willing to change diapers with his rough, callous hands from doing man’s work outdoors, providing for our family. He is equally gentle as he is strong. Listening to him talk about Jayden on Saturday was awe inspiring. I am so proud of him and the way he seeks to bring glory to Jesus in all he does.
Jayden loved “my dad” fiercely. This picture was taken days before he passed. Justin had stopped in from work for a few minutes, and received one of the greatest gifts, one of Jayden’s last smiles.
Here are his words from Saturday:
Continue reading “Jayden’s Service Part 2: A Father’s Love”
Gray. It’s my favorite color, but not when it comes to knowing. When it comes to knowing, I want answers. I want to know when. I want black or white.
But dying, like living, is full of gray.
As I type, just got an email notification from the middle school Jayden would have been attending if he didn’t have Sanfilippo. It was a reminder about the school dance tonight.
As I type, I listen to the rhythm of his breath. In the background, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plays.
I can’t believe it’s snowing.
I can’t believe it’s November.
I can’t believe my son is dying.
Continue reading “Gray”