When Josie died, I was overwhelmed with thoughts of, “How do I do this?!!!” Every breath I took was a first. I looked to God, and I asked Him to show me how it was done; I was clueless how to continue living when my firstborn child had gone on ahead without me. I knew I needed to keep living for my other children. I knew I definitely did not want to “check out,” but I truly did not know how it was to be done. I sincerely searched, and asked the Lord to guide me in this highly foreign journey—and He did.
I discovered unique ways of coping, and even new ways of communicating with Heaven and angels. I also forged a deeper connection to God through thoughts and prayers I had never before considered. Indeed, inspiration can be a great blessing borne in the thick of desperation and necessity. Prayers were answered through angels both here and there, and God wrapped his mighty, tender arms around me. He showed me how to keep living, and even blessed me with a desire to keep pressing onward. Forward motion became my constant aim.
A dear friend of mine shared a bit of advice that I soon took to heart. She told me that when her mom died, a friend of hers shared this same advice with her—the advice was to not make any major life changes in the next two years while processing her grief. Well, I had read that in cases of child loss, or traumatic and unexpected losses, five years was a more “normal” time frame to experience deep grief. With my loss falling in that category, I resolved to make it my goal to keep on keeping on for the next five years without any major changes or decisions in my life. Perhaps if I could go that far, the road following would become more tolerable, and perhaps even enjoyable.
I am not certain what I was expecting at the end of these five years, but I can say that I experienced a more intense longing and desperation to be with my Josie again. I can also say that the longing I had to have my son home was equally intense—if not more so. He enlisted in the Marine Corps exactly one year after her death, and I grieved his absence from the moment he shipped off, even though I tried to be tough for his sake and hide my anguish.
I did not want to make his job any harder than it already was. I was always immensely proud of him, and his desire to fulfill what he felt called to do in this life; I did my best to support and love him however he needed, and always honored the choices he carefully considered when mapping out his life and future.
My boi was my lifeline. If he could continue to push himself to achieve high goals and dreams, in spite of his heartbreak after losing his beloved big sister, then I could at least try to not quit life. For him, I did my best to keep showing up each and every day. Some days were indescribably hard, and I often felt like I was failing miserably, but he gave me reason to want to keep going. I did not want to disappoint him—he had become my hero in every way!!!
Two days before Josie’s five year mark, Julian somehow made his journey home as well… I cannot even begin to process what has just occurred. I do not know exactly how I survived the past five years, let alone how I might begin to move forward now. My body has become a shell of sorts. I am here, but I am not here. I know all the mechanisms of coping and “getting through” hard things, but. . .
I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS!!!
“I got you momma. You can do this. You are the strongest person I know. I’m never going to leave your side again…”—these are the words he spoke to me just a few days after his passing. I will cling to them with everything I have, because I know Julian means what he says, and he always stands by his word—no matter what, and even though I DO NOT want to do this—I will!!!
I will honor him by being brave like he is, and trusting in the Lord’s will… Though this is not what I want, I know the Lord’s plans are ultimately superior to my own. No way about it—I most definitely DO NOT want to do this, but I WILL do this…
For my boi.