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Taken By Surprise


My birthday is this week.  Normally, this was a day I looked forward to with eager anticipation.  It was a day I gave myself permission to do nothing. There are other days I also do nothing, but on this day I choose not to feel guilty about it! This was before what is now the most significant event on my timeline – the death of one of my children.  

I used to be unsure of what people meant when they said “time stood still” for them, until my middle son was killed.  Time has literally felt like it has stood still since his passing.  It may be even more accurate to describe this feeling as “my world stopped spinning”.  I don’t have that feeling of living my life underwater, like I did in the beginning, but I do still look at people and feel as though I’m seeing them through a dark glass, like they’re living at a different speed than I am.

A few days ago, it hit me that my birthday is coming up………..again………..and then………….the realization that this will be the 3rd birthday I’ve celebrated since he left us………………and he has had none since then.  None.  No more birthdays to celebrate someone I brought into the world.  This is crushing.

The last big family get-together we had before our son died, was a combination Father’s Day and my birthday celebration, with all our kids and grand-kids here, celebrating with us.  Our middle son worked in a steel fabrication shop at his passing, and he enjoyed not only doing his job, but forging things from steel in his spare time.  He had made himself a beautiful (to this mama) outdoor charcoal grill and he and our oldest son loaded it into the back of our oldest son’s pickup truck and brought it to our house, along with all the fixings to grill hamburgers and hot dogs for my husband and I, their other siblings and their nieces.  That day is a precious memory for me now.


But today, and for the last couple of days, I am once again taken by surprise at the intensity of the grief caused by the fact that I only have memories of one of my children. That is not an easy thing to live with.

I am another year older.  He will never be older than 25.

I will have birthday cake and ice cream.  But I will never get to see his shy grin at my offering of his favorite cake on his birthday again.

I will be grateful for the most precious thing in my life on my birthday – my wonderful husband, amazing children, precious children-in-law, and beautiful grandchildren.

Hopefully, by the time they all come over to celebrate my birthday and their dad’s Father’s Day, I will have shed the last tear for this week.

I will listen to my kiddos talk and laugh and catch up with each other.  I will listen to the grandchildren’s squeals of delight and cries of “Gramma”  “Papa” and I won’t be able to stop smiling.

I will thank the Lord for the 25 years He allowed my middle son to walk the earth with us.  

And maybe I will eat a second piece of cake in his honor.

I love you, my son.  I miss you more than words can say.

“There is an appointed time for everything, and there is a time for every event under heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die……..”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

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