I’ll Always Be With You

While my dreams of watching Grant grow older will never come true, I will continue to create new dreams that are inspired by all the loving memories he left behind.

The worst, unimaginable loss, the loss of my child happened, yet in the fragility of it all, I discovered strength within myself that I never knew existed.

Grant’s death has taught me that life’s too short to be anywhere else but in the moment. Recognizing how he has inspired my new way of living and focusing on the good brings a sort of peace for me. Not knowing exactly what my future will look like I am able to feel ready to explore what lies ahead of me keeping in mind that I can’t be anything more than who I am in the moment. As each day passes I have become a little better at finding the inner peace to be okay with just that. By grace alone I will someday find the courage to accept that great joy can be discovered from my deepest darkest sorrow. I want to find that because in those moments of wonder maybe I’ll understand the greater purpose of Grant’s destiny.

When I think of the word courage, I’m reminded of the thousands of tears, the weakest of days, the feelings of failure and most of all, the fear to go on.


Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh:

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

But, the larger part of the quote….

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart I’ll always be with you.”


I’ve kept this quote in the wedge of my heart through the deepest, darkest days of my grieving.  As selfish as I wanted to be the past few years, the many days I would have rather curled up in bed and quit… I didn’t want to tarnish the happiness my girls deserved to find in the midst of their sorrow.

My seeking and wanting happiness again will never lessen how much I miss Grant nor will it change the reality that there will be days with dark moments. I know that my heart will forever ache watching a mother-son dance or looking through photos where he would forever remain alive. These and many other moments will always be the slow bleed of my broken heart…

The whys, the questions that will always linger are things I try to spend less time thinking about. These questions will never leave me but I choose to focus on the moment and accept God’s grace and trust in his promise. Filling my heart with appreciation for Grant’s life, being grateful for the gift of being his mother, finding the messages I know are meant for me, asking God to comfort me with his everlasting peace, lessening the feelings of bitterness I’ve felt being robbed of Grant’s physical presence are how I try to spend my days.

When grieving a child there’s no instructions for healing. Prayer feels unanswered, there is no longer reason to wish upon a star as my only wish was impossible. As hard as it is for me to say there were days I was so angry at God yet on my weakest of days I somehow found comfort in his mercy and amazing grace.

I felt responsible for Grant’s addiction and later even his death. I was his mom and it was my responsibility to keep him from harm. I even felt a deep guilt for not protecting Grant from himself.

For me tragedy brought with it the unpleasant truth that I’m not in charge.

I think the most courageous truth I can tell myself is just that. God can and will grant me the peace, strength and courage to live the rest of my life without bitterness or blame. Tragedy will happen and I may never find understanding in that but He does have a purpose for us. Grant’s life had meaning and Grant’s death made a change. If I never knew this kind of pain, I would never truly understand compassion.


I Love you Grantie,





Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas Letter to Grantie

 Click to view Christmas Letter Video…

Christmas Letter Video

My Dearest Grantie,

I hope heaven finds you well. Dad and I are doing well, your beautiful sisters too; As good aes we can…

Your nieces and nephews are the delight of my life, when I see the twinkle through the laughter they share with me. I always know you’re up there admiring them.

I know the detail of your smile, off to the side of your face, smirking as your sisters scold them.

I hear you asking the boys if they’ve found that special girl yet, all G’d up from the feet-up…

I see you tenderly wipe the tears from the faces of your favorite lil girls.

 It’s these moments I’ve captured and sealed in my heart…

This is how I know, how I really really know… you never left me.

Your every gesture, your every beautiful bit has been encapsulated in my very living heart that will beat for both of us till the day mine too, goes to rest, and I finally, finally hold you again…

For those who have loss a child and wonder how life will ever go on… that’s how…

My boy lives through me every minute, of every day…

Growing up I’d remind Grant – Do me proud today – now it’s me asking at the end of the day, Grantman, did I do you proud?

On my desk… your pictures still remain just as they were when you left us… Because, you’re forever my child

At home your beautiful brown shoes remain in the same spot you left them… because, they make me feel you’re still home.

Your closet remains full of your clothes, not because you need them, but because I do… because for even a moment I can rest my face in a piece of your fabric, inhale… and for a second smell your physical presence.

I’m not the same person you once knew… I’m a better person.

I care better for others… for both of us.

I look at the shimmering stars in the sky, admiring the between… for both of us.

I’ll walk my journey finding compassion for the weak… for both of us.

I look for the good in the fancy, as well as the begging soul on a corner… for both of us.

I’m sure if heaven has a mail box of thoughts, love and conversations yours is full every day.

I miss you more than any kind of loss…

As time continues to pass I’ve found a different loving relationship with you that helps me fill the absence of you in a different way.

The terror that cut through my heart the first years on earth without you… have softened…

The overwhelming fears I had of losing your physical presence the day God took you home…

Have little by little been calmed by your beautiful tender memories…

In our quite moments together I can finally hear your voice again; I can close my eyes and see your smile…

When grief overwhelms me I can wrap my arms around myself and feel you breathe life back into me.

In these moments… you remain alive.

Merry Christmas Grantie,


Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments


December, coincidentally it rhymes with ‘remember’. My heart is filled with so many remembers this time of the year. Our family is reminded simply by the chill in the air that our Grant won’t be with us again this holiday season. I think when losing deeply we search for every bit of our last season with our beloved. Unfortunately a lot of the time the memories that consume your mind are not the memories we want to keep or consume ourselves with. Some memories we keep for safe keeping. And other times, there comes a time to try and let go. Like Grant so often said to me, “Mom, Let It Be…” For me, writing it down, being honest with my feelings, is my way of letting go.

This fall season has a very familiar feeling of the year we lost Grant. That crisp air falling upon us reminding us snow is just around the corner. The saying “We don’t remember days we remember moments” would be the best way to describe the memory of that horrible day. I don’t remember the day as clearly as some of the moments within the day that are vivid memories, so clear as if they had happened yesterday. I remember being cold, but the coldest of words hit me like a brick… Those words that will run through my head forever are Steve’s scream Grant’s dead.

That chilly morning of December 3rd Sarah and I had a wedding; it must have been an earlier start time than usual. Most mornings I would have been the one to wake everyone in the house, Steve and Grant being the ‘all time, love to sleep in kind of guys.” Not me, work or no work,  I’m up early and most times thought everyone else should have the same thinking. If the sun is up,  so should we all. But that morning… maybe only heaven has the answer… I didn’t wake them. Maybe, if death really is like an out of body experience, Grant could see. Knowing that my going in his room and waking him couldn’t happen. I just walked out of the house that morning with intentions of being a part of one of the happiest days of someone else’s life.

I stopped by Karmin’s that morning to pick up a piece of equipment and chat for a few minutes before heading off. I may have left the house without waking my boy’s but that didn’t stop me from sending a text to Steve. I’m sure it went something like “rise and shine, don’t sleep all day…” I don’t even remember.

I remember standing by Dan and Karmin’s stairs, my phone rang, and Steve screams Grant’s dead. I remember throwing my phone across the room to Dan and falling to my knees. My Karmin didn’t even have to ask what was wrong… she just knew. I remember being in the car. I remember being cold and I remember Karmin scream on the phone to Lauren to go assist at the wedding. Our family’s worse nightmare of a day was still someone else’s happiest.

Arriving home to emergency vehicles up and down the street was the truth that my worst nightmare had come true. To this very day I still see the face in a squad car that had greeted me at the door walking into my house… “I am so very sorry mam.”  I saw Steve’s face buried in his hands weeping and Kayleigh’s face of unbelief looking into my eyes. I remember questions being asked of me I didn’t know how to answer. I think all I could say was find the person who gave it to him…

The crisp days of fall and the beginning of winter are a reminder to me more than other seasons of the days that lead to this horrific day and the days to follow. I remember each and every moment we spent together the weeks leading up to his death. I remember the excitement of him getting a new phone. I remember his thoughts and conversations about returning to school. I remember all the moments that I may have forgotten any other season of my life. Until the very end of Grant’s life he taught me to be a better person.  Grant’s wise words to me days before as I wasn’t the best version of myself, responded “Mom, don’t say that, Charlie is the way he is because of being picked on.” I still regret the comment I made that morning but I don’t regret the moment. Those very words of Grant run through my head often. A lot of Grant’s words run through my head. He was a reminder, and forever will be, that loving people for who they are, that caring for someone and looking past the big picture will allow you to feel compassion instead of judgment.

This cool, crisp season not everyone feels warm inside, not everyone has gifts around a tree, and not everyone has the ones they love near. I wanted to journal the memories of Dec 3rd so that in a way I could let them go. This season, I want to embrace the happy all around me. I want to keep my beautiful memories of Grant wrapped up between the hugs of everyone I love. This season I want to replace the thoughts of our last holiday season and think more about the twenty-three years of this season I spent with my boy. I want to hear good memories. I want to laugh with my girls. I want to reminisce with the happy years I have spent with Steve. I want to be thankful and I want to enjoy the blessings before me every day. This is a journey and I believe Grant’s words of wisdom would ring… Let It Be.

I Love you Grantie,



Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hey Baby Blue..

The words to follow the title would be “I deeply miss you.” Almost five years have passed and I still find myself trying to keep as busy just to get through another day. Especially these days leading to the anniversary of Grant’s death. My son’s name leading up to that word ‘death’ still crumbles my heart into a million pieces; I miss him so much. I still wait for him to walk through the door. I still wish to feel his amazing hugs. I miss everything about him. I miss his baby blues.

The death of Grant has been the most difficult journey life has dealt our family. As a family we had two choices: Grieve with grace or allow the tragedy of losing Grant to completely shatter our family. Love, grace, and kindness for each other… Grant would have wanted that…

This past weekend I photographed a sweet little boy going through cancer treatment. I’ve thought a lot about his mother. Her fears, her heart ache, all of her why’s unanswered…   we’re mothers, we can relate.

Some believe Grant was responsible for his disease. Unfortunately those thoughts are something I can’t alter the ignorant mind from thinking. I know that a disease took my child. As a mother myself the fear of existing without child I know is the same. The pain is the same regardless of the reason. Pain of the fear of losing a child is unbearable… I felt her pain… and know how real the pain can be. How devastating the fear can be.

For the two years before Grant’s passing I constantly thought of the the two end results that came with his disease. I knew it would end one way or the other. While I prayed for healing, I shivered with fear that this demon called addiction, would rob me of my son.

As I documented this mother inhale very beaming breaths, smile and giggle at her beautiful baby boy I was reminded of the deep kind of love a parent has for their child. The deepest love, like none other most would say. The kind of love that I can’t imagine life without them, nor should you. But even the depth of love most come to know, will never come anywhere near the deepest feelings of love… the kind of love and ache when you fear losing them.

There’s not a lot of sympathy for the disease that took Grant’s life. The journey was heart breaking for our entire family,  a fight that didn’t end with the celebration of sobriety, instead a celebration of his life.

Five years ago I feared Dec 3rd. I feared the unknown. I feared what it was doing to our family. I feared this disease. I feared the screams of that day.

My boy was a beautiful boy. He was smart. He was funny and he was loving,  He had the biggest heart. I was blessed with the most amazing 23 years filled with joy, laughter and love. I want to remember all of this, how he felt, his smell from the time he was tiny ’til that night when he kissed me goodnight. I want to forever close my eyes and greet his baby blues.

 I Love you Grantie, Mama


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MN Adult & Teen Challenge Freedom 5K

Today our family walked in the MN Adult & Teen Challenge Freedom 5K in memory of our Grant. Last year I wrote a blog entry about Why I Walk – if you didn’t get a chance to read it feel free to do so. These cute kiddos look forward to “The Walk for Hope” every year!

We walk to encourage, love on, instill hope and breathe life into one another.


MN Adult & Teen Challenge Freedom 5K


MN Adult & Teen Challenge Freedom 5K


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment


There is no right or wrong way to behave when grieving: anger, bitterness, guilt, joy, tears, laughter and then some. I’m learning that through this life it’s important to identify my feelings and if I allow myself to feel all of these emotions, even the good ones, I can Grant myself healing and find joy once again. Grant, what a perfect name for him. Every meaning of the name describes him, especially the word gift.

I was gifted an amazing, fun, and loving son, maybe not for as long on earth as I would have wished for, but he made my life full. As each day presents itself to me I’m learning to recognize the completeness of the life I had with him instead of drowning in the emptiness of his physical presence.

Telling humorous stories about Grant helps me cope. It makes me think of happy times with him. If even for a moment I can remove myself from the present and reminisce back to my happy place it gives me the gift of laughter and a reminder that even through the sad times he and his memory are still with me.

We all approach humor and laughter differently. I think it returns in its own time… some days more than others but surrounding myself with the right people has been a part of true healing.

For the first two years or so after losing Grant I felt guilty for existing much less laughing or feeling joy. I envied it, I wished to feel happy again. There was a pit so deep inside that I always knew I wanted to feel whole again and to desire some bit of joy to cradle my sadness…

I’m learning to understand the healing benefits of laughter. I really don’t think I appreciated laughter in my past the way I do now. Do I still find myself in a puddle of tears four years after my son’s death? Of course… any given day, at any moment. Am I different? Yes, but my family, my friends, my co-works knew me better than I knew myself. They knew my humor, my positive look at life and even though they knew I was drowning in sadness and deep heartache they continued to breathe the fresh air of laughter in me. They are the people who helped me recognize I have room for laughter in the face of my tears.

These past few weeks I’ve thought a lot about finding joy in the midst of sadness, I started thinking about how Grant would make me laugh. If I ever seemed down he would make a fool of himself just to turn my frown upside down. He would give that big pouty look with his bottom lip as he tilted his head to the side.  When I reminisce about these times I can smile again. I can remind myself he would want me to laugh again. How can I not when he lives through these beautiful smiles below…


I LOVE YOU Grantie,


 funny faces

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I’ve felt spring coming all around me this past week.  I foresee the disappointment of getting dumped on one more time before the trees bloom… but so far, I have savored every breath of fresh spring air I take in.

As many of you know this may be my father’s last spring… only God knows. I’ve thought a lot about the seasons this past year since he was diagnosed.

For the past four years I have deeply grieved the seasons without Grant, especially spring.  I grieved life returning while my soul felt stuck… trees in bloom, planting flowers, the rain washing away the gloom of winter and the long awaited longer days of sunshine. In the past springs all I could think about was everything that was returning to life… except my son.

There’s something different about this spring.  As difficult as this journey through loss is and has been… the heartache that has consumed me has begun to a unfold. It’s still there, it comes in different waves of emotion but I’m beginning to feel again. I’m beginning to feel again; although learning through loss is heart breaking and difficult, it’s extremely powerful.

This spring it’s different. It’s about life again, holding on to what I still have. This spring its not only the flowers blooming but that I still have my dad. That I have all my parents… I am reminded that I want to appreciate the life that does surround me.  I want to allow my heart to bloom again. I want to permit the heartache that has consumed me to unfold into a treasure of memories I now recognizes as gifts and gratitude.  I love my dad. I love all my parents for the perfectly imperfect people they are. I’ve been blessed to have had all of them there through the hardest time in my life, loving me for the perfectly imperfect person I am, loving me equally on the good days as the bad.

This spring I have life blooming, maybe not Grant’s, but life blooming all around me. I have a garden of loved ones with an amazing cherub watching over.

Over the past winter months our family has been working on the bunk house next to the house at Grant’s Place. This little bunk house was our cabin, also known as the hunting shack, while our kids were growing up. It was nothing overly fancy but some really great memories were made in this little space. Working on it this past winter was a trip down memory lane as we worked away making a fresh new place for future memories to unfold.  Reading messages written on the ceilings and walls from times past, wondering where things came from and why they were there. The whole experience was reminiscing to a place and time I treasure.  I thought I’d share a few pictures… I know how proud Grant would be.

I love you Grantie,



Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time Hop

Facebook/social media is bursting with all kinds of emotions, events, victories and yes, grief… some love it, others hate it… For me it has been an escape from my own life, while other days I’ve shared some of my deep sadness. Most of my feelings are usually private journaling, some which I’ve blogged, but much of which stays safe from the eyes of others. I’ve never found reason to scrolled back and read what I’ve blogged or journaled these past 4 years. I’ve always thought I’d never want to relive some of my thoughts. Much like seeing a therapist, I’m sure I’ve repeated myself many times over and over and do not have desire to go back to those words. I’ve cried myself through a lot of unspoken words as I type and other days were a sort of meditation; not a tear or a word spoken, just my heart pouring out of my fingers releasing every word into a document those of us living in deep grief would want to scream from a roof top. In a strange way it was a sense of relief and letting go. The words that courageously made it to my blog were so those who felt comfortable reading, could. Those who were not…no need to… I get it.

Several times a day I pop on to Facebook, I like to see what the girls may have posted, the jokes and the vacations my friends are enjoying. I like it, actually I love it. Facebook has brought a smile to my face on days I really needed a lift.

For the past few months I have noticed something different as I scroll my way down Facebook feeds. I’m thinking most people love it…. “Time Hop”… reposting photo memories from the past,  something that didn’t happened in past years. Sure, a casual Throwback Thursday of people reminiscing their own life was something I enjoyed looking at too. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fun and excitement of great memories. While some of these photos that come up in my top hop were posted of the girls or grandkids and it brings a mile smile to my face, others are a painful sword-through-the-heart kind of moment. Four years ago I was barely surviving, my heart was broken and I was so afraid that people would forget Grant. I posted many pictures of Grant the first several months after losing him. Based on my top hop I guess more than I even remembered.

Facebook lifted my heart many of those days, friends from all 45-some years of my life would post kind, thoughtful, encouraging words to my page or message box or just simply like the many pictures and memories I shared of my boy. Some understood and for others I’m sure they just didn’t quite know how to reply at times. My friends have liked the happy times and understood how to reply to the worst days of my life. While at the time this is exactly what I needed for the past month Facebook has been my Grief Shadow, Grief burst… It’s a very scary feeling. Losing a child is not only the deepest kind of sadness, it’s frightening. The fears of never seeing or touching your loved one ever again is torture. I have what I call scare attacks, an intense sadness that overcomes me when I least expect it at any given time of the day or night.

I have pictures of Grant all around me… but when I see a captured moment that I haven’t seen before or for a long time, when I inhale a scent that he wore or hear his recorded voice, it causes moments of anxiety… sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating as my fingers enlarge him on my iPad touching his face, wishing I could just pull him back to me. I study his hands, I study his ears, every part of my beautiful child.

I’m learning how to cope with these unpredictable emotions… whether it be calling my family or any one that will answer or remove my computer from my docking station and sitting in another area of the building. My office is a shrine of my children, all my children and Grant resides amongst the clutter just as he did the day he left.

I sure I’m not the only one on Facebook that has faced these “Time Hop” fears. I’m sure just seeing how your children have grown brings an emotional tug to your heart.

But thoughts from a mother who has used Facebook as an escape, entrusted her social media friends with her heart… Thank you. And for those who have cared and just didn’t know how to reply… it’s okay. And for those who just don’t know how to reply… thank you for just understanding this process of learning to live a different kind of life.



Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

December 2nd… A haunting date. The last day I would walk this earth with my son.  The “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” race through my mind daily, but today, December 2nd each year it consumes my thought. Every second, every minute, every hour of the day…

I think for anyone that has lost tragically or unexpectedly the days and hours before are just as painful as the day of the loss. For those who have forgotten the significance of this day they maybe wondering why I’m distant and maybe extra quiet. This day the shoulda, coulda, woulda is the day I regret the most in my life.

It takes a lot of energy to be happy, yet there are still a few moments that I can just laugh and feel normal. What may seem frustrating or disappointing to some has become less critical to me. I’ll listen, smile and nod but if I were brutally honest today I don’t care about the stupid, unimportant stuff that will resolve itself by tomorrow.

My woulda – I’d have said I loved him one last time. My shoulda – stayed by his side all night. My coulda – a million different things. But the truth really is if I could just take back this one day, this one day, December 3rd would be different.

In the work place when something goes wrong there’s always a “why.” Why did this happen? There is always a “What should we have done different?” I can beat myself up daily trying to answer these questions but in the end it doesn’t change anything. For others maybe it will, but for our family it’s hard to embrace.

Has Grant made difference?  I know so. I know my son didn’t die in vain. I know he made a difference in the lives of many and I know my son’s death saved lives.

When I was on the Walk for Hope Pastor Jeff and I walked and talked for a bit. I told him that as important as the walk is for the awareness of addiction I have a really hard time listening to the testimonies of the young lives struggling with this disease, praising God for healing and new life. I asked Jeff the same question I ask God daily… “why my boy? Why didn’t he save my boy?” Those are the words that stream down my face daily. I do have faith, I do have hope and I know I’ll have the answer to all my questions someday but how do I live the remainder of my life with only memories? I know that through God’s grace that I will… but that doesn’t change that I miss him. I miss him with every single breath that I take.

Jeff’s response was “Kim, God did save Grant.” Those words somewhat mirrored Grant’s from a time back. I remember the very stop light we were at. Grant was very open and honest about his demons with me and how he felt that he was fighting a huge fight. His words that day I will always remember.  “Mom, I think the only thing that will save me from this hell, is God.” I think that at the time I thought of being saved as being his life on earth getting better and that addiction wouldn’t be a part of our lives any more. I thought being saved would mean that we could be free of the demon and that my child could once again live in peace, giving his testimony of grace, healing, serenity and freedom.

Dec 3rd I lost my son, I lost a part of myself, I lost a part of my family, and I lost a part of my heart and soul. Grant was finally free, free from pain, free from the sadness and fear and free from the demon he fought so hard to fight.  Grant was saved by the God he prayed so faithfully to. Some may think that addiction is a selfish disease not worthy of sympathy or understanding. Addiction and mental illness is a very lonely misunderstood disease. Few are cheering you on, sending you cards or hot dish. Very few even know how to address you about the subject. Most either don’t know the illness, or they do know it all too well and fear the ending that lurks in their own lives.

Grant died of this disease. There should be no shame, he lost his battle. He was a loving kind person that won the war he fought. We all have a war on this earth, addiction, cancer, mental illness, obesity. There is no shame in the fight…

Today at work one of my coworker so kindly asked how I was going to spend tomorrow…. I don’t know..

Very much like every day I suppose… one day at a time.

Grant Steven Sawyer, Grant's Place

Grant Steven Sawyer

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Grantleigh

image image

One year ago I walked down the hospital hallways holding the hand of my best friend. I felt a million feelings. Two in which were pain and fear. The others were pure excitement and happiness. I didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to be today? How hard was it going to be? Is she healthy? I felt more determination than I ever felt in my life. Determination to do a good job… Was that a thing? Can you do a ‘good job’ delivering a baby verses a ‘bad job’? That rush of thinking, “Oh my gosh… my life is about to change.” I couldn’t get too deep into thought over all this because 1 hour and 40 minutes later she was in my arms. I’d say I did a pretty good job.

Fast forward to today… One year later. My life is changed. I just can’t imagine life without our Grantleigh. My heart hurts that her Uncle Grant is missing from this lifetime of his niece; as I can’t believe we have no choice to continue life on Earth without him. I constantly imagine what he would have said in response to the imaginary text picture I sent him or that she points up to heaven in response to his name. Today I’m thinking of how much he has missed this past year and how much more he will in the upcoming years.

As I have been carefully planning Grantleigh’s “Alice in Wonderland” first birthday I fell upon a quote.
Alice: “How long is forever?”
White Rabbit: “Sometime, just one second.”
As most mothers say cherish every moment as they let down their head and say “it goes too fast”.

Today and always I will cherish the incredible daughter God placed in my arms. Life on Earth goes so fast, but is only a second compared to the eternity we spend in heaven. Happy first birthday to our incredible baby girl. We love you from heaven and back.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.