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

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One thought on “Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

  1. Jill Reamer


    With every single breath, we/I breath. One second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

    Until, we see their beautiful sparkling eyes, and smiles again.

    Until we hear their voice … Again.

    Then we can truly be happy….. Again.

    Hugs and Love

    Jill and Tim Reamer
    An our Warrior Angel Nick forever

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