Each year we choose to celebrate Grant’s birthday, July 8th with cake, candles and with whatever other kind of fun we can add to the day. We celebrate him, we sing, we light candles and we watch the excitement in all his nieces and nephews as they blow out his twenty-some candles. I know this may sound strange to some, but it doesn’t matter to us, its Grant’s day and I’m still his mom. Him not being here to celebrate his 29th birthday changes nothing, it’s an important day, it’s the day a beautiful soul was placed in the arms of our family and so, we celebrate the best we can. The biggest challenge of July 8th is making sure it remains more sweet than bitter.
Whether it is Grant’s birthday, a holiday, any day for that matter I’ve had a choice every morning to make it a good day or not. I mean I feel the worst thing in the world has happened to me and yet, I do have to remind myself that it’s not. Knowing that fact doesn’t change the sadness I feel or the ache my heart has of missing my boy it just forces me to look at the good in my life and find joy that still really does exist, even in the midst of my sadness.
In my own strange way, I’ve worked at making happiness a habit each day. Searching for happiness is hard; coming up for air in the deepest pit of sadness has been grueling, truly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. There’s no floaty on the side of these dark waters. Finding a breath of air after the death of a child is like treading in brown pudding and finding joy again feels as impossible as crawling out of quicksand.
I’ve tried to make happiness a habit each day, looking at the world and myself in the most positive way possible. It truly takes an effort to find joy and pleasure in each day, to seek out the good in every situation and to appreciate the blessings all around me.
There are days I still question if I can go on and the answer is… I want too. Some days hurt more than others, some are less clear but I find myself more and more searching for the moments of joy and I do trust that in this pain there is purpose.
Today, July 8th my Grantie would have been 29, to me he will forever be 23, and I miss him more than any grieving verse could quote.
Twenty-nine years ago I said hello to an amazing, kind, smart, lovable boy. For twenty-three years, I laughed with him, even cried by his side. I held his hand keeping him safe, as well as the ache of letting him go.
I have many picture of Grant, the many beautiful moments I’ve had the honor of experiencing with him here on this earth. I can’t let the years I’m missing with him take away from the gift of having my beautiful boy for 23 years. Some parents have their children a life time, some spend little time holding them, for others a life just beginning to bloom is lost. These losses aren’t to be compared, loss is loss no matter how old and grief is grief. Burying your child is burying your child and God’s Grace is just as sufficient for each one of his children, no matter how the disheartening death certificate states their departure.
I think heaven is lucky… on your 29th Birthday I celebrate a life that for whatever reason the Lord called you home served a purpose far greater than the oldest of old.
I love you birthday boy,