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Looking Up Changes Everything

June 16, 2017

FullSizeRender (5)Dear Reed –

I can hardly believe that on this day 22 years ago I was sitting in a white-walled hospital room holding the tiniest baby I had ever seen, basking in the glow of realizing that this tiny human was a part of me.  Your itsy-bitsy red curls totally melted my heart. Even though Reed was a family name, it wasn’t until, like most new parents, we poured through baby books that I learned that Reed meant red-haired. Examining every inch of you from your long fingers to your miniscule red curls, I was in awe of the miracle of you.

Even after all these days, I am still awed by you and how your story touches others which is why there are some days that I just offer God tears. I know He collects every salinated drop in His bottle and I know he understands because He too lost a Son.  He knows all the moments I am doing okay, and He celebrates on the days when I find true joy. But He also knows the inner recesses of my heart when I am struggling even when I tried to convince my heart I wouldn’t be.

Four years ago when your class graduated from high school, I struggled for the obvious reasons, but even more so after we had been told you and Jesse might not be remembered at graduation because it might make others feel uncomfortable.  Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt that day.  Once that ceremony was over, I tried to convince myself that the remaining big moments wouldn’t sting as bad because there were no guarantees that you would have done other milestone events like graduate college, get married, and have a family.  Graduate high school was a slam dunk but the others aren’t necessarily things that everyone does.

The lies I told my heart were compelling for a long time. Four years in fact.  Four years that snuck up on me before I even realized it.  Then I saw one picture after another of your friends in graduation gowns, and my fractured heart splintered into a million pieces.

For a while I just endured days trying to keep busy.

The sadness didn’t completely lift, but a few things along the way lifted the fog of grief.  Faithfully, one of your best buddies comes every Mother’s Day with flowers and superhero card just to love on me.  He does it for you and for me, and even now I tear up thinking about his love. Then on scholarship night for Sister, there was that same buddy’s mom wearing a Reed’s Run t-shirt. A phone call from another grieving mom inquiring about Sister’s graduation, but sharing her sincere prayers for the milestones we would endure during this season reminded me that we weren’t alone.

Grief ebbs and flows and time stands still for no mom.  Knowing others are thinking of us eases the pain. There are still those moments that the floodgates open and the tears of all the dreams dashed come pouring out.

Today was one of those days . . . until a divinely appointed phone call.

The voice on the other line was another grieving mom who just felt God nudging her to call me.  Prior to her call I was eyes glued to my computer screen working on homework (which I was woefully behind).  We haven’t talked in months, but today, she called to ask for my help.  When I shared I couldn’t pull myself away, my to-do list was too long, she understood.  Then, I explained my heart wasn’t up to company because today was your birthday.  She truly jumped into action asking what she could do to help. I simply requested prayers.

The entire time my heart and my eyes were downcast.

Just listening to her desire to love me in the storm of sadness, my spirits lifted. And so did my eyes.

I am so incredibly thankful they did.  I care a lot about being a good student, and rushing headlong into homework seemed an appropriate way to busy my thoughts and to numb my heart from the truth of today – another birthday without you.  If my friend hadn’t called me, I never would have looked away from the computer screen.

See, my sweet boy, often we let the worries and the cares of the world hold us down.  Rather than clinging to the author of hope, we shrink under all that we are not capable of doing. We forget to look up.  That simple act of defiance in the face of the storms of life, brings our eyes heavenward.  I know you know all about this, but here on earth we are still capable of doubt, sadness, and forgetting to tell the storms to whom we belong.

In a fleeting moment, heaven touched earth. Just as I looked up, right in my line of vision the most beautiful cardinal alit on the deck right outside my window. He lingered for a bit as if to say all was going to be okay.  My heart and soul were comforted and soothed.

I will always miss you in the big stuff like birthdays, but more so in the little stuff that define the extraordinarily ordinary days where life happens.  Nothing will ever beat your sneaky behind the back hugs, but someday I will hug you again.

Today, I am so thankful that God reminded me that when life has me down, I just simply need to look up. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday celebration mixing a bit of heaven into it. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays. You will always be my sunshine!



red balloon

We closed our evening looking up to heaven thinking of you!

  1. Kandy, your writing and reflections touch my heart. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. Oh sweet friend! You are gifted with words and truly one of the bravest, most sincere woman I know. I love you!

    • Nancy – you are the ultimate encourager! I sometimes embrace the idea that courage is just getting out of bed each day with a broken heart, and then other days I soar with the eagles. Through it all, I just want to be real because I know countless women who need “real” and not Facebook worthy. Love you!!

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