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Hey Reed . . . a letter for heaven

February 20, 2022

Hey Reed –

I both love and hate writing this letter every year.  Please know that loving you is never a burden but missing you exacts an enormous weight.  I can hardly believe that another year has gone by that we don’t have the joy of holding you, hearing your silly stories, seeing that beautiful smile, and being swallowed in one of your sneaky come from behind bear hugs.  What I would not give to hear you whisper one more time, I’m going to squeeze the stuffins out of you.

Although we all miss you, we continue to live on, carrying your legacy of loving others because we so desperately want your memory to be about how you lived . . . not how you died.  The indelible marks of that day will never leave us, but some of those marks have changed us in profound ways.  The people, who awoke that morning fourteen years ago today, aren’t the same people who are still here. In so many ways, I miss those people. I miss the carefree days when life was just life, and not life now and life BC (before the crash). We have learned to continue to keep moving forward, holding you tightly in our hearts and in our memories, but there are days where my soul aches to have the ability to go back to the life we had before you were taken from us and Sawyer and Erin were hurt.  But through it all, we continue to choose to love. 

This past year has been filled with some incredible joys.  Sawyer and Sydney got a great new place, and we had a blast (and walked about a bazillion steps) helping them move.  The best part is you would have loved seeing him drive his Peggy (Carter) MG across town (even though the tough traffic resulted in a sunburn).  We got a lake place and Damien is there too.  I can only imagine the shenanigans you two would find.  Let’s just say, I am not bringing the ping pong table there just in case your namesake and his papa want to relive the glory days.  Erin and Grant got engaged.  I am pretty sure you would have a few words about his alma mater, as we know how much you loved Lakeview. Seeing you, Emilee, Hunter, and Jesse inducted into the Hall of Fame was a truly beautiful, yet brutal, experience.  Having so many in attendance with us was such an incredible reminder of the legacy you leave. And, then there is Clo. I am sure you would have rolled in laughter at our Christmas card.  I assure you she is doing way more than existing (and I am already bracing my heart for when she heads to college). Today you would have been so proud. She made it to the finals in speech at the Marshall Spectacular.  I know you would have bragged up her tenacity to try something new while basking that she was the only sibling who followed your footsteps.

Just knowing today would arrive is always soul-crushing.  While we have had many, many reasons to find joy and to celebrate, living through a pandemic and watching how exceptionally cruel and mean-spirited people can be to each other just to say they are right has been so exhausting.  The entire world is grieving some aspect of life, and grief itself is draining.  I think back to the conversation we shared exactly a week before you went home to heaven.  It’s not going to be long now, Mom. Thinking you were meaning getting home for the Mardi Gras celebration, only to wonder how I was lucky enough to have such a deeper thinker as a son, you told me that you thought that the world was struggling so much, that Jesus had to be coming soon. 

For you, it was a prophetic utterance.  For us, it left a longing, but even in the midst of that yearning, we still feel your presence.  Much to my heart’s dismay, we haven’t had a steady cardinal presence in quite a while. I’ve chalked it up to maybe it’s because we have a new hunting bird dog, but deep in my soul I have questioned why.  That flicker of red feathers, the cheery song, they have brought us such peace.  Why no cardinals now?

But this morning. The day when my heart’s scars are bare for the world to see. This morning, as I let the dogs out, I heard an unmistakable song.  Despite the freezing temperatures, I left open the screen door to hear the most beautiful concert of a cardinal singing with all his might, knowing exactly what my soul needed.  Tears streaming down, I could almost hear him whisper, “I am going to sing to all your stuffins, because I love you, Mom.”

I love you too, Reed, and I always will.

Love, Momma

  1. So precious! Hugs, my friend!

  2. Thank you! I love you!

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