To my Andrew,
One year, absolutely unbelievable. I remember sitting in the aftermath wondering, “what will life look like a year from now?” And today here we are, somehow one day at a time has added up to 365 days, days of sorrow and joy, days of hope and defeat, days of beauty and pain.
Grief has threatened to steal away everything, but we are still standing, still living, still fighting. Fighting for joy, fighting for beauty, fighting for peace, fighting for life! The fight has taken everything I have every single day, I’m exhausted, but still showing up, still saying yes, and still leading our boys through today and into tomorrow.
As I was thinking about the one-year anniversary I couldn’t get over an Instagram picture you posted. It was a beautiful shot looking out over the lush Hawaiian landscape with light beaming down through the clouds, you captioned it, “In Kauai as it is in heaven.” I had to come see what you saw that day, so the boys and I hopped on an airplane and came here, your spot, your heaven, your favorite place in the world.
It hurts so deeply you aren’t here with us; I wish I could hold you, kiss you, see your smile, and hear your laugh. I wish you could play with your boys again; I wish you could see how much they’ve grown. Smith looks like a teenager, Jethro still looks like you just taller, and Brave still thinks he’s a baby and asks me to carry him everywhere we go, but his legs are growing long and his vocabulary is growing wide. We are slowly rebuilding a new life; I call it rebuilding beautiful. It’s a very different kind of beautiful and right now it’s pretty ugly, but I am choosing to believe one day beauty will surround it.
This trip has been so special. We rented a bright red jeep something I thought you would love and with our windows down, Jack Johnson blaring through the speakers, and the sweet island breeze flying through our hair we have remembered you. Even though you aren’t here I can’t help but see you all over this place. This place holds so many precious memories of you. The times you came here with your family growing up, the special time we spent on our honeymoon here, and the last trip we made with our whole family just a few years ago. This spot has been a healing place for a long time and even now, it’s healing our hearts. It’s funny how people look at me when I’m out and about with our boys. I can see them looking for you, I can see their wheels turning wondering, “is she really here all alone?” Truth is, I know I’m not alone, I know the veil is thin, I know heaven isn’t far but near, I know our time on this spinning ball of dirt is just a pit stop, just a resting place on our way to you, to heaven, to a place even more beautiful than Kauai.
God has been so good to us this year. He has provided above and beyond in every single area of our lives. I set this verse as the background on my phone and for months it has reminded me to pin my hope in Him: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20. He has done great things in and through our pain this year:
He has provided a beautiful bungalow for our little tribe.
He has given me deep purpose in the pain.
He has opened doors for our story to be told.
He has saved countless lives through your death.
He has surrounded us with support and love.
He has provided financially.
He has gifted us beautiful experiences all around the world.
And He has shown us He’s Got This over and over again.
Andrew, I miss you so much, but I know I will see you soon. This year flew by and I know every year will be the same. Until then, I will cling to those three little words that have carried us through so much, God’s Got This, because he truly does. He is in every single detail, He is still holding us so delicately and He is picking up the pieces and putting us back together, one day at a time.
I love you Drew, I will never stop loving you,