As many of you know my seven year old son has many mental health issues, all which were overwhelmingly escalated by Joey's death. Recently there was a "Stranger Danger" drill at his school - even though he knew it was a drill he couldn't handle it, his mind told him that Ryan got out of jail and was there to get him, to hurt him like he hurt Joey. Thank God for the staff at his school, his teacher and the school psychologist, that got him through it. This fear, this pain, this sadness ripples through all of us, some days worse than others but not a day goes by that we don't feel that pain, miss that smile, long to hear that laugh.
So here we are, Christmas Eve 2014. Joey's little brother is growing by leaps and bounds and learning so much. But each time I look at him I wonder what it would like in that home with the two boys playing together, getting into things together, and growing together.
The loss of a loved one is a pain no one can explain, we each feel it in different ways, we grieve in different ways, we find comfort in different ways, we cope in different ways, but it doesn't mean we forgot, or we aren't sad, or that we don't care - because really - do we talk about it openly? No we don't. And others don't know what to say except "sorry" and that's OK because really, what else can we be but sorry for their pain, for their sorrow.
One of my ways of dealing with Joey's murder is to write in this blog. To put down what is in my heart.
This is in my heart tonight: My children - Lawrence, Crystal, Stan, Melissa, Erin and Aiden - I will always be there for you and I pray that you know this. We may not have the relationships we have had in the past, we may not see or speak much but there isn't a day that goes by that I do not pray for you and your families and wish you nothing but the best. I love you all beyond what words I can find to put down here.
My remaining grandchildren, even those I do not know, Ethan, Jacob, Bonnie, Reece, Mason, Brenton, Jadon, Kayley, Augustus and Lily - I love each of you so very much, you each are a huge piece of my heart. (I need a Grandma shirt for all these grandkids LOL). While I may not see you often, or may have never met you, you will always be a part of who I am.
For my grandson Joey, you were a solid piece of sunshine in my heart. No matter what you were doing, even when you said "Shupp" to me you made me giggle. There is a piece of my heart that was shattered and ripped from my chest the day you were taken from us, it remains tattered and bruised but it is held together by the memories of you. Not a day goes by that I do not think of you, that I do not ask God to hug you for me. I look forward to the day that I can hug you once again.
There are many things I want to write about, many things that are not pretty, that are not so calm, that are harsh and difficult but I will leave those for another time.
For tonight - take a moment to say a prayer for those kids that can't speak for themselves, that suffer and hurt, and then please hug your little ones, play with them, enjoy this holiday and give thanks for their health and their happiness. Remember, it's not what is under the tree that matters.