23 years

Yesterday we got a card in the mail.  It was from Tisdale.  I recognized the last name, but I didn't know the woman who sent it.

She had a son who would have been 23 years old this May.  Her family wasn't as lucky as ours.  They didn't get to hold their son or kiss him good-bye.

"It does get easier and time does heal, although I think of him every holiday and everyone of his birthdays."

"You will never forget your sweet little angel.  He will be in your thoughts and prayers always.  You will eventually think of him with more smiles and less tears."

Hugh and I have have been surprised by the number of people who have connected with us and can personally relate to what we are going to,  but for some reason, on this day, I felt an extra surge of emotions from reading this letter.

Firstly, I didn't know who this woman was.  She reached out after only hearing about us.   I could feel her emotion and her love for her son in that letter. She opened her heart to me. A stranger.  I am awed by her kindness and compassion.

Secondly, I am been engrossed with thoughts about our immediate future.  Hugh and I have briefly talked about what the next few years might look like, but mostly we talk about what tomorrow and maybe next week might look like.  In her letter she wrote, "23 years".  I hadn't thought about what that might look like.

After reading her letter, I went to the shower to be alone.  I needed to think.  I needed to cry.

Once by myself,  I first felt relief.  I worry about one day not missing Tripp or forgetting about him.  It may sound silly, but I think about it.  He was in our lives for such a brief moment.  What if I forget?

There it was in writing.  I won't forget.  For her it has been 23 years and she hasn't forgotten.  I won't forget.    

Next, I felt sad.  I hadn't thought of holidays.  I hadn't thought ahead to that, yet.  Tripp will not be with us for Halloween, Valentine's Day, Easter or Christmas.  These are days for kids, love and family.  Tripp is a part of all 3 of those things, but he won't be part of these holidays.

I then felt the weight get even heavier.  Twenty-three years.  That is a long time.  Time became a bit more real for me.  I have blogged about loving Tripp forever, but what is forever?  I know what 23 years is. . . I will be missing him for 23 years.

New thoughts started rushing to my head.  I don't want to be her.  This isn't fair.  23 years.  This isn't fair.  I don't want to be her.

The reality is I am her.  And it's a good thing.

She is thoughtful, compassionate and kind.  She reaches out to help strangers in their most difficult time.  She loves her son.

Unfortunately, I won't be the last mother to lose a son.  I just hope that if I am ever presented with an opportunity to reach out to a stranger, I open my heart and show that stranger the love this woman has shown me.


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