Seems Like Yesterday. To Love A Child Is To Love Forever.

Toshiba Digital Camera

Our son…Justin.

 

Today…October 4…marks the day that we lost our son thirteen years ago. Another driver lost control in a rainstorm and hit our son’s truck. How can it even be possible that so many years have come and gone? How can it be possible that I still remember every moment of that day when the accident happened…etched in my memory like an engraved picture on glass? Careful…be ever so careful with the picture…be very careful with the words…always be very careful with the memories.

I do my best to keep his memory vivid in my mind and I am certain that my husband does the same. It is easy and natural for me to talk about Justin. Recently, a friend mentioned what it was like when she left their first child at Kindergarten. Someone else continues the conversation with how they felt when their child took the big step into that big school. Since our son is still an important part of our lives, I talked about how I was so emotional about leaving him at school…in fact, I could not even say hello to the teacher.

The moment might have been the first time ever that I absolutely could not talk! Everyone laughed, but one friend said….“Justin was such a sweet boy”. A very nice something to say, but the emphasis was obviously on the word “was”. The conversation subject was quickly changed. I felt like I had never had a little boy go to school for the first time…I felt as if I was supposed to push those thoughts back into the recesses of my mind.

However, memories don’t work that way. I realize that some people are uncomfortable with the mention of a lost child…a child who is forever 26 years old…a child who spent so many happy years with us. We were so thrilled when he was born…just like we were thrilled when his sister was born. Some of our happiest times were to see them together…playing and laughing…even with a five year age difference. I suppose that I don’t want others to forget about our boy named Justin.

 

~I want to think about how much Justin loved our farm.

~I want to think about how he could name every type of tree…every plant on our land.

~I want to think about his inherent ability to express himself with the written word. 

~I want to think about how he could play the guitar so easily.

~I want to think about the songs that he wrote and sang.

~I want to think about how he liked to hike and explore.

~I want to think about how much he loved Austin and how the uniqueness of Austin fit his personality.

~I want to think about his independent spirit and ideas.

~I want to think about how much we loved him, how proud we were of his abilities and his dreams.

~I want to think about his gentle ways, about his calm demeanor, about his friendships.

Justin was our son. Justin will always be our son. Justin will forever hold a special place within our hearts. 

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18 thoughts on “Seems Like Yesterday. To Love A Child Is To Love Forever.

  1. My dear friend Pat….my heart aches for you. I came so close to losing two of our boys about 13 years ago. I cannot imagine the pain of having to give up seeing them on this earth. Cobs is so right…..it is a moving on…a moving from life to life.
    Never let someone make you feel like you didn’t send a little boy off to his first day of school. That child lives on…..just not on earth but with the angels. Please keep talking about Justin and letting us “know” him through your words. His days on this earth had worth and he impacted life around him.
    I am so grateful you share him with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Faye! Love and care for you so very much…even though I’ve never (yet!!) met you in person! Perhaps I should not have been as bothered as I was about the first day of school conversation…but, I was bothered… and I couldn’t seem to shake it. The person really meant no harm and it is not someone I see very often…so many of the people I worked with have not yet retired.. I really think that it upsets her deeply to hear anything about such a subject…meaning someone moving on to another life!

      I will write about Justin from time to time…sometimes something about him fits in with a story and I am compelled to write about him! When I think of two of your boys being in that accident, I feel the fear that you must have felt that night. I don’t really know how you were able to let them out of your sight again! But…of course, you had to let them be free so that they could be the fine young men that they are today! My tendency to be overprotective of our daughter is still strong…I have to watch myself!

      Can’t wait to see pictures of the newest member of your family! “Our Baby” is due December 4…I have most likely reminded you of that fact 10 or 12 times already! Our son-in-law’s mother and I are beyond excited…and are going shopping and to lunch soon. You know… to find a few more precious items for the showers! And anything else we think that he must have! I may be totally out of control! It is a good thing that I still cannot walk very well or I would be at stores every day of the week!

      Once again…thank you for being my very, very special friend…it is truly a blessing that we met…meant to be! Isn’t it amazing how God brought us together and how I met Cobs (and others) through you? What a happy thought! Pat

      Liked by 1 person

      • God is so good like that isn’t He? We are indeed blessed…even in the hard stuff. I have some pictures on the latest blog post!! The little one is such a sweet one…it was hard to leave and go home.

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  2. Dearest Kindergarten.
    I am so sorry to read about the loss of your son and although I cannot relate in the way of losing an older child, I can relate in a way of losing a child, for my first child was stillborn.

    No matter how many years go by, nothing will fade, nothing will make you forget. Justin is just as much a part of your lives today as he was 13 years ago, and from the moment you conceived.

    Justin is still here. He’s just in the next room and the door is open. He can hear you, so speak to him whenever you wish to. He will answer but it may not be in the way you expect.

    During a proceedure some years ago I ‘died’ on the operating table, and because of what happened during that time, I know now that you can’t actually ‘die’ for the life of you. I saw things that I wouldn’t normally have seen. I walked out of the operating room, and as I walked, I looked to the side of me and could see things going on. I couldn’t have picked out he surgeon in a line up because features were not clear – but I saw things and heard some voices … and then saw things in a corridor outside the operating room, which I wouldnt ever have seen for it was only for staff. I told him the colours on the wall, and a chip in some paint, and the seats – even how many there were.

    The Doctor and the Head Nurse and younger nurse in the room were speechless. The doctor just kept saying over and over “I don’t understand! But … I don’t understand” and turning to the Head Nurse he asked her .. “How can this be? How does she know that, and this .. and how did she know about the corridor?”

    All of this (and more) gave me a knowledge that I never had before. You cannot die for the life of you. We simply move forward.

    I explained this to my girls as they were growing up, and I explained it in the only way I knew how to, to young girls.
    A tulip grows in the garden. You see the leaves grow and form, and it slowly pushes up a stem. Then atop of that stem you begin to see a bobble forming. That bottle blossoms into an incredible flower, the flower will change colour slightly over time and the petals of the flower open open OPEN … until … one by one the slowly fall to the floor. The tulip is still there … but it’s beautiful petals are now gone and the flower begins to age. Slowly … it gets smaller until eventually it’s ‘dead’. Except … it’s not actually dead. You just think it is.

    If you lifted the bulb from the earth which the tulip grew from, and cut that bulb open with a sharpe knife …. you would find that the flower is there, hidden inside. We thought it had died but it hadn’t. It was still there. And, I said, that’s what I now believe is kind of how it happens to us. We don’t ‘die’. We just shed an over-coat.

    Our bodies are an over-coat. And, just like over-coats we’ve had througout our life, we don’t keep our coats as they grow tired and tatty looking. We either scrap them or give them to charity. Our bodies are like that. They are our over-coat which is required to carry our soul, because we need something for here on Earth to carry our soul.

    I know that reading this seems all very odd and strange, and I also know that listening to me tell of what happened and tell of what I learned is easier to see and understand. However, that’s not where we are. We are in Blogland.

    Please feel free to not publish this comment, or remove it. I won’t be offended and I won’t stop following you Kinder. I only share this (and I rarely share it) to help you feel that Justin is still with you. Anywhere you think of him that’s where he’ll be. He loves you just as much as he always has. You will meet again. But not for a long long time… for you have things to do here on earth. Your journey is an important one, and you have lives to change. You might not ever know you’ve changed someone’s life, but sometimes that’s how it’s planned.

    Feel free to not post this comment my beautiful friend. Sharing things can sometimes be too much for someone to take on, and I totally understand that.

    Sending you love and I include you in my prayers – as always. ~ C. xxx

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    • My dear and wonderful Cobs…thank you so very much for your deeply heartfelt words! Your ability to decipher a friend’s need is amazing!

      I am so sorry about your first child. I can’t imagine your sadness and distress. We just have to understand that God has a miraculous plan for everything.

      Your experience in the hospital is so very intriguing to me. After I lost my parents,
      I received a message from them right after a rather pleading, sad prayer. I was standing on their front porch and heard a loud and melodic series of church bells. There were not any churches at all with chiming bells near their neighborhood. A college is located a few blocks away, but their bells had been removed several years before. My parent’s next door neighbor was a professor at the college and I talked with him about the bells the next day. He assured me that there were no such bells…except the ones at the large churches downtown…and they were not at all close enough to be heard. My parents loved all types of music and my mother had a pretty singing voice. Hearing something so beautifully musical was so totally appropriate! I lost my parent exactly six weeks apart when I was in my early 30’s… our children were very young.

      Anyway…hearing the bells gave me the absolutely certain realization that life goes on and that they were together. When we lost Justin, our hearts were so sad and yet…we found joy thinking about the lilting sounds of the bells that I had heard a little over twenty years before!

      My “messages” from Justin began right away…and ironically they come at times when I truly need them!

      Your analogy about the tulip is truly tremendous…just right for children as well as adults!

      Thank you again for your wisdom and kindness and friendship! An ocean may separate us, but your words reach directly to my heart and I so appreciate you! Sending love to you! Pat

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Justin was my first date in high school. We went to a movie and then we went on a hike. I had so much fun with him and he has such a fun childlike spirit in my memories. I will never forget that day.

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    • Thank you a bunch for your comment…it means so much to me! I remember you, Terah! I bet that you went to the lake to go on a hike…one of his favorite places! You are right…Justin truly had a fun and childlike spirit!!!

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  4. Such a sweet motherly tribute to Justin! Only a mother knows, that with passing time, the heart does fonder grows.
    It is uncomfortable for people but talking about memories is for all, simply spontaneous participation.

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    • Keep those memories alive anyway that makes you happy. You are very loving and special lady. We lost a baby when I was 5 1/2 mo. You never forget!!! It may get a little easier, but you NEVER forget!!!

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      • I understand. Or, I can try to. Thank you.
        You have suffered so much loss, yet lit up so many lives, probably in their images and name. That talks about your strength and resolve which is an inspiration. Appreciate you sharing!💖

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  5. A beautiful tribute to your son. Thankfully, I have not lost a child-that has to be the saddest thing in this world, but I do understand about loss-sometimes it seems like if you do not remember, then it never happened-it is so odd. I will think of your Justin and the light he brought to the world.

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  6. I remember things that touch me, but forget what I did last week. That’s nice that you have some of his writing on his memorial for others to know a little piece of him too. I also remember you writing about him knowing someone famous (Norah Jones?) and that he was also musical, as are much of your family.

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    • I can’t ever remember where I park my car at the mall…all the time! I click the alarm button on my key fob and bother everyone in the parking lot! But…I find my car! Justin was very good friends with Norah in high school. Such a sweet and pretty girl! Justin was really musical as is our daughter. I have said it before…it is totally not fair! I am the one who yearns to sing, wildly play the guitar, play the piano…but…no talent at all!!!!

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    • Thank you so much! The writing that you remember was part of an article that Justin wrote for a quarterly magazine in Oregon. The magazine is published by Lost Valley Education Center, a non-profit founded to promote sustainable living. Justin had been there for a conference the summer before we lost him. We took a paragraph from the article to have engraved on his memorial. You have such a good memory!!!!

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