Christmas Sweaters, Sheep Hats, and Songs Unsung.

Most of my days are filled with busyness. My photography business is thriving in this season. My job keeps me busy with community stuff. We/I are surrounded by an extensive circle of friends and family. I’ve not written much over the last few weeks. Its very hard sometimes to convey the thoughts and pondering of a grieving parent. The holidays are filled with wonder and magic…grief although not part of the Christmas story it’s those early memories of birth and life that make the holidays at times so hard. This is our third Christmas without Evan and although softer the edges are still rough. https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-made-you-cry-holiday-season/?fbclid=IwAR0hPT1OGomkWkK62J4EhRx34Kk84rWyPtbEGKudH5z84wR-t7jLkBSqN_4

Some of the sweet memories of long ago Christmas’ are not very fresh in my mind. It’s not until I go to a sweet school program and see children dressed in their holiday bests does the rush of memories return. Most days I can be present with friends who are enjoying seeing their kiddos perform the best and sweetest Christmas tunes. But in those moments the file cabinet opens, and the files start flying out. With that, I’m immediately ushered to a Christmas program from Pre-School or Kindergarten days with my boys. It was always something that was important to us to be at our kids' programs. Wise man costumes, Christmas sweaters, sheep hats and so much more. Most of my ponderings are melancholy. I miss those days and on some level miss that for Evan I will never see these kinds of days played out with his kiddos. That the planet will not see songs sung by Evan’s kiddos. Yes, this is what this grieving mom thinks. I’m not alone in this thought. We miss the future, and we look to hold on to the past. Holidays are sticky that way especially when you have memories that are tied to traditions, and you’ve not started new ones cause it’s too painful to change the one thing you miss so much. We are trying new things and seeing what works and tweak them as we go. Maybe the thing that makes my heart sing and cry is that I choose to be present with friends who currently are experiencing these great moments. I see the love they have for their child and the special way their heart sings when they see their kiddo perform. It takes me back to those moments and just for a split second I’m transformed to that time in history when I too had a heart that sung and burst with love for my kiddos as they performed.

The World as I see it as I Welcome 2017 and Say Good-bye to 2016

As our family wraps up 2016 and moves into the new year it would not be complete if we didn't take a moment to thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers, cards, emails, texts and most of all your love towards us. This community that God has given us has truly been a life line for us.  Losing Evan has been one of the hardest things our family has experienced and we want you to know that you have been a great source of light and hope for us. 

During the holidays we tried to create new memories while clinging to old traditions as we have faced many firsts already without our son and brother. It was difficult to not have Evan with us during this time of year as it has always been a time that we have gathered to celebrate. Although we tried hard to enjoy the company of family and friends something of course was missing and that something was Evan. Oddly for me when fun was involved and I was in the throughs of laugher or singing loudly or dancing to awesome 70's hits.....a sadness invaded me and tears would begin to fall. I felt a touch of guilt that Evan would not be here on this earth laughing, singing loudly and dancing and that brought sadness to me.

Many will say...he is dancing in heaven...yes I know and maybe in the future when I have wrestled with my feelings of loss maybe I will have the strength to look death in the face and not cry foul....but the reality is he is not here and heaven although real....is abstract to me and selfishly, I want to have him here......to hear his laughter...listen to him sing loudly and dance. The struggle is real for me as when I write this what does it say about my faith...what does it say about my heart....This is just my world and honestly, I just told my family last night...I get inside my head when this happens and it just isn't good......all this while tears are streaming down my face.....I'm glad that God is big enough for these things that I ponder and that he has provided me with a husband and son that are trying their best to love me while their hearts are breaking too.

As I move into this New Year somewhat reluctantly I would like to extent to you all the hope and joy that the New Year brings. We pray that you live each moment of each day with love in your heart. Enjoy those you love....As for me I am expectant to what the Lord is showing and teaching me in this season...I know that I am looking to be more intentional in 2017. Making every moment count....

".....Cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder".  

                                                               Romans 12:12 MSG

Our last family photo taken in Napa for my birthday. 

Our last family photo taken in Napa for my birthday. 

Snapshots from the first week of January 2017

God is in the every day.....be present.

I have been out sorts since about the third of November. As I look back over the last 45 days I'm trying hard to remember some of the everyday things that I stopped and photographed. On the 4th of November 2016 my life and the life of my family was changed forever. At 3:22am we were woken up to the sound of brisk knocking at our front door. When I looked through the shutters I saw two officers and realized that this could not be good news. Unfortunately it was not.....they told me that Evan had been in an accident and they needed us to come to Kaiser hospital. I woke up my husband and my son and we made our way to the hospital. I honestly don't remember much but some of the things I do remember is waiting what seemed like a life time before we saw Evan. I remember the strength with a bit of apprehension that my husband and my son displayed that day and through out our time in the hospital....and I remember how quiet it was...on the drive over...in the waiting room as we waited to see Evan. It was almost as if the Lord was putting a blanket over us....a tangible protection so to speak....so that we did not get to far ahead of ourselves. Anybody that knows me knows that (in my mind) I can go to places no one has gone before but on this day I was under the protection of the Lord who knows and sees all that is going on and I had great Hope about what was before us. Now....does that mean I was not scared...no I was totally scared. Was I not worried...OF COURSE I was worried but what I'm saying is even in the midst of being scared and worried....there was calm....quiet....a presence that only God can bring....from the moment I was woken up by the knock at the door and that has remained with me even now. 

The following moments...hours...days...weeks and now one month from Evan's passing have been a blur. So much love has been poured out on us from all over the planet. We have gotten over 300+ cards, along with emails, Facebook messages, meals, flowers...lots of flowers, more meals, hugs, words of encouragement and the list is endless as to the gifts and love that have poured our way. Really to say thank you seems so small for what has been given to us. I don't want to give this illusion that everyday has been rainbows and unicorns. It is not...I have lived in this community for over 27 years and there isn't one place that doesn't remind me of Evan....I cry frequently in public and in private.....but in that I also feel that presence that came to me that first moment when the knocking came at the front door. I hope in weeks to come to chat more about this journey as I've tried to express some of the things I believe the Lord has placed on my heart regarding loss, relationships, investing in people, and walking out our faith in the midst of great loss and tragedy. I hope to take what God shows me through the every day and move it out so that we can pondering together the beauty that surrounds us. I also want to take some of my son's writings and pair them with my photography to create a beautiful blending of two creatives using what has be placed in us to shine a light and send a smile.

To all of you who have walked with us....We love you. You're our tribe and you will never know what a blessing you have been to us. To those of you who know Evan I ask you to not forget. You carry a small piece of him with you and whether he would admit it or not that piece...that love...was Jesus. Love Well...Care often....Don't be afraid to be a zookeeper.