Secondary Losses

Drove by his high school today. It wasn’t the first time. Not even close. I pass by it at lease once a week, but today was different – today it hit me hard. A memory came flooding back to me, and it was completely unexpected. It brought me back to his senior year. It was a cold day in December, and I received a text from a friend letting me know that East Providence High School has been placed on lock down because of a gun scare. I was at work when I received the text, and immediately asked my co-workers to pray. I tried calling Christiano, but couldn’t get through. I tried texting, but there was no response. I even tried the school, but to no avail. 

After about twenty minutes of waiting for a response, I decided to go to the school and see what was going on. When I pulled up the whole outside of the building was swarming with police, reporters and parents. I asked around and parents confirmed that they has heard the same thing. The police allowed parents to go to the front of the building and wait in line to get to the main office, where we could dismiss our children. No one was sure of the whole story, but a couple of the moms that were in line had heard from their kids. They seemed to be shaken up, but unharmed. I waited for about an hour to get my son, but it felt like an eternity. I gave him the biggest hug then asked what had happened. He wasn’t even sure, himself. He was in class in another part of the high school when a voice came over the loudspeaker telling them to remain in their classrooms and not to leave. He said he really wasn’t nervous until they had the students lay down on the floor. But, even then he wasn’t too scared to fall asleep while waiting it out. Typical Christiano. 
Being brought back to that day made me so sad because I won’t ever get to have that role in his life again. I want to be his rescuer, his comforter, his protecter, his aide; I want to be his mother. Will I get to be in Heaven? Will I ever get to do those motherly things for him again? So much of who we are as mothers comes out in the care taking of our children. We thrive on loving and nurturing our children – even when they are grown ups. As hard as it is to let go of Christiano; it’s almost equally hard to let go of my role in his life. I know God is way better at all of it than I am, but I want to be the one. 
I’ve been learning a lot about the secondary losses we experience after the loss of a loved one, and I have suffered many. The loss of his future, the loss of the family comedian, the loss of a bond so precious, the loss of our future family plans, and for his – his wife, his children, his first home. The loss of security in the God I’ve known all these years, the loss of faith that once seemed so strong, the loss of future plans, and much much more. 
Some of those losses are reversible and can be regained. But,  the one I cannot ever get back in this life, and perhaps the most difficult, is the loss of me. So much of me was established through mothering Christiano. And, I’ll never get to be her again. How I long for my son, and how I long to be his mommy. ‘You’ll always be his mother,’ you say. In title, yes – I suppose that is true. But, I’ve really been into titles. Never again will I get be his mother in deed. And, that’s a loss I can hardly bear. 

To Walk Where My Son Has Walked

I grasp at anything; anything that will connect me with my boy – even if only for a moment. To walk where he walked, to touch where he touched, to see what he saw, to feel what he felt. Yesterday, I was privileged to do all of those things. We went ice skating with Christiano’s friends, at the Bank Of America City Center Rink. A friend of ours put the event together in honor of Christiano. There were at least forty-two people that came out. I was blessed and a little blown away. It was special just to be there, since that was the first and only rink that Christiano ever skated on. Thankfully, we have his first time captured on video. His experience was pretty messy. He held lots of hands and had quite a few falls, and I got to watch my daughter have almost the same experience. She held lots of hands, but there were no falls for her. My two little guys, on the other hand, had plenty. It was so wonderful to stand with our loved ones where Christiano once stood.

As I looked around and saw all the laughter and fun going on, I was reminded of the great life Christiano lived. I will probably never understand why it was cut so short, but in those short eighteen years – Christiano lived. He lived, and he also loved. 
Lately, that is all I want to do; I want to live fully and love wholly. I’ve always loved people, but now I can’t seem to get enough of them. I have had to put myself out there and talk with a lot of people; some that I have never met before or still barely know. And, it is all to talk about this boy that I so intimately love. It is a love that is sacred to me, so, at times,  I am tempted to keep it all for myself and fasten a ‘No Trespassing’ sign to my heart. But, again – I love people and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know my son through other sets of eyes. I’m drawn to anyone who knows him, but  especially those who love him; who spent time with him and invested in him. I enjoy talking to his friends mostly; the ones who hung out with him. They always have something awesome to say, and I get to catch a glimpse of their relationship with Christiano.  It is as if I’m gaining a new piece of some puzzle or the missing page in the story has been found. Fortunately, there were many friends from all different places that came out yesterday. Some were family, some were friends from church, some came from our neighborhood, some he went to high school with, and some were his roommates at college. For me, just another reminder of how many lives Christiano touched. Everyone had a great time, for it was a beautiful day in every way. Lots of laughter, shouts of joy, and conversations overheard; and even more funny sights to see. Towards the end of our time, I asked (or flagged down, maybe) a stranger to take our picture, and we got a beautiful group photo of the event. I’m so grateful for that. When you are photographing a group that large, there are no guarantees that a stranger is going to put all that much effort into taking it, but she did great! She snapped many photos, and all were decent. As I looked through them right then and there, I got all choked up. I’m still in awe that these young people care so much – about Christiano and about us.

After the photo, some people started getting ready to head out. I took that opportunity to talk with some of Christiano’s college roommates. I had only seen them briefly throughout the services. Although, we did our best to converse, we didn’t get to talk with them as much as I would have liked. Ed, the young man who shared a room with Christiano in their eight person suite, has kept in touch with me via Facebook. He’s a great kid, and he misses Christiano a lot. They are all such wonderful boys, and since it could not be us, I’m glad that they are the ones that Christiano spent his last two months of his life with. Steven, another of the suite mates, shared some common interests of he and Christiano. They met at orientation and purposely selected each other to be roomies. They both swam, both have a younger brother, and are both extremely tall. Steven shared with me about the time Christiano had joined him and a couple of roommates to go see ‘Gravity’ at the IMAX in Providence Place. He explained to me what an incredible movie it was, and for a second it brought me back to when Christiano shared his same thoughts on the film.  But, it was what he said after that melted my heart. He told me that when they were leaving the theater, Christiano said, ‘Hey, we should stop by my house. My mom will probably bake us cookies.’ That touched me in an immense way. My son knew where he stood with me. He knew that I loved him and that I would drop everything and bake him and his friends some cookies. He knew ME. 

Every time a little something like this happens, the connection that he and I share is reestablished in my heart. It wipes away the fear of forgetting and the pain of regret. It is as if they are all key witnesses who have been sent to offer insight. They provide testimony of certain aspects of Christiano’s life that I never would have known, had they not come forward. I will keep expecting these encouraging confirmations to come to me, and I will continue to seize every opportunity to walk where he walked, to see what he saw, to touch what he touched, and to know what he knew. And he knew; he knew his momma loved him enough to preheat the oven on at midnight, to get the mixer out, to measure out ingredients – and to welcome him with open arms anytime and every time. And, on that sweet day, when we are reunited he will be the one to welcome me. He will be the one who has touched, tasted and seen God in all of His divine glory, and once again, I will be walking where he walked before me. But, until that day, he surrounds me and roots for me with all of the other great witnesses that have gone home before us. 

 Hebrews 12:1, says:

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…’ 

Thank you to all of those who came out yesterday! We love and appreciate you., all. 

Who Is Controlling Your Perspective?

God has been challenging me to keep my perspective open; to keep my mind, ears and eyes open to the things that He has for me. Having all of my senses open and ready for what God has to say about things is vital for my healing, restoration and growth. Allowing God to control our perspective helps all of us, really. It can help us from getting into an ‘I’ve arrived’ rut or from thinking we know it all. Thinking we have all the answers or that we have it all figured out can be a dangerous place, and, sadly, too many of us reside there. I admit – I’ve visited from time to time; lots of us do, but some never leave. This may be why we rarely hear ‘I’m not sure about this,’ or ‘I may have been wrong about that,’ or ‘I’ve gained new perspective on this issue, so let me go back on what I said before.’ Instead, we sometimes let our human revelation continue to be our guide.

We can all admit that there are certain things we think we have figured out; that we could have found the key to unlocking the unsolved mystery. And, some of us very well may have. But, sometimes our own truths become the principles by which we live our lives. Give and we will receive, Love is all we need, our faith makes us whole, etc. All truths out of the Word of God, right? So, what happens when they don’t work the way we think they should? Like, when we give and never receive enough? Or, we love with our whole hearts, only to be mistreated or neglected by the person we are loving. What about when our faith doesn’t produce the results we were hoping for? Do we then try to make sense of it? Do we try and bring God down to a level we can understand? Or, worse, do we walk away from God because it didn’t go our way? 
I’ve heard some preachers say that if you’re doing all the things you should be doing, but you’re not getting the results – something is off in your heart – that you don’t have the right kind of faith. I’ve heard others say it must be the enemy; after all, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Some say, we live in a fallen world, one that God doesn’t have control over, and bad things just happen. Those can all make sense to the natural senses, and they can sometimes make us feel better. Getting an answer to our question always feels better. In the end, when we suffer, our mind boils it down to these possibilities: either we failed and missed it, the enemy invaded our lives and he’s after us, or accidents just occur and sometimes bad things happen to good people. 
But, what if we are wrong? What if all of those are just human ideas we have come up with to feel better. What if the ‘why’ hasn’t even been revealed to us yet, and we are looking to our natural senses to provide our perspective? What if we don’t know all that we think we know about suffering? Would we be willing to acknowledge this? That maybe, the answers to certain questions can only be understood by our spirit man; that we have limited ourselves to our own physical means and capabilities?
When bad things happen to those of us who know our covenant with this, wonderful and amazing, God, it hurts. I am hurt. The pain that comes with the loss of a child reaches beyond anything I could express in the natural, so I can’t use my physical means to communicate it. God is the only one who can know my suffering because it reaches deep down into the unidentified places within me – the ones that I never knew existed. The pain is all over me – physically, mentally, emotionally,  and spiritually. But, by far, the most real and excruciating pain has taken place in the spiritual. Partly because I feel forsaken, partly because I don’t understand, but mostly because I felt that my covenant God didn’t honor my plea to keep my son alive. The good and loving God I’ve always known has allowed me to experience a trauma that is indescribable. And, the pain will never go away until I meet Him face to face. I never knew this kind of hurt before Christiano left us, and many still don’t. I had experienced pain and suffering before coming to know God, but never like this, and never after coming to know Him. This is the part of life that everyone wants to avoid and disregard because it reveals a side of God that many of us are uncomfortable with. It’s easier for us to pretend that suffering doesn’t exist and that God is not Sovereign. For some reason, when we come to Christ,  we create a false security for ourselves. We confuse the eternal security with a worldly security. We believe that when we enter a covenant with God, we are exempt to anything bad ever happening to us in this life. But, this is not our home nor our final destination. 
Do we think we are above the great men and woman in The Holy Bible; the ones who lost children, and spouses and siblings? What about the men and woman who have lost their very lives for the sake of the gospel? What about Jesus Christ himself? The One who was beaten and battered beyond comprehension for YOU and for ME? Not so our life on earth would be perfect, but to give us hope in an imperfect world – hope for eternal life with our Father. There was much purpose in Christ’s suffering, so how can we believe there isn’t purpose in ours? We can’t. 
There is a song that some of you might know. It is called ‘He Is With Us,’ by Love & The Outcome, and some of the lyrics go like this…
‘We believe there is purpose, there is meaning in everything
We surrender to His leading
He wants nothing more than to have us close
We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
Though it might hurt now
We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no…’
Paul talked about suffering and told us we would have tribulations, and so did Jesus Christ. He said,
‘These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’ 
Tribulation means:
great affliction, trial, or distress; suffering or,
 an experience that tests one’s endurance, patience, or faith. 
We all experience tribulation at some time in our lives – through loss, through sickness, through betrayal, and through the things that world throws at us. And, sometimes we are tempted to say, ‘My God, where are You in this? Why have you left me?’ 
We wonder why God doesn’t intervene and stop the horrible things that happen in our lives. We wonder why He doesn’t step in and cause us to overcome. This is when we have to remind ourselves that He has, and He does; that He overcame, and He overcomes. He has provided a way out, and He did it through His son. In the end, those of us who have decided to follow Him win, too, and we will be with our God forever. 
I’m seeing this world more temporary and fleeting than I ever have. My perspective of God and His Word has shifted realms. This natural world has nothing for me. I have more questions than I’ve ever had, but somehow my perspective has never been so clear. God is with me, and I am with Him. I have purposed myself to know Him more each and every day. He causes me to triumph through this life, and even though I’m hurting, He is near. Somehow, someway, He is causing all things to work together for my good, and I will spend eternity with Him. 

Love

Every year on Valentine’s Day, we lay out four boxes of chocolates. This year, there lay only three. What I would give to love on my eldest son today; to hold him and for him to hold me. 

Christiano was just over a week old on his first Valentine’s Day, and I remember being so in love for the very first time. I hear a lot of people say that newborns don’t have anything to offer us because they’re helpless; that the relationship is one sided for awhile. But, I never felt that way about Christiano. He brought me so much from the very start. He brought me warmth and light, he brought me purpose and promise, he brought me hope and love. Love with no limitations or conditions. Just love – in the purest form. I had never know this kind of love before becoming a mother. It is a love that causes me to protect at all costs and to nurture without boundaries; a love that has beckoned me over and over again to sacrifice anything and everything for my child; to lay my very life down if I could. Oh, how I wish I could do all of those things and more. How I wish I could have protected Christiano – to have laid my life down so that he could be the one standing here today. I would trade places with him in a heartbeat. But, you see, I cannot. I cannot because I am not capable, nor am I his Savior.

 As much as we long to protect our children and our loved ones from ever experiencing harm, we cannot. This world is a cold and dark place, and we are warned that we will have trouble in it.  But, take heart, there is One who has overcome this world – One who wins in the end. (John 16:33) And, He is the One who did stand in our place, by laying His life down for all of mankind. For you, for me, and for Christiano. His name is Jesus, and He ransomed His life to save ours; to give us eternal life; to bring us to a place with no more suffering, no more pain, no more fear, and no more tears. A place of perfect peace, where we can be with our Father forever. A place of perfect love that covers us and casts out fear. 
John 3:16-17 says, 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 
We long to express love to those who matter most to us, and we desire to be loved in return. We may even desire to receive love more that we long to give it out. Some may think that is selfish, but if you think about it, it is perfectly natural. The reason Christiano was my first love is because I received love from him right away. Pure and unconditional love, that had not yet been corrupted by the thoughts and attitudes that world gives. Only after receiving that love, could I fully give it to him in return. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before love gets corrupted by our own desires and lusts of the flesh. We all fall short of loving on our own. We can’t do it apart from God. So, it isn’t until we RECEIVE the true love that God has already offered to us by giving up His only Son, that we can give true love. That’s when we can experience and bask in the real and authentic love of God. And, who wouldn’t want authentic love? Especially on Valentine’s Day. 
I hope each one of you know how deeply loved and pursued you are by this loving God.  He will never fail you, He will never forget you, and He will never give up on you. He wants you to be His valentine above all others. Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. 

From One Father To Another

Dear God,
  I love you and believe in you. I want to do what you created me to do, but I don’t know how. I feel like I don’t know how to make the right decisions. I don’t feel like you hear me when I speak mostly because I can not hear you, see you, or touch you. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I can trust you. I gave you total control of Christiano. I prayed over him and released him to your care 10 days before he died. I want to trust you but I just don’t know. When people talk about stepping out in faith I get upset or I feel like it doesn’t work. I don’t want to think or feel this way, but I do. I don’t know what you have in store for my family. I want to trust you again. I want to know you more.  Lord you are sovereign and you are good. I do not know your plans for me but still in all this darkness and confusion, I must believe your word. And your word says that you know the plans you have for me and they are good, plans to prosper and not harm me. I do not know how losing my son in a tragic car accident could be good, but you do. Your word says our days are numbered; I used to believe that meant that our lives here on earth were short compared to eternity. Now I believe they are literally written in a book when we are conceived like so:
    Christiano Tré Barbosa 
  6,834 days 6 hrs. 11 mins.
At the very moment of conception your life is breathed into us, and at the very moment we accept your son as Lord and savior your breath of life, the real life, is breathed into us. I also want to believe that life really starts when we die and not just physical death but death of our will. As I write this letter to you I feel like you are saying to me right now, that christiano is not my son, but he is yours. That on that night I released him to you, he was yours to do as you please. Lord you know better than I, and you will somehow turn this for good. I don’t see it, I don’t know how, but you do. I want to have that trust with you again that everything will work out, that everything will be okay, that assurance that you are protecting my family. I desperately long for it! I desperately long for sweet peace! I desperately long for your comfort! 

These here are the cries of an earthly father being poured out to his Heavenly Father. My husband is an amazing man with a heart to provide for his family. He wants to keep us safe from harm, healed from sickness, and protected from all pain. He longs to have answers to our questions and a remedy for our suffering. So, he does all he knows to do – he turns to The Lord. For, He knows better than all of us. 

When Chris sent this to me, it reminded me of a psalm written by David, who was also a man after God’s own heart. I’ve read many books on grieving since our son passed away, and in almost every one there is a warning not to forget the fathers. I am truly grateful that this hasn’t happened to my husband. A few great men have reached out and come alongside him, and that blesses me so much. But, I’m even more grateful that I married a man who is real with his Father God; a man who knows where His true help comes from, and he is faithful to remind me regularly. 

My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2







He Is Still The Birthday Boy

I brace myself for each new day, especially the significant ones. Holidays, snow days, school vacation days, Sundays, and birthdays. I anticipate all of these days with great despair because each special day that passes reminds me of Christiano’s permanent residence and tells me again that he isn’t coming back here. On February 6th, Christiano would have been nineteen years old. It still seems surreal that he won’t turn another year older; that we won’t see his toothy grin while singing the Happy Birthday song; that he won’t blow out the candles on his cake; or, that we’ll never buy him another birthday gift – ever.

This year his birthday fell on a Thursday, and after getting through the Super Bowl without him, every day leading up to it was a challenge. Monday and Tuesday came with their own similar obstacles – mostly dread and sadness. Wednesday, was different, though. Wednesday, for the first time since Christiano was gone, I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of bed. The kids had a snow day, and those are usually the best days at our house. But, not this time. This snow day turned into a flop pretty fast. There had been two other days that started off like this; but I was able to make myself get up by noon. Not this time, though – this time I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to face what was coming next. I didn’t want to reach Thursday and wake up without my son here for his birthday. I couldn’t seem to get past thinking about it; thinking about the day and how it would be; thinking of past birthdays, thinking about Christiano and how little it took to put a smile on his face; thinking of my other children and how they would be. Thinking, thinking, and thinking some more. Thinking can take our mind to a whole lot of places it has never been before. It can create destinations that don’t exist and exit signs that lead us down a dark one-way path. Thinking can get us stuck in a ditch before we ever take one actual, physical step. Our thoughts can race like a horse and never stop if the reigns aren’t pulled. The mind can be one giant free for all that the enemy will have a field day with; a play-yard where no rules and restrictions apply. Imagine you are on a swing. Someone you love and trust is gently pushing you to reach a safe, secure and enjoyable level to swing and flow naturally. But, the higher you go – the farther you go – that hand – the one that was once your guide – it can no longer reach you. The force of gravity has taken over, and you’ve joined it by pumping your feet harder and faster. Now, you are up so high, that your level is dangerous, and you are tricked into thinking there is no way off – no way out. You can’t jump off because it is too high, and you are afraid. You convince yourself that you are stuck here. But, wait. All it takes is a decision to rest; to stop pumping your legs; to stop giving a foothold. Only then will you slow down. When you take a rest, you will fall back into the unforced rhythms of God’s grace – the place where He can help us. The place where we are safe in our thoughts. 
This is what Jesus spoke to the people in Matthew 11, and He is speaking to those of us in need of rest and comfort now…
 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
I decided that night at 7pm to stop racing and to take a real rest; to succumb to the unforced rhythms of God’s grace, again; to allow Him to empty my mind of all He didn’t place there. Then, I made a decision that was hard and uncomfortable. I chose to get up out of bed. I only had a few hours left of the day, but I chose to get up. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I still have life – that I still have breath – that I still have a part to play in God’s story. Will I accept the role? Or, will I pass? Only I can decide that. And, I accept – even if I have to decide over and over again – I accept. Amazingly, Christiano’s birthday was the best day I’ve had since he left this earth. It was a day that I could fully feel the peace of God that surpasses my human understanding, and it was a day that I could finally celebrate all that my boy has been to our family, but especially all he’s been to me. He is way too beautiful a young man not to be celebrated full-on supreme. And, we definitely celebrated. We all wore blue for Christiano, along with at least a hundred others. We wrote messages on balloons and sent them to Heaven. We went bowling and had dinner at one of his favorite places. We laughed, we smiled, we cried, and we reminisced. It was more ‘beautiful’ than we could have imagined. After all, he is still the birthday boy, and God is still faithful. He loves Christiano more than I could imagine, and He loves our family, too. Therefore, He always causes us to put our best foot forward and to triumph in all things. 
‘ Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.’ 
2 Corinthians 2:14

Merging Memories

I want Christiano to be remembered forever, not just the cliche ‘never forgotten.’ I want his memory to live on through those who were impacted by him. It is difficult watching people move forward with their lives. I know that we all have to go on; to move forward. Will I ever have the strength to do that? I cling to the promise that God is my strength through all of this. Strengthen me God, to do more than just pull through. Strengthen me to live a full and meaningful life, like my son did; to inspire; to speak Your Word, to write Your story, to believe in Your truth again. I want to. You’re the only truth I’ve ever believed, the only rock on which I’ve stood, the only anchor in whom I have been grounded, but I’m so shaken to the core. I feel like a leaf that has fallen from a tree, but hasn’t quite found its way to the ground. It knows that, inevitably it will end up there. It will hit the ground, and become one with it, never to be revived. But, what about my fall? Will I be revived? Will my spring ever come? Will new life come forth? Or, will I reside on the cold, hard, winter ground for the rest of my days? I want to get better. I want to be healed. I want to love like Christiano did, but I am so afraid. Love is scary and it hurts me now. This pain is so deep and makes me want to be removed from this reality. I just want a glimpse of my son; a last word with him. That’s what I’m looking for, but will it truly help? Does anything have the ability to satisfy my aching heart?

Lord, I know it is You alone who satisfies me. Lead me in Your truth. Lead me back to the safety and security I’ve ever only found in you. Shattered dreams that I once had for his future haunt me. How could I have seen a future that will not unfold? From the moment I laid eyes on my baby boy, I knew he was destined for greatness. I saw way beyond eighteen years in that moment. I saw at least a hundred.  They say that a mother forgets the pain of her labor once she catches a glimpse of her baby. I can testify to that truth. But, what do they say about a mother who loses her child? I say that all that pain is remembered again and again, and it can never be forgotten. My womb cries out for the child I bore when I was just a child, myself. I will have to wait until I reach heaven to be free from the barrenness that I feel every minute of every day. 
A wife who loses her husband is called a widower; a son or daughter who loses a parent is called an orphan. What are we called; us who have lost a child? Who shall we be called? There is no name, no term, no title. There is no word in the universe that could ever describe us. Barren, broken, empty, lost, confused, desolate… Those words don’t begin to scratch the surface of what is going on inside of us. It is like the joy of motherhood in reverse. Moments and memories replay over and over. Mothers like to think of the future and what could be. Grieving mothers are robbed of that privilege, and instead, we focus on what lies behind us. I am so afraid to forget anything because the future isn’t coming for Christiano. All I have left is the past. Everything is in rearranged; memories in reverse. How do I keep his memory alive if mine start to fade? Thoughts of him are already beginning to scatter. Firsts and lasts are becoming connected and memories are merging  – his first car ride, his last car ride; his first steps, his last steps; his first food, his last food; his first word, his last word; his first breath; his last breath. They go hand in hand. 
How can I think of his life without thinking about the hard fact that it’s finished down here. I should’ve been first. He should have been last. But, I was robbed as a mother. My husband robbed of his first born son; my children robbed of a brother. There is nothing natural about him leaving this earth before me, and there’s nothing natural about the process of living with it. But, I will lift my eyes up to The Lord, where my help comes from. He knows what it’s like to lose a son, and He bears with me through this; He stretches His hand to help me, and He is never frustrated with me. He loves me at all times in all my forms and conditions. Even though the world doesn’t have a name for me, God does.
He calls me His Beloved:  “My beloved is mine and I am his….” (Song of Songs 2:16)