Every day there’s something that reminds me of you, the boy who I was blessed to have for eighteen years. Christiano – Mothering you was an adventure in every way, loving you the greatest pleasure. The last three plus years have been so very hard. I just never imagined having to live without you for this long. I was sure I’d go before you and that you’d do so many great and mighty things here on earth. Sometimes I see the shadow of a baby boy reaching his arms up to you calling you ‘Dada’ and others times a little boy, lanky and tall, running behind you calling out ‘Dad, watch this.’ I saw so much for you, and all of it has just become a darkened image that has the word ‘VOID’ written right through it… it almost seems like it would have been easier if the future just stopped, but, you see, it didn’t… the future is happening. It’s here like a cold, hard, slap of reality – right across my face. Your birthdays all came, but you weren’t here for us to celebrate. Holidays, family days, me getting my bachelors, your two brothers getting braces, your sisters senior year of high school, final exams, your sophomore year all the way up to senior year, they all came and went. All of your friends are graduating college, and you’re not. They’re all making plans and accepting jobs and some are even getting married, heck some of them already are married with children of their own… when I look a little Annaleigh, I just can’t help but think about how much you would have loved her. When I look at Brady and JJ, I’m sad to think they’ll never hear your laugh or touch your sweet, stubbly, beautiful face. Life is moving so fast without you, and I’m really struggling with that. These past few weeks, I’ve missed you so terribly. The joy I feel for all of your peers throwing their caps doesn’t come without the most painstaking void deep within this place in my heart that’s still yours and yours alone.
It’s a physical pain so similar to the one I felt when you first left. I feel like a desert in serious drought, in both the physical and emotional sense. How can I accept that you will not walk that stage? How can it be that, you, the most loving and nurturing man will never have a wife to give that love to or a child to nurture in the most selfless way? It’s not fair. I want you in that cap and gown… I want your sister to take a prom picture with her big brother who always thought the world of her. I want you physically present at her graduation as much as I want you physically present at yours. I don’t want to take even one more family picture without you. It’s so hard to describe what I’m feeling this month… as Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t seem to escape the deep and constant hurt I’m experiencing. As we go forward into what God has for us, I know you’re cheering us on, but, honestly, it just doesn’t feel like enough. I want a hug. I want to be able to thank you for seeing in me and Dad what we couldn’t always see… you were constantly so full of grace for both of us, and – even though I feel like I failed you so many times – you never ever let me believe I was a failure. You were my firstborn, so you endured most of my trial and errors, but, somehow, you saw me in this beautiful light. I miss being there, in your light and in your love. But, mostly, I just miss you. I miss everything about you – EVERYTHING. Your worst habits have become some of my most desperate longings. I want you here. I want to see you do something goofy as you walk the stage at Bryant. I want you to tell me you’re not sure if you’re actually going to use the degree you just went to school for. I want you to tell me that you met a girl and you want to get married right away… because these are the things I could picture you saying and doing…
But, the reality is I’ll never know… I’ll never know you as a 22, 27, 35, 43, or 50 year old man… I’ll never get to watch you walk across that stage or walk down that aisle… and it’s really harder than anyone could ever know. It’s harder than I ever want to admit.
To Christiano’s friends… I love each of you. Thank you for the continued love and support over the years, and, especially, this month. He really knew how to pick ’em. Please know that I’m proud of each of you and know Christiano is, too… I remember back to the end of high school and college acceptance letters were rolling in… he would tell me about each of your acceptances because he was so very proud. What a friend he was, huh? And, what friends he has in all of you. Praying for the Lord to bless you on this next season of life… beyond what you could imagine. Xoxo