I have had this blog post written for over a month but as October 14 approached, I started dealing with a roller coaster of emotions and decided to step back from anything that caused me extra stress. Making sure this blog post expressed my feelings perfectly was adding to my anxiety and I needed to take a break. After a couple of weeks, I decided to come back to it because I feel like the message is important and I know that God wants me to share my heart honestly.
On October 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm, I sent my last text that would be received by my oldest son Derek. I sent a text to him that said “I love you” before I went to bed that night. He replied at 11:04 pm with “love you too”. I had no idea when I went to bed that night that it would be the last night of my life that I would fall asleep with the peace of knowing that all four of my children were walking the Earth with me. At 7:30 am on Friday, October 14, 2016, I sent a “good morning” text to Derek and didn’t get a reply. While I was sleeping, my precious oldest son’s life was taken.
I have dreaded the one year anniversary of Derek going to Heaven since the beginning of this nightmare. I’ve spent the past year just going through the motions of life to keep from falling apart. I looked at the first anniversary as milestone on this journey that I will be on for the rest of my life. I have often questioned if I’d be able to survive it, it has seemed impossible on some days. I don’t know what I expected to feel when I got to this date, I just hoped it would be better. So here I am still living one year after my oldest son left us. I can tell you that it still hurts terribly, it’s just not as shocking and raw as it was a year ago. I am learning to carry the pain and grief, I hear from other bereaved Moms that it softens over time. I just miss him so so much. I am a different person now and the things things that I once thought were important have changed. I no longer care about the kind of grades Derek made in school, if he managed his money and affairs the way I taught him, or the foolish mistakes he made. Yes, all of that is important but in an instant it meant nothing.
For me, two questions immediately consumed my thoughts when I got the call about Derek. The first was, “will I see him again?” I do have hope that I will see him again when I get to Heaven. Derek and I had many conversations about his decision to have a relationship with Jesus. Was he perfect after that day, no. Did he struggle with temptations, yes. Did he struggle with his faith at times, yes. Do I believe that his home for eternity was secured the day he prayed for his sins to be forgiven and asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life, absolutely. The second question that instantly consumed my heart and thoughts when I found out about Derek’s death was this, “did he know how much I love him?” I have thought about this every day since and it’s heartbreaking not to have one last chance to tell your child these things. … do you know how much I love you…. I am sorry for making a big deal about something so insignificant… I am sorry if I made you feel like I was disappointed…I am so proud of you and I love you no matter what. Although the last text he received from me said ” I love you”, I have questioned if he really knew how much. I didn’t get the chance to make sure that Derek really knew how much I love him and I have no choice but to trust that he did. One of the most important lessons that losing Derek has taught me is to never miss an opportunity to let my three children that are still here know how much I love them. In the end, Love really is all that matters.
Lord, thank you for giving me the strength to make it through the first year without our sweet Derek. Help me in this next year to focus on loving others the way you love me, especially my three children that are still here. Help me to focus on what matters most, their home for eternity and showing them how much they are loved.
And now these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13