Two years ago at this moment, Andy was at soccer practice. He had just been named a starter for the JV team for the high school that he was to start in 5 short days. The day prior to this, he had gotten his new uniform. We have pictures of him beaming in that uniform, the last we would ever take of him.
Two year ago at this moment, I was at home at the last second arranging to get Eric a ticket for the Whitecaps minor league baseball team. He was supposed to be working late on call, but the OR was unexpectedly slow that day. Peter was excited. Dad was going to get to go with us to the game. I had a few notes left to finish up from the day, but I knew that could wait until after the game. It was going to be such a fun night. My office had reserved a deck at the game. The boys were going to get unlimited food. Peter had skipped lunch so that he would have plenty of room for ballpark food.
Two hours from that moment, Andy’s life would be over and our whole world would be crushed. A driver, distracted by something that will never be admitted, slammed into our van and destroyed our family, affecting so many lives in the process.
These past two weeks have been incredibly challenging, worse than last year even. I think my head is more clear this year so I remember more details. I am so afraid of forgetting little memories about Andy that I have consciously gone back in time trying to remember exactly what happened every day of the last two weeks of his life.
The last Harbor Days and watching fireworks by boat. Soccer tryouts. Buying new running shoes. The first day of orientation. Making the soccer team. A last minute weekend up north visiting grandpa and grandma. Second week of orientation. School pictures in his school uniform. Being named a starter on the soccer team. Getting his uniform. Making new friends at school. Testing into Spanish 4. Getting his school schedule. Packing lunches for the homeless. Seemingly endless smiles. The car ride to the baseball game.
And then… nothing. There are no more memories after that one. No new memories of my precious boy. This week I asked friends and family members to send me some of their favorite memories of Andy. It is just so painful to not have had anything new for two years now.
Thank you to everyone who sent me a memory. I have had well over a dozen people reach out to share something with me. Some memories have made me smile and others have made me cry, but all have given me a new little insight about my boy and made me learn a little more about him when I thought I would never be able to learn something new again. Thank you all for that gift.
For those of you who grieve your own losses, ask people for the gift of memories. They are bringing me comfort on a day when little else can.
Our daughter, Ruth Christine was still-born August 14, 2018. Two years and no new memories, for Andy or Ruth. We grieve with you, and especially at this time of year. I have found this 2nd year anniversary surprisingly hard as well.
May the Prince of Peace give you peace and hope to get through the hard days.
My 25 yr old daughter, Madi, was found deceased last week in Austin , TX. She had made the decision to end her life. This, after suffering from mental illness, bipolar disorder, for the past 5 years since being diagnosed at the age of 20. Until the age of 20, she was a shooting star. She was a brilliant artist winning awards in every contest (including her freshman year in college), she was a black belt in Taekwondo, and a world traveller having backpacked Europe at age 19. (Yes, this scared me but with her I had grown used to her never ending need to explore and discover). Now, she is gone. The past 5 years have been horrific in and of itself watching her implode with her illness and consequently her drug use to cope with her increasingly worse mood swings going from depression to mania and experiencing anxiety at every level of it. It seems so unreal that my daughter whom everyone knew she was going to be successful in whatever she endeavored, would struggle at maintaining a living space and a job. To understand, you have to know Madi was fiercely independent and too much for her own good. She insisted on living in Denver,CO where she knew few people and is 10 hours away from her entire support system. She returned home 4-5 times over the last few years but always ended up back in Denver because that’s where she wanted to be. Her Dad and I tried everything to support her and give her the tools to manage her illness. She would try medicine but never stayed on it for more that a few months and never truly stabilized. My prayer was that she would just make it through her impulsive 20’s to reach a point of understanding her illness and how to manage it to live the rest of her life. Sadly, that didn’t happen and she was done trying and suffering. The only peace I have now is knowing she is no longer suffering. She is with Jesus. She accepted Christ at the age of 10 and I believe she is with Jesus now. She is also with her sister Kelsy who passed away in 1995 at the age of 22 months from a genetic disease when Madi was just 5 months old.
Yes, I have grieved the loss of a child before at the age of 25, now 25 years later, I am grieving again at the age of 50 for my 25 year old daughter. This is fresh just having happened on September 26th. We had Madi’s funeral 3 days ago. I know from before that support groups are so important so I am searching that out. Speaking to others helped me before so I know it will again. Thank you for listening to my story. the podcast I listened to today helped me a lot. Thank you, Marcy, for the resources you have. I will be using them in the coming months. I know that part of my journey will be trying to bring more awareness about mental health to people. There is such a stigma. It truly is a disease that can kill just like cancer.
Thank you so much for sharing. Madi sounds like a truly amazing, young woman. I am so sorry that you have to live this pain again. My heart weeps for you.
Brenda, I am sending you a broken hearted mama bear hug. There are just no words, but I am truly sorry for your broken heart, and even sorrier that you have been here twice. Madi. Sounds pretty special! This is so so fresh for you. Don’t forget to breath and try not to think too far ahead of today!! This coming Thursday is the 1 year anniversary of my beautiful 25 year old sons death. Trying to remember to breath myself. XO