I feel like I should have some deeply profound words for today, but the reality is I just feel empty.

It has been 9 months. 9 months ago at this time I was preparing to go to a performance of the Nutcracker with my girl and some friends. I sat in the auditorium blissfully unaware of the news that would be delivered to us a few short hours later. Unaware that by then my son was already gone. It is hard to remember those first few days and weeks. Honestly most of the month of January is a blur too. Grief does that to you I suppose.

3 weeks ago our dishwasher broke {again}. It is a new machine, less than 2 years old and it has broken twice now in the span of 6 months. When Dominic called for service with our warranty company he asked when they repaired it last and it was March. I know we had to wait a long time to get it fixed the first time too. 3 weeks for service to come, then 4 more weeks for a part. I know hand washing dishes is a “first world” problem. But for a family who runs the dishwasher almost once a day, we now wash a lot of dishes in a day.

I realized a few days ago that I have no memory of 7 weeks of washing dishes back in Feb/March. None. I mean logically I know it happened, but I don’t have any memory of it. I wonder how much more I have forgotten in the last 9 months as we have tried to survive this painful path?

Today is the first in what has been a number of “milestones” I have been dreading. (His birthday, Thanksgiving, 1st anniversary and Christmas are quickly approaching…)

9 months seemed extra significant. Maybe it is because for 9 months I carried Isaac. While Dominic could feel his kicks every once and awhile, I felt every single movement. He was my treasure from the moment I found out he was going to be ours.

It was terrifying finding out I was pregnant, in college, out of marriage. I knew this wasn’t the “plan” everyone had for me, for us. But we were determined to do our best as parents. I know that we made a multitude of mistakes, but we loved Isaac so much. And for 7 years, before Gabe came along, he was our only child. We lived a lot of life us and our boy. And it will never feel right that we don’t get to live out the remainder of our lives with him here.

About a month ago my extended family got together to celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. While we were together we hired a photographer and had her take some photos of all of us together. It felt wrong that Isaac couldn’t and wouldn’t be a part of that day. Sarah, the photographer had some ideas on how we could incorporate Isaac into some of the pictures. They are painfully beautiful. It isn’t how it should be. My youngest son holding a picture of his older brother. I am grateful to have the pictures and yet so very sad at the same time.

I am learning that may be a picture of the rest of my life.

I know it probably makes some people uncomfortable. Grief is a difficult thing to walk through. I have more compassion for another person who has lost someone they loved than I ever have before because I understand loss in a way many do not. I also recognize that for {most} people life goes on, Isaac’s loss isn’t at the top of mind for most like it is for me. While that grieves me (only because I feel like the world is forgetting him even if that isn’t true) I also understand it.

I am always so grateful for those that do reach out to me, share stories and memories. For everyone that has continued to pray for us, I know the prayers are heard and felt. I am blessed with some very beautiful women in my life that allow me to be “real” even when it includes the hard and ugly stuff of grief. So while I haven’t always enjoyed walking this path, I haven’t ever done it alone. For that I am grateful.

I just finished a book called Fear Gone Wild by Kayla Stoecklein. It is an incredible book and one that I would recommend to everyone. If you even want to have more compassion for someone who is struggling with mental health issues you should read this book. One part in particular stuck out a few days ago and I wanted to share it. It is where I find myself. It is the reason that I continue to try and share my life and my struggles here…

“When I have exhausted myself with the why, I sit in surrender, releasing the why back to him and acknowledging, “There’s nothing I can do.” I’m sure most of us wish the hard, terrible thing would just go away and God wouldn’t ask so much of us. If we could write the script of our lives, we would skip past the ugly and uncomfortable and fast-forward to the good, the happy, the easy. But there is something sacred about showing up to fight for our story. It’s in the fight that God stitches our one broken heart back together with new strength, new power, new peace. In every unseen moment he is carefully guiding the needle and the thread. And with each slow stitch we discover a hidden truth: healing is hard and holy; beautiful and painful, all at the same time.”

This past 9 months has been just that. Hard and holy, beautiful and painful. And God’s work isn’t finished yet….I don’t feel like I have made it through. But I will continue to give my heart and my life to Him and trust He is working all things for His good and His glory.

Isaac, I miss you so much it hurts.

Photography Credit: Photography by Sarah Jean