Everywhere I go I see my beautiful boy. I see him in tow-haired little boys, mannerisms of others, in smiles and laughs. Although wonderful, every reminder creates a pain in my chest that radiates down my arms all the way to my fingertips and from my heart to my stomach. I’m going through the motions of making arrangements but I feel quite separate from these activities. I am here but I feel lost, I am surrounded but I feel alone, I understand but then I don’t. I have experienced 16 surgeries on my hands and wrists, one on my foot, tonsils out as an adult, and my stomach cut open having organs removed and others resuspended. I have experienced the chronic pain of four autoimmune disorders and failing adrenal glands for most of my adult life. I know pain and I have learned to live with it. I can smile through it and put it in the back of my mind attempting to live a normal life. But not this pain. This pain is much different. It is unpredictable and relentless. I feel broken at times and unable to go on, but I know that I must so I battle through it moment by moment, and hopefully someday I can battle through it day by day. Now is not that time.

I cannot comprehend that he’s gone from this life, from our lives. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. We bury our grandparents and one day our parents, but not our children. I had just spent almost 22 years raising and teaching him to be an adult, and now is the time to see the fruits of my labors. I need to continue watching him grow into the man I was beginning to see. I need to see him raise a family. I need to love his children and hopefully watch them grow to have children. His legacy needs to continue because he is such an exceptionally good human being. The world needs him to go about doing good and brining joy. I need to spend time with him. We had plans! But the Lord has made it clear that our plans are not His plans. Our needs are not His needs. He needed Jake and He took him. I feel no anger and I do not ask, “Why”? I know why. But faith cannot fill the emptiness inside and it does not take away the excruciating pain I feel in my chest, but I do hope it might at another time in this life, and certainly it will in the next. I will be with him again, but until then I am blessed with the ability to close my eyes and hear his voice, smell his smell and feel his embrace. Although it brings indescribable pain, I am compelled to remember everything I can. I never want to forget anything about my darling boy.