Jake, I don’t know what to do! Your Brigade is reorganizing and has invited the families of it’s fallen to be a part of it, along with ceremonies, tours of the base… I just got back from Colorado and I already have a trip planned to go visit Aunt Laura that same week and I can’t change the tickets. I just can’t get over the feeling that I’m letting you down. After 22 years of doing anything I could for you, I suddenly can’t do anything and it breaks my heart. How do I know if this is important to you? How do I decide if I should change my plans and attend? Why can’t I just call you and ask how important this is to you? Jake! I miss talking to you. I miss be able to pick up the phone and ask a simple question.

I’ve talked to two other Gold Star Moms and they both said that they’ve learned that we just can’t attend everything. There is so much to honor you and that makes me happy, but are you aware of this? Does it matter to you or have you moved on to bigger and better things? I feel guilt because I’ve already missed so much because I don’t live in Colorado anymore. It seems so much guilt comes with motherhood and I should probably just stop it!

Reminders of you are still everywhere. In fact, I might be more aware of them than I was in the past. When I was in the Denver airport, waiting to board, I watched a young dad sitting on the floor with his toddler son looking out the window at the airplanes. The little boy was so excited that the dad couldn’t get him to eat his dinner. I watched them and dreamed of what a great dad you would have been. I could see the sweetness in their relationship and felt the pain, knowing I’ll never get to see you experience that.

There’s a deli that Ray and I like to go to and every time we’re there we seem to be sitting near a mother and a son having dinner together. Not the same mother and son, but there is always a mom enjoying a meal with her boy. This brings back so many sweet memories with you. From when you were little and we would drop Hannah off at kindergarten and go out to breakfast, to eating dinner at the mall while holiday shopping. I am so grateful for these memories and so happy that we had such a good relationship. We shared so much and I need to remember everything I can. It’s just hard to accept that we will never again make any new memories in this life.

Yesterday, I was in the grocery store and holiday music was playing. It’s not even Thanksgiving and the Christmas music is upon us. I saw those chocolate oranges that are your favorite. Remember when I would buy them up after Christmas when they were on sale and randomly give them to you during the spring? It always surprised you so much. I love nothing more than to see the joy on your face from such simple things. Jake, you loved life so much and I miss that kind of excitement enthusiasm that so few of us have. You’re the only one I’ve ever been able to thrill so easily, and you’re the only one in my life who could make me laugh even when things were difficult. I wish you were here now to comfort me with your humor, enthusiasm and silliness. I lost that part of me when I lost you, but I will keep trying to get some of it back.