This week snuck up on me like a predator and there has been no escape. I have been so focused on the one year anniversary of your death at the end of this month and the trip to Fort Carson for the Memorial Day ceremony, I hadn’t thought about Mother’s Day. I didn’t even consider that this would be the first one without a call from you. After years of homemade cards, you planting flowers for me in the rock garden, offering to make me breakfast or dinner, I am alone and son-less. I have never spent a Mother’s day without at least hearing your voice. How could I not have anticipated the pain your absence would bring?

I want to be brave. I want to be strong. I want to smile when I think of you. Yesterday, one of your Army buddies put together a video containing footage I had never seen before. He posted it on facebook without sending it to us first. Suddenly, there it was and it took my breath away. There you were moving and smiling and full of life, and my heart broke all over again. Jake, I wish I could be as brave as you were. I want to live the rest of my life and find joy. It has to be somewhere, but because there is opposition in all things, my pain is great because my love for you is great. I don’t think I will ever be the same again, and sometimes I feel like I’m watching life go on around me and not actually participating. Sometimes I fraudulently participate and pretend that I’m enjoying myself, but the hole in my heart and the rock in my stomach are always present.

One thing I know for sure is that God is aware of me and He sometimes sends angels. Tonight, your best friend texted me to see if he could drive to Iowa to see me for Mother’s Day. I literally sobbed, and I’m sure you smiled. You always had such great friends, and even in your absence, they are here to step in because of the love they have for you. They know how much you love me, so they love me too.

I had lunch with two Gold Star Mothers today. One lost her son 5 years ago and the other 10 years ago (both from roadside IEDs). I appreciate the time I have with them. Even if we don’t talk about our boys and our pain, there is a silent comfort that comes with being together. We hear of casualties from training accidents and still others from over-seas, and with each story comes the reality and heartbreak that another family has to endure what we do daily. That arrangements have to be made, and that the heartache and the longing to have you back will become a daily norm.

I miss you every single day, Jake. I wish things were different, but they can’t be. I will keep trying to endure what has been given to me, and to remember that you are without pain. I would double my pain to ensure that you never had to feel heartache and sorrow again. This thought helps me with perspective and allows me to have peace in knowing that you are happy and without the trials of this life.

I love you, my boy. Forever and ever.