The Day my Life Changed Forever

motherhood-and-grief

Two years ago today, a six-year-old boy and his little sister walked into my home – sometime after 8:00 in the evening.

Two years ago my life changed forever. The little boy I eventually expected to adopt, based on his case and plan, was a tiny six-year-old. Always hungry – physically, spiritually, and emotionally – he filled my home with noise and joy.

Two years ago today, I became a mom to the smartest, sweetest, and strongest kid I’ve ever met. He was full of pure joy and unending energy.

Two years later, I think I’ve finally walked out of the haze.

My life was forever changed. I haven’t been the same. I won’t ever be the same. When he left, I had to put everything that was a reminder of him, away. His bedroom door remained shut for a long time. My landlords sold my house, so I eventually had to open the door and pack up that room. But it took a lot of work to get to that point.

Today, there’s a photo of him on my refrigerator. It was taken during a visit with Santa. He took the best photos. His smile just absolutely lit up every dark and quiet corner of my heart and home.

My dog adored him. She loved him far more than she loves me {seriously}. She still looks for him in our neighborhood. She always tries to follow the boys who are riding their bikes or playing basketball when we go on our walks. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that she moves their way with anticipation, hoping that every little black boy about his size, in the world around us, is her boy. I always say quietly, “It’s not him, Abby girl.” It’s a little joy now, that I can see what a life changing presence he was in my home. And then, after I speak the words aloud, we go on our way.

My mom loved him as if I’d given birth to him. She is a wonderful grandma. I am so grateful for her love and support and for the open way she loved and cared for him. He loved his Grandma Cindy, so much. So much. I’m not sure we would have made it through without her.

I honestly didn’t see what eventually happened, coming. Although now with the silent months since he’s gone, I see how it all was unfolding.

It hasn’t been all that long since he left. Not really. As painful and dark as those days were leading up to his departure and in these months afterward, the little reminders and the photo now on the refrigerator, don’t hurt in quite the same way.

There are still things I can’t think about. There are songs I don’t want to hear {like our favorite song}. I change the radio when it comes on. The little treasures he gave me are hard to wear {like the bracelet he made me at Boys & Girls Club}. I don’t know when or if I will be able to.

But two years later, I can see light again. I will miss him always. When he last sent me a message, I told him “I will love you forever and ever!” And I will. I pray for him. I pray that the weight of these hard years will not turn him into a bitter and angry young man. But that God’s mercy and grace would follow him all of his days. I pray that instead of what could happen, that God would use it to make him into the powerhouse, world changer I believe he is.

Two years later, I see what I would do differently.

Two years ago, I opened my heart and home. I wouldn’t change that.

Two years later, I see what I could have done. What I wish I’d done. But I don’t regret pouring my life into his – though it wasn’t forever.

Two years ago, I became a mom. It’s all I ever really wanted out of life. I still grieve. But, I see the light again.

“I have come to understand that grief is so much more than a response to just death. It is also a response to the severing of a relationship forever.” – Rachel Lewis

In August of 2019, after he left, I prayed desperately for a leave of absence from work. But couldn’t figure out how to make it work. I’d exhausted my leave being the single mother of a child with a very high number of appointments, school meetings, and other challenging issues. I tried to get time off {tried to “borrow” leave}, but it just didn’t quite work.

But, in a way that is so ridiculously God, I finally got the time I needed. Since January 11th, I’ve had a restful, beautiful break from work. I’ve had time. And here I am, two years later, still grieving – but joyful and grateful. My heart is different. And I am grateful.

Two years ago, my greatest gift, outside of God’s love and grace, walked into my home and life and I am forever changed.

jason-johnson-foster-care-quote

I’d still choose the pain of great loss for the tiniest bit of hope that he knew love, safety, acceptance, peace, and joy in my home.

Two years ago, on March 1st, I became a mom. March 1st was the day my life changed forever. I miss him every day. But I wouldn’t trade anything for the time he spent in my home. He is the best thing that ever happened to me.

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