Once Upon A Time…..

Mother’s Day or shall I say weekend….it began with my oldest child, Andrea, taking me to lunch at the place of my choice and then to a movie. Because she was to spend Sunday with her in-laws and her husband and boys, she planned our Mother’s Day in advance. On the way home we picked up Brandon’s (step) daughter, who has never been regarded by any of us as a “step,” and then we went to the nursery where I was instructed to choose a plant/flower that I would like to have. It was such a pleasant time together. I learned that Andrea posted on her Facebook page a photo of us when she was two years old….Mommy and daughter Andrea…oh how young I used to be. Thank you, Andrea, for the lovely day together and your gifts of love to me. You are all the daughter a mother could hope for.

I was presented a tile by my middle child, Vanessa. On the tile were words she had written that went straight to my heart. mothers day brandon garden 067   I love reading what I have meant to her and hopefully my other children because I have tried my very best to be the mother I wish I could have had. I am certain I have failed in areas but my love has always been at the forefront of even my failures. Thank you, Nessa, for loving me. Thank you for posting the collage you created on your Facebook page, too.To Mom from Nessa

We spent the afternoon, my husband, daughter and two granddaughters, on the Harbor Walk and the most beautiful beaches in the world. Destin. 20150510_145625We; my husband and I, our children and our grandchildren, were all raised in this area of Florida. We have truly spent a lifetime in and around the water. Destin is a beautiful place dubbed the Emerald Coast because of the bright greens and turquoise blue waters. Sunday was picture perfect weather and already the beaches are filling up with tourists. Oh how I miss you Brandon. You would have loved this beautiful day. And you would love the new marina boardwalk. There is so much you have not seen…or maybe you have?

Here is the father of my children…..he and Brandon were navigating our pontoon once upon a time…..

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Six years ago marked my boycott of church sermons on Mother’s Day. Not because of my anger or disappointment in God. I have been struggling with that from time to time as anyone who has read my blog knows. But, the reason is it is so very painful and I do not want to cry through the whole service as I would most likely do. I don’t need to hear about the wonderful mothers in history who have been made icons by society as the “greatest mothers ever.” Because of many reasons but most importantly, the fact that my son’s death was ruled a suicide, I can no longer consider myself a wonderful mother. It just cannot be. I cannot shake the guilt that I missed something….that I caused something either by genes or failures….it is how my mind and heart have been affected. I am not the greatest mom. I don’t even come close even though I tried. Please pray for me that this will disappear.

Motherhood is a blessed gift. I never wanted to be anything else as much as I wanted to be a mom. It was easy to love a piece of my husband and me….three times. There were definitely growing pains along the way with each child. The teen years were the hardest. You truly feel the pain your children have to experience in this life. Of course, the joys are all organized in photo albums and videos…every football game, every band competition, every parade, every award ceremony, every graduation, EVERYTHING! Even the births of my grandchildren. Here are Natalie and Mariah as we lunched at the Mellow Mushroom in Destin. ATT_1431478665716_20150510_131322 We missed having the rest of the family with us.

And here is the son we tried for and had…. our baby boy, Brandon. 006

I miss you so very much, son. I reread your cards you have sent over the years…the last one frozen in time…your drawing of you and me. ……..Brandon Sweet boy 021…..096097…………There is a happy ending to this story but it has yet to be written.


  1. Dearest Dale, you outflow love. Full stop.

    And in the middle of such a loving post I read these words: “Because of many reasons but most importantly, the fact that my son’s death was ruled a suicide, I can no longer consider myself a wonderful mother.”
    Ouch a trillion times over ((hug))

    One thing I do know as a parent. The pain of nurturing a part of yourself, the joy of nurturing a part of yourself – of creating a new life – of all the highs and lows … all of that love is to simply release that loved life into the world. To free that creation to be its own.

    And that release is the seal of a great parent. Each time I read your words, I read the words of a wonderful mother. Your pain is not failure. Your pain is success. Let no one – even you – persuade you otherwise. Brandon lives in these posts, still a loved and loving part of your family. Still with a wonderful mother. A mother whose words connect with me. Words of a perfectly imperfect perfectly loving wonderful mother.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Dale.



    • Thank you, Paul. I am always inspired and encouraged by your words. Parenting pain is the worst kind of pain. Of course, you know this. Sometimes it is our own expectations that create that pain.

      Love and peace to you, in Christ.
      ~ Dale

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know how you feel , I cant go to church on mothers day and this one the 4th anniversary of Karina’s death and I lost my mother near that time. even tho a new grandson just born in my family it was still a very painful day. I truly love Destin. Haven’t been in years but used to go all the time. hope to again some time


    • I am thinking of you and your sweet Karina today. I know it has been hard on you to have lost two very much loved people in your life. I do hope you can enjoy the new grandson in spite of the overcast cloud of loss. Sending love and hugs to give you peace. ~ Dale


  3. Dale, your Mother’s Day sounds wonderful. And I believe you are a terrific Mom that tried/tries her best. Those smiles on everyone’s faces…speak volumes!

    It was a momentary-although tragic-fragment of time in which passion over-rode clear thinking (which applies to both possibilities of shooter identity). I don’t think it necessarily reflects on the mother’s quality of mothering, when tragic events unfold. Look at Mary-Mother of Jesus. Or the mothers of martyrs. You did not know the future, having no crystal ball. You thought confidently about Brandon-viewing him as an admiring mother does.

    In light of the fact that what EXACTLY happened that night is not clear, that’s all the more reason to “let yourself off the hook”. Brandon’s really not missing out on anything here-he’s in Paradise and happier than he ever could be on this mortal-misery planet. Only God makes this earth “bear-able”…and Brandon is fully united with Him now.

    I may have no right to advise this-having not experienced suicide-caused bereavement (if that’s even what it is..,) but please go easier on yourself-you know you would have died in Brandon’s place if that were possible. (And Jesus already did that for us!)

    I will be among those praying for you, yes.

    Love Always,


  4. Miss Donna, always leave it to you to put things into perspective. 🙂 You are right that we will never know the real truth of that night except that Brandon is not here. I think Satan plays with my mind when I am weepy and sad. I over think things in that weakened condition. I second guess. I am hardest on myself.

    You hit on the very thing that I always tell Jesus in my prayers when I put on the martyr mom hat and audaciously tell him that I would have died for Brandon…that I would have died in his place…then I hear that small voice say to me that that has already been done by Jesus. How dare I?

    Thank you for you ever loving kindness and prayers. I am wrapping you in those Brandon bear hugs. I know Michael and Lisa have sent heavenly hugs and kisses to their mommy and let’s not forget Tim. All of which made you a mom. xo


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