It’s been eight years tonight at midnight when we received “that call” from our daughter telling us our son had died from a self-inflicted wound to the head. It was the most physical and emotional pain imaginable. Nothing can compare. I shudder at the memory. No longer in shock, we still sit here in disbelief that our son will not be calling us anymore. He will not be his silly awesome self that everyone loved. He can’t visit us anymore. He is gone from us and we feel that loss every single day. Some days are worse than others… like today.
Natalie, Brandon’s daughter, said to me while in tears yesterday, “He left an imprint on my heart and now it’s empty.” Natalie is going to be eighteen next month. She was nine when Brandon passed from this life into the arms of Jesus. A laughing, smiling, happy, child changed overnight into a sulking angry child who can’t understand this devastating loss. None of us can. He was ripped from all of us for whatever reason and we have to get on with life in the midst of this unending grief.
We have a strong faith in God and know that we are going to see Brandon again one day when we pass from this life into the next. It should be enough but in this flesh it is still the missing, the sorrow, the constant realization that someone is not here anymore, someone we love beyond description that keeps us longing for our child…Natalie’s father, our daughters’ brother, uncle…friend. I compare it to something like the thorn in the Apostle Paul’s side. We will have it with us always. The healing will come on the other side of here. We are humbled by our loss. Through our faith our weakness is made strong through Christ Jesus.
When we are open to His loving ways of comforting us, God does give us peace of heart. I think He is comforting us even when we don’t expect it. It is almost as indescribable as the suffering we have felt from our loss. I lack the adequate expression that conveys all of these emotions that ebb and flow during our life since Brandon’s passing. On some days I am able to endure and move through the day with emotional ease. On others, well, I stay focused on the past. I long for all that was my son. He was a “force of nature.” Truly, I have not made him the perfect child just because he has passed. No, but I remember all that was good, all that people loved in him; his humor, his compassion, kindness, strength, his creativity, determination, friendship, love, and spirituality. What a gift to all who knew him. We have been blessed to be his mother and father. This quote from William Wordsworth has been my motto since first I discovered it;
“I loved the boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me. Yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it.” William Wordsworth, 1812
We all live, love and lose…we know that both sorrow and happiness can co-exist within ourselves. It is the nature of our existence. God’s plan is so much more than we can know this side of Heaven.