There are moments in your life that you will never forget. It's as if they are snapshots that are stored away in the attic of your mind. Your first kiss, prom, your wedding day, laughs with your best friend... The list is endless, and is different for everyone. The thing each moment has in common is that it elicited an extreme emotion. Excitement. Happiness. Thrill. Sadness. Grief... I think that's the toughest one. You remember the first moment, and even though the ones shortly thereafter are a blur, that first moment is a snapshot that will be stored for the rest of your life.
I had never experienced grief personally until this year. I've had grandparents pass, and stood by friends as they went through their grieving process, but I never really knew what it felt like. When someone dies that you're close to, it's a game changer. It's a life changer. When I left work on April 3rd, and called Aaron on my way home like I do every day, I don't think I could have prepared myself for what he was going to tell me. I don't think he could have told me any differently to make it less shocking, or hurt less. I remember that I was driving down Regents and was almost at the light when he said, "I have some bad news." I actually kind of joked with him, thinking that it was going to be something trivial. Then he said words that I was definitely not expecting, "Jacob is dead." Pause... "What!?!" "Jacob is dead." Oh. My. Goodness. He gave me the details he had. I drove home. I made a few calls to people that were expecting to see me that night. Then as a family, we grieved the first night. There were tears. Lots and lots of tears. There was a lot of praying, and more tears. I actually thought after the first night that I would go back to work the next day. Then, I woke up. Text after text saying the same thing. Each time we hit send, it was more real. And there were more tears. We met as a family the second day, and discussed what steps to take next. I have to say, that as a family, we really pulled together during this time of great sadness. I have been told that a death can really bring out the worst in people, but I would say it was the opposite for us. What it came down to was; we wanted to honor Jacob, and we wanted to share his salvation with others and the hope that we each have because of it. On Wednesday, April 18th with the support of so many family and friends, we did just that. Our pastor delivered a wonderful message, a friend of ours sang beautiful songs, and the Holy Spirit was definitely at work that day.
:: SIDEBAR :: I want to say, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" from the bottom of my heart to everyone that helped put on the service and reception that day. It was perfect. There were so many people from our church that made snacks, donated money toward refreshments, and said prayers for us that day that we never properly thanked. I bought a box of "Thank You" cards to send out, and as they sat on the counter staring at me, I thought it would make it too final if I wrote them out. So if you were someone that helped that day, and I never properly thanked you, I am so very sorry. Please know that it meant the world to not only us, but to our entire family. You each were truly the hands and feet of Jesus in our time of great sadness. :: SIDEBAR END ::
Now, five months have passed. We each go about our days in a fairly regular manner. But it's different. The new normal. We're still sad. I was praying out loud with Aaron, just a few days ago, asking God to strengthen us, and I started crying. I don't do that. I don't cry at random times. That's grief. I'm wondering when the thought, "You should be here for this." will stop, or if it ever will. We miss him. He would have turned 25 on Saturday. And even though 25 causes mini-quarter life crises, it's a rite of passage to your late 20's that I would have loved to celebrate with him. So... Good. Grief. I think that's what I'm going through. Grieving is different for everyone, and I feel so blessed to have people in my life that not only recognize that, but have taken the time to talk me through it. Not every day is a great day, but I hear that as time passes, and we continue to lean on the Lord, the not-so-good days will be farther and farther apart.