I was going through Brandon's baby book the other night and found a letter I'd written to him.
Brandon, God brought you to us at the exact moment you were needed. You were a life changing (and saving) present! Daddy and I have always been so much in love with you from the moment we laid eyes on you. I don't think there is a greater love than what a parent feels for a child and I hope one day you will experience the same kind of joy. No matter what kind of trials or struggles we go through in life, don't ever, ever forget how much I love and adore you. We are so much alike and I promise to do my best to steer you in the right direction in a loving manner. Believe me, I know what a challenge our personality type can be, but I also know that you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to, just put all that energy, determination and independent little nature to good use. God has been by you since before you were born and He will continue to guide you if you let him. Love always, Mommy
I'm so sad that he never got to see that letter, so sad that he didn't get the fullest life here that he could've had. It's heartbreaking to lose anyone, especially if they were living with you and it was unexpected. There are reminders EVERYWHERE, things that were left around the house and you find later, all the pieces that made up their life, a life that will no longer be lived here, a life that you're no longer sharing with them. Losing a child is infinitely more painful and difficult than anything experienced on this earth, I'm sure of it. The shock, regret, anger, immense grief I feel at him not being here to turn 20 and celebrate another year is something most people in my world cannot fathom or understand. I barely fathom or understand it myself. I'm still not sure I understand the permanence of him being gone. The thawing of the shock is definitely happening, but it's hard to grasp a lifetime of living without your child. I keep hearing that the second year is the worst and I keep praying that it isn't true. It's almost impossible to live with the current pain...worse is just unacceptable.
Anyway, I want to celebrate Brandon's life today. We got 19 years with the best boy EVER and we'll have an eternity with him, blessed gifts to be sure!
Brandon, we love you and miss you so very, very much. A huge light in our lives was dimmed when you left, but we are thrilled for you that you are surrounded by the brightest light and love from the Father, each and every day. Happy 20th birthday to one of the greatest gifts of our entire life! Love, Mom, Dad and Ariana!
I hope you'll watch the video that my daughter's sweet friend made for us. It's long, but I wanted to share as much of my boy with the world as possible. The picture at the very end has a hand shaped heart, using one of my daughter's hands and one of mine. When Brandon almost died in November of 2012, he was intubated and unable to speak, supposedly in a medically induced coma. I told him I loved him and his hand (strapped down to keep him from pulling out the vent tube) came out from under the sheet to make a half heart to tell me he loved me, too. It's a precious memory of mine. That boy loved his mama so much, a merciful gift.
Thank you for reading!