One year ago this morning I woke up to your voice mail. You were sweet and sad. You said that "Chase went to Heaven tonight" and that "he fought so hard" for you. You talked about how precious the friendship between Chase and Hays "was and still is." You were thoughtful and loving and sincere. I bawled.
Hays and I have missed Chase every day for the past year. I don't miss him any less today than I did when I received your call.
You have been amazing this year. I haven't seen all of the good, the bad and the ugly, but I have admired you from afar. You have ministered to Chase's friends and you have allowed them to grieve and hurt without shame. You have encouraged my son and mentored him from afar in his grief. How have you done it?
I want you to know that I know that one year doesn't make a difference. I know that you still hurt and you're still empty and you still would rather have your boy here with you. I want you to know that I know that the hurt isn't gone. There won't really be any more "firsts" as this year slips by, but that doesn't mean you won't mark day 366 as another first in your heart. I know that the first year after tragedy is marked with pain, but it seems to be masked by shock and then the deep pain seems to come in year two when everyone else seems to have moved on and forgotten. I promise not to forget. I promise not to think that the one year anniversary marks some unspoken date of healing. I know that it doesn't. I know that it is just another day of firsts in your hurting heart.
I love you. I appreciate you. I admire you.
I still miss Chase. Not a week goes by when Hays and I don't talk about him. I don't think a week goes by when a tear doesn't escape from my eyes as I think about your sweet boy and my sweet boy's dear friend.
Please know that I am here--even though here is a thousand miles away. I still have your message on my phone. I still hurt with you.
One year doesn't bring healing, I know.
I love you and I love your boy!