Seven years ago I loved them. You know 'em... The impossible-to-chew candies that refuse to come out of your teeth. Heck, I even ate the black ones. One box could easily last an entire two hour date night at the movies.
Seven years ago today, I ate my very last Jujyfruit. I remember exactly where I was and who I was with... Sitting in my last week of masters classes, finishing up listening to my peers' final presentations. I'd already completed my project, and I remember feeling so satisfied and content as I sat chatting with friends and celebrating our upcoming graduation.
Less than 24 hours after that class, my life was turned upside down, as I rushed to get to my baby as his undiagnosed heart defect suddenly began taking its toll on his little body.
Seven years seems like a really long time to go without eating one of your favorite candies. And yet, for some reason I just can't do it. I feel like if I ate one, I'd foolishly hope to turn back into the person I was on June 30, 2008... The old me. The naïve mom. The one that was thankful she had her happy little family and felt so sad for others that didn't. The one that couldn't imagine how anyone could go on after burying a child.
This is the first year since Nash died that my family won't be in Iowa on July 1st. We have to be there for a wedding in early August and just couldn't figure out a way to make it work with the two dates so close together. I've been pushing away the guilty feelings that come with this, but I'm afraid they're starting to creep up on me now that the day is only hours away.
As most of you know, my boys were visiting Brad's parents in Iowa when Nash became sick. Despite every effort, I didn't make it to him before he died. From that day on, I promised him that I'd be at his grave in Iowa every year on July 1st at exactly 5:37pm. And I've made good on that promise for six straight years. But this year, I'm breaking it. And honestly, I'm sick over it. Logically, I know that we just couldn't make it work this year. But as a mother, I know I'm letting him down. And I'm so, so sorry for that.
Seven years doesn't heal any of the grief deep within my heart. I've learned to cope; to find new ways to bring joy to my life. I'm proud of what I've accomplished and even helped others in the process... But the reality is that my grief is still raw and still painful and so, so incredibly real.
Friends... I need something from you tonight. Prayers. Please, lots of prayers. Please pray that Nash forgives me for not being in Iowa "with" him tomorrow. Please pray for the day to go by quickly. And please pray that despite the distance between us, our hearts will feel as close as they did back when I still loved Jujyfruits.
Love to y'all,