Sunday, October 14, 2012

September 29

The year anniversary of Jonah's death was September 29th, and here we are two weeks later, without a single commemorative word written about his passing or his life.  The thing is that I have felt pretty good for the past month.  I felt somewhat normal, even happy.  As his death date approached I felt an external pressure to dive back into grief.  I felt compelled by some sort of unspoken rule to relive his funeral, to release balloons, to be some sort of death party planner.  Honestly, I just didn't have it in me, which made me feel like a bad mother.

For me that "bad mother" feeling is a little funny.  When I was a full-time busy mother I rarely felt like a bad mother.  I know that is unusual.  Mothers are supposed to be riddled with mommy-guilt.  But I wasn't.  I knew I was doing my best.  Even the day Jonah died, the day I gave him a fruit snack that killed him, I didn't feel like a bad mother.  I tried so hard to save him and loved him so deeply, I could not feel the guilt of motherhood.

But on his death day, as friends and family remembered Jonah and came to comfort me, and I went about my normal business without tears I wondered what kind of mother I am.  Maybe a mother in denial.  Maybe a mother who has cried all her tears.  Or a mother who is trying to be brave and move forward.  Perhaps a mother with a heart that is hardening to keep pain at a safe distance.  It is hard to say.

As I turned my heart over for a deep analysis I recognized that the date, September 29, meant very little to me.  That sounds strange I know.  How could the day my only child died not hold significance.  I'm not really sure.  To me it felt just like a number on a calendar.  What significance is there in 365 days passing...why not a nice round number like 350 or 400.  The countdown seemed somewhat arbitrary because I have mourned Jonah's death each day since he left us.  So today, 380 days since his passing, I'm writing to tell you that I miss him deeply, daily, like a good mother should.

I missed him as I sat in a cheap motel room in Sheridan, Wyoming reading the journal I kept of his short but beautiful life.  I discreetly wept in the "happiest place on earth" as I soared through the air with my niece Lilah on Disney's Dumbo ride.  All I could think about as we dipped and flew was how much Jonah would have loved that ride.  I mourned when I saw my grandma's black office chair, where he once spun in dizzy circles with his dad.  And as I watched my two sweet nieces play in a tiny stream I ached to see him splashing and playing at their sides. 

My days are filled with memories and moments and missing.  I mourn his loss each day, and don't expect that to change.  When I feel his absence the most I often turn to Jordan and say "Jonah would have loved this."  I have learned in loss that grief does not come on scheduled days.  It does not understand anniversaries or special occasions.  It's fullness comes in the quietest moments: when my head finds the softness of my pillow, when I catch a glimpse of a drifting blue balloon, or when I hear the sweet giggle of a child.

My daily prayer, as I miss Jonah's smile, is that joy will come in the same way. 

I testify that because of Him, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, those feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and despair will one day be swallowed up in a fullness of joy. Shane Bowen, Because I live, Ye Shall Live Also


  1. Looks like the chair spinning didn't even faze Jonah, but Jordan looks a little green! ;) You are an amazing woman and mother. Thanks for making us all feel better. Love Ya!

  2. Your story and testimony is such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your heart with us all!! It will be a wonderful day when u and Jonah will be united again and never to be seperated for all of eternity :)

  3. yes! beautiful post. the little bit in italics is what brought me to tears.