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Happy Birthday T.J. 2018

My precious boy T.J. left this world in 2010. He was 16. Since then, as each September rolls around my heart begins to get heavier and heavier as I anticipate his birthday.

I do my best to shift my focus to the immense joy the day brought to me 24 years ago when T.J. burst into the world as a nearly 10-pound ball of energy. He was a force from the minute he was placed in my arms and we were so grateful for this amazing blessing. T.J. was always T.J.—never less, always more.

When a child you cherish dies, his birthday becomes a minefield of emotions. It is impossible to accurately articulate the emotional flow of gratitude and devastation that crash down upon you as the date of his birth approaches with the knowing that an actual death date follows. This year, as I reflected on all my emotions my thoughts continually settled on the ocean.

T.J. loved the ocean with reckless abandon. The ocean was where he found his peace, his home, his clarity. The ocean is where his ashes were laid to rest when he passed on from this world. So, it is thinking about the ocean that best describes how I feel every September 23rd since T.J.’s death.

Somedays, my ocean is calm and clear offering serenity and peace. Other days my ocean is a raging ball of anger and pain, pounding the shore, receding and then coming back harder and with more fury. Another day my ocean is playful with just enough rolling to evoke lighthearted memories of simpler days and T.J.’s laughter and love.

This year as I allowed all the emotions to flow over me day by day, more often than not, I found my calm and clear ocean with just enough rolling waves to bring laughter to my heart. Nearly eight years after T.J.’s death I am so grateful by the outpouring of love and support we continue to receive from our wonderful family, friends and community. This love and support, like ocean waves, keeps coming. It is this love and support that grounds us in the present and helps us to focus on blessings. It sustains us and helps us to thrive and live with joy in our hearts—right alongside the ache of T.J.’s loss.

This past week we received an email from a teacher after one of our Remembering T.J. presentations. It said, “thank you for trying to save lives in T.J.'s memory. His life was not in vain; it continues to be a gift.” I so agree. And so, on T.J.’s birthday the real gift is T.J. and yes, his life continues to be a gift.

Posted with love and T.J. hugs

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