I am a Sweetheart to One and a Mommy to Four Loveable Babes, one of which is smiling down on us from Heaven. I am learning to dance in the rain. Come with me on my journey as I make the most out of Life's mud puddles.

Put on your rain boots. Great adventure lies ahead.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Picnic

Today I was feeling overwhelmed. So much is up in the air for our family right now and - as a self-proclaimed planner - I don't function well in limbo mode. After a busy morning of tennis and harp lessons, the kids went to help grandma in her garden for a few hours. Thus I had a few hours of Solo Time. "Time to start packing," I thought. But my Heart just didn't feel up to it.

So I decided to have a Picnic with my Boy.

Now, if Bennett were here, he'd want to go to our favorite sandwich shop and share a sandwich with Mommy, munch on Cheetos, nibble on a decadent cookie and sip from Mommy's Diet Dr. Pepper. So, in honor of him (and because my tummy felt like it), I followed suit (minus the Cheetos and cookie).

As I drove the familiar route to the cemetery, my mind wandered. I thought of all the change that is brewing in our family. The loss of a child, the selling of our home, changing schools for the kids, a new neighborhood and a new congregation at church. Whew. The thought of it all just sucks the oxygen from my lungs.

As I drove up the hill to his lovely memorial encased in a grove of trees, I noticed that the city maintenance crews had removed the Memorial Day flowers. Part of me was sad because each of those flowers represented the fact that someone had remembered my boy. Someone more than our little family. And that is HUGE to this Mother Heart who feels like the World is moving on.

After taking off my shoes and walking barefoot across the lush grass to his memorial, I grabbed the wipes and began my cleaning ritual. I cleared the memorial of all leaves and flower petals, pulled the grass back from the granite and began polishing the beautifully beveled stone. With each stroke, my heart beat within my chest. This is your babe. This is your son. This is your Sunshine Boy. Tears began to collect in the corners of my eyes and gently spill down my cheek. The same cheeks that Bennett would smother with kisses just a mere four months ago. Somehow it feels like yesterday and forever ago all at once. I just can't explain it.

But as I knelt there, cleaning my baby's headstone, I thought how grateful I am for the opportunity I have (present tense) to be this amazing human being's Mother. Bennett captures the essence of Light, Love and Hope. His influence has been vast and far stretching and - in many ways - his mission is bigger than us all. What a privilege to be a part of his journey. Be it short or prolonged.

As I finished cleaning Bennett's stone and reading the messages left in his memorial guestbook (best. gift. ever.), I sat quietly, took in the summer breeze and ate my sandwich. I wasn't alone. I could feel it. And somehow, I wouldn't be surprised if Bennett was running all around me, playing hide-and-go seek behind the trees and memorials with his Mommy.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. You don't know me, but I have met your kind husband a few times at C.A. events - we actually sat at the same table today. I also believe my dear friend Tiffany (angel Jack/Jackson) has contacted you. I just wanted to tell you thank you for your amazing words and spirit. Although I cry almost every time I read your blog, I love it. You are so inspiring and as a mother, you remind me to love my children just a little bit more (if that is possible). What a great story of your lunch today - thanks for sharing and best of luck with all the changes. As a planner too, I can only imagine the difficulty you are facing. Best of luck and thanks again.

  2. oh Mand. i love this post. love. i am literally aching to see his memorial.... i have to plan a day asap. i cant wait to be in such a peaceful beautiful place.

  3. Mandy, I think of you every single day. Sometimes I like my Solo time. Because I can concentrate enough to sometimes feel my little Jack really close. I have yet to make it to Jack's grave by myself. I'm happy you got to have a little picnic with him. I can see his beautiful blond wispy hair waving in the wind yesterday as you had your sandwich together. He was there and I bet he was wishing he could have you hold him and share your traditional sandwich together. As I read how you carefully cleaned his headstone, I thought of how Jesus' so carefully and kindly washed his disciple's feet. You are amazing! And just know that even on your worst days, you little Bennett boy is close holding you up. Helping you catch your breath and helping you move forward with faith. You are doing it and I'm sure he and HE are proud of the direction you have chosen to go.


  4. Mandy, you are a wordsmith! Everything that you say is a testimony of the gospel and the hope that it brings in any situation. I love reading your blog, and the beautifully profound things you have to share with us. I hope to be as good a mother as you one day.

  5. I LOVE THAT PHOTO!!! Gorgeous! I am sorry you are feeling in limbo. I can't tell you how many people, including me and my family are experiencing something soooo similar. My sister said something yesterday, about how it is interesting how many people are going through a change, or limbo right now, and how it seems like as a generation we are all being prepared. You have a great way of thinking and seeing things. Keep writing, you lighten everyones day!!!

  6. Yesterday was the 23rd anniversary of my cousin Ashley’s passing. As the evening was closing a double rainbow appeared for her parents and sisters, the same two rainbows that comforted Ashley’s parents 23 years ago after they had said goodbye to their daughter. That “hello” from Ashley cheered her whole family on earth. I thought of you and your family and know that you’ll continue to be comforted and cheered by Bennett. I know that the love Bennett feels from this earth will continue to grow as you share your family’s story and faith – and we can never have too much love.

  7. So Beautiful. A tradition to keep! SO glad you got sometime to go and be with your boy. I love the comment about your experience being similar to washing Jesus' feet. Sacred indeed.


Thank you for being a part of my journey. I appreciate your supportive and healing comments. Here's to a Promise of Sunshine!