A year and a half.

Eighteen months.

Five hundred fifty days.

Thirteen thousand two hundred hours.

Seven hundred ninety two thousand minutes.

If you ever wonder what it is like to have lost a child, look at those numbers. And then imagine every single one of those moments–every second–filled with the void of a missing human that you love more than anything in the whole world. Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every thought.

Now, there are certainly good days, and even good weeks and good months. There are belly laughs that, had you asked me a year and a half ago, I would have told you would never be possible again. There are hopes and shenanigans and beautiful sunrises and sunsets and rainbows and a deep appreciation for both the beauty and fragility of this life.

A deep appreciation for beauty and fragility that is evidence that my son Alexander lived–evidence that he has changed me in ways that I am only beginning to understand.

Would I trade that appreciation and those changes to have a squirmy eighteen month old toddling around my house? In a heartbeat. I would trade everything to have that sweet boy here.

But, at eighteen months out, I am able to begin seeing glimmers of Alexander’s beauty all around me. I see that sweet boy in sunrises and in sunsets. I see him in the full moon and in the compassionate care of our church family.

I see him. Oh, how I see him.

I love him. Oh, how I love him.

I miss him. Oh, how I miss him.

In the midst of that beauty and appreciation, there is such an ache in my heart. I miss that sweet boy every single day. I miss watching my parents and Scott’s parents grandparent him. I miss our brothers and sisters getting to spoil him as the first nephew on either side. I miss the fun he would have hanging out with the “big kids” at church all the time. I miss teaching him songs and games and family traditions. I miss watching him interact with our dearest friends and be surrounded by so much love from his framily here in Dayton.

And yet, every beautiful moment of seeing him and loving him is equally brutal in missing him.

Every beautiful moment of seeing him and loving him is equally brutal in missing him.

Today, it has been eighteen months since I last saw and held and touched my sweet son Alexander. Just thinking about that reality is heart wrenching. It makes me ask over and over and over again “Is this really my life?” There are moments where I still pinch myself and try to wake up from this terrible nightmare. But the reality is that this is my life.

This is my grief. This is my grief.

This is my story. This is my story.

This is my life. This is my life.

Today, as Alexander celebrates eighteen months in heaven with Jesus, I would love to hear about the impact that he continues to have. I know the ripples of his story are felt far and wide–he is, after all, our little Alexander the Great. Join me today in remembering this sweet little boy of mine. We will certainly be thinking about him. Say his name. Light a candle or watch the sunset. Do something kind for a friend. Or a stranger. Enjoy the precious moments you have with your heart beating and your lungs filling with air.

 Alexander, my sweet boy:
You are loved.
You are loved.
You are loved.

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