542 days. Our sweet son, Tate, lived with us for 542 days. Today he has been gone for 543 days. Anniversaries are always tough.

My dear wife has been dreading this one for a long time. I knew it was coming, but was trying to distract myself to not focus on it as I knew it would be tough. Our sweet son has been gone longer than he was with us. To make it even more difficult,?we should be planning an amazing birthday party for his third birthday on October 18th. Instead, we are trying to figure out what to do to celebrate at his grave.

It is difficult to put into words how much I miss my buddy Tate. No words will serve my pain justice. I long to hold him again. I just want to know he is okay. I can’t wait to see him again.

After talking with other parents that have lost their children, I have come to realize there is no right or wrong way to deal with difficult anniversaries. Just like in mourning, everyone handles it differently. We are members of The Church or Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and this weekend happens to be our General Conference. Conference happens twice a year and is something that we all look forward to as our Prophets and Apostles speak to us concerning the will of the Lord.?Last year my favorite apostle, Elder Holland, gave a very poignant talk entitled Like a Broken Vessel. He talks to those struggling with challenges in their lives and gives some great advice to those that are trying to help them. He states:

Though we may feel we are ?like a broken vessel,? as the Psalmist says,?we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.

We have been grateful to be surrounded by those that have been “merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind” as we mourn the loss of our son. We have no idea what we are doing as we navigate life without Tate. Somedays we are fine, somedays we are not. Anniversaries, Holidays and Birthdays always bring the emotions very close to the surface for our family. This weekend has been no different.