Anniversaries of those you have loved and lost

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.

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  1. As one of Tate’s Grandma’s I understand much of what you are saying. You have been given a great challenge as part of your earthly mission. I mourn for the loss we all feel, yet my greatest pain is realizing what you and Brandi continue to go through. Our children are never too old for us to want them to be happy. I think of Tate every day, and most days shed tears either remembering him or hurting for you. Just this morning little Taylor was playing with my hair and she started pulling it over my face and saying peek-a-boo. Simple children’s games will never be the same. Tears instantly began to flow with that simple act as I remembered the many times Tate did that and his precious giggle. As time passes I feel like I need to consciously remember that precious feeling of Tate’s vigorous cheek to cheek hugs. So many things were uniquely Tate, yet many day to day things also make me thing of sweet Tate. The tears will continue to flow, but they aren’t for Tate any more. He had an amazing love-filled life in his short time on earth. He has been mercifully spared many challenges that could have been in his future. I will continue to cry for us, especially you and Brandi. I will never forget Tate and the many anniversaries will always be a reminder of the great blessing he has been in our lives.

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