All of the details from that dreadful day are kind of a blur. Through the fog of sadness, there are moments of brightness that I remember very well. The faces of courageous friends and family that stopped by to wish their condolences will always be engrained in my mind.
Faces fighting their own internal battle, full of pain and anguish, trying their hardest to be strong for us. Faces fighting with all of their might to find the right words to say, only to come up completely empty. I could see them physically open their mouths trying to speak, but nothing was coming out. It was fine, I was fighting the same silent battle.
The faces I remember from that day are my heroes. Courageous fighters that showed up and faced the despair with us. They stood by us as we grieved and weren’t afraid to grieve with us. This was all we needed in that moment. We didn’t need advice. We didn’t need counsel. We just needed to be surrounded by the people in our life that we love.
Our good friend, Steve, offered to take photos of our viewing and funeral for us (He is amazing, check out his work here; Steve Peterson Photography). At first we were hesitant as we weren’t sure we would ever want to remember that day. I am so glad he reached out as his images capture the faces of my heroes.
The viewing and funeral were absolutely gut-wrenching. We faced a steady stream of friends and family that came to support us and offer their condolences. It was amazing to me the different reactions I had to different people. Some of them were able to get me to laugh, some were having a really hard time and I had to console them and some made me break down and cry. It was hard, but without these faces supporting us it would have been impossible.
I have heard many times that time heals all wounds. Two years into this it feels like there is no cure for this wound. The past two years have consisted of the hardest times of our lives. We have been forced to be resilient. Tate taught us how to be strong amidst difficult circumstances. There is no way we would be able to function without the strength and courage from our guiding star, Tate. I miss him more than ever and I can’t wait to give him a huge hug and tell him how much I love him. He was a valiant teacher in his 18 months on earth and I am so grateful and blessed that I was picked to be the Father of such an amazing little boy!
The pain of missing Tate is still as fresh as the day he passed. We are so grateful to have so many courageous people in our life that love and support us. We love talking about Tate. We are so grateful for courageous people that remember him and aren’t scared to talk about him with us, knowing we might cry, get upset and question all over again why he is no longer with us.
We are often asked what people can do when someone they love is hurting from the loss of their child. Go to them. Be with them. Don’t stress about having the perfect thing to say. Just be there. Mourn with them. Be one of the courageous faces that shows up in the face of despair.