Thunderstorms are tricky. We're never certain when they're coming. We don't know how long they'll last. We don't know the damage they'll cause in their wake. It can be difficult to imagine the sunshine on the horizon in the midst of chaos. Grief is the same way. When we lose someone we love, it can be difficult to imagine life without them. How will we ever return to a level of normalcy after the storm of loss settles? How do we move on? Can we really move on? We have to remember to count our rainbows.
Faith is a peculiar endeavor. It's conceptually easy to say we have faith, but do we really? If you were to lose the one thing you love most, would you be able to keep your faith or would you lose it, thereby losing yourself? We don't really know the answer to this question until the moment God tests us. God tests his children in unimaginable and unpredictable ways. Whether we know the reason or not, the test isn't as important as the way we approach it. Our approach to our test can dictate who we become once the test is over. You have to have faith that your test, however difficult, is happening for a reason. Character isn't built in the midst of easy days. It's the difficult days that test our morality and shake our perception of faith. And the difficulties can impede our character if we let them. These tests, these storms, are the reason rainbows are so important. Blessings are important.
When I lost my son in August of 2019, I didn't know who I was anymore. I was supposed to be a father, a teacher, a loving husband. All I could do was reflect on the two things I no longer had, which was my son and the perception of who I thought I was. I thought I was this God fearing man with a concrete foundation of faith that couldn't be broken. I quickly reached a point where I questioned my faith - what it was and why I needed to maintain it. I didn't know how I would get over this or if it was possible to get over.
I quickly learned the destruction left after the storms of life is not quickly rebuilt. It takes a lot of work to rebuild what was once there. My faith was shaken and it would take time to rebuild the faith I once had. I questioned how someone so innocent could be taken this way. I wondered why it couldn't have been me instead. I was so focused on the storm itself that I had forgotten to do the things that were in my control.
When you're grieving, the easy thing to do is to focus on the circumstances that brought you your grief. The difficult thing to do is to focus on what can be created from it. The thing that helped me most after I lost my son was focusing on the blessings I still had. Even though I had just went through this unimaginable pain, something no parent should ever have to go through, I was still a very blessed man. I had forgotten that. Once I started focusing on the things I did have - a loving and impossibly strong wife, a home, a good job that put food on the table - it became easier to move towards the man I wanted to become. I don't think it's possible to move on after a loss. The people we love are always with us and there is no moving on from that, not if we truly believe the principles of faith are what keep us going. But we can move forward and we can take them with us. These people we lost, they aren't gone. We just can't see them anymore. The loss of their presence in our lives can't overshadow the impact they made in our hearts. We can remember how they made us feel and the joy their presence brought to our souls. By doing this, we never truly move on. We only move forward.
Angels are real; Prayer works; Faith is real; God is good. I'm in a much better place than I once was mentally and emotionally. I feel as though losing my son was the toughest thing I will ever go through in my life. But I take with me and cherish his memory every day I'm alive. Every action I take in this life will be to make him proud, so one day I can hoist him in the air by the pearly gates of heaven and tell him, "We did it." That is what I hold onto. That is why I'm still standing and why I will continue moving forward.
My wife and I are happy to announce that we finally got our rainbow. We are expecting our miracle in the coming months and we couldn't be more excited than we are right now. The lessons we've learned, the people we've met, the stories we've heard, we'll cherish them forever. They have made us better people and better parents. They have changed our entire outlook on life and the way and manner in which we live. We won't forget the impact our little boy made on us and the world. That impact will live on in the way we parent and the way we treat others.
Be kind. Jump for joy. Try new things. Dance in the rain. Tomorrow isn't promised. Live each day with faith and love and remember to treat other people with the kindness you'd expect from them.
Always remember: Storms are temporary. And sometimes...the sunshine after the storm passes may just bring you your rainbow.