Every time I think the pain to be away from you hits rock bottom, as deep as deep can go, it goes a little further. Today the tears flowed so often I’m surprised I didn’t just shrivel up. I wanted to see you off to your sophomore year of high school so bad, so bad, I couldn’t stand it. Driving past the high school to drop off your sisters at school was the emotional equivalent of being burned alive. I have never. Ever. Missed you more. I wanted to hug you, to hold you, to ruffle your curly hair, to playfully wrestle you as we used to do, my arms just ached with the absence. I felt in such limbo today- stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your absence is the worst hell I can imagine. Yet I must stay here. I can’t leave my other babies, my four other beauties that I love with all my heart. Yet they have only part of a mother.
You are everywhere though in my pain I cannot “feel” you as others have described their loved ones who have died. You just pop up everywhere- a soccer picture from first grade, your old ipod on the basement floor, your sandal in the corner of the garage. I find myself bringing you up in so many conversations, like you are still here but then your name just hangs in the air- another painful reminder. Having to pick up your class directory from last year with your handwriting on the front. Looking at your handwriting is torture. Looking at your picture is torture.
I don’t know how I’m going to make it without you my sweet boy. You just knew me so well, knew just what to say, just how to help; so handsome and smart- I was, I am, the proudest Mama on the planet. How you could be taken from this earth at fifteen years old is STILL unfathomable to me. I think I will go to my own grave still unable to completely comprehend it. How life can be so cruel and heartless, how deep a level of pain the human spirit is able to feel. How physically I grieve for you my son. It literally takes my breath away.
Such love, such a bond between mother and son we had. It is so infinitely unbearable to be without you. The fact that every day that passes is one more since I’ve touched you, talked to you…your presence is just that much further away.
I must remind myself. You are perfect. You are in glory. You would never want to come back to this sad downtrodden earth. You get to be with Jesus. Why doesn’t it help my pain. I just love you so much. I love you so very very much.
Live Like LucasThe non-profit organization Live Like Lucas was founded in August of 2015 in order to accomplish the goal of empowering youth to spread kindness. Our first official event was on January 16, 2016 where we had over 200 youth as well as adults participate in service projects and random acts of kindness in the Grand Rapids area. We served a pancake breakfast at Park church, made over 100 lunches and hygiene kits and distributed them to the poor along Division avenue. We made breakfast and did activities with the children at Hope Community, which is temporary housing for single moms and their children. We went to nursing homes and played bingo and bowling with the elderly. We distributed fifty 10.00 gift cards at Meijer as a random act of kindness. The result of just this one day was astounding. The volunteers had their eyes opened to situations that they had never been in before and met people unlike they had ever encountered. They saw people in poverty as real, worthy, human beings who weren’t just lazy. They saw the elderly, as one student put it “peppy and funny and mischievous.” They connected with people who were far outside of the Forest Hills “bubble.” And they wanted to go back. They wanted to do more. They asked, “When can we do this again?” Live Like Lucas is not just about spreading kindness out on the streets of Grand Rapids but also in our schools. We are currently researching programs and speakers to encourage our youth to practice kindness EVERY DAY- not just to their own friends but to those who feel alone and disenfranchised. We want to encourage friendships across all social, racial, and socio-economic boundaries. Teaching kindness also needs to start young. We are working on a program with “Lucas puppets” for the social workers to use to teach lessons on being kind to others and encourage conversation about sadness and loneliness and bullying. The kids will be able to put letters to Lucas in a mailbox so they can express their feelings and in turn the social workers can address these issues. One especially powerful method of learning about kindness in a global way is through mission projects. Our goal for next summer is to fund or partially fund at least 10 trips to Guatemala for kids who would otherwise be unable to go due to financial concerns. Lucas went 2 years ago with my grandparents and it was life changing for him to see the utter poverty and lack of medical care that was available for these people they visited in remote villages. He was prompted to really think about what his future looked like- he had planned on going into the medical field and now felt drawn to the mission field. Live Like Lucas has a vision of youth who look outside of themselves, look outside of wealth and power and popularity as goals and really see the world as how it is- full of hurting people. Even a small act of kindness can turn someone’s day around. It may even change their life.