Let’s Go Racing!

Tomorrow is the Daytona 500.  We are usually excited but even more so this year since we will be going to the race in Las Vegas next month.  When we received our tickets it was bittersweet because only three arrived in the mail instead of four.

In years past, we invited friends over to watch the race or made sure we had plenty of pizza and snacks to celebrate.  Over the years the boys started watching more races and picked their favorite drivers.  Drew is a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan and Christian liked Jeff Gordon.  You can imagine our disappointment when Jeff Gordon announced his retirement, which just happened to be the year after we lost Christian.  It was bizarre seeing Jeff Gordon in the announcers booth with a suit on instead of on pit road in his fire suit.  I know Christian would have been bummed out not seeing the Dupont car on the track.

Since we lost Christian, I cannot hold the tears back as the National Anthem is performed or when Darrell Waltrip yells “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!  Let’s go racing!”  I would like to share some photos of our trips to Las Vegas to see the race.  Christian and I just loved it when Darrell would yell at the beginning of each race so if you get the chance to tune in, even just for the “Boogity,” say it out loud for my son.  Enjoy!

IMG_0391
Christian wore this shirt almost every Sunday.  We set it out for the Daytona race last year.
055
I became a Brad Keslowski fan after this moment.  He pushed the table aside for the picture and was very kind and patient.
IMG_2309
Kurt Busch was the first driver the boys ever met.  I am thankful he took a few moments for this photo.
074
Dave and Drew all smiles as we wait for the green flag.
IMG_0357
Christian said meeting Michael Waltrip was the highlight of his last trip to Vegas!  The smiles say it all.

Laundry

Laundry.  Something that never goes away.  Just when we think we are all caught up, in the blink of an eye it’s “five feet high and rising”.  Whether it’s something we do once a week or once a day, we usually do not look forward to it.

th-11During Christian’s last year his care took more time and so did the laundry.  It was something I had the hardest time keeping up with.  I had a system worked out but as caregiving demands grew, time to do laundry became scarce.  When I folded the boys’ clothes, I always had 6 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, etc.  The number of any item of the boys that I folded was always an even set number.  When Christian passed away last October, one of the hardest things for me to do, along with setting the table and setting out pills, was laundry.  The reasons, of course, were completely different.  For one thing, it was easier and took less time because there was less clothes.  What was once even and in sets of 6 became odd and in sets of 3.  This made me feel guilty.  For another, I missed folding his clothes:  His Jeff Gordon t-shirt which he wore every race day, his Call of Duty shirt which I always liked the feel of and I thought looked great on him and all of his Star Wars shirts.  Christian’s Star Wars shirts defined what he was most passionate about, which defined him.

IMG_0391
We set Christian’s Jeff Gordon t-shirt out for the Daytona 500
DSCN0088
Most of his t-shirts were Star Wars themed

Today when I folded the darks, I had 3 shirts and 3 pairs of pants.  I began to feel sad but felt a little better when I looked up at Christian’s Samus (from Super Metroid) poster that I hung up above the folding table.  I realized that I was thankful that I still had Drew’s and Dave’s clothes to launder and as long as I am washing them and folding them, it means they are still in my life.  Maybe laundry wouldn’t be such a chore if we viewed it as an act of love.

IMG_0795
My favorite shirt which I will keep forever

My son

DSCN0086It has been well over a year since my last post.  So much has changed, especially of late.  On October 27, in the early hours of the morning, my oldest son, Christian, went to heaven.  My heart broke into a million pieces that day.

These past weeks have been a blur.  I have felt more pain and emotion than I ever thought possible, sometimes in the span of 5 minutes. I have also felt parts of my soul stir that I didn’t even know existed.  For the first few days, I couldn’t even think straight enough to pray or read scripture.  Thankfully I have been able to focus more and I have made sure to keep God’s Word close by.  I have relied on God more heavily than I have ever before and prayed more than ever.

They say that when we lose someone we love, we are never the same.  We have to adjust to a new normal.  I can honestly say I am not the same. I am broken, tired, confused, angry and lost.  On the other hand, I have felt love grow in my heart – love for Christian, God, my husband and my younger son, Andrew.  You see, Christian was more than a son.  He was my best friend (wow, I just cried for the first time in public).  He was also my rock, my inspiration.  He left me everything that was good about him – good and perfect.  He left me his courage, love, more love, his beautiful smile, his humor and his love of music.  I can hardly listen to a song without thinking of him.

The past year has been difficult but I am thankful for all of it – the constant caregiving, sore legs and feet from standing all day, the fear, aggravation.  It all made me a better person and taught me to enjoy the little, often overlooked things in life – a sparrow on the feeder, the full moon, a funny shaped cloud in the sky or sunlight on the wall.  Christian made me realize that I do not need material possessions to be happy and satisfied.  In Christian’s last year of his life, he only spent less than $100 on himself.  He enjoyed buying gifts for others and watching their expressions when they opened them.  Christian was in a lot of pain the last year and a half of his life and wasn’t able to go out of the house much.  As a result, he read books on his iPhone, played video games (Metroid and racing games were his favorites), listened to some good music and watched movies.  Tom Cruise was his favorite actor and he watched Live, Die, Repeat the weekend before he passed.  His love of NASCAR inspired me to love it too.  I so wanted his favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, to win the Chase but instead I bawled as he duked it out with my driver, Brad Keslowski.  What a mess.

I know that eventually, I will cross the stormy sea of grief and I will surely lean into the storm so I can keep moving ahead.  God will be with me every step of the way.  As I heal, I will be inspired by Christian.  He will always be with me until I see him again.  He is inspiring me to keep listening to music, especially vinyl, start drawing and painting and play the piano again.  He inspires me to continue taking care of myself and my husband and son.  He inspires me to help others and bless others, just as he did every single day of his life.  Not a person came away from Christian without being moved my his love, grace and smile.  I will love him for all time.  I will be posting on my blog more and I hope I will inspire you and move you.  I love you and thank you for reading and I hope a part of Christian will also be with you.