I use that word a lot. I had a friend tell me that he doesn't like that word. He doesn't want to push onward, he wants to stay in the present and feel deeply and fully the emotions of the moment. To me, "onward" doesn't mean to not be in the present or to move on or to get over it. Rather, it means to Get.Up. and Put.One.Foot.In.Front.Of.The.Other. If I didn't encourage myself to push onward, I don't think I'd ever get out of bed.
I know that you never get over or move on from the grief of losing a child (or anyone you love deeply, for that matter). But lately I feel like I'm spending so much of my time looking back instead of looking to the future. This fourth year without Jack has been a particularly tough year so far - it seems more difficult than last year was. I've been going back and reviewing the last years of Jack's life - the difficult years. (The history detailed in Jack's blog is both a blessing and a curse.) I haven't felt much like marching onward.
If you follow me on Facebook you know that almost everything I post has to do with Jack. I share pictures of the good years, the good memories, the happy Jack. It's as if I'm trying to remind myself that, yes, there were good years. Why is it that I can only focus on the hard stuff and question everything I did and didn't do instead of focusing on the good stuff? I guess because my child died. Because when your child dies you can't help but wonder what you did wrong or could have done differently. Because when you spend fifteen years giving every fiber of your mind, body and soul to keep your child alive, he's not supposed to die.
I think the obvious reason I spend so much time in the past is because that's where Jack is. Old pictures and memories are all I have of him. You have no idea how much I wish I could share current pictures of Jack. I know he's still with me - he's in my heart and his spirit drives me in everything I do each and every day. But sometimes that's not enough. I ache to touch him and look into those beautiful, soulful eyes. And because I can't touch him, I have to settle with seeing him in pictures. In the past. It's all I've got.
For all of you who continue to share Jack with me, who enjoy looking back with me and who continue to let me know how much he touched you and how much you miss him - I cannot thank you enough. You truly give me the strength to continue to Get.Up. and Put.One.Foot.In.Front.Of.The.Other.
There are times I wish that "onward" did mean moving on and getting over it. I'd love to stop hurting. But that's not the case and never will be the case. I will never get over, move on or stop hurting from the loss of Jack.
But with the love and support of friends, and by the grace of God and the hope of heaven . . .
Onward it is.