Thankfulness and Missing- Remembering Kingston’s 2nd Birthday

6 Dec

Soon after we found out that this new baby on the way would be our first daughter, we sat up in bed one evening talking.  We were giggling about pink things and about how she’d certainly become Daddy’s little girl, but not more than a few moments went by before Justin’s eyes glossed over a little, and he said it.

A statement so weighted by the honesty of this season, whispered across our pillows.

“She won’t know her big brother.”

And so here we are.  His second birthday has arrived.  How is it that two years have gone by since you were in my arms, and left my arms, sweet baby?  Your sweet Daddy is making me French toast as I type this, and we both awoke to tearful eyes- to empty arms.  The theme of this season is certainly a dichotomy, bouncing back and forth between two heavily defined emotions:

1.  Thankfulness

2.  Missing

We have much to be thankful for and we miss him, in the deepest parts of our hearts.

God is doing so much with the story of his little life and we are overwhelmed daily by the life change we see taking place in other people’s hearts as they hear his story.  It’s more than we ever could have asked or hoped for.  In just the recent weeks:

There was this beautiful article we had the opportunity to write in the Message Magazine.  My boys featured on the cover of a national magazine?  I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than the two of them together.  What’s the most powerful of it all is the letters and testimonies we received after people read it, the hope that the Lord gave them through it.

message magazine cover

Then there was this speaking and praying for a group of powerful, young, world-changing women at Southeastern University just yesterday.  I tried to teach them about leaning when you are in the darkest moments of life.  Leaning into Him, into community, into worship, into giving and into the truth of eternity.  We told them that hope does not disappoint and that it is an anchor for our souls.  What’s amazing?  We really believe every word we said about hope to the core of who we are, even among these ashes, especially among these ashes.

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Then we’ve been filming, too.  We’re terrible actors, but we have willing hearts and so now, we’re in a music video.  As is our boy’s nursery and his beautiful things and his beautiful story.  The song you ask?  Well, it’s called Smile.  Something we do a lot, even among these ashes, friends.  The brilliant Joshua Cruz will be releasing it soon, and as soon as he does, we’ll be sure to share it with you.  We think you’ll love it.


You can see it, can’t you friends?  How He and only He makes it beautiful again?  How could we be anything but thankful?

Ah, yes… but then, there’s this: “She won’t know her big brother.”

The missing, in the midst of thankfulness.  There are moments when the ashes still sting the eyes, harshly.  We have a little blue box that holds the ashes of Kingston’s little life, and I don’t know that it will ever stop hurting.

The truth is, you can wrap it in bows and call it pretty and speak positively, but at the core of it all- she won’t.  Amelia will never know her big brother.  Not in the way that we had hoped she would.

There won’t be a two year old toddling into the hospital room this Spring to meet her for the first time, or a two year old kissing my belly as it grows, being taught to say her name and love her early on.  She won’t know his voice, or his protection, or him pulling her hair, or his laughter.  The cupcakes we make today are not for him- not really, anyway- and neither are the balloons or the birthday songs or his little blue clothes that still fill the drawers in his room.  None of us will know the color of his eyes or the sound of his cry or the warmth of his breath.  Not while we are here in this life.  So, we miss him, today and everyday.

“We will tell her about him,” I said as I reached over and grabbed Justin’s hand.  And we will, because that’s all we can do.

We will make space for him, and we will whisper to her about how he is her big brother and we will make sure she knows how he changed our lives, forever.  We will keep telling his story as God allows us the opportunity to: in print, in speaking, at the grocery store.  And we will remember him.  Because he was our gift, our first born son and we love him. And because who could forget this child?  Surely, not us.  When we are 75 and gray, on December 6th, and everyday really, we will hold the secret of his life in our hearts and he will be our first boy and we will be his mommy and daddy.

Tonight, we’ll gather with our best friends, our parents and siblings and we’ll sing to him on the beach.  We’ll stare as the balloons rise to the heavens, we’ll watch as the sun slowly sets, and we’ll gaze on the waves as they crash along the beautiful Florida shore.  Those moments will remind us that God is holy, and sovereign and that He loves us.  We will know, more than ever, that He is the God who climbs into the ashes with those who He loves, and begins to craft beauty.  The children will laugh. We will eat at our favorite pizza place on the beach, because we are Italian and we comfort ourselves with good food and who cares about calories and carbs on days like these?  We will hug, we will cry, we will softly smile and we will miss him together.  In the hardest, most beautiful way: we will celebrate you baby.

We remember you, sweet Kingston boy.  We remain thankful for your life, but we miss you.  More than words could ever express, we miss you.  We wish with all of us that there was a way that you could be here with us instead.  When mommy closes her eyes today, she thinks about Jesus holding you and she wants you to know that she can’t wait to run to Him, and to you, one day. To the place where the ashes can no longer sting the eyes and death is no longer something that separates our hearts.  We love you, Kingston Isaiah.  Happy 2nd Birthday, darling.

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To all of my sweet reader-loves… if you’ve been following along on our journey, or maybe you’re new to it, either way, below are a few links if you’d like them.  They are our favorite ways of remembering, and we want to welcome you in, to the beauty of our mess, to miss him with us today if you want to.

Video of Our Story

Slideshow of Memorial Service

Blog from His 1st Birthday

Message Magazine Article

Blog about Justin on Father’s Day

Blog with links to videos of the first time we spoke about his story

We’ve received all of your texts, and messages, and have read your own posts about our boy today.  We have felt the fullness of your prayers for us.  You, friends, are one of the things we are most thankful for.  We know this journey would be much darker without you and your willingness to miss him, love him and seek God with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love, Justin & Suzie


One Response to “Thankfulness and Missing- Remembering Kingston’s 2nd Birthday”

  1. Trudy December 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    So beautifully written Susie ,I missmy great grandson even though I never met him hugs and kisses,Memere

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