Dear Todd, It has been 9 months!
Sweetheart, It is hard to believe 9 months has passed since you relocated to Heaven. I can only imagine the amazing party you are are having there. Jackson says you are probably playing football and I bet you are worshiping Jesus with Carla, Poppy and Granny and a whole slew of others!! Whatever you are doing I can only imagine it is better than any of us still here on earth can even believe or comprehend. I wish I could say that living without you has gotten easier but it hasn't! Or I guess that is not totally true as I am adjusting to my "new shoes" but they still don't feel completely comfortable, I guess they still need more wear and time traveled. They at time seems to be breaking in and that at other times the blisters are hurting and screaming at me to take them off!! I knew my heart was so intertwined with yours and that you meant the world to me but Babe I think that was a HUGE understatement!! I realize now more than ever how much with every part of my heart and soul I love you and have since I was 16! Oh how I long to talk to you, hug you, hear your voice in person and just ask for your opinion on just about everything. I could go on and on about how much I miss you and all the things we used to do together and even just the times we were doing absolutely nothing yet just knowing you were in the same house or room was a huge comfort and joy. Most of all I miss your voice of encouragement, you were my biggest cheerleader and I think the most encouraging person I have ever known!! I am grateful for the Podcasts of your messages which I have been listening to almost daily so in a way I am still be encouraged by you! Thanks for always making me look so good. You sang my praises throughout your messages and gave me many shout outs. One of my favorites is the one where you brought me on stage the day after our 17 year anniversary and told the church after Jesus I was the one you loved and adored most. Oh I think my heart skipped a beat when I heard that and in that moment was so grateful to have experienced such love and adoration!
Jackson and Bethany are doing incredible and people who do not know that they have lost their Dad are surprised when they find out. They both have an inner joy that I believe is largely in part to having a Daddy who loved them, spent time with them, made them laugh and loved Jesus and life the way you did! Jackson has taken an interest in books and loves to read about people and continues to work through chapter books. He has many of the passions you had which makes my heart happy. We are currently reading through the Chronicles of Narnina series together at night, it has become one of my favorite parts of the day. Jackson has begun his first phase of Orthodontics. He had an expander put in 2 weeks ago to expand his pallet that is in the shape of a V into the correct shape which is a U. Like we thought, all those years of thumb sucking finally caught up to him =) Also he will be getting partial braces soon and the crazy kid is actually excited!! He has been a trooper even thru turning his expander two times a day. Oh and football he still LOVES it and is almost done with his 3rd season of flag football and his team, NE Patriots is undefeated again! He continues to be a great big brother and loves and cares for Bethany in such sweet ways, he still complains about doing his chores but I know that is pretty typical for an 8 year old and for the most part is still such a rule follower, compliant, great kid!
Bethany is still so much fun, full of more energy than any child I have ever seen and pushes the boundaries and my buttons everyday BUT I cannot imagine life without my little princess who is in a dress phase and only wants to wear dresses even to soccer practice! She has been playing soccer and has really enjoyed it and actual has some skill for a 4 year old! You and I both thought she would be quite the athlete and I think she is definitely well on her way =) She also still adores “Bubba” and even told her friends the other day that she was going to marry him, lol! Both Jackson and Bethany have decided to try swim team so beginning next week they will be practicing swim 5 days a week. I am excited to see how they do. I am really hoping all that swimming will wear Bethany out!
I feel like I could go on and on about all that we have done and things I have survived. I miss being able to share all this with you!! The kids and I took a road trip to Tennessee for Spring Break and they were troopers. It was 14 long hours but we only stopped for gas and to potty twice, amazing I know!! We had a great time and created some new memories. You know how much I love family pictures so I decided to have some pictures taken of me and the kids. Can you believe it had been 3 years since the last time we took any professionally? Jackson actually chose his shirt so then our color was set and Bethany and I coordinated. I told them that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was for them to take some good pictures and told them if they listened to the photographer I would take them to Walmart after wards. Nothing like a good bribe to get them to cooperate, right??? Well it worked!! And the funny thing is that while we were driving to Walmart Jackson convinced Bethany to put their money together and buy a super hero toy that they could both enjoy, and Bethany actually agreed! Just goes to show you how much she loves her Bubba and how much you and Jackson rubbed off on her as she really does love super heroes too!! Oh and the pictures turned out great not because of how we looked necessarily although our kids are pretty darn cute but it was WHAT the pictures conveyed. They showed a widow finding hope and joy in life despite such a tremendous loss. It showed our children so full of life, love, joy and laughter. The way the photographer captured each shot with the light coming in was as if the light of Christ was with us and shining through each of us, it was truly a beautiful thing and made my Momma heart so happy! They also symbolize our new family, altered by God for His purpose and according to His plan. Still trying to swallow that part. These are pictures I will cherish forever!!
Anyway, sweetheart as I sit here in our home getting more used to the idea that you are not on a long trip and that you won’t be coming back through the door or show up unexpectedly at some of our favorite places. My new reality is beginning to feel more real. I am realizing that even though I think I am living in the here and now that I am actually still holding on to the past. I often feel like I am just going through the motions or that I am actress playing a role in someone else's life. I think if you were here you would say, “Cassi, God has a great plan in all this, He loves you and believes in you, I believe in you, and in spite of this devastating life circumstance you gotta keep living!”
So with that said, know that I heard you and I am trying to live a life that pleases and honors God and that focuses on eternal things but one that is also active in this present life. One that makes God look good. I am trying with His help to continue to raise our kids to be lovers of Christ and people. I am also desperately trying to figure out how I can Live For More when walking through this very difficult, lonely, dark season!! By God’s strength, grace and hope I know I can!
Still crazy in love with you and because you loved me, I can Live For More!
PS I am taking Jackson to see the the Avengers on Friday, I know it would have been a special night that you would have been so excited to take your boy to see, I hope he can enjoy it as much with me. Thanks for sharing so many fun passions with us, I am actually looking forward to seeing the movie too! =)
PSS Bethany still asks for you every couple of weeks. She even finds dandelions and blows on them on and wishes you would come back. It breaks my heart every time but am reminded that your death did not surprise God or catch him off guard. He created Bethany's heart and knows how much she loves and misses you. I continue to pray He will fill in the gaps and make this understandable to her heart and mine!!
A few of my favorite photos...