I lost my 14 year old son on November 29, 2008, at 11:13 p.m.
I still feel like this is all some crazy, scary dream - nightmare. Each time the clock chimes I scream inside - "wake up" but nothing happens. I smell him, feel him, see him in my husband and younger son. I feel like he'll just be walking in the house any minute, laughing because he was "late".
Saturday, November 29th, was the perfect family day. We awoke to beautiful weather and immediately set to decorating our house for the holidays. We turned the outside sound system on and let the Christmas songs fill the air. My husband and youngest son, Noah, went to the roof to put up lights and Austin and me decorated the rest of the outside. Everyone was in such a good mood - no harse words, just fun and laughs. Even Austin and Noah (who always had at least one brotherly fight a day) were perfect. They wrestled outside in the yard, tickling each other. I even commented - "wow. what a great family day!"
As I finished up outside, Austin came in and began to decorate the inside of the house. He's never done this before and actually in the past kind of groaned about decorating. He would poke fun of my traditions and how I had to take pictures of every special ornament and person hanging it. But this day, he loved it. I could feel him soaking it in, enjoying the moments. He put up the "kids tree", which goes in our kitchen and has all their homemade ornaments, by himself. He surprised us with it when we came in from a quick trip to the store w/last minute supplies. I was so touched but also tired and asked to put off the big tree until Sunday. He wouldn't have it. "It is tradition Mom. We have to do it all."
And so we did. And it was wonderful. He had grown so much the last few years - well over 6 feet tall, size 13 shoes and all. We laughed because he took over so many of his Dad's jobs that day, wrapping the ribbon around the tree and placing the angel on the tree - barefooted. "Dad" always had to get a chair and Austin loved that he could do it without one.
So many memories, simple moments, that day that are now priceless.We ended the evening by going together, just he and I to get Subway sandwiches (his fave) and watched a Christmas movie as a family. Again, it was the picture perfect day. Around 10 p.m. his dad and I went to lay in bed and watch the news. He asked to ride his bike around our neighborhood. The weather was good for this time of year and he'd been riding nightly with the neighbor.
Minutes later a knock at the door brought my husband out of the bed, to hear the neighbor crying, saying Austin had passed out. The next hour was unreal - is unreal. I will never forget the sound of my husband screaming in the field behind our house. I knew. Instantly. I felt his voice shake me to core. It broke my soul. I drove to him, held my son's hand but knew he was already gone. My husband, continued to do CPR until help arrived. Someone took me to the hospital and I prayed the entire time, begged God to give him back. When I finally entered the hospital room, I heard them call time and then some voice inside of me screamed, broke - a sound I didn't think I could humanly make. It was over.
To date, we still don't know why or what happened. There was no trauma, no broken bones, no reason. It could take months to find out - and we may never know. He was healthy, strong. Growing so big. He was my rock, my everything and life just isn't "life" without him here. The only positive thing in all this is the difference he made, the testimony of his life. He was such a witness, a true servant and had a heart of gold.
I have heard and received so many blessings from people - strangers - in how he touched their life. Just an average 14 year old! He lived more in his 14 years than people do in a "lifetime" and helped so many people. "He was my bodyguard." "He said hello to me when nobody else would" "He made me want to raise money for charity" "He helped me when I lost my friend" "He was always smiling"...He was a Christian and lived for God. I think about all those teenagers at his funeral and the beautiful words our pastor said - about how God always used a teenager to do awesome work....Daniel, Timothy, Moses, Mary, etc. and MY son. I wonder how many of those kids he turned to God. For that, I am honored and so proud to be his Mom. To have lived that kind of life - it is something I will strive to do daily, to honor his memory.