Although Austin was only 14 when he passed, Tim and I had talked before about what it would be like to be grandparents. Austin was growing so fast and we knew he'd be an adult, and we hoped married with kids, before we knew it.
I did dream of what his children would be like someday – and still do, now of what I’ve lost. Austin was the best of Tim, so I knew he would be a great father and I longed for that future family. I imagined holidays with a handful of happy grandchildren. Maybe that seems like a strange thing for woman in her 30s but I did. And I know there is a chance I’ll still have them someday through Noah. However, I can’t help but feel a void for my family tree branch that has been broken.
Our last day together, I even commented to Austin what a good Dad he'd be someday. He was putting together the lawn decorations and had such patience with them. The same was true for the trees. He put the entire kid's tree, lights and all together, without once getting upset. (I've heard it said your true character comes out when untangling Christmas lights!)
Austin loved babies too, which I think was unusual for a teenage boy. Actually, he loved my sister Raven's babies. Austin was instantly connected to Bryanna, her little girl. He was mad the night I went to the hospital, when Raven went in labor, because I didn't take him with me. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that he and Raven were so close. She was young when I had Austin so they were more like brother and sister than aunt/nephew in the beginning.
He never gave up a chance to hold Bryanna or her son, Allen, and was among the first of the kids to hold her babies when they were born. As Bryanna got older, she grew very fond of Austin and the feeling was mutual. He loved her and would scoop her up at any family gathering. She is sometimes finicky about who can hold her, as she is stubbornly independent; however, she never rejected Austin. She'd smile and open up her arms, reaching for him.
When I went through Austin's cell phone, after he passed, I was surprised that the majority of photos on it were of Bryanna and Allen. Thanksgiving Day Austin had taken several photos of him holding Bryanna and of Allen in his baby seat. The last photo on the slideshow is of Austin and Bryanna on that day.
I hope they knew how much he loved them and I'm sad that they won't know him growing up. I know though their mom will make sure he is not forgotten with them. Somehow, I think Raven's babies and Austin still share a connection. They say babies can sense and see things we can't. A few weeks ago, Bryanna logged into Austin's account on our home computer. I don't even know his password but somehow she got in. This weekend, she again tried to log in. She is only a little over one year old but she was at the computer and trying to log in. My sister says she is also now interested in fire trucks, which was certainly Austin's favorite.
When I hold Allen, he often smiles and laughs, but sometimes looking over my shoulder. It is like he sees something, or someone, over me. I can move him and watch his eyes keep hold on whatever it is. Perhaps it is all coincidence, perhaps not. Who can say for sure? I have no doubt though that Austin is and always will be their guardian angel.
I like to think he can be nearer to us when he wants, like our family day yesterday. Regardless, I know he is watching over them and all of us every day.