I have friends with babies who I think sometimes stay away because they are afraid seeing their child will upset me. Austin wasn't a baby though and while I treasure that time with him, what is hard is seeing a teenager.
When I see a teenager, especially a tall boy with dark hair, that is when it hurts. I am frozen in time for a moment, wanting so much for that boy to turn around and be him. I see his friends out and wish that he could be there with them, playing, growing, living life. I see a mom and her son out to lunch and I long for that, just one more day to spend like that with him. It is so hard. In the faces of the teenagers I meet, I wonder, what could have been.
Austin had so much potential. He was a bright, loving young man who had such a passion for life and for helping others. The world suffered a huge loss when he left this earth. Maybe I shouldn't dwell on things but it is hard to not think of what he would have done, who he would have been, how much good he would have brought into the world.
He wanted to be a firefighter, a scientist, an oceanographer, a fundraiser. I can only imagine the changes he would have made, for the better, if he'd lived longer. Look at everything he accomplished in his fourteen short years here!
I struggle with it, the "why" because it just seems unfinished. It is as if you've just sat down a wonderful, beautiful movie and the film stopped short. You are left wondering, how would it have been? What would have happened? They are unwritten chapters of life we'll never know.
I dreamt of him last night, as I often do. They were actually many small dreams, just regular life, Austin with us and his friends. In the end though he came through the door and I grabbed hold him, hugging him tightly. I said, "I miss you!" and he replied the same, hugging back. It was a wonderful dream, I just wish wish it were reality once I woke up.
In the end, I know it isn't. I know he can't come back through that door and I know I won't see him again until my time here is finished. As hard as it is, I have to trust God. I don't understand it - and I don't agree with it - but we're not expected to understand everything. Tim said something the other day that has made me think a lot about how Austin left.
We can be thankful that he left us peacefully, quickly. It wasn't at the hands of someone else, it wasn't traumatic, he didn't suffer. He wasn't sick, he didn't hurt. To this day, there still is no explanation. Maybe that is for the best? Maybe it is God's way of just saying it was his plan.
Austin certainly lives on through all of us who choose to carry on his legacy. He continues to inspire, motivate and change us. And I will forever tell his story.