Seems alot longer, guess it has already been 3 yrs ago this month when I would find myslef sitting behind my desk at work and on a not so busy day, day dream about what I wanted to do for Stephen after graduation. When the fear of Senioritis hit's you as a parent, it's worse than female problems!!! hahaa....you just want to stay away from the kid! (not really) :O)
2 yrs prior Aaron had had a very horrible case of it, but in reality I never knew what it was until my first child went through it. By the time Stephen was getting ready for graduation I felt a little more prepared. I also think Stephen avoided some of the things Aaron did (like putting in for scholarships and applying to colleges) in order not to have the stress, course we also knew that Stephen needed to meet certain deadlines.
So one evening after football practices, wrestling practices, work, dinner and so on...decided I would wind down and watch a documentary on the Appalachian Trail. Hiking has always been something I have enjoyed pretty much my whole life. After watching, I knew that that would be what I would do with the two older boys, assuming they wanted to go do this. Course it would mean leaving girfriends, and phones and all those pesky things we call distractions behind! hahaa I didn't really see it being a real problem, the boys for the most part enjoyed adventure.
So I started to do a little research on it and thought about how amazing it would be to get Aaron and Stephen away from everything for a couple of weeks or so in order for them to be able to have time to think about everything they wanted to do and also leave behind on the trail any worries and maybe, just maybe come out of there having grown a little more into the men they were going to need to become to face the world a whole lot stronger. It takes 5 to 7 months to complete the whole trail and boy did I wish I had that kind of time to take all 4 boys!
Two weeks later those plans would change, I lost my Aaron in a car accident. I cannot even begin to describe what that kind of loss is like. I just wanted to go back 19 yrs and hold and protect him again. Never in a million years could I ever imagine losing Aaron, none of my children. The Lord's plans are always diffrent from our own as he says in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, and also Proverbs ch 3. This photo was taken on Aaron's 19th bday. I had just taken him out to eat for lunch during my break. I remember he was upset that he had to cut his hair short since he was out applying for jobs. I smile when I look at this picture since it takes me back to sweet little memories like those. Sometimes the thought of "little did I know I would only have 2 1/2 more months with him" creeps up
I had to focus on finding the strength in God through prayer and also to be able to still be there for the rest on my family emotionally and mentally. At times I was at a loss for words in my prayers and I could not understand why sometimes. I had to allow the boys to see me cry so they knew it was okay to cry but to grieve so deeply and to fall on my knees was something I did on my own. So in the next weeks Stephen, David, Patrick and I had stopped going for our runs and Stephen and I never spoke of the trail again.
Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
A year had past and it was spring again, time to celebrate Stephen's graduation. A very bittersweet moment for us all and the thought of going on the trail krept up on me again but first there was something we had to all do together, Aaron's 20th Bday was also coming up and we decided we would buy 20 blue star shaped balloons, write msgs on them and send them up. Big Daddy Weave just happened to be playing on Aaron's bday for Sundown Salute. The year prior Aaron had help them set the stage and talked to them for a while about music ministry, enough that they actually remembered Aaron. How awesome is that?! ;O) It turned out to be a beautful bday and celebration of his life with friends and family gathered. I could only ask God to pass the bday hugs and kisses for mom.
As I started getting out a little more, I still thought about the trail. So here another year (2 to be axact) later we had military orders and I was planning for my mission trip to Peru. Another thing I had always prayed about doing one day.
I realized before leaving for Peru that I would miss being with the other boys for what would have been Aaron's 21st bday but decided I would have to do something pretty awesome to celebrate his life while in Peru. Aaron and I had talked once about sky diving, the closest thing to being airborne would be para-sailing so my mind was set and I did it! So I figured if I could do that then for his next bday I would have to do something else that we had talked about. :O)
Now we are 4 months shy of it being 3 yrs since we lost Aaron, and the trail is calling again. The calling to go there this time is much stronger than ever! I decided that this bday I just needed to hike the trail. I do wish Stephen could go with me but as life has changed for us all, it does not look like he can make it. One day, maybe. So I decided I would paint a rock with Aaron's, Stephen and my name on it. I am also going to leave a little bit of Aaron's ashes there. I can clearly picture this hike being a very beautiful time for me as a way of learning more about lessons in life, living for God and others and trusting again.
I have added to my playlist the song "wherever the wind blows" by Pillar. Aaron passed away in September and the air was starting to get crisp, and the leaves were all over the front yard. Those are just the little things that stick with you.
I also remember pulling into the driveway and for a while I found myself parking my car where Aaron parked his van. His shaggin wagon as we all called it. This song came on and that song has stuck with me since. Also "smiling down" by Pillar.
My music is set and ready, many of the songs that I chose are songs that also take me back to when I was a kid exploring the woods alone on my grandmother and grandfathers property, or with my uncle who taught me to embrace the outdoors, he loved to drag me around fishing, snake hunting and just to explore the woods.
He also passed away at the tender age of 19. I will forever now know what my grandmother felt that day. Not only will I take those memories of Aaron but those of my uncle and my childhood with me. I hope to leave behind alot of things that have come my way in this life, some hard to bare. I pray that I can come out of there being the strong woman that I need to be in many areas of my life. First and foremost a stronger Godly woman! The desire to serve Him more has always been in my heart but in times of my selfishness I put Him aside. I want to get back to the heart of worship no matter where life takes me next.
I realize that the dream of this beautiful trail never left my mind or my heart, it was there all along. I truly believe God reveals everything in His own timing. Good or bad. I have to learn to surrender it all a little more and trust Him. :)
Looks like the way is being made and I am prepared for the challenges and ready to overcome the obstacles while I spend time with God as my guide out there. So for now I have been able to break in the shoes and prepare my back for the load I will carry. In the next weeks I will start eating the kind of foods I will be eating out there so I can prepare my tummy for it as well. This has been interesting as I am learning so much from reading about the preperations and the expiriences one has had. Can't wait to get my trail name haha...some people have come out of there with some pretty funny ones. :O)
I guess I will close for now, I hope to post pics of the preparation I have already made. For those who have considered doing something like this, I can only say, you will never know until you put one foot in front of the other and allow the Lord to be your guide in the things your heart desires. Otherwise you may miss out on the blessings he wants to share with you. Never take for granted the many blessings in your life.
I am looking fwd to the story that will follow after I am done with my trip. I am so very excited! As always, my love to each and everyone of you. God Bless.