A Celebration of Life

Two years ago today we celebrated Wyatt’s life. A day that was largely a blur. Foggy, at best.

I still find myself buffering memories. I allow myself to only remember so much and then I have to shut it off. I can only let so much in at a time before it becomes overwhelming.

I remember preparing for that day. I found a dress with Dodger blue. And I got Dodger blue sunglasses and flip flops to match. It felt weird to buy a dress for what was surely the saddest event of my life. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to buy a dress for this.”

But I did. And we celebrated Wyatt’s life. Because he deserved that. He deserved a celebration to remember and honor him.

As I’ve allowed some memories to flow today, there are some that stand out.

Standing in my kitchen holding my sister in law, Casey’s hands as she prayed for strength for me. Looking at her as we talked about how I was going to get through this. And I distinctly remember saying, “I can do this. I’ve already lived through the worst day of my life.”

The family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers who came from all aspects of our lives.

The endless stream of hugs from those who came.

Turning around to look across Eastside and see the sea of people who were there and catching my breath.

Seeing Shane surrounded by his friends.

Sitting between Brooks and my mom while cherished people in our lives spoke about Wyatt and our family.

The sweet friends and members of our community who put the entire event together.

This morning, already reflecting on the memories of Wyatt’s Celebration of Life, I heard this song.

Before Wyatt died, I equated it with our life. We were living a good life and I knew it. I even used it in a video I made as a collection of moments from 2013. Life was so good then.

When I hear that song now, I have mixed emotions. It hurts to think of what is gone. What will never be. But I also often see it as a celebration of what we’ve had and still have. And sometimes I think it’s a reminder of the good life that Wyatt had, short as it may have been.

As I look back on this day two years ago, it’s still foggy. There is a lot I don’t remember. But what I do remember is this. An immense feeling of love. Love for Wyatt. And love for our family. The goodness in others. The ability of people to come together for those who are in need. The kindness and compassion of our community. And a day spent remembering and celebrating a good life. A life cut short. But still a good life, that has changed my life forever.

I love you, pun’kin. I’ll miss you forever.


Honoring Wyatt at the 2 Year Mark

This week has been a lot of revisiting and remembering. The 2 year mark will arrive tomorrow and with it, a lot of painful memories, a lot of tears. But I’ve also been revisiting the kindness that we have seen and received.

I was just looking back on one year ago. When we were coming up on this anniversary for the very first time. Wow, was that hard. But the kindness that was shown to us and shared throughout our community and beyond was amazing. Between personal messages we received, social media posts that were shared, and those we encountered throughout the week, I am still in awe. So many expressed kindness in their own ways and shared Wyatt’s memory. These are the greatest gifts that we can receive.

So, what are we doing this year? How are we honoring Wyatt? Through kindness again. We have a few things planned ourselves. And like last year, we ask that anyone who would like to honor Wyatt do so in kindness. Do something nice for someone else. Something unexpected. Something out of the blue. Or maybe it is something planned. Something as simple as a smile. A hug. Treat someone to a coffee. Hold the door for someone. Let someone know you care. Do a favor for a neighbor. Play a little longer with your kids.

Do it in honor of Wyatt. Do it in his memory. Do it to keep his spirit alive.

If you’d like to share, post it somewhere on social media and use the hashtag #WyattsWay. Or keep it private. Some of the best acts of kindness are anonymous.

And really, there are no rules.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Wyatt would be smiling at the efforts of kindness in his name. And the love that still flows for him.

I can’t say that year 2 is any easier. In some ways it has been even harder. We still miss Wyatt with every ounce of our beings. There is still a hole in our lives where he should be. Grief can still sneak up and grab me at the drop of a hat.

The kindness and love of our family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers has carried us through and will continue to do so. We are ever grateful for that. Thank you for remembering our boy with us. It truly is the greatest gift.

His Spirit

This will forever be one of my very favorite photos of Wyatt. I can see his spirit. Wyatt loved to have fun. He had a great sense of humor and was willing to be silly. He would go out on a limb and do something goofy to get a laugh.

And he always did things at full tilt. Just like he’s eating his spaghetti in this picture. He didn’t hold back and he wanted to get the most out of everything he did.

And I think he did that. I’m grateful for that. Grateful that he took chances and took advantage of experiences. And that we were able to provide many of those experiences for him. ❤️

It’s Been a While…

I’ve been struggling with posting. It’s self inflicted, but a struggle still.

I know that my posts often make people sad. I wonder if others think I should be over it or move on. I wonder if others get tired of reading about my struggle, my sorrow, my sadness.

I do know that writing is a huge help for me. It helps me to process and quite frankly, helps me to be able to function and continue on.

From the time I started writing about losing Wyatt and what I’ve been experiencing, I’ve written for myself. To try to process things, to try to make sense of things for myself.

I could continue to write and just stuff it in a drawer or leave it on my phone for my eyes only. But what I’ve experienced and Wyatt’s life is worth more than that. Yes, Wyatt’s sweet life is worth more than to be hidden or forgotten. His sweet spirit deserves to be remembered.

I want more than anything for him to be remembered. I want the sweet kind 8 year old who was a friend to everyone, who stuck up for other kids, who was anxious to invite others to play, who was talented and competitive, yet humble and kind to be remembered. I want to remember every last sweet memory I can squeeze out of my brain. I want those who knew him to remember him and those who didn’t to know who he was.

So I will continue to write. And I will continue to post. I have a back log of writing that I’ve just held onto, not posting for whatever reasons were in my head. I’m going to work on posting the backlog along with what is to come.

I’m going to post my writing. I’ve decided that online platforms are a pretty cool thing. You can choose to read what you want. And not read the things that you don’t want to. It’s a choice for all of us.

The idea that I might help someone is pretty significant to me. Trying to find help in those early days of grief was hard. Northern California, or the rest of the world for that matter, doesn’t have a whole lot to offer in the area of grief. Losing a child is a big deal. And thankfully many never experience it. But for those that do, it’s helpful to know you aren’t alone. If one person gets something from what I write, well, that’s more than enough.

The other side of this is for those who know someone who has lost a child. I will admit that I never would have known what to do, what to say. I stumble over words and often feel like I can’t find the right words to say still when others are hurting. I hope I can share something that might help someone who is trying to provide comfort. I’m by far no expert, but my experience may be helpful to someone else.

And if my writing just hangs out here, that’s ok, too. It’s my processing. My thoughts. My feelings.

So, as I stated when I first started my blog, feel free to stay a while. I’m happy to have company. But I also know that I am now made up of the things that other people fear. I am not for the faint of heart. I carry knowledge and an understanding that is heartbreaking, at best. Regardless of all of that, I welcome you, but I also understand that some may not want to stay very long. I love you all the same.

Almost two years later, is it better? No

Does it hurt less? No

It doesn’t hurt any less. In the blink of an eye, and sometimes for no real reason, I can be transported back to the day, the moments when my heart realized that we were losing Wyatt. When I felt my heart being torn apart. When I felt the heartbreak that couldn’t be healed. When I felt like my world was ending.

And my world did end. As I knew it. As it was. As I was. I’m still the same, but different. I’ll never really be the same person again. I’m still grappling with that and struggling with what that means. There is beauty in what I was and in what I’ve become, what I will continue to become. There is also horror and pain and anger and sadness.

So this is what I’ve decided. This is my little corner of the web. I’ll continue to share. The good, the bad, whatever comes. I welcome you to visit, comment, stay briefly or for a while. Whatever works for you. If you don’t want to visit, that’s okay too. That’s the beauty of the internet and frankly, the written word no matter where it lives. It is there for the taking for those who want. For those who don’t, it can be left.

I am grateful for you all. Those who read. Those who comment. Those who quietly read and do not comment. This grief thing belongs to everyone individually. There’s no guidebook, no set of steps or rules. We all just have to do the best we can.

I know that some of the things I post can be hard to read. I know I’ve written things that some might take offense to. None of this is personal. I would never try to shame anyone, blame anyone, call anyone out. I am fully aware that people say things and do things they don’t mean to. Believe me because I’m sure I’ve unintentionally done that. But knowing that about myself, I want to share with others. Even when you say the wrong thing, it’s okay. None of us are perfect. But through sharing, I believe we better understand. In my opinion, at least you did something. But there we go anyway, this is all an opinion. It’s feelings and thoughts. And no one says any of it is right or wrong.

And if nothing else, memories of my sweet Wyatt will live here. I will continue to share pictures, stories, thoughts of him. My greatest fear is those memories slipping through the cracks in my memory and being lost forever. I’m going to do my darndest to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here’s to sharing a journey and remembering my sweet, sweet boy and his sweet soul. 💙

A Christmas Tradition

A few days ago Bird in Hand posted this status on their Facebook wall. Brooks had shared this story with them.

Bird in Hand is a local store here in Chico. They sell all sorts of fun stuff for adults and kids. Bird in Hand also hosts the National Yo-Yo Museum. I used to take Wyatt to Bird in Hand for Yo-Yo lessons occasionally on weekends. He was in awe of the older kids who could do all the crazy yo-yo tricks.

Every year, downtown Chico hosts Christmas Preview on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. All the stores are open for the evening showing off their goods for the holiday season. Some shop windows are filled with dancers or singers. Santa is there for the kids. And many of the shops give out cookies and maybe even hot cider.

We go every year. It’s great fun and a great way to start the holiday season.

An important stop during Christmas Preview is always Bird in Hand. Bird in Hand always hands out a new button for the season. The year that Wyatt was maybe 4 or 5, he really got into the buttons from Bird in Hand. Before we left the house for Christmas Preview that year, we collected all the buttons I had from previous years and pinned them on his Santa hat to wear to Christmas Preview.  He was so anxious to get his new button to add to his hat.  Since then, every year he would wear his Santa hat with all the buttons so he could get the new button for the year and add it to the collection.

We still haven’t missed a year of Christmas Preview. And perhaps the most important stop is Bird in Hand for our buttons. And we still get one for Wyatt’s Santa hat.

Family Photos

All the family photos. They kill me. I love them, but they kill me.

I’ll never have a complete family picture again. There will always be a hole. Right now it feels like a chasm that I may just fall into.

All the photos of smiling kids. Holding their parents hands. Leaning into their Mom or Dad.

Don’t get me wrong, I am utterly grateful for what I have. I love Brooks and Shane more than I have words for. They are my world. I do love pictures with them. And I will cherish them. Believe me, I know how precious they are.


And I don’t begrudge others their family photos. I want to see them. I want to see the smiles. The love. The completeness. Because I don’t want anyone else to feel like I do. I want to see that those I love and care about are whole.

It’s just at times like this, when everyone is looking for a good family photo for the Christmas card. When everyone under the sun is posting their family pictures with the sweet sayings about being thankful…. I am thankful too. It’s just mixed with sadness and even anger because my family picture is forever altered.


And when I walk away from the family photos by the rock at the cabin. The same rock where I have taken countless whole family photos. On the same yearly trek that my child has been on every year until he died.  On the first trip back to this place at this time without him.  Where I held him as a baby. Where I corralled him as a toddler. Where he held my hand and leaned into me as a sweet little boy who was mine. Please know that it’s not about you or anything you did. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m not trying to spoil the mood. Or make everyone sad. Or not cooperate.

I just need a moment. A moment to collect myself. To calm my breath. To catch myself from falling into that abyss that is the empty space where my baby should be.

I need to harness the panic that is rising in my chest. The panic that makes my heart race, my breath catch, and my brain spin. I’m learning how to harness it. Because it still comes. It will never stop rearing it’s ugly head. Because my baby isn’t coming back. He’ll never be in the family picture again. But I am learning how to harness that beast.

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And only I know how to do that. Only I know how to catch myself. Whatever other’s thoughts or beliefs or opinions, they belong to them. I have to do my grief my way. When I walk off from these moments… I’m trying not to lose my shit in front of everyone. I’m trying to save face. I’m trying not to crumble into a trembling pile of sobs in front of you. Because even though others may not want to believe it, or some might even think I should be over that phase, that still happens. And more than anything, I’m actually trying to spare everyone the pain that is ripping through my heart.

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Please know I will come back. I’m harnessing the beast. I’m letting some of the tears run their course because that is how I will heal. Some of the sobs are escaping to make room in my chest to breathe. Because the deep breaths I take will calm the panic and chase the beast away.

So, when these moments happen, it’s not about you. Or what you said. Or what you did.  Please don’t take it personally.  I appreciate the space you give me to gather my dignity and put the smile back on my face. It can be the greatest gift I am given in these moments. These moments when my family picture is not and will never be whole again.


In Honor of Wyatt

Many have asked if or how we are honoring Wyatt this week. Wednesday, May 24th will be a year since he left us.  

We’ve given this a lot of thought. I’ve pondered many ideas from elaborate to simple. I’ve asked myself, “What would Wyatt want? What would mean the most to him?”

In our hearts, the best thing that we can all do to honor Wyatt is to be KIND. Kindness was Wyatt’s Way. It is how Wyatt was and how he would want us to continue in this life.  

So, very simply, we ask you to be KIND. In whatever way you see fit. Help a neighbor. Do something to brighten someone’s day. Say hello to a stranger. Bring flowers from your garden to brighten the office. Buy the guy behind you in line a coffee. Play with your kids. Take a friend out for ice cream. Pay someone a compliment.

This is what Wyatt would want. And he would be happy to know that the people who love him, are loving each other. 

Let your kindness be random. Let it be planned or spontaneous. Let it be private or let it be public. Whatever feels right. If you’d like to share it, we welcome you to. You can share it on Wyatt’s Facebook page. You can post it anywhere on social media with the hashtag #WyattsWay.

Thank you for loving our boy and for loving us. We have been blessed with kindness beyond what we could have ever imagined from all of you, from friends and strangers. From unimaginable pain has come unimaginable beauty in the kindness that we have been shown. Kindness that is a reflection of our sweet Wyatt and the kindness he showed others. A kindness that we can only hope will carry his memory forward to continue to touch the lives of others.