Just Down the Road

About a month ago, I started meeting with a grief counselor. To some that may seem odd considering Wyatt’s death was a little over 2 years ago. Why now? I truly felt like I was handling life and everything pretty well, but I found myself making excuses for different facets of my life that weren’t going right. That isn’t me. I would reason it out and use logic, to the best of my capabilities, to give myself an out. That isn’t me. That isn’t the new me either. I was the common denominator in those pieces that weren’t and aren’t going as they should. I’ve exhausted all other options so there I sat in my family doctor’s office asking for help. He referred me to a wonderful lady that, in just 3 sessions, has forced things out of me that I didn’t know I had buried.

That’s what happens in death though. You don’t just bury your loved one; you bury pieces of you. Every session she asks me “What has Wyatt taught you?” I given her a few answers, but being that I’m not expecting the question, I haven’t thoroughly reflected on it to give her a well-rounded answer. She has also asked me “Does his death change your thoughts of heaven?” Now that one didn’t take long to think on, considering I think of him in heaven almost daily.

So, what has Wyatt taught me? He has taught me that I am stronger than I realize. He has shown me that it is okay to be selfish when I’m guarding what is most precious to me. He has revealed to me that no amount of distance can change how I feel about my children. (I should really remember this when his brothers get older and move away.) He has given me the ability to love in a manner that I didn’t know existed. I don’t feel that I love my children more than others love their kids. I just love a little differently. He has taught me the value of silence and reaffirmed the need for daily reflection in my life. Most importantly, he has opened my eyes to the realization that life purposes change and that though a leap may be scary, I’ve lived through the worst, so I might as well give it a go. He keeps teaching me and showing me things that I need, even if I don’t want to see them.

Are my thoughts of heaven changed? Not really. I still view heaven as this place where hurt and anguish are nonexistent. I still presume that heaven is not the end but yet, a beginning to an eternal life with the Lord. His death has just brought heaven a whole lot closer. Sure, I thought about it from time to time before Wyatt, but now it is a part of my life. It is a part of my other children’s life. His big brother talks about heaven like it is just down the road. I’m sure his little brother will also have a different perspective of heaven. What Wyatt’s death did change was my view of death. He didn’t die in the natural order of life. His little life only existed within me for 39 weeks and 2 days. He never saw the stars from Earth and now he looks down from them. He never played in the dirt; instead, he plays in the clouds. When you feel your child move one day inside of you and then find yourself clinging to his lifeless body the next, death just sucker punches you. It isn’t the sweet relief from pain or ailment. It isn’t “going to a better place.” It’s harsh; it’s cold; it’s cruel.

Many of you might think “Why would you share such a private conversation you had with a counselor?” Why wouldn’t I? I don’t tell everyone everything; that’s how I guard my heart. I know that not every parent that has lost thinks or feels like I do. I know that some feel my writing about Wyatt or my feelings keeps the misery alive. Well, my children (not just Wyatt) have taught me that IT ISN’T ABOUT ME. I honestly feel that my purpose in this life is to give of myself to those that need it, regardless of the capacity. You need to know that you can learn from those that aren’t with you anymore. You need to know that no matter how brutal death hits you, it doesn’t have to define you. You need to know that there isn’t a proper amount of time for you to grieve or to seek help for that grief. You need to know that it doesn’t have to be misery. I’m sad that he isn’t with us, but I’m still so happy that I’m his mom and honored that God entrusted me to keep his memory alive. With love-Heather


  1. Pamela pritchett

    Thanks you so much for sharing. The last sentences hit home for me. We are emptying out my parents house this week and reliving the grief of Dad’s passing a year and a half ago. So many memories. Most of them happy, and even the happy ones are mixed with tears as we grieve Dad yet again. There is so much healing in the tears and it is definitely ok to grieve and talk about your loved ones. Thank you again for sharing your heart.

    • Heather

      I know how much your dad meant to you. There is something so bizarre about smiling while crying tears of sadness, but it is all acceptable. You guys are in my prayers. Just cling to your family and that sweet Thomas!!

  2. Sharon short

    Oh heather your beautiful words touched a spot in my heart and spoke a truth that I feel about my loved ones I lost to early in my life. Thank you for sharing.

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