This weekend marks 3 years since we last held our sweet Brexton. It doesn’t seem possible that we’ve endured 1,095 days without his earthly presence. In the midst of deep pain and grief you sometimes just put one foot in front of the other. You simply wake up and with God’s grace you make it through another day. But something I’ve learned along the way is that in order to make it through loss we must learn to grieve deeply, grieve fully and grieve with hope. Grief is not something to be avoided or shoved down by busyness and distraction. Grief is actually a gift from God to us to help us heal from loss. I remember several months after Brexton died Martin and I went trail running by the lake. I tripped over a big tree root and fell hard. That fall took a huge chunk of skin and flesh off of my shoulder that brought so much pain. My shoulder was completely raw. After a few days I just couldn’t handle the pain and simply covered my wound with a huge bandage. What a relief that bandage was because it kept me from fully “feeling” the stinging pain on my shoulder! But then I had to change the bandage out a few days later. And when I pulled it off I winced in pain as the bandage took with it the thin scab that was beginning to cover my wound. I felt like the healing process had to begin all over again! Then God started showing me the same is true for our hearts when we experience loss and deep pain. We need time to grieve and actually feel the pain. God intends for us to heal from tragedy, death and loss. And grief is part of the healing process. Stuffing all of our feelings, emotions and pain down deep inside is like putting a bandage over my raw shoulder and one day down the road having to rip that bandage off. I still have that scar on my shoulder and it is a constant reminder that grief is important, grief is necessary and grief is part of our earthly journey. This earth is not the end for us and so we also grieve with hope knowing that one day a big reunion will take place and death will no longer be part of our lives! So in this season (and in every season) as we remember Brexton we continue to ride the waves of grief. In the beginning they were massive waves that took our breath away every minute of every day. The waves still come but not quite as often. But when they do come we ride them, we cry and we remember. We let ourselves stop and actually feel the pain and loss. Then there is a release of all those feelings and emotions. Instead of bottling them up...we let them out and somehow that helps us make it another day, another month and another year without our sweet boy. So don’t be afraid to grieve deeply, to grieve fully and to grieve with hope because it’s such an important part of our emotional, mental and physical healing from loss.