Five Years….

Five years ago today was the last time I saw Austin.  Five years ago tomorrow is the last time anyone we know of saw him or spoke with him.  It’s truly unbelievable.  Honest to God unbelievable.  As in, sometimes I have a moment of thinking I’ve made up this whole thing in my head and laugh at how crazy I am for making it up.  Then I remember it’s real.

I’ve been trying to think of how to express what I feel, and I’m still at a loss.  But this photo might tell it best.  I’m standing beside those I love, with the past in the near distance, and holding out that smiling face hoping that someone will see the color and the life and remember Austin.  It’s not that our lives are now in black and white- but that our lives are now a canvas for sharing our story of hope, and any talents that we have, for those who are hurting.    

I’m not sure if Austin being gone was truly God’s will, or if Austin being gone was God allowing Austin free will while working in it and through it regardless.  I’d rather him just be here.  I’d rather not have to explain what I feel on the anniversary of the last time I saw him.  I’d rather not say that I don’t recall what we said, what he wore, or if he was laughing or smiling.

I’d rather not have had my son mention yesterday, on his birthday, that five years is a long time and we don’t know if Austin is alive or not.  I’d rather Austin have just been here to help us celebrate.

We don’t have that choice, so instead we hold him out, hoping someone remembers.  And we hold our story and our talents out, hoping we can help others who are hurting.  We remember what’s behind us, but we focus forward. 

Now that I write this out, I do know how I feel today.  Mostly, I feel grateful….that I had a brother, and that there have been so many willing to share their hearts and their talents with us.  And that makes the hurt so much easier to share.

**I also want to thank a good friend for taking these photos that express today so much better than words could.  Talk about sharing your talent….  George Bass Photography