2011 started out with freak New Year's Eve storms and tornadoes here in St. Louis. What foreshadowing. So far, the year and its events and weather have followed that turbulent pattern, often riding side-by-side with my grief and sorrow.
I think back to the eternal optimism I felt at the very beginning of the year, when I sent out our "Happy 2011" cards featuring your giant, toothy smile. How could I have known that most of the card's recipients would be gathered around us just three weeks later at your memorial service...
As I reflect on the horrible tornadoes that ripped through Joplin, MO on Sunday evening, I realize I have much to be thankful for in terms of the time we had with you and the circumstances around how we lost you. Not that any death or loss is better, easier, worse, more tragic. But I find peace and comfort in the knowledge that you didn't suffer at all. You never knew a day of pain. The last day we had you - Tuesday, January 25 - was one of your best days at school. Your final "report card" from your beloved Miss Amanda and Miss Krista raved about what fun you had in art class with a GIANT smile on your face all day! You went to bed that night and had play time, love, hugs, kisses and stories from me AND Dadda, which never happened! And then, sometime in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 26 your brain just stopped telling your little body to breathe. Quietly, peacefully called to your new home.
My heart breaks for the families in Joplin who lived their last moments together in terror. I pray for their comfort and healing. And I hope they are able to replace the images and memories of those last moments with their lifetime of wonderful, happy memories. It is so hard to imagine the number of people in one, small, tightly knit community having to suffer through these unimaginable losses. I have a hard time thinking of just one other family having to deal with this, much less a whole town.
Peanut, look out for those families and all the new kids I'm sure you're meeting in heaven. I'll bet you can show them the ropes, teach them how to visit their families and provide a sense of love, peace and eventual hope. Teach them how to send butterflies and rainbows. And, remind them that someday we will all be together again.
Sorry this posting is a little late, 'Nut. We lost power yesterday, so I was able to write this but not get it posted until this afternoon. I've back-dated it, and will have another letter for you later tonight. So, until then, know how much I love you, how much I miss you, and that every tear I've shed today is a tear of love, honor and remembrance.