Saturday, January 27, 2018

Letter to JJ from Katie

I wanted to share my very favorite Christmas present. A week before JJ was born Sharry and I both wrote our hopes and dreams for our new beloved baby boy. I cherish Sharry's letter so so much and know it will someday mean the world to him. This Christmas my top gift request I asked of Katie was for her to write JJ a letter with her hopes and dreams for JJ. I realize this was a high pressure one time gift request and was half expecting her not to do it but she totally delivered. Katie continues to surprise and amaze as our love and relationship grows. I also asked her if it would be ok with her if I shared it on the blog and she approved. Lovesharred continues to expand.

Hi baby boy,

I'm writing this to you during the last week of 2017. It is unbelievable to me that we hadn't even met when this year began, and now I can't imagine my life without you in it. Over the last 8 months, you and your dad have become the people I cherish most in the world. Before you were born, your dad and your beautiful angel mama wrote down their hopes and dreams for you. This year, your dad was thoughtful and generous enough to ask me to do the same. That is what this letter will be, but the first and most important thing I want you to know is that I love you so much. I can't express how grateful I am that you came into my life and filled it with more love, meaning, and purpose than I could have hoped for. When it comes down to it, finding love, meaning, and purpose are my greatest hopes for you as well JJ (but I'm still going to write a whole bunch more so bear with me).

Your very first day on earth, life already tested you in ways that many people can't even imagine. Life showed you how unfair it can be, how heartbreaking, how cruel, how unpredictable. And yet...I know you today 18 months later as a sweet, smart, funny, curious, healthy and loving little boy who brings so much joy to us all. Before you even left the hospital, you became an example of what else life can be. All of the beauty, magic, and promise that will always be there to balance out the darkness, as long as you are able to let it in. You are so strong JJ. I pray you will always remember that as life continues to challenge you in the million different ways that it will. I hope that you are able to remember in your darkest times just how much you can bear. I hope that you never lose hope, instead using the strength of your spirit and the support of those who love you to always fight for the happiness you so deserve. The genuine happiness that I want for you above anything else.

My dream for you is that this happiness comes through honest and deep love for others and for the earth. You already have so many people who love you so completely, and a guardian angel who will carry you in her heart for eternity. I hope that this well of unconditional love is something you never doubt, and that it will lift you up and inspire you to spread peace and love to all the lives you touch. Your angel mama's legacy and your dad's example will help you to learn that compassion and empathy are your greatest guides for living well and making a real difference in this world. I hope that your dad and I are able to help teach you these traits by example and through stories, art, religion, and all of our family travels and adventures.

I want you to find your people and form lifelong friendships full of love, humor, and generosity. But I also hope you are able to see pieces of the divine in all people, even the ones you share nothing in common with. I want you to someday find a partner whose soul connects to yours in a way that is everlasting and fills you with courage and contentment. This is what I have been lucky enough to find with your dad, and what your dad has with your mom as well. I hope this love extends to yourself too. I want you to always be able to recognize your value and embrace the wonderful, flawed, beautiful person you become. I pray you'll find your passions in life and never stop fighting for the people and things you care most about.

I hope that you continue to nurture your connection with nature. Right now you would be outside 24/7 if anyone would let you. You are continually fascinated and delighted with dandelions, piles of fallen leaves, any and every rock you can throw, bubbles, water, dirt...and so on. I pray you hold on to this, and that it brings a deeper level of gratitude and wonder to your life every day.

Finally, I hope you always feel the strength and power of your angel mama's love and support. It will never be ok that she doesn't get to hold you here on earth, but she will hold you in her heart forever, as you will hold her. Your mom left behind so many different pieces of herself that will help you get to know the kind of special soul she was. Your dad can't wait to share that with you. I hope you are able to embrace that connection, and that it helps you to carry the burden of your loss. I also hope you never doubt that though nothing can replace what you lost, in me you will always have a mother here on earth who sees you and loves you as her son.

Truly JJ, I want you to have a fun, adventurous, passionate, meaningful life full of love. However that looks for you, I will always be there to support you, cheer for you, nurture you, and love you for the rest of my life and whatever comes after. I love you JJ.



Saturday, January 6, 2018

One year can make a world of difference

It is amazing the difference a year can make! Christmas break 2016 I did not want to be on a break. It was a time of grief, darkness, mourning, and loss. I would have much rather been at work which was my refuge from the catastrophic storm of life. I even spent a night sleeping and freezing in the cemetery! A year later, of course, I still desperately miss Sharry but along with that this time there is light, excitement and joy.

I had the therapeutic experience of sharing our story on a podcast in 2016. Strangers is a podcast with the expressed mission of connecting people and growing empathy for its listeners which is very much in line with my life goals. You can listen here to the podcast from a year ago where I was able to share mine and Sharry’s love story and the tragedy that tore us apart.

They reached out to me one year later to do a follow-up story on where I was at. This time in addition to me they interviewed Katie and my mom. There is a clear distinction in the tone. It is more hopeful, positive and full of love and light. Both podcasts continue the Buhanan-Decker family mantra of Lovesharred and are available on podcast apps as under the podcast Strangers.

Now for holiday updates via pictures!

JJ developed quite a fear for "real" Santas hohoho

Then on December 26th Katie and I traveled to the birthplace of western civilization...Greece. We had a fabulous time and thank you to Grandma Decker for watching a cute but demanding baby JJ for a whole week! 

We amazingly were promoted to business class free of charge for our 13 hour flight back...never flown so good! We both attest it to angel Sharry pulling some strings. (o: