Twenty Years Later

This year marks 20 years since Brandon’s passing. Brandon is my son. He died of cancer at the age of 13 ½ on February 21, 1996. I have to approach this occasion differently now because I do this without Jim, his dad and my husband, because he has passed also. He died November 14, 2014, one year and three months ago.

Not that I’m alone in remembering Brandon, but Jim and I together had our own way of remembering. Actually, it was kind of awkward. I didn’t like Jim to see me cry and Jim didn’t like to see Brandon’s pictures. Jim had a tendency to focus on what could have been. I focused more on what had been. But at least we knew and understood each other. We had this thing, you know, a bond, a shared experience. And it was sacred.

Our marriage was not an easy one. Only by God’s grace and mercy did we make it to the ‘until death do us part.’ The ‘for better or for worse’ and the ‘for richer or for poorer’ almost did us in. The amazing thing is that Brandon’s battle with cancer united us. His passing cemented us.

When I think about Brandon I think about Jim. I get mad because Jim’s not here for me. I get happy because he gets to be with Brandon. It’s sometimes hard for me to process all this and untangle my thoughts from emotions and my words from memories.

Taking walks helps me to straighten out the jumbled and knotted strings in my head. So I head to the trail at the end of my neighborhood. The sky is bright. The day is warming up. The path is uncongested. I’m ready for clarification, direction and inspiration.

As I walk I notice that the path widely curves around and passes by three different housing developments. At certain points I see and hear cars on the road just beyond the line of trees that separates us. I realize my actual location isn’t my perceived location. Hmm…

That road out there, I’ve driven on it. I have taken a left off the main road onto that road which took me to the back areas. I have cruised through those neighborhoods back there far from the main road. I have thought to myself if I move I don’t want to live that far away. This is really funny. I drove from my house about a half mile to this trail which I now realize backs right up to those far away neighborhoods.

I’m not walking that road or those neighborhoods, but they are right there next to me. Kind of like Jim and Brandon. We’re not walking the same paths or roads but we are right next to each other. Jim used to be on my path. Now he’s on Brandon’s. It’s almost like I hear them laughing and having a great time just beyond that line that separates us.

The anniversary of Brandon’s passing has changed for me now that Jim is gone. The pain of it has lessoned over the years and more so now. I don’t know why, maybe because they’re together. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I know one day I will be with them again. In the meantime I’ll keep taking my walks all the while paying close attention to what I may glimpse on the path beyond the trees.

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13 thoughts on “Twenty Years Later

  1. Although our paths only crossed that one weekend, I think of you often. I don’t know how I would cope without John and I have bargained with God to let us all die together. Your analogy of paths being separate but close is beautiful. I pray that you continue to feel God’s presence.

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  2. Dear Suzanne

    What a beautiful tribute to Jim and Brandon. Love you Suzanne. My heart breaks for your double loss yet you remain a very strong woman. God bless you Honey! Looking forward to your next visit! 💕

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  3. Suzanne—thank you for sharing your authentic thoughts today. Your words are holy and pierced my heart. I am so honored to know your story. May you continue to receive peace, hope and new glimpses of truth. 💗

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  4. I needed to read this today. The concept of not being where we thought we were…hmmm, fits a lot of scenarios. I remember you often. God seems to speak more clearly in the difficult seasons of life. Or are we just listening more clearly? Blessings to you in this season.

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  5. Eloquently written my dear Suzanne; I think of you and your story often, sometimes when I am in the middle of something I don’t think I will ever see the end of, seeing your beautiful spirit through it all makes remember there is always peace to be found.
    Blessings my friend.

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  6. My favorite lines: “We’re not walking the same paths or roads but we are right next to each other. Jim used to be on my path. Now he’s on Brandon’s.”

    I’m glad I’m on the same path as you. I enjoy our walks.😘

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