Dan Stringer

navigating the convergence of faith, culture and the common good

Grief journal (1 year)

November 20, 2011

I’ve been dreading this day for quite some time. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since we lost Vincent. He seems further away than ever. Since I don’t want to write anything new today, let’s instead take a look back at the journey I’ve documented these past 12 months:

November 20, 2010:  “Yesterday, there were two cute little boys under our roof. Tomorrow there will be one.”

December 3, 2010: (Memorial service) “Tonight, as we honor the impact and influence of Vincent’s life I am no longer in the role of a grieving son. This time, I am the grieving father.”

December 20, 2010: Vincent’s memorial video: “Victorious in Jesus’ Arms”

January 20, 2011: “I don’t always want to talk about Vincent, but I do. I don’t want to change the subject, but I do.”

February 20, 2011: “We  visited his grave twice last week. The soil is still soft, no marker yet.”

March 20, 2011: (from Chicago) “If heaven is real, my son’s value is rooted in far more than an earthly family who misses him or a cemetery marker bearing his name. And if Vincent is now truly safe with God in a place beyond this world, there is now hope of an expiration date, both for my despair and the sufferings of humanity across the globe.”

April 20, 2011: “Next month is going to be especially difficult. Mother’s Day is May 8. Vincent’s birthday is May 10. My graduation is May 14. We fly out May 16 to visit Rebecca’s parents in the Philippines. Plenty of significant events in the month of May will remind us exactly how much our family shrunk on November 20, 2010. We’ll always be one Vincent short of a complete family. I’ll always be one Vincent short of being a happy daddy.”

May 20, 2011: (from Manila) “He was such a great kid, that boy. Inquisitive and curious. Playful with a sneaky streak. Good instincts, big heart. Guaranteed handsome and talented. So much potential. He wasn’t ready to go. Kept fighting to the end. He loved all of us.”

June 20, 2011: (from Manila) “I wish Vincent could have seen the Philippines. I wish the Philippines could have seen him… I’m still not ready to admit that I’ve accepted Vincent’s death, but I’m starting to think that tears are not the only way to honor his memory.”

July 20, 2011: “I’m just thankful we got to say goodbye… I wouldn’t trade my time with Vincent for anything, except maybe for more time with Vincent.”

August 20, 2011: “Nine months before Vincent was born, I had no idea we were having another son. Nine months since his passing, I have no idea how to live without him. He was an unexpected gift; neither did I foresee giving him away.”

September 20, 2011: “There’s only so much to say, and I’ve already said plenty. I don’t want more words, just more Vincent. He was super.”

October 20, 2011: “We still miss you, Vin.”

Today: I’m not sure I can keep doing this every month. I don’t have much more to to say, so this could be it for a while.