I got busy. I stopped keeping up with my Google Reader (RIP), and some 6 months or so go by, and I get back on Reader, see something that catches my eye. She said something about being sorry for Schmoops, how she let him down, how she didn't do enough to save him... I gasped. Surely nothing had happened to him. Her firstborn, her oldest son... I knew he'd had some stress in the Army. I knew that he was close to his family, and there were other things that had been going on, but never ever did I expect or anticipate what I would discover, going back and catching up on the blogs I'd missed.
CJ was gone.
Her firstborn. Her Schmoops. Her baby. There was some sort of situation that he went to his car, at the end of their driveway. He took his life. One shot. He was gone.
I had missed the day she shared the tragic news, but in the moment I realized her sadness, caught up on the words, the regret, the pain she had, I messaged her immediately. I friended her on facebook, and each time she posted, her pain was so public, but I understood it. I cried with her over and over again. I've prayed for her more.
Yesterday, 42 months after CJ left, she posted the most beautiful request on her page. I've copied and pasted below:
"Been thinking a lot lately about CJ's ashes and the lack of a final resting place. Both John and I feel strongly that we do not want the burden of disposal to fall to Connor when we are gone. We truly believe that it's our responsibility to attend to.
Our son did not get to see the world as he might have if he had lived. Our son did not experience travel as he might have if he had lived. Our son did not experience adventures as he might have if he had lived.
He just didn't. And it breaks my heart.
And it makes me want to give him these things if I can.
John and I want our beloved Shmoops to see the world, BECOME part of a world he didn't get to see.
We'd love for our son to see the mountains that he never got to climb, see the vast oceans that he would have loved, see tropical beaches and lands far and away.
We believe that CJ would be happy to know that caring and sensitive people, both friends and strangers alike, took him on an adventure and sprinkled a small portion of his ashes in places worth seeing.
We have already begun spreading small amounts of our son in places that meant something to him: Oqunguit Beach, Hampton Beach, the Marginal Way, Florida and even a certain ballpark that he loved.
Kimmy and Ryan graciously took him to Washington, DC and scattered him in an area dedicated to the military.
Some of his ashes are scattered below the tree planted in his honor at The Loop in Methuen.
We've scattered some of his ashes but we have a lot left.
Would love to have people, through the power of social media, spread this post to see if anyone out there would be willing to take some of my son's ashes and show him the world. To show him a beautiful place he never made it to and to scatter his ashes at that location.
All I ask is that you promise to think of my amazing son even if you didn't know him. That you find the right place to send my son off on a journey. That you think about all the lives he saved through organ donation. That you tell him that his mom will always love him. And that's she sorry. YOU MUST AGREE TO SAY THAT. Because I am and I need him to hear it as the last thing he hears before he takes off.
I would ask that you take a picture of the location you scattered his ashes and write a description of the moment. Where you alone? Was it sunny? Windy? Near water? Rainy? Was their a view? If you can also take a second photo of his ashes actually being scattered, that would be truly appreciated.
My plan is to publish a journal of his adventures (SOARING AFTER SUICIDE) and hopefully publish it. ALl proceeds would go to the NEw England Organ Bank.
Not sure if it will end up being publish worthy but CJ's story IS worth sharing. This is just another way to do it.
AM I CRAZY?
Are there people out there that are willing to help this heartbroken mom give her beloved son one last adventure?
SUICIDE IS A BEAST.
I can't let the beast win.
I MUST find a way for my son to soar across the universe."
I commented immediately, willing and wanting to share Austin w/ CJ and Hallie, and their family. Thinking, if anything, it was the least I could do, to offer. Honestly thinking that she would appreciate it, but most likely He'd travel to exotic and fantastic, wonderful, places.
I got to work to see a message from Hallie, thanking me for my offer, and questions regarding the places I could offer to take CJ, to share, to help extend an ounce of peace. I cried. I cried a lot.
I cried while responding to her. My heart breaks for this family, for Hallie carrying the guilt and burden of that moment.
I want to cry again.
I don't know when CJ will be in Austin, but I look forward to the time I will spend with him, his ashes, and the words I will share with this family. I hope one day I can meet them all, extend a hug and get to know more about the son / brother they lost.
I will let you all know, so that if you'd like to join me on CJs Austin adventure, and visit, you can do so.
Please be praying for this family, as nearly 2 years later, their grief is no less, the pain has not and will not subside, as they continue to live, missing their loved one.
All because I Googled "Wiener Dogs".