Tomorrow evening and Saturday morning are going to be two very hard days of my life.
Tomorrow evening is Ethan's viewing and Saturday morning will be his funeral aka life celebration.
This week I've been able to hold myself together rather well. Early morning and right before bed are the hardest for me. That's when my mind has enough time for it to sort of be realistic as my head goes back to a ton of memories.
However, I'm handling this well because I'm simply not dealing with it. It isn't real. I'm going through the motions. But not the emotions.
Ethan was very special to me....and a huge part of my heart. In the past year-and-a-half Ethan slowly wove himself to become an extension of me, a special treasure that slowly started to fuse himself into the innermost parts of my heart.
My life has changed so dramatically since I first met Ethan and Ethan is a huge part of the reason that I am who I am while I sit here and write this. He has not only become a part of me but Ethan has taught me so much about who I am, who I'm not, and about life. He has given me so much more than I could ever give him and taught me so much more than I could have ever taught him.
Ethie was my little ray of sunshine. Quite literally. His smile always lit up the room...but Ethie never failed to light me up. It didn't matter what was going on in my life, what hardships I face, what mood I was in. As soon as I was Ethan, my heart was warmed, my life was brighter, I had hope, and I had joy. Ethan was the most joyful, happy person I have ever met....and he faced hardships daily that I couldn't even imagine facing. He lived his life with joy. In all the time I ever knew him I only heard him really cry twice. Well I heard him cry at night when I babysat for the first bit but I never heard him really CRY but twice. Twice. It didn't matter if he could or couldn't do it, he never gave up trying. It didn't matter if his body couldn't keep going, he never gave up. Even when he couldn't breathe, even when his body was exhausted and failing, he kept pushing it. And he smiled, all the time. I almost never saw him without a smile. There wasn't a time that I couldn't make him laugh or giggle. It was who he was.
And it was through his smiles and love that I found a love that I can't imagine never having felt. I don't have my own kids but I have known the pure, unconditional, wonderful love of a child. And it's so beautiful.
Ethan's love and his smiles and his friendship saved my heart in so many ways since I met him.
My life is richer because of his presence. And because of the presence of his parents.
Annie and Justin are two of the most humble, loving, dedicated and wonderful couples/parents I have ever met. Their example of parenthood and marriage and love towards each other has been so amazing. They welcomed me into their home and their lives, entrusting me with all of their children and entrusting me in the care of their special little boy. They allowed me to come into their home and lives and to receive the love of their children and bond with them in very special unique ways; and I can't thank them enough for that. It has meant the world for me. I don't think Annie and Justin realize how much of an impact their family has had on my life and the special place they will always have in my heart in so many ways. Words like appreciation and gratefulness are simply and never will be sufficient.
God knew I needed Ethan. And I would like to think that in some small way Ethan's life was made a bit more peaceful and happier because I was able to serve him and to serve our Heavenly Father by serving Ethie's needs.
Tomorrow is going to be hard for me. And quite sad. It is going to be all too real.
But I have a sense of peace. Ethan fulfilled his purpose here on earth. And while I am so heartbroken to see him go, I look at my heart and how rich it is, how full it is, because of his presence in my life...and then I look at how many other people he was able to impact in his short five years on earth. I only hope that I can impact a fraction of the lives that Ethie was able to impact and touch in his short five years. More than that, I know that our Heavenly Father has a greater purpose for Ethie in heaven than here on earth. God works everything for a purpose. And He needed Ethan. Ethan was called home. Ethan is now free from the restraints of his earthly body. Ethan is now FREE of the restraints of his earthly body that kept him from doing everything that he wanted to do.
I also am very thankful to the Lord that Ethan died peacefully. I think that the Lord knew on top of the rest of my overwhelmed life that taking Ethan would be a bit unbearable for me. And I thank God so much for allowing me to opportunity to have one last evening with Ethie on thursday before he passed.
Ethan was so excited to see me come over that night! I only got to play with him for a mere 20 minutes before I put them to bed but I got to shoot guns with him and tickle him and play high-five with him. I walked him down the hall with him giggling as I was making him "leap" down the hall. Kaden had picked out three books to read (I always read three books Kaden picked out and then a fourth that we always had to read). I then let Ethan brush his teeth...and of course he giggled because when I said "ok we're all done dude" he found it amusing to pick up his tooth brush again and clamp his teeth down on it and laugh. I then picked him up and carried him into bed.
Kaden had found three books but we couldn't find the fourth book, the book we always had to read...I Love You Through and Through. I looked up high and low, in the bedroom and the office for the book. And I couldn't find it. I didn't like that, because I loved that book. I read it the first time I ever tucked the boys in and it was perfect. I loved those boys and I got to tell them that in this book. Not to mention it was interactive as I always had them point to the body part or make the expression. At the end of the book it says "I love you through and through, yesterday, today and tomorrow, too." I loved that I got to tell them that when I read the book!! However I couldn't find the book...but my thought was "well there's always next time".
So I got to read them the books, and tell them I loved them through and through. Ethan got to point to the pictures in the book and he smiled each time he did. Then I tucked them in. Kaden first, like always, because he's on the top bunk. Snug as a bug in a rug. I'd tuck the covers in tight at their sides. I asked Kaden where he wanted his kisses, the forehead or cheek, to which he hid under the blanket as normal so I tickled him out and gave him a big ol smooch on the cheek and told him I loved him. And then I went down to Ethan. Snug as a bug in a rug. And he smiled at me. I asked him where he wanted his kisses, his forehead or his cheek, to which he pointed straight at his forehead. So I gave him four forehead and kisses and then he pointed again (like normal) so I giggled and gave another and did this a couple times. I finally said "last one!". I then told the boys I loved them and I would see them later and to sleep tight. I then turned off the lights, said "I love you" again and walked out.
About 45 minutes later I went in to check that he was still on his back and breathing, I put my hand on his chest to feel it rise and put my head down next to his to hear him breath and then I walked back out, feeling good knowing that Ethie was doing ok.
And that's the last time I saw him. But I am so thankful, because I got to love up on him one last time, and play with him one last time. I think the Lord knew I needed that and wouldn't have been able to be ok without that.
I regret that I couldn't read Ethan our special book...but in the grand scheme of things it's ok because I got to tell him I loved him one last time and got to tell him goodnight. I needed that. And I think in the long run, I will be able to handle this better because of it.
I will miss Ethan....more than I can express. This world is a little less brighter. But I hope that through Ethan's lessons I can live my life with a lot more joy and a lot more love and I can impact the world in those same ways.
I love you through and through, Ethan J Tanner.