Matt,I really can't put into words the role you are playing in my life at this very difficult time. You are getting me through the loss of Ollie. Your presence at the hospital, the beautiful services you helped us create for Ollie, and the perfectly written and spoken sermon. And, this sermon series... it's as though it was created to help me get through this and move forward. How is the timing so perfect??? And, if God does have a plan for us, then he put you and our church in my life with a very big purpose. I've always thought of The Gathering as my therapy. I've carried a lot of heavy "baggage" through my life that was really holding me back from being the best version of myself, and I've let almost all of it go since my time at our church. It hasn't been easy, but over the past 4 years that I've been attending, your sermons have managed to touch on everything I've been trying to let go. If everything has been leading up to this life-changing event that is losing my son, then I have to believe that the character and faith transformation that I've experienced at the Gathering has been shaping me so that I can not only face this awful situation, but make it through, and make it through a stronger and better person. My overall life goal for the past 4 years was something you mentioned in a sermon a long time ago, and that is that I wanted to have no more hate in my heart, only love. It was a long, soul-searching road, but I'm there. I guess the "heart" has been a theme in my life even before Ollie came along. His "broken" heart and all the experiences, good and bad, that went along with it seem to have mended mine. I don't always say a lot because sometimes I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words. Just know that you and the church are so important to me. You're doing amazing things through The Gathering. You are inspiring, changing people's lives, and probably even saving some... literally. Thank you ❤️
Ollie was first Baptized in the hospital the night before his first open-heart surgery. A few months later, he was Baptized again in church. Mark, Ollie, and I with our Pastor, Matt.
Today in church, the sermon was based on this quote. It felt like he was speaking to me... "HE" was speaking to me. Peace. It brought me so much peace. And "hope"... yes, I need to believe in hope. This passage is now a permanent fixture in my mind. Someday, I will believe these words with all my heart and that's when I'll know that I'm going to be okay.
The last time that I posted this picture was a few hours before Ollie went into cardiac arrest. They were weaning him from the vent, he was opening his eyes and moving a little. I couldn't for that day to pass and now I'd give anything to go back to it. This morning has been hard, but when Maddie saw me getting upset, she ran right over and gave me a big, long hug... it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes. I'm sorting through a mess of emotions right now, but what I do know is this...
On January 3, 2013, my 1 yr old son, Ollie, passed away. That's where my life "before Ollie" ends and my grief journey begins... My new normal, my path toward healing, my life "after Ollie". I'm a grieving mother who believes in hope. This is my story.