On This Day

I know not everyone has this feature on their Facebook account, but I do. It’s called ‘On this Day‘ or ‘Memories‘. It ferrets out posts from the same day in years gone by. It’s pretty amazing when we consider how long most of us have been on the Facebook. Posts going back ten years or so pop up in my feed under that feature and they have been fun and mostly enjoyable. Old pictures and events brought to mind that I haven’t thought about in a long time … every day. 

But now it’s May. It is a month we expected to have a totally different set of memories than we do. So when ‘On This Day‘ pops up I begin to sift through the posts. I pass the day that darkened our lives forever and see posts just prior. Days I regard now as carefree and joy filled. Days of expectation and pride. We said goodbye to a lot of that when we said goodbye to John Robert. In May of 2008. On that day.

As I read those posts that pre-date THAT day I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell younger John what was about to happen. (i.e. James Rubart’s The Five Times I Met Myself). But that’s not the way things work, is it?

On May 21st we will once again pass through the day that John Robert died. The memories are a bit more vivid, the pain a little more acute. But as those pictures begin to surface I do detect a shift in my feelings about them. If this had happened seven or eight years ago, it would have crushed me. But it will be nine years this time. And some of those pictures are starting to make me smile. 

Spending time with other bereaved parents at The Compassionate Friends meetings, I understood it would happen one day. The time would come when memories would bring some smiles along with the tears. The tears will never run dry, but the smiles can come alongside. Especially in those initial years, the jagged pain of fresh grief kept the smiles away.  But now they seem more natural. 

So I thank God for the gentle ways He brings healing gradually … honoring our humanity, acknowledging our pain at being separated, helping to carry us through the darkest of days. Our eyes have adjusted so that we can see more of the light of life, at least until we revisit him in our hearts.

Thanks for reading, JD.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”d0ZW3″ via=”yes” ]The tears will never run dry, but the smiles can come alongside. [/ctt]


  1. I will be thinking of you all. Excellent depiction of the statement we heard so many times: Time will help. Thank you, John, and God bless…..

  2. I can’t remember exactly how I found your blog, I believe I stumbled across it whole trying to find something, anything… to help me through the days right after my dad died. I just want to thank you for your blog, and sharing your journey with us. Although vastly different experiences have brought us here in this oh, so emotional, often times overwhelming land of grief – I can’t tell you how many times what you posted has resonated with me. In fact, just before I checked my email and read this, I had posted my Facebook page about this same thing. “On This Day” is so often very bittersweet. I can’t decide if I like it or not. Some days it’s a blessing because it’s a piece of my dad, and I’ll take all the pieces I can get! Sometimes it brings a smile, a reminder of who he was and that those times actually existed. Yet it’s often painful.
    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you. I’m sorry that you and your family are going through this, but it is nice to have fellow travelers who understand.

  3. Dawn, thank so much for reading and I’m glad that in sharing our story somehow someone else is helped along the way. I appreciate your comment and pray for more better days than bittersweet ones.

  4. The slogan of Compassionate Friends is ‘we need not walk alone’. Knowing that other bereaved parents walk this path ahead of us, such as yourself, gives us hope for brighter days ahead. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I’m grateful for those who journey along with us. Bless you.

  5. John, I always appreciate your insights – they are feelings and emotions that I have not experienced. What you share makes me a better person, and a person that can relate to others more effectively. Please know you are helping those of us that need this. More heart aches for you (and John Mark Hicks) every year.

  6. John, you and Maggie are are at the top of my prayer list, especially this month. Thank you for sharing your heart. Love you both.

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