So many times I have been asked how I keep going after Jesse went to Heaven. It has been interesting to see how God has provided me with peace and an open mind to explore my creative side. Acrylic painting, chalk art, travel photography, seasonal crafts, cooking and now candle making…they all have been wonderful outlets.
Candles are one of my favorite things. Most every morning before I make coffee, I light a candle and read a daily calendar scripture. Needless to say, candles are a necessity :). This year I was inspired by our girl, Makenzie Sanford, to make my own soy candles. It has been so fun to learn the process. Vanilla, citrus, cinnamon and most recently Jesse’s favorite cologne fragrance have been my scents of choice.
I share my handmade candles…to keep my Jesse’s memory burning.
Kenzie Sanford shares her leukemia survivor story on Facebook through her line of candles…check out her page called ShineOn!
We are coming up on our 3rd Christmas without our son Jesse.
As the season approaches, I find my heart aching and tears welling up more than usual. I can honestly say, time does not take away the pain but keeping his memory alive softens the grief.
Our first Christmas without him we chose to take a road trip south to visit and celebrate with family. That was a great way to connect and share but yet avoided reliving a Christmas at home without our son. Needless to say, Christmas cards weren’t sent out either. How was I to sign cards without his name? I couldn’t, so I didn’t.
Our second Christmas without Jesse was actually Savannah’s last Christmas at home as a high school student, so we did it up. We all pulled it together… decorations & treats made, a real tree put up, visit from my sister & niece, and a wonderful meal prepared by my Dad. Yes, I even sent out Christmas cards but Jesse was included. I found a healthy photo of him during one of his happiest moments fishing and added it to the card. That seemed to make card giving a bit easier.
Now here it is, the third Christmas approaching and what should I do? I can’t begin to imagine the Christmas celebration Jesse gets to partake of in Heaven but my human heart still wishes he was here with us. After some thought, I decided to dedicate and decorate a small Christmas tree in memory of our Jesse. One of our family traditions has been to give the kids a new ornament every year. Those in addition to the precious ones he made as a child will be a nice start.
This year I would like to open an invitation to you. If you feel moved to provide an ornament for Jesse’s special Christmas tree, I would love to hang it for you! The only thing I ask is that you please write your name on the back…this would really bless my heart! ❤️
As we navigate this path God has placed our family on, I will continue to give thanks for the 18 precious years I was blessed with our son and attempt to keep his memory alive. Thank you for your love, support and prayers.
I love you Jesse! Forever & Always ~Mom
“Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and my privilege of being a mother. In Your Holy Name. Amen.”
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Twenty-one years ago today was one of the most exciting days of my life… I was blessed with baby Jesse. That day my life changed forever. I learned what it was to become selfless, focussing on the needs of my new family. We always acknowledged Jesse was a gift…but God’s child first. It was a privilege to love, guide and care for him for eighteen years. Jesse provided our family with endless excitement especially with ER visits due to a skateboard collision concussion, stitches, a broken arm from falling out of his bunk bed or the other broken arm due to jumping off the top of the monkey bars trying to impress the girls. He loved to make people laugh, especially me when he was in trouble…oh, how I miss my boy. Sometimes, I wonder what he would have become but I can’t stay in that thought for long because I get too sad. That’s probably the most difficult.
But today…I give thanks for the time we had with our son. For his fearless nature. For his courage. For his fight. For his faith. For his heart. For his birth.
Happy Birthday Jesse! I miss you & love you, Forever ❤️ Always ~ Mom
“You know my heart Lord…and today is a significant day. I am missing our son Jesse. I miss his hugs, smile, laughter, talks and “I love you Mom”s. But I hold on tight to his memories and have faith in our future in Heaven. It is only by Your grace, mercy & love that I am able to move forward in my life with any peace or joy. Thank you, Father God. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice and example. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for guiding me along my path with those gentle whispers of encouragement & redirection. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.”
It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted on our Jesse’s Journey blog but I am now feeling the need to share.
As time moves on, things continue to change and memories fade. My goal is to safeguard some of our memories in this blog, acknowledge those that have provided support in so many ways and suggest resources that may help others during challenging times. I am in the process of revising the site a bit, adding pictures and some video clips.
If at anytime you feel led to offer suggestions or comments, please feel free to email me.
~ Ingrid <333
It is so hard to believe that our Jesse has been in Heaven for 2 years now. It seems like yesterday that we were fighting the fight of Leukemia & physically rehabilitating him from his chemo brain damage. I am so proud of his warrior spirit, personal transformation and promise to “Never Give Up.” As I live my different life without Jesse, I am often reminded of how amazingly strong & courageous he was. He rarely complained, willingly took on the next challenge & practically always had a smile for the camera.
Jesse’s journey has effected my outlook on life… He inspires me when I struggle, my occasional physical pain never compares to what he endured and when I see Jesse’s photo, I always smile with a heart full of love.
On March 6, 2015, he celebrated his 2nd Anniversary in Heaven.
I miss you and love you so much Jesse! Forever & Always ~ Mom
The Great Escape DVD movie library has been delivered to the pediatric cancer patients at U of M, Mott’s Children’s Hospital. Yesterday, Savannah, Grandpa Gary and I returned to the hospital for the first time since leaving Jesse on March 6, 2013. We met Molly, Jenni and Dr. Harris in the Child Life Department on the 7th floor. It was bittersweet… exciting to get the movies to the kids, great to see our wonderful friends but still emotional to pass Jesse’s picture in the hallway and remember the many, many experiences there. But of course, before leaving there were many laughs by all as everyone shared their Jesse stories.
This project would not have been this successful without the many, many donations from people all over the country! Thank you all so much for joining together with us to provide such an awesome movie selection for these kids. Your kindness and their ability to escape from their reality for 90 minutes is such a blessing and warms my heart. <333
Back where it all started, Pier 91. Our Princess Cruise Ship, the Star Princess, safely returned us to Seattle. What a wonderful adventure this trip was for us as a couple! So many new memories were made, though throughout the trip certain things would remind us of both Jesse and Savannah. Knowing how much Jesse wanted to explore Alaska made us sad. He would have absolutely loved the state, probably wouldn’t have ever come home because of the abundance of hunting, fishing and outdoor activity. But we are trusting in our Lord’s promise of eternal life and the Glory of Heaven.
Upon disembarking, I was thinking “Seattle…Coffee…Starbucks!”
It wasn’t long before we noticed a Starbucks on every, I mean every, corner. A local told us that there are over 80…yes, eight zero, Starbucks in Seattle! How crazy is that? Needless to say, my goal was to seek out the original Starbucks coffee shop. It seems it was everyone else’s idea, too! The customer line was out the door and down the road with a twenty-five minute wait…no biggie! It was just interesting to see the various people willing to make the sacrifice…true coffee junkies.
Seattle has it all! Many bodies of water, mountains, lush forests, amazing skyline, art and music scenes and so much culture! We backpacked the city for over eight hours and I could not stop taking pictures. The Space Needle, Pike Place Market and the Chihuly Garden and Glass were just a few of our highlights. This was a wonderful way to wrap up our vacation. Seattle will be another future vacation destination for sure!
“45 is Alive in Our Hearts!”
We arrived on Vancouver Island in the late afternoon and chose to tour Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, by foot because it was so quaint. The gardens, trees, parks and round streetlights had such a splendid Victorian flair. Now, I understand why Victoria is known as the “City of Gardens”. The Empress Hotel was surrounded by a beautifully manicured courtyard and the most lush ivy facade. As the sun went down, little white lights appeared bordering the Parliament Buildings. It was quite a sight. As we headed back, I enjoyed seeing the horse drawn carriages and the many people walking along carefree, some stopping to watch the talented street performers. The ambiance of the night was remarkable.