Be brave, Be courageous

It has been heavy in the stories of loss these past few weeks… I don’t know if it’s connected, but I have been struggling more so than usual for the past month in my grieving of Kai. I’ve been tempted to write, but each time I start, I hear of a new tragedy, learn of a friend grieving, read a stranger’s words that echo with as much familiarity as the thoughts that race through my head, and I feel unworthy to say anything. I am not unique.  I am not special. Every single person has a story. Every person has triumphs. Every person has sorrow.

I’ve been thinking so much lately and feeling my heart so tangibly ache with conflicting emotions: each beat feels the raw pain of this loss but somehow simultaneously it fills with love and compassion. In hearing about stories of loss lately, the sadness, the disbelief, the questions of “why” hit you like a sucker punch to the stomach.  But you also see the outpouring love, giving of self, and compassion that are undoubtedly stronger than the horrible circumstances – even if it can’t take away the pain.

People slow down, people set aside their differences (and their phones ). Our hearts are broken for those in sorrow and in turn our hearts grow bigger. I mentioned before that when we lost Kai, my heart was broken, but it truly has become broken open. It will never be mended on this earth – the longing for God and his redemption, the yearning for a restored home, and the hope to see my son once again pull my eyes upward and the wound is a tender reminder that we can have hope.

I wish it did not take horrible things to happen for us to open up our hearts. I’m as guilty as anyone. I wish I knew how to love better, help more. Sometimes it seems overwhelming, but it could be so simple: to pause in our “busy” lives, to serve, to give, to not be afraid to take a chance. I can’t speak for all of the different challenges and sorrows each one of you feel, but in my humble opinion, I think it may always be ok to let someone know you care, that you’re walking with them on this journey. Even if you’re far away and especially if you’re right nearby…. Ask them how are you today? Tell them you have been thinking of them, praying for them. Don’t be afraid to “name” the loss.

The other week when I was having a tough time and could not express one word to explain my withdrawn silence, Shawn said I know that I understand the pain you feel, but I don’t understand how you’re feeling right now. He then later sent me this blog post in which a stranger articulated so many of the things I cannot describe as if she had peeked into the thoughts of my mind. One part struck me:

“On the days when no one but you mentions their name, I am so, so sorry. Say their name bravely. Know that they are still real, they are still here, and you are still their momma.

Kai never leaves my heart and soul, but I have/want to say his name each day no matter what – it means something that I can’t explain. Maybe it’s because he’s my kid and I should be saying his name a ton: “Kai – how in the world did you get up there?”, “Kai, you’re getting so big!”, “Kai, our hands don’t belong in the ________” “Kai, sweet little man, big brother, my son…. I love you.”

Every one of you has a story. Every one of us knows someone with sorrow and pain. I encourage us all to be brave, be courageous.

For all of us: be brave and not feel ashamed of when maybe it’s too hard to fight the pain. Feel the freedom to ‘name’ what you’re going through. Be courageous to let people in – there are so many people who want to walk with you and who will respect how you choose to go on your journey.  When it’s our turn to walk alongside, be brave in reaching out and courageous in accepting silence: know that no response, an inability to respond, and/or tears does not mean the gesture was in vain. Your presence, your message, could be the one reminder in their day that love wins.

These days, one of the things I love is hearing little Maya’s little voice singing the tunes of songs she can’t quite articulate the words to. Sometimes hearing someone’s voice can trigger so much in your heart which is maybe why I love this video of little Kai Kai’s rendition of wheels on the bus. I sometimes just like closing my eyes to hear his voice on a video – I can picture him so well.

18 Comments on Be brave, Be courageous

  1. Amy
    June 11, 2015 at 9:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Love this video. Love hearing his voice. Love your thoughts. Love ya’ll.

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much Amy

      Reply
  2. Anita Salmon
    June 11, 2015 at 10:18 pm (2 years ago)

    “Always remember that each person you see … sits next to his or her own pool of tears.”

    Visualize that in silence for a minute. Such rich imagery washed over me, and I’ve never been able to look at other people the same way since. What you describe, Aki, sounds like a bath of empathy that comes only from divine inspiration.

    I came across this in a study written by Trevor Hudson. He referred to a conversation he had with Gordon Cosby, cofounder and pastor of a church in Washington, D.C., many years prior as the source.

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm (2 years ago)

      Anita – thank you so much for sharing that – what a vivid image that definitely helps provide a picture of some of the thoughts that have been running through my mind. Thank you again for sharing!

      Reply
  3. Cheryl Smith
    June 12, 2015 at 12:47 am (2 years ago)

    I just wanted to say that I am still praying for you and your family and trusting God to see you through each moment of grief and heartache. Only Jesus will ever completely understand. May you feel His arms around you holding you extra close.

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:36 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support – we truly, truly appreciate it!

      Reply
  4. Maureen
    June 12, 2015 at 3:55 am (2 years ago)

    I am continually amazed at your strength is hating what you are feeling and what you are going through, whatever the day may bring. We have become more aware of the sunshine here, peaking out from clouds, or after a long dark winter. But when it is there, the sun is out and Kai is out. Thank you so much for continuing to share your Kai with the rest of us.
    Much love to you all

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for letting us know how you think of Kai and thank you for all of your support! Hope to see you when you get back to the states!

      Reply
  5. Maureen
    June 12, 2015 at 3:56 am (2 years ago)

    (Grrrrr – sharing. Tho I’m sure at times you very much dislike this pain. Apologies)

    Reply
  6. Uncle Michael
    June 12, 2015 at 6:04 am (2 years ago)

    “I mentioned before that when we lost Kai, my heart was broken, but it truly has become broken open. It will never be mended on this earth – the longing for God and his redemption, the yearning for a restored home, and the hope to see my son once again pull my eyes upward and the wound is a tender reminder that we can have hope.

    I wish it did not take horrible things to happen for us to open up our hearts. I’m as guilty as anyone. I wish I knew how to love better, help more. Sometimes it seems overwhelming, but it could be so simple: to pause in our “busy” lives, to serve, to give, to not be afraid to take a chance. ”

    This is so incredibly profound. So many of us (myself included) never experience our own hearts. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it described in such a compelling way – the heart broken, but not just broken; broken OPEN. Really really good.

    We miss Kai so much and talk about him often in our house. Lincoln and i sitting on the couch enjoyed the “up and down” video. What a cute little dude and I’m so glad you guys have so many videos and audio of his incredible heart, sense of humor, love of play, and not being shy in front of the camera!

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:39 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m so glad Shawn was so good at taking so many videos! I was terrible at it and am so thankful we have videos to remember him — we cant wait to see yall soon

      Reply
  7. Bobbye Britsch
    June 12, 2015 at 7:43 am (2 years ago)

    When I walk through our Tulsa neighborhood, past the house the Slockers used to occupy, my heart breaks open yet again. I grieve for you and Shawn, Kathy and Eric, and for all those who knew and loved Kai.

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Just wanted to let you know we still keep the music note you created on our fireplace – it’s a bright and happy reminder and we love it!

      Reply
  8. Caroline @ In Due Time
    June 12, 2015 at 9:37 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the reminder to be brave and courageous. You are amazing.

    This video of Kai – LOVE! Omg. The ‘it break’ comment is just too cute!

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm (2 years ago)

      it cracks me up and kind of sticks in my head every time I see that video and hear him say “it break” with such disappointment yet a little pride since he knew he did it. ha ha!

      Reply
  9. Mary Ann Watson
    June 12, 2015 at 10:52 am (2 years ago)

    you are always in my prayers. you were blessed to have such a wonderful son and now such courage to go on. I am sure that you have the support of a wonderful husband and that you must go for your remains family. my love and respect always.

    Reply
    • Aki Slockers
      June 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for all of your prayers and thinking of us – we sincerely appreciate it.

      Reply
  10. Laura
    June 19, 2015 at 8:01 am (2 years ago)

    Ali, when I see you sometimes I hesitate to mention Kai. Because the pain is still so raw for all of us especially you guys. I appreciated so much your permission to remember him out loud with you. Kai was an exceptional and funny! I remember and loved the Band-Aid on his forehead!

    Reply

Leave a Reply