Soul Searching and What To Do With It

It has been almost a year and a half since we have lost Justin. During this time, I have met with other mothers who have also lost a child, in a variety of ways. Some through car accidents, some through illness or overdose and some where someone else took their child’s life, like Justin. I have learned that grief is the same, but we just deal with it differently and there are different things that we must deal with in the aftermath. For example, we will possibly have a lifetime of court appeals and trials. I have accepted that I may never have “closure” with that. I have accepted that there may never be remorse from the two individuals who took Justin’s life. I have accepted that this is now my life. I have also learned that I can have some sort of happiness and Justin can still be a part of that.

I bet you’re asking…”What?” I did too, actually. Through my soul searching, I realized that I can smile and laugh. It is okay. I recently realized that I have some sort of happiness. This made me feel guilty. Then I came to the conclusion that Justin is STILL a part of that happiness. Just in a different way. Instead of focusing on the memories I will no longer create or have with Justin, I have decided that I will be focusing on the memories I CAN still create with honoring him. For example, we hosted a 5K run/walk to raise money for the two scholarship funds that we give in Justin’s name. It was created for families to spend some time together, be fit and remember a wonderful young man who is so dear to this little community. It was so touching to see that many families participated. One dad came across the finish line pulling his two little ones in a wagon. That is an image that will forever stay with me. Justin’s run was called, Justin Back’s Be A Hero 5K. That to me was a Hero image. This is a happy memory that is being made with Justin.

You see, your loved one is still with you. They are forever a part of you. They helped to make you who you are. Yes, even your children. Justin’s story isn’t over yet. It is defined by me, by his siblings, by his friends, his community and the list goes on. Where has my Soul Searching led me? It has led me to help students that are in need of personal necessities, create Be A Hero, Inc. to spread Justin’s “Hero” qualities, advocate for stronger sentencing on premeditated murders, to help create awareness on things that are attacking our youth, etc.

Please share where your Soul Searching has led you.

Sandy

18 thoughts on “Soul Searching and What To Do With It

  1. Hamza

    First of all, I am very sorry for your loss. In the same year Justin died one of my close friends died and I sometimes think how tragic it must be for his parents to see their only child go. I initially thought the same was true in your case, however upon hearing Justin had siblings, It brought a somewhat sense of relief to myself that you don’t need to endure what many others face upon losing their only child.

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Thank for your condolences, Hamza. It means a lot that you posted. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I have a friend that lost her only child when he was 19 years old. She is blessed to have his daughter, though. Justin does have siblings (one brother, half-sisters and step brother and sister). Jake is my other son. Sometimes I hold on too tight to him because I know that loss. It is a constant fear that I have that I have to push aside or I will go crazy. Jake is in the military, too, and we are so very proud of him. God bless.

      Reply
  2. Natasha Bown

    Today I sat with my mother and watched the BBCs programme about Justin. We live in England, I had not heard of the case until today. It was tremendously painful to watch, especially when you spoke. I wanted to leap through the television to hug you.
    My younger brother is 12 years old, the baby of our family and he is my entire world, excited about life, approaching his teens, hugely warm hearted, soulful and fun. The pictures of Justin, the descriptions of his carachter and nature are very similar to my brother.
    My heart is broken for Justin, for his stolen life, for your life now without him. But your tremendous courage and bravery to face each day as you are is a testament to your boy, he will live on forever through you and your family.
    I hope with all my heart and strength that you have peace in your life, you have the joy and happiness you deserve. I hope his warm soul is rested in peace. His light will shine bright in heaven as he did on the earth.
    Sending strength and love from the UK
    Xxx

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Your post brought tears to my eyes. Our children are our whole world. Justin was so full of love, life and joy and just wanted everyone to have the same. He was so funny and did great impressions. You never knew what Justin was going to come up with. There is a HUGE hole in our family and lives without his laughter. Everything we do, we do with Justin in mind and want to honor him and help others. I hope he is half as proud of us as we are of him. I am so blessed to have the boys that I have. I just wish I could see Justin with a family. He was great with children and animals. Natasha, I believe that smile of his is making heaven even brighter! Lots of love.

      Reply
  3. Clare

    Hello from England, I have just learnt about Justin having watched a documentary here in the UK. I was so moved and found your website and just felt compelled to tell you that I feel your pain and I am so angry on your behalf that this has happened. Your son appeared to be a wonderful man and I am so saddened that the world I live in was robbed of him. I am saying a prayer for him tonight & hope that it will give you some comfort that your son is being honoured and remembered around the world. I wish you so much peace and healing. All my love sincerely xx

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Thank you so much, Clare! We have had and still have many people praying for Justin and us. I believe in the power of prayer and I know that has gotten us this far. Anger is the emotion that I am dealing with now. You go through so many emotions and experiences all at once and on a repeat cycle, while you’re dealing with court cases, appeals and just trying to wrap your head around that Justin is gone. We hold on to Justin and his memories with us. That and our faith, gets us through the day. We have had many wonderful people from the UK to reach out after the documentary aired. It has really given us great comfort that many people were touched by our wonderful son. Many described the type of person Justin was and still is. So very touching. God bless.

      Reply
  4. robert hagan

    I’m Irish. I live in France. I watched the documentary on BBC television tonight and found it so moving. I was in tears many times throughout. I can’t begin to imagine the pain you are going through after Justin’s murder. You come across as very kind and loving and wounded. I do hope time will help you heal.
    God bless
    Rpbert Hagan

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Thank you, Robert, for your kindness. Time has healed some things and some things have gotten worse. Losing Justin is something we deal with everyday. We think about him every moment of every day. Doing the documentary helped with closure in some ways, and others, not. Doing things to help others in Justin’s honor and continuing his legacy helps in many ways. God bless you and your family.

      Reply
  5. Rizwana hussain

    Iv just watched a documentary about your wonderful son. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through I have 2 very young sons myself and a daughter and it breaks my heart that you have had your beautiful family torn apart. You will one day meet your son again.

    Forever in my prayer.
    xxxxx
    Rizwana (United Kingdom)

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Rizwana, thank you for reaching out. I truly believe that we will see Justin, again. Without my faith, I don’t know where I’d be. I pray for safety for your family. We never dreamt we would lose one of our children this way. Great children, a good family and living in a small quiet community. This is why we chose to do the documentary. To show that evil things can happen to innocent people and hopefully help parents help there children if they see they are troubled, like the two that took Justin’s life. Also, I want to help bring families together. Never take a moment for granted. That’s a discussion I had with Jake and Justin right before his passing. So hug and love your babies even more. God bless.

      Reply
  6. Julia

    Dear Sandy,

    I saw a documentary this week about the truly shocking way in which Justin was taken from you. I have thought a lot about Justin and your family’s suffering since.

    I am so glad to have found this website and get to know Justin, and the special person he was. I see now that he lived his life like a Hero should and would have gone on to achieve great things. He is still a Hero, but it takes a family of heroes to raise a new Hero. The strength in your heart and the way in which you have stayed true to Justin and your values, despite this ordeal, shows me that your are a hero too.

    Sending sympathy, comfort and loving thoughts to you and Justin’s family.

    Julia

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Wow, Julia! What an amazing post. You really touched my heart. Justin really was Hero to many. We don’t realize that what we say and how we treat people makes a difference to that other person. Justin wouldn’t let anyone sit alone at the lunch table. You sat at his overcrowded table (from what I hear). We didn’t learn any of this until Justin’s passing and how he made a difference in another young person’s life. I have to tell you, we are so proud of Justin and we are so blessed to have had the opportunity to raise such an honorable young man. I just wish we had longer with him. Thank you so much for reaching out!

      Reply
  7. Phil

    Just watching a documentary in UK about your son. You have such dignity. Amazing woman to deal with it the way you have. I am sad but somehow also uplifted by your spirit. It is not fair that you have had this happen, it shouldn’t happen to anyone. And I can tell from you, what kind of man the world has been robbed of. The same smile. We have all lost because of what they did. What else can I say? Nothing changes the facts. I can’t ease your sorrow but I just wanted to say I am praying you continue to find that happiness you write so eloquently about

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Thank you, Phil. You are so very kind. This world did lose out by Justin being taken. Justin is a very special young man that definitely left quite the legacy for someone his age. We thank you so much for your prayers. The love and support for Justin is truly amazing and it helps to uplift us. When we are at our lowest, someone is always there to pick us up. Even all the way from the UK. Thank you, again, and God bless.

      Reply
  8. Simon

    Thank you for sharing the tragic story of your son. The documentary on the BBC was very moving and had this 34 year old man tearing up on the train to work this morning.
    I greatly admire your strength, bravery and resolve. I wish you and your family the very best and I hope you continue to be an inspiration to others that have suffered a similar loss.

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      Thank you, Simon, for your kindness. It was a very hard interview to do. BBC was very kind and sensitive to us. Everything we do is driven by our love of Justin, our other boys and to help others. We pray we can help make something positive come out of our tragedy. That way, Justin didn’t die in vain. God bless.

      Reply

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