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.