The Countdown Begins

I don’t know when I’m supposed to start counting down the days until the one year anniversary of Johnathan’s death.

First of December? The day he swallowed the button battery? The day he got a fever?




I don’t know…


I decided on my birthday, December 11th, that I was going to reframe my mind. I didn’t want to sit here sad and upset because Johnathan isn’t with us to celebrate.

I wrote:

I’m reframing my mind today (at least for this very moment… sadness has a way of creeping in) It’s my birthday. I’m sad because my son Johnathan isn’t here with us anymore to celebrate. Instead, we’re just 9 days away from one year since his death. But what are birthdays about? A mom birthing a baby into this world. After growing, carrying, and loving that child for 9 months, they make their entrance into this world through pain and heartache and your life is never the same. Every mother knows what I mean. I didn’t until 5 years ago when I brought Michael into this world. Your perspective on love changes in an instant. Whether it’s your first and you’re experiencing the bond and love between a mother and child for the first time or it’s a second or third and you’re realizing that your heart really does grow to encompass each new addition to your life, you experience a love and joy unmatched by any other human (God’s love is the greatest). I’ve heard that grief is the price of love. Greater the love, greater the grief. I have an unmeasurable amount of grief for the loss of Johnathan, as do the other people in his life who loved him ……. But I said I was re-framing. So as a mother, I’m re-framing my thoughts to MY mother. The one who grew, carried, and loved me for 9 months. The one who, through a very exciting and emotional story, brought me into this world. I know she loves me (as does my dad… from the second he saw me and called me “jackie”) and today is a celebration of that love…. And I’m here. I’m still alive and on this earth to love and spread hope and joy to others. And if I were my parents, I’d be pretty happy that our daughter was still here with us to celebrate. One day we will all be celebrating in Heaven. No times or dates to keep track of, but just eternal joy. Johnathan is already there and that makes me sad that I’m not with him, but I am grateful to still be alive today and surrounded by the people who love me. ❤️ Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I’m going to try to stay joyful today and every day. And thank you Mom and Dad for bringing me into this world. It’s a pretty great day ❤️

So with that post in mind, I’m going to try to do the same with this whole countdown. I would like to reframe my mind to realize that every day is just another unique day. I don’t have to count down to the one year anniversary if I don’t want to. Or I can if I decide I do want to.

I can count the days in anticipation of feeling awful and sad, but in reality, it’s just a date on the calendar.

Any moment of any day I can step back to December 20th, 2020.


I’m sitting in the living room watching a show on Netflix about ballet and hearing Johnathan cough on the baby monitor. Walking down the hallway to pick him up and bring him out to the couch to snuggle with me. He laid his head on my chest for just a moment and then coughed again, this time bringing up bloody mucus. I run to AJ. We’re going to the ER. I look over. He’s seizing. AJ calls 911. His heart rate slows down. I glance up and see it… I see AJ starting compressions on Johnathan. His hands wrapped around his chest, thumbs pushing down to make his heart beat. Johnathan’s body limp.



A sketch of what I see in my mind.

I could be at work and see a little blonde headed boy or at the grocery store and walk past the Mac and Cheese, and I’m back to that moment. Sometimes I mentally take myself there because I miss him and I know that moment will bring back the flood of emotions, no matter how painful, to a time where my heart ripped into a million pieces and I FELT deeper feelings than I could ever describe.

So do I need to countdown to the very day he died? Hold in my pain and grief for THAT day? I don’t think I do. I don’t want to let that date have that much control. I grieve every day. And I ask for help with my grief every day.

I will use the date to remember Johnathan and all the love he brought into our lives in a very short amount of time. He continues to change the world every day by spreading awareness about button battery safety. I want him back in my arms, but that’s not an option. Instead I will keep him in my heart and on my mind.




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