I lost my ten-year-old son, Noah Dean Winstead, on July 4, 2012, to Electric Shock Drowning.
I’ll never fully heal from his sudden death. The day I lost him was the day I lost a part of myself and, even eight years later, I’m still learning to live without him. In just a few short years, I will have lived longer without him than I did with him.
That hurts so very much.
I think of so much time that I missed out on with him. I think of so much that he has missed out on.
I see his friends growing up and continuing on with life. While I’m happy to see that part of their lives, it still leaves me with a twinge of jealousy. I find myself noticing what other parents are taking for granted.
But I was that person too. I also took for granted the everyday routine of life.
One morning, just a few months after his death, as I was driving my daughter to school, I was frustrated because my windows were so foggy I couldn't see. I had to pull over and wait for the fog to clear.
As we were waiting, Haleigh Raye started to notice handprints and drawings appear through the fog in the backseat windows. (You know, the ones you’re always telling your kids NOT to make?)
For a moment I couldn't look at them. I was reminded of all the days I said, "Noah, stop writing on my windows."
With tears in my eyes, I raised my head and looked at them. I CHOSE TO SEE – and what joy it brought me. Noah's drawings and initials were coming through even in the fog.
There are so many joys in life I have taken for granted. I move through life in such a rush. I forget to see what’s good in my life.
Noah’s death left me with no choice but to be a different person in so many ways. I have had to adapt to a new way of living, thinking, and seeing the world. I no longer take moments, people, and experiences for granted the way I used to.
There are days I long for Noah and feel the sting of what he was robbed of, but I’m still so very grateful for the ten years I had with him that nothing or no one can take away.