One year ago today we held our son in our arms as he died.
It was the second time we’d done so that year.
It feels like it just happened, but it also just as often feels like decades ago. We visited Ezra’s grave today, with a few close friends. I was surprised I didn’t feel more emotional while sitting there… the sun was warm, and whoever is buried next to Ezra (Trudy McAdoo – hey hey, McAdoos), was kind enough to make her headstone a bench, so I sat there soaking in the sun thinking about the day we buried Ezra. While I was thinking of that, three deer were grazing a bit away from us at the edge of the cemetery and the forest. There was a slight breeze, although it felt a bit too hot.
Mostly I just felt peaceful.
We don’t feel peace every day. Robyn spent most of her (sure, young) life wondering what she wanted to do. She often tells me when Ezra was born she felt so complete – she simply… knew him, and was the happiest I’d ever seen her – rolling around on the floor with him singing, playing, and being an incredible mother. The video at the top of this post was every day with Robyn and Ezra, usually even when he was sick (although he was sometimes less energetic those days). The day we lost him she was broken in a way I hadn’t anticipated (we were both, and still are, broken in many, many ways). She had lost that deep, self-validating, purpose-infusing connection she had with Ezra. Something nothing else in life had quite given her. The bond a mother who truly adores her son feels.
Robyn is an incredible mother.
I swear she and Ezra could talk to each other telepathically, ha. Ezra knew I was fun, but he knew mom would bring comfort. He could be covered in tears, and 3 seconds in her arms would calm him down. She fought for him like a lioness, and she loved him with depth and honesty. I could hear their laughter from any place in the house when she tickled him and they screamed with happiness. Robyn had notebooks full of research material, and bunches of tabs open in her web browser at any time reading up and asking questions about neuroblastoma and how we could fight more.
Robyn is an incredible mother.
Ezra would sleep on my chest a lot in the hospitals. Beds are in scarce supply, and couches and chairs are appreciated but not exactly comfort-filled. Robyn has dozens of pictures on her iPhone of Ezra and I fast asleep in some hospital chair or sofa. I always thought it was funny she took those, but they’re some of my favorite pictures of he and I now. I miss my son.
An anniversary of a death is a weird thing. There are no “traditional” things you do. We wondered if we should feel sad, or think through Ezra’s life more… really, it didn’t feel different than any other day without Ezra.
Not a day goes by – not one hour – that I don’t picture Ezra. To you perhaps he was a story; maybe you met him. Maybe you spent quite a bit of time with him. I hope his small life continues to make people change for the better. I don’t care how, really – I don’t care if you smile more; if you decide to fight against things like this that take our children; if you let your love be freer and more vocal; if you look for joy in every God-granted moment because you know so many miss it. Every story affects everyone different. But I hope Ezra’s affects you. Somehow. For good.
I’m happy often. I really am. Sometimes I lose all my energy and get overwhelmed by the weight of the loss. There’s no “fixing” grief; it becomes a part of who you are – you take it, you learn from it, you adapt to having it as an occasional companion. Loss doesn’t define me; grief isn’t who we are. I do not think it’s anything that ever completely leaves though – and I wouldn’t want it to. How much more we understand the looks we see in broken people’s eyes now. How real the truth we have to help.
Charley is coming along slowly but surely – he makes his own pace in life, and he’s a stubborn little man who is completely ok with this. I’ll write an update on him next week, and get you all some updated photos. He’s learning to crawl, and is stronger every day.
It’s November now, and the cold is coming in. Well, the Florida cold. We wrap up in an extra blanket at night, and put our jackets on when we leave the house. The crisp air is invigorating.
At Ezra’s service, someone asked people to write on cards “Because of Ezra,” and a brief sentence of how he’d affected them. Robyn and I read through the hundreds of cards today. Thank you, everyone.
Because of Ezra… we are better.
I’m not sure if I’ve told this to you on the phone or in person but if not…Ezra has affected me. Deeply. I find that I’m much more compassionate and caring. That’s a gift very few people can give to someone else. And whether Ezra knew it or not I’m grateful to him everyday for giving me that gift. I only got to meet Ezra once but I loved him (and Price) like family. The same way I love you, Robin, and Charley. I wish you guys (and Ezra) didn’t have to go through what you did. I will always be there for you guys.
What a sweet son you had (still have!). I didn’t know him personally, but I liked him a lot! I think of him.. and y’all often. Yes, he’s made a difference to me in more ways than I can begin to count. You can rest assured, I’ve been “affected”! His life not only had purpose, it still does! There’s a verse in Philippians 1:6 that says, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” It’s a huge verse to me! Because, just because our earthly body’s are no longer here, doesn’t mean our work is finished! It doesn’t mean our purpose is finished! It won’t be done, “completed”, until Christ Jesus comes back! Woe, because big work often starts in very small packages! We won’t know the whole of that work until the other side of this earth in Heaven!
I’m sure you know that the Hebrew meaning of Ezra’s name means “help.” I like how you ended, “Because of Ezra… we are better.” I think Ezra has “helped” to “better” a lot of us!
Blessings to you, and to Robyn, and to Charley!
Ezra will always be with me in many ways. I seen a very young child with a huge problem…. if I had a problem like him I would not know how to deal with it however Ezra kept going with lots of laughter and smiles. He taught me many things in life. He taught me not to be afraid and to keep going.
This little boy is always in my heart each and everyday. I can’t thank you enough Kyle and Robin for sharing him with me.
On his one year anniversary your family was on my mind all day long. Praying for peace within for your family.
Kyle I want to let you know that I am proud of you for appreciating and loving Robin like you do and giving her credit for what she is and what she does. I love reading and seeing when a man/husband loves his wife like you do and isn’t afraid to admit it in public.
I often think of you and Robin and say to myself…. how did they make it through all of this? I feel I could not do it however when I look at both of you I see lots of love, strength and beliefs. I am so sorry you went through this however I feel god has special plans for your family.
Thank you again Kyle and Robin and little Charlie for sharing your son and brothers with us. I am looking forward to read about little Charlie’s updates and pictures!
Love you Ezra, you’ve completely changed me.
Thank you guys for the update, as I wipe my tears away I can read each line with meaning. I only met my little nephew once and that was two days before our heavenly father took him, however I felt like I had known him forever. I love you guys, and we are praying for you all for peace.
I don’t know you and I never knew your son Ezra, but I’m here with tears just running down my face.
I am so sorry for your loss but so happy for the time you got to spend with your little boy. He was beautiful and I’m sorry his life was cut so short.
Beatifully purposed…your sons, your lives, your story. It may not feel so beautiful. But it is. The grace and love of Christ is powerful and shines through you as cracked pots of clay.
Thank you. It is so little to say but what you have shared with us touches us so much more than you can possibly know. Erza lives. He lives in the hearts and memories, lives and dreams of so very many people.
I truly miss you all! I miss listening to Kyle sing at church. Thank you for sharig and keeping us updated. God bless!
I pray for you every day. I can only imagine how you feel. Be blessed with peace & hope today. I’m looking forward to great news about Charley.
Because of Ezra we try to slow down to love every day in our fast paced life. Thank you both for continuing to bless us. We will continue to pray for your family! – The Rodriguez’
I have never met you or your family. But I miss Ezra too. He touched my life, heart and soul. I will carry him with me for as long as I live. I pray for you and your sweet wife. God bless you all.
Ezra’s life still does impact mine. I meant to remember the one year anniversary! Thinking of your family at this time of year and I wanted to make sure you knew Ezra is still touching lives a year later. You had posted once that either nothing matters or everything matters. That, combined with your story, has challenged my faith and put things into an Eternal perspective. Thank you for allowing your son’s life to work out for the good of those who love the Lord. I know it wasn’t a good thing that happened, but I am indebted to your faith which allowed it to produce good!