My Answer to My Son’s Tough Question Before and After His Brother Passed Away


Thank goodness for the Internet and the fact that it’s kept my thoughts available at a click. Back on October 3, 2012, I wrote about being fortunate:

“Mom, are we fortunate?” That was the question my 10-year-old asked tonight. Just out of the blue. I was wrestling around with Isaac, trying to wipe baby food off his face, the TV is blasting, Isaac’s iPad is singing, the dog is barking — and he asks me if we’re fortunate!

What would you say if your child asked you? We are indeed a most fortunate family, Eli, and here’s why:

We are so fortunate to have three super cute boys in our family.

We are so fortunate that your little brother beat the odds and is sitting here this minute making a complete mess and driving me bonkers.

We are so fortunate that your teenage brother is a good kid — doesn’t do drugs, drink, or smoke and hasn’t made me a grandma yet.

We are so fortunate that you’re such a great kid, with lots of friends, toys, books, and a love of learning.

We are so fortunate that your father is alive and beat colon cancer.

We are so fortunate that your father has a job, when many people are still out of work.

We are so fortunate that we live in the most beautiful city, neighborhood, and have a very comfortable home.

We are so fortunate that we are members of an awesome ward with love surrounding us.

We are so fortunate to have the most wonderful family and friends across the country to lean on.

Then, I asked Eli if he thought that we were fortunate. He said, “Yes, I think we’re most fortunate because we have Isaac.” Oh. Be still my heart. I couldn’t agree more or be more proud of my Eli.

As a family, we’ve endured more trials than sometimes I think is even fair. Sometimes, I get sick of hearing, “You’re never given more than you can handle,” and I just want to scream! My philosophy is oh yes, we are, but it’s how we handle those trials that is the true test. Do we come together as a family or do these trials tear us apart? Do we seek help from friends and family and allow them to provide acts of service to help ease our burdens (that was a hard one for me to swallow)? If Eli had asked me five years ago, I would have said heck no, we are the family that inspired “A Series of Unfortunate Events”! But now, as we’ve all grown through adversity and have really learned what’s most important in life, we are a most fortunate family. Yes, indeed.

Three Years Later — My response is…

I’m tired. In the three years since I originally answered this question for our son, our lives have changed dramatically:

Isaac passed away last year from an infection in his heart.

Eli had a really tough year with anxiety and losing his baby brother.

Joe travels out of town every single week for work.

We’ve moved houses.

Chris is in college now, but still calls frequently for money.

I went back to work in an office.

With all that, would I say that I’m fortunate?

Heck yes.

We are so fortunate to have had Isaac as part of our family for seven wonderful years.

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by many loving friends and family who helped us during the tough days.

We are so fortunate that Joe does fly weekly, and he also comes home safely every single week.

We are so fortunate that Eli has great teams at school and privately that have helped him with his anxiety.

We are so fortunate that Chris is in college.

We are so fortunate that I have a job that I love and get to help people each and every day.

We are so fortunate that we have committed to finding joy in each and every day.

So yes.

Even though life has thrown us curve balls and we’ve wafted through crap storms…

We are most definitely fortunate.

If your child asked you if you were fortunate, what would you say?

A version of this post originally appeared on Move Your Mountain.

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