Finding Purpose In The Memories

Memories and emotions are funny things. Although they know no bounds of time, time can cause memories to stir and emotions to come to the surface. At least that was my weekend experience, where ten years felt like yesterday, as I reflected on the anniversary of the loss of my son.

The morning of my son’s funeral I awoke not knowing how to feel. My heart was heavy with loss, and yet there was almost a relief in the knowledge his battle was over.

It had been ten months since Alexx was diagnosed and I had begun to grieve. My grief was quiet. I had a childhood of memories to help him make during the span of a short prognosis.When you're not needed, you lose part of your purpose in life.

I believe a mother’s reaction is an indication of the depth of challenge to a child’s trials. Mothers are often the gauge of success or failure. In my weakness, God was strong. When I stood in faith and prayed boldly in His strength, and with His confidence spoke words of comfort and encouragement, my son surrendered his life to God’s will. The open faith he displayed humbled me to the core.

During those months I experienced the tangible presence of God like never before. A closeness and comfort so overwhelming words seem inadequate. I rested in the holiness of the Living God.

The morning of the funeral I welcomed the extra activity our extended family provided. They cared for the baby and I was left to get ready with only my thoughts. I considered the blessings that had come out of this trial. I opened the box holding a gifted pearl, and for the first time gently hung it around my neck. I remembered the lesson it represented and prayed for comfort.

I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came to celebrate my son’s life. Several shared heartwarming stories of how their lives and faith were impacted by Alexx. Many of the stories I had never heard before. I was deeply touched to more fully realize how God had used him.

I was amazed when one young man stood to share his story. I recognized him as a friend of some counselors from the cancer camp Alexx had attended. They had stayed in contact with us after camp and he always looked forward to their company. On one visit, they had requested to bring their friend. They had told him about Alexx, and he wanted to meet him.

The young man shared how he had walked away from the Lord. He had grown up in the church, but had turned away and was living for himself. His friends had been encouraging him to come back, but he refused. When they told him of Alexx, he wanted to meet him. He shared how they had spent a couple of hours talking with him in our home.

It was with deep emotion the young man continued. He had been amazed by the eight year old boy battling cancer and living for Jesus. He spoke of repentance and how Alexx’s unwavering faith had renewed his desire to live his life for Jesus.

As each story was shared from different times of Alexx’s short life, I considered the time marked by cancer. We experienced life at rocket speed. We cried, we laughed, we lived and we grew.

After the funeral passed, extended family returned home, and my husband would return to work. I looked forward to a few days with my seven-month-old son before I would need to return to my job.

The first day my husband left for work, I was surprised by how quiet our home was. The phone that had rung nonstop for many weeks sat silent. When you're not needed, you lose part of your purpose in life.

At one point I checked for a dial tone to make sure it was working. The silence was deafening.

Recently when watching a video of Ed’s story (link no longer available), he shared a similar experience of a silent phone the day after health required him to step down from the pulpit.

When you’re not needed, you lose part of your purpose in life. ~Ed

In those first few days, I would rock my baby to sleep with quiet songs and whispers of love. A voice of questions would come asking “do you love him more? can you protect him?” I fought guilt to fully love my children. I fought a desire to protect myself by guarding my heart and pushing them away from me.

Returning to work offered little comfort. I did my job and earned a paycheck. Days and months passed, seasons changed, and I went through the motions of work and life.

A day came when I had to consider the purpose of it all. I knew the enemy of my soul desired to kill, steal and destroy. I desired to live my life for Jesus.

When memories and emotions flood the bounds of time, I sometimes need to again consider the purpose of it all. I treasure the memories of my son, the impact of his life, and his example of faith. Sometimes I miss him so much I need to shed silent tears. Mostly I rejoice that when he lived, he lived for Jesus!

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony Revelation 12:11

Thank you for reading this part of my testimony.

photo credit: Novowyr via photopin cc

photo credit: splityarn via photopin cc


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog and am sorry for your loss. However, I thank the Lord that you have fond and encouraging memories of your son. I attended a burial of a 26 year old relative this last weekend and I just could not imagine the anguish the parents were going through. May the Lord continue comforting and strengthening you.

    1. Teresa Brouillette says:

      Thank you, and I am sorry for your loss. Of all the grief I have faced, the loss of my son has stretched me the most. We expect to lose grandparents, parents, and even siblings and friends. Parents do not expect to outlive their children, regardless if their a young child or adult.
      I read your post, and enjoyed your cultural observations. Despite how we demonstrate grief, you are accurate, there is anguish. I am thankful for the Lord of all comfort!

  2. Although I did not have the privelege of knowing your family during that time, I am blessed to get to know Alexx through your heart and eyes. In the stories you have shared it is clear that the Lord used him mightily. I hope you are encouraged to know that work is not finished, but the testimony of Jesus, His plan, His caring, comfort, courage, and calling partnered with your commitment to obey and share, continues the work. I so look forward to meeting Alexx in heaven. I love you. Thank you.

    1. Teresa Brouillette says:

      It’s going to be a glorious celebration! 🙂 Thank you Tammy. I truly appreciate your encouragement!!

  3. Jeanne Graham says:

    You have a way with bringing memories to life again Teresa. How well I can remember the things I haven’t thought of in so long.
    Your words about ‘protecting your heart’ make perfect sense to me. Were I ever to endure what you went through I believe I would battle that same guilt. The little grief I’ve experienced I remember thinking if I cried, I would explode. Makes sense…

    1. Teresa Brouillette says:

      Thanks Jeanne! I appreciate your comments!

  4. Thank you for sharing about your journey. It is an encouragement to me. October 31st it will have been 4 years since my daughter died from DIPG. I miss her so much and it has been so hard to adjust to her not being here on earth, but I know she is in Heaven and I will see her again someday. That knowledge is a tremendous comfort to me. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Teresa Brouillette says:

      I am deeply sorry for your loss. I also find comfort knowing I will see my son again. As you clearly know, that does not make us miss them any less. Thank you so much for your comment LaNaye. God bless you!

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