It was The Best Day and The Worst Day… Oh the contrast of life!

The Contrast in LIFE. WOW, did we experience that as my oldest son buried his best friend and my youngest son headed into his freshman year in college and moved into the dorms at ASU….
All in a three hour time frame.
The emotions were high.. on all levels. One thing that I love about being human.. is our ability to FEEL so deeply. Was it hard.. YES! Was it sad… hell ya. But, oh man… to feel your feelings.. and honor them, in the moment. There is nothing like it. What a blessed gift.. the highs and lows… and the growth that comes with it.
If you haven’t read the two previous blogs about what got me to this day, I’d suggest you do that first or the following story may not make sense….

Read 1st…  The death of a young man: https://sunnydawnjohnston.com/blog/finding-presence-in-the-pain/

Read 2nd.. Kids heading off to college : https://sunnydawnjohnston.com/blog/a-life-changing-day-a-moms-perspective/
August 2015 0718/15/2015 –
We begin our day at 5 am. Today is the day or youngest son moves into the dorms at ASU. Everything is packed and ready to go. We go through the checklist.. yes we have it all. We pack up the car and get ourselves ready to move him in. This is a BIG day for our son Arizona. He is 17 years old and will be living on his own attending ASU  Barrett Scholars College. He has worked very hard in high school to get to this place and we are overjoyed for him and the journey he is about to embark on. He is excited… as are we. We stay VERY present. This is a BIG day for him, yet in the back of our minds.. we know that in just a few hours, we will be joining our oldest son, for his best friends celebration of life and burial.
August 2015 097It’s 9:30am –

It’s time to head to the funeral. I have never been more proud of my son Crew than I was this day. To articulate his feeling, emotions and love for Algene.. was awe inspiring. As a minister that officiates many funerals, I know how  vulnerable you feel when it is someone close to you.. and he did it with class, wit and a heart full of love. Everyone was moved to tears… of both sadness and laughter. There’s that contrast again. The service was long, unlike Algenes 26 years, but who’s to say  if it’s too short or too long. I guess that truly is all relative.
 August 2015 106It’s Noon –
Time for the burial . The parade of bikes that line the cemetery, to honor their brother, on one of the hottest days of the year, was absolutely beautiful. In those moments, you don’t even notice the heat or the cold.. you just are.. it really is absolute PRESENCE! The Pall Bearers, my son included, with thoughts of their own mortality.. and possibility… looming within. These young men, some fathers, so still kids now have a guide in Spirit.
My son, on his way to the funeral was given a sign that Algene was with him, when he stopped at Starbucks, and the cashier at the counter said, Hey, I got this for you bro…. In absolute Algene style… Bro!
August 2015 094It’s 1:30pm –
Time to head back to ASU. With tear stained faces, we drive back to the college to celebrate with other parents and students their acceptance and entrance into Barret’s Honors College. We finally get to eat some lunch as we listen to the dean share about the program. I am caught in an interesting thought pattern.. I am a mom, relating to other moms here with me… blessed that my son is started his new exciting journey, really just beginning his “adult” life..
I am a mom, relating to another mom just down the street, in a building not far from where we are. I am feeling blessed and grateful that my oldest son is alive… yet saddened as I know that he is sitting with his best friends family family as they focus on the ending of their sons journey… and how to survive it themselves.

It’s 6pm
We are finally home from our Life-changing day! And what a day it has been. My husband of 22 years and I sit on the couch.. not many words to share, but lots of feelings… tearful, joyful, overwhelmed, proud, exhausted, excited, afraid and most importantly… GRATEFUL!!! We make a toast in celebration of the life of Algene Cole lll, the lives our sons, the lives of all of those we love…
One thing you can count on in life is contrast. I  am appreciative of all of the contrast in my life.. even in those moments and days when it isn’t so easy to walk through. I know, without a doubt, that it expands me into a greater human being… more capable of love, light, peace, and hope in my own heart… and then blessing me with the ability to then hold that light for others when they are in a similar place. That’s LOVE and that is who I truly desire to be. Love & light to you my friend – SDJ♥


Candle light vigil and the cross my son made to honor Algene. Still sits at the corner of 35th and Cactus where he transitioned.

Mexico 3 weeks earlier

August 2015 024
Checking in at ASU

I’d love to hear your comments. Please share below – SDJ
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