Morning Meanderings… COFFEE and Thoughts of Justin



It is quiet in the house.  Al left around 8 am to look at job sites.  I am here sitting with COFFEE cup catching up on a few emails before I start my day with a visit to my aunt and probably mowing the lawn.

Even the dogs are having a restful morning.

book journey
Mater and Sammy sleeping at opposite ends of the couch this morning

My thoughts are never far from Justin and as you can imagine I find him everywhere in everything.  Last evening, I brought the doors out for Wine and Words to repaint.  The doors, are a set of doors that we picked up three years ago at a Re-Store (used furniture and hardware store that raises money for Habitat For Humanity).  The doors we hinged together and I painted with a chalk board paint.  In paint markers I wrote across the top of the doors

What books opened doors for you?

Wine and Words event 2013

Guests loved this.  Authors took pictures of the doors to use the idea at future events.  And the doors… the doors became a staple of our event.  Every year I repaint them and start anew.

So… anyway…

I brought the doors out to paint yesterday and when I opened them on the back side I found this…

book journey, Justin DeChantal, Wine and Words

As you can imagine… tears everywhere.  My son wrote this at last years event.  Perfectly up in a corner where it would be easy to leave on the doors.  And of course you know… I did not paint over it.

It is these little things I seem to stumble upon day to day. A note, a memory, a card in the mail, or… even this package that came to my house this week…

Justin DeChantal, Book JOurney. Sheila DeChantal, Made With Love Soap Co

This package came from a company that Justin created the logo for.  Out of the blue… they sent this lovely package and a letter.

justin dechantal, book journey, Made With Love Soap Co

Right?  Tears.  Beautiful tears though.  My son is loved.  My heart… is full of the amazing people that were in his life.  When he says above that Harry Potter helped him understand miracles like magic, I smile… he was magic.  He was my miracle.

This is what grief looks like in writing.

Gah.  I digress.

This was supposed to be a happy post.  And it is… every day I fight to move forward trying to resemble “me”.  Whoever I am now.

On a bookish note, I have been thinking more about What Are You Reading, the Monday meme.  I think I will bring it back the first Sunday in September.  I was going to start last week but was too tired.  Next Sunday I plan to be at our cabin and I have no internet there so don’t want to stop and start and stop.  I am not reading much due to the fullness of July and then the two events – Camp Benedict Bike Ride and now Wine and Words.  Every day I am working on something but books will come back – that is the beauty of them… they wait for us.

31 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings… COFFEE and Thoughts of Justin

  1. have you thought of writing a book that includes all your posts that mention Justin interspersed with your essays on it all? your posts contain such raw pain and emotion and I think so many people would respond to something real and honest. I don’t want to say I “enjoy” your posts but I connect to them so much. I have friends that have lost children and it just affects everything and everyone. prayers to you. I think Justin was talking to you thru that door.

  2. Definitely wonderful reminders…they are bittersweet, but the sweet outweighs the bitter, I’m sure.

    Glad you will be returning to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

    Have a good week!

  3. I know your heart is heavy but it must feel good to know you raised someone who touched so many lives in such a short time. I think I would keep the door that Justin wrote on and put it in my home.

  4. Hello Sheila, I’ve only now learnt of Justin’s accident. I don’t think anybody can really understand how you must be feeling, and coping. You are brave and strong and from what I’ve read, Justin was a fine son 🙂

  5. I don’t think I’d ever paint over that–it’s a gift that will keep giving every time you see it.

    I’ve been wanting to tell you how much your Meanderings since losing Justin have moved me–they’re a brave, honest, real-time document of your process of grieving and recovery.

  6. Books are wonderful like that aren’t they … waiting patiently, opening doors and oftentimes such a comfort. When I think of you I also think of the most beautiful piece of advice I was given “cry when you want to … laugh when you can”
    Happy you are returning to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading.

  7. What wonderful reminders of such a special young man. You could paint over his HP message with clear or spray it with hairspray so you don’t lose it.
    Glad you are feeling up to bringing back Mondays. We’ve missed you and it’s smart to schedule the reboot so people know about it. I’ll put it in my Sunday Post next week.

  8. Oh, Sheila, the door! How wonderful it is that you have so many things he’s left with you—and others. What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful young man. His life was so meaningful and heart was so large, he has filled so many other’s hearts with a love for him 🙂

  9. I love that door — and of course you can’t paint over Justin’s words. What an amazing young man you raised. He will be with you in your heart forever.

  10. Please know your post is very helpful to me. I have been sorting some things and found a note from my mom – she passed away four years ago. Stumbling on things brings a whole new grief. You are not alone in this.

  11. Oh, Sheila – the chalk note and the letter both brought me to tears, and I didn’t even know Justin! He was obviously a very special, much-loved person.

    I’m glad to hear you are moving forward and slowly working through your grief. I find with my dad that it still doesn’t feel real sometimes. It will just hit me at odd moments when I think, “I have to call and tell Dad that” or I wonder when he’ll come visit next.

    It’s a process. Thanks for the update.


  12. Glad to hear that you are going to do the Monday posts again. I feel strange doing them without you but then they make me think of you, so it’s all good. I love this post and many of your non-bookish posts about Justin and life. They make me appreciate the little things in life that we take for granted and YES…books will always be there waiting for you.

  13. Sheila, nothing is so sweet as knowing that there are those who loved Justin and remember him so sweetly. Hugs, dear friend. I’d have cried too.

  14. Oh dear – what sweet memories – beautiful though painful. If you can’t preserve the quote on the door perhaps you could have a special photo or painting made of it. But best for now is keeping the original. And of course the note is a keeper. My prayerful thoughts are still with you. Have a good August.

  15. You have such a gift for writing and you’re so creative yourself; you passed these gifts on to Justin. We are lucky to be able to share your thoughts and feelings through your posts!

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