Morning Meanderings… It’s All A Bit Crazy


*Deep Breath*

Today I wanted to share the pictures of the bench that was dedicated to my son at the Brainerd Public Library.  It is one of those things that I am a little surprised I have not already posted the pics (I did post the prep of the area pics but never the finished area).  And then as I plan to write this post the tears start rolling.

How my life has changed these past 5 months…

It is in all honesty quite surreal and surely requires a reality check from time to time.  How can this all be real?  How can 5 months ago I had this vibrant amazing kid in my life and we were making plans and hanging out and then…


Now I have benefits, and Color Runs, and tree plantings and ribbon cuttings…

and a very very broken heart.

However, this is not what this post is about.  Well it is and it isn’t.

If you can put a shed of light over this tragedy I am trying to live through…  what I am posting here is a spark of life and love and well….  here it is.

A brief background story to the bench if you do not know it…. when my son died in a car accident this past April the book blogging community took a stand and wanted to do something to honor my love for books and the library and my great love for my son. Money was raised quickly for this project, bloggers and publishers, and authors, all came together to make this happen. 

I still can not write this or talk about this without tearing up… what an outpouring of love during the hardest part of my entire life. 

Two members of our friends group Dawn and Sherri spoke at the ribbon cutting
Two members of our friends group Dawn and Sherri spoke at the ribbon cutting.


There was a nice gathering of people for the ribbon cutting… friends, family, and community.


Justin's bench.
Justin’s bench.



And the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library group contributed $10,000 to add in 4 more benches and a picnic table to the area for people to enjoy.





Thank you to every one who contributed.  Coming through the way the book community did at such a time as this was such a gift to myself and my family.  This heart felt generosity will not be forgotten.

(This post will be linked to Saturday Snapshot, where people share their stories through pictures).

43 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings… It’s All A Bit Crazy

  1. Bittersweet…that’s the one word that has described so many moments since our daughter died. I’m sure you’d agree. Bitter to lose our daughter, and your son, but so sweet the good that has come from it. We have to keep the good stuff coming, whether tangible or intangible. How else can we live with such heartache? Kari’s memorial money went to help purchase new playground equipment at the lake down the road from us where we spent hours & hours over the years when our kids were young; and where she would have spent more time with her own. Bethel University (her alma mater) set up a memorial music scholarship, as she was active in the wind band & jazz bands there. You’ve inspired me to look into our own public library needs. I’m a substitute librarian there, and our kids always participated in the summer reading program.

    1. Joanne you brought tears to my eyes. Its crazy to think that pouring out my heart here and being 100% open and honest about where I am at can inspire anyone. For you to say that is amazing and I hope you do check out your library. You made my heart a little lighter today with your sweet comment. I cling to whatever I can to keep him with me always.

  2. Hi,
    So sorry for your loss. I’ve also lost a child, it gets better with time, and I know you have heard this over and over, but it’s true. Just take it one day at a time. The bench and picnic area look lovely. Have a great day!

      1. Your words have brought back to mind, my dear Uncle Graeme’s words not so long ago, 30 years after the death of his 21 yr old son (my cousin). He said. “as a parent you never get over it. But you do learn to live with it.”

        Over the years, he and Aunty Betty have gone on to enjoy the weddings of their other children, the birth of grandchildren and all the other highs and lows of busy, fulfilling lives.
        Somehow they managed to make a space for their loss. It was always there and could still catch them unawares at different times, but as time went by, it took up less space and required less energy to contain. I think they now see this Steven-shaped space as keeping them company in their everyday lives.

        I hope this memorial space for Justin will become one of the many special spaces were you will be able to go to sit with him for a while.

        Much love

  3. I think the bench turned out lovely, and the quote by Dumbledore was well picked. I hope you get to sit there often and think about the happy times with your son.

  4. What lovely tribute for your son and you. I just finished a book by a new author for me. It is a gothic mystery and very original. A CURIOUS BEGINNING by Deanna Raybourne. I am about 1/2 through Rhys Bowen Molly Murphy series from my wonderful library. I am happy things are going better for you. You will never forget but it will get better.

      1. Thanks I have the time and I started the reviews to give me something to do. I an delighted if only one one person is helped. It works both ways. Thank for the nice comment.

  5. Even though we’ve never met in person, I’ve followed your blog since the beginning, so I felt I knew your family…your husband, your kids, your dogs. When Justin passed away I cried for you and felt so helpless. To be able to contribute in some small way to his bench was the least I could do. Thank you to everyone who made it happen. It’s absolutely beautiful, as is the whole library seating area. I pray that your memories of Justin remain strong and vibrant forever, but that the pain eases over time.

    Thank you for continuing to write. Your heartfelt posts are so touching and real, and I always look forward to reading them.

    1. Thank you Lynne… that is what is so amazing. My talking here on this little corner of the internet I have carved out for myself caused sweet people like yourself to get to know me… my husband, my kids, my pets… enough so that when tragedy hit – you felt a little of my pain. Pain for someone you never even met. That really gives me a little faith in our world. Amazing.

  6. Sheila, I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again…

    The outpouring of love and support that’s been shown ever since that tragic day is a true testament to the kind of person you are and the kind of man Justin was. I am afar and cry when I see this and it’s a mere shadow of what you feel each day. My heart will always go out to you, my friend.

    And the Dumbledore quote. I can’t imagine anything more fitting! *sigh*

    1. I love the Dumbledore quote and he would have too. He was my fellow “Potter Head”. We watched the movies together every holiday and read the books several times through…. now I cant even listen to the theme song which was his ringtone.

      1. Oh, Sheila, I know he was 😦 It wasn’t that long ago we were all sharing the ReRead-along and so many things were mentioned and your Harry Potter World pics were shared. Someday you will listen to it again, but not for now 😦 After all, as his mother, like Lily—your love flowed through his veins.

        By the way, it happens to be my ringtone, too. Has been for about 12 or so years now…

  7. I am so glad to see the bench in its final spot. It was the least the book community could do to try to help ease the pain of your loss. {{hugs}}

  8. Such a lovely tribute, but I am so sorry your heart is still hurting — they say “time heals all”, but certainly the loss of a child just has to be an exception.

  9. What a wonderful tribute to your son! I still can’t even imagine the pain of your loss. I do understand what you mean about it being surreal. My dad died in July, and I still can’t believe it at times – I still think about picking up the phone and talking to him.

    It looks like it was a lovely day – you are blessed with so many people who care about you.


    Book By Book

  10. Absolutely beautiful!! I am so glad to see that this little hope from the community became a reality, and I hope that you can find it a place of peace and comfort. Hugs to you!

  11. Very lovely. Sheila, it has still been just a short time, though I know it seems forever since you saw your dear sweet Justin, but it takes time. This first year you just keep moving through one first after another. Hugs and love, my friend.

  12. Though I never got the pleasure to meet Justin, your close relationship and love for him is an inspiration. The quote on his bench is a beautiful one and from a book series that focuses so much on love and sacrifice. My daughters and I visit the library often and now that the benches, etc. are there my 4 year old keeps asking when we are going to picnic there:) Soon! And though I don’t know you well, Sheila, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. What a beautiful, thoughtful and useful memorial to Justin. It will get much use over the years, and people will read the quote and think of him. I don’t know you well, but send you hugs from California.

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