The Stranger: Afton’s Story, Part Eight

This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.

Afton's Story

Every day, there are new Brave Things.

Going to the grocery store for milk. Walking Sage around the block. Seeing babies. This week my Brave Thing was getting on a plane and going to Hawaii. I know, right? Dreamy. And four weeks ago, it would have been. But I’m living a new life now – one where following through on a would-be babymoon to Hawaii falls under the category of Very Brave Things.

As we checked in for the flight, we realized that Bjork and I wouldn’t have seats together. Row 5 and Row 15 – not even close. We got on the plane hoping for a flexible seat mate, and we lucked out. Row 5 was not a great seat (hello, bathroom), but the guy sitting next to me – Brian – agreed to switch seats so that we could sit together.

Being the super nice person that he is, Bjork took a few minutes during the flight to write Brian a thank you note. He explained Afton’s story and why it was especially meaningful for us to be able to sit together on this flight. I woke up just as he was walking up to Row 5 to deliver it.

After we landed, we stepped into the gate area and saw Brian waiting for us. He introduced himself and thanked us for the note.

And then, quietly, with tears in his eyes, he told us that he knew the pain. He had lost his first son at a premature 26 weeks old – almost the exact same as us. “It will be 6 years this month,” he said. “And it’s still hard. It never completely goes away. But you’ll make it through. With time, you’ll make it through.”

Even (or maybe especially?) as a Christian, I’ve always been really uncomfortable with the overuse of cliche faith words. For example, God will bless you, that was a blessing, hashtag blessed. But Afton’s life has given me so many instances where using those cliche words is so very justified.

Brian, you were a blessing to us in the deepest sense of the word. You softened the blow of airports and luggage and crappy seat assignments, and you reminded us that we’re not alone. That the world is full of good people who will love Afton with us, and that God is close to us, the broken-hearted.

To healing, Hawaii, and a Very Brave Future.

Afton's Story
I’m sharing more about life with and after Afton on my personal Instagram account. I’d love to have you follow along here.

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