I can see it in his eyes, I can hear it in his voice the pain, the hurt all the things because he could not fix it. He is the dad, the husband the one who repairs the cars, he is the head of the house he is the one who fixes it! But on the night of, August 23, 2013, he could not fix it.

Why? Why, he says. Why did this happen?

You see he repeats it many, many times. If I could have only fixed it!

If I, could have only, fixed the night of my son’s accident.

He goes down the list of questions that there are no correct answers for. Should I have told him he could NOT go? But he reminds me that he went out to talk to the boys, he looked in the car and checked it out. Everything was fine.

If I had only left sooner when I had the feeling something was wrong. Maybe I could have fixed it.

Maybe God should have been the one to fix it.

But He didn’t.

Why did it happen?

It has been almost six years since my son Tyler’s accident. He was hanging out with friends for a short period of time, just 30 minutes. He was on his way home when the driver lost control on our gravel road about a mile away from our house. I’m sure they were having fun. I’m sure the last things he remembers were the good times, the music on the radio or maybe it was the beautiful night cruising in that little, green, convertible car. But if I had been there maybe I could have fixed it, he says. Maybe I could have saved him. Maybe this terrible night would NOT have happened.

But he wasn’t there. He COULD NOT fix it.

The pain he bears is a daily pain. It is something my husband has a hard time getting over, around, through and some days it hits him head-on. Not to mention the visions in his head that he sees multiple times during the day. How can you forget seeing a car overturned and wondering where your son is? But once you realize your son is under the car, your supernatural powers kick in. He can remember how it felt, the smell and all the sounds of the car as he and the other boys lifted it off Tyler. It is those images that he replays over and over again morning, noon, and night. Not to mention the sound of the ambulance sirens or the silent, lifelessness of his son as he lay in his arms. His hope was that this was a dream and when he woke up Tyler would be alive. Unfortunately, this was very real, Tyler was not alive and he was not able to fix any part of it.

I know the men in our lives are known as the strong ones, they are the father figures who fix the tough stuff. But this time, it didn’t matter who played what role.

God had a greater plan and He was the one in charge. There was no fixing and bringing Tyler back.

We will never have answers to all the questions my husband has until we meet God himself. We have no idea if this accident was a God thing or a devil thing. We know there is nothing we can do to bring back our son. Death stole a young man’s life, changed a family, broke many hearts, and has taught us many lessons.

We have learned we all have the choice to stay where we are or to be resilient.

Resilience can bring us through the hard days when the nightmares overcome us. Resilience helps us to put one foot in front of the other and move forward, not to be confused with moving on and forgetting our son—but to work through our new journey. Tyler is still part of our family; we love him very much and he will live on in our hearts forever.

We will never be able to fix the night of August 23, 2013. However, we can keep his memories alive as we find joy moving forward on our new journey together.

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I Changed Overnight When I Lost My Son

You Cannot Control Seasons of Grief; You Can Only Move Through Them

Missy Hillmer

I am Ma to the four Shorties. I am married to Craig, fellow educator and college football fanatic. Jesus and a good cup of coffee make me a happy girl. Teaching middle school science and front porch rockin’ are two of my many daily adventures.