It’s hard to be thankful in death

On this day 40 years ago, Adam Joseph Austin entered this world. He was the first born son to Gary and Reva Austin.  Adam is no longer celebrating birthdays here on earth, but I know there is rejoicing in heaven.  I met Adam in 1994.  I fell in love with him in 1995.  I married him in 2000. We shared the births of our children in 2004 and 2006. I lost him to cancer in 2011.  I experienced every emotion humanly possible during the 17 years we were together. I am thankful for each and every part of the time I had with him.

Today would have been Adam’s 40th birthday.  Today is hard to write something to be thankful for.  But, even in death, I can find something to be thankful for.  I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 1999 with a Bachelors of Science degree in nursing.  I never actually practiced nursing in the hospital setting.  I was enjoying teaching dance and running my own dance program through our church, while teaching at 2 other local studios.  I was ready to begin my life with Adam.  When we received Adam’s cancer diagnosis, I went into full on nurse mode. I was able to care for him and intervene or advocate for him when I needed to. I was able to care for him at home until the end.  I will forever be thankful for busting my butt in nursing school so that I could give him the best care possible.  Care that was given in love.  Some of our most precious moments were in our last days together.  I would have missed out on some of those moments if someone else was caring for his medical needs.

Today I will celebrate the life he lived.  The memories we made and the time we had.  I will celebrate that even in death, I know I will see him again.  I am thankful that he is no longer suffering in this world, but healed and whole in heaven.  I am thankful for Adams family, who accepted Matt, Joseph and Susan into our family as if they always belonged with us.

Death is hard.  Any death.  The loss of a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend and even a marriage.  Death brings grief.  Grief is not pretty.  It is a difficult path to travel.  Everyone grieves differently.  There isn’t a right or wrong way to deal with grief.  But it is wrong to stay broken and stagnent in your grief.  Some days will be harder than others.  Some days you will feel almost normal.  Other days you will feel like you cannot keep your head above water and feel as if the whole world is crashing down around you.  I am thankful that in my grief both of our families and friends were available, without judgment, to listen to me, encourage me, pray for me, cry with me, laugh with me, and to support me.

This blog post is a tough one.  But it is part of my story, my journey and the path that God had for me.  I am thankful for Matt, he has always allowed me to continue to celebrate the memories of Adam.  He encourages me to keep pieces him as a part of our home life.  He loves our children like they are his own.  So see, there is still a multitude of thanks even in pain, we give give thanks.

Happy 40th Birthday Adam!  You are still loved and remembered!!  You are so present in your 3 children.  I am forever thankful for his life.

Isaiah 66:9 “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born says the Lord.” 



By Laurel Austin Henson

Laurel spent 8 months caring for her first husband after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He passed away at 33, leaving behind a daughter of 7 and 5 year old twin boys. After sowing millions of tears, Laurel sought out God daily and began to plan for a life of being a single mother, but ready to raise their children in faith, hope and love. God gave her more than she could have ever imagined when she brought Matt into her life, along with his 2 children. He was recently divorced and the providence of God had been leading up to this life for more than 20 years! Now Laurel is reaping joy with Matt and their 5 beautiful children. Thanks be to God for all the beauty created from the ashes of death and divorce.

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