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here am i, blame me.

here am i, blame me.

I want a second chance. I miss my son so much and I cannot stand this new existence without him! I want to make a deal with the universe or God or whomever – I want to get Mason back. Can’t I just rewind? What kind of bargain can I strike? I will be a better mother. I will spend more time looking at his face and listening to his words. I will hold him more, hug him more, shmuvver him more. I will let him lay on me every single time he wants to instead of pushing him away because I am hot and it’s 126 outside and he’s a sticky boy. I will share my bottled water with him even though he backwashes! I will tuck him in at night, every night, and tell him how much he matters to me. I will do more and be better.

Can I go back to being 24 years old? I was young and wild then. Not an ounce of sense and so independent. Can I seek out a mentor? Can I learn faster and become smarter and make different choices? Maybe I need to go back further, rewind some more.

aMasongrace project

Can I start at the beginning with a mother and father who love each other and make healthy choices for themselves and their children? Can I grow up in a loving home with stable parents and be encouraged to pursue my dreams? Can I have a tender mother figure to brush my hair and teach me kindness, humility, and empathy?  Can I learn early on that authority isn’t evil, and it is okay to be submissive in certain circumstances? Is there a way to teach the young girl I was that I deserve love and I don’t have to fight for it? Is there someone who could come along and show me the right way to love and be loved… maybe help me understand the consequences of choices? Is there anyone who would be willing to teach me about my worth? To help my self-esteem? To love me unconditionally? To prepare me for the royal life I was designed to live?

That’s where it starts. At the beginning. Every single day, in every way, parents are molding their children and modeling behaviors that will inevitably shape who they are and the choices they make. My parents influenced my journey, my choices, my personality, my strengths, my weaknesses, my beliefs, my habits, my flaws, my mistakes, my successes. In the beginning, parents are our whole world and we watch them so very closely even when they think we don’t. They can set us on the right path or they can point us towards destruction. Whether they like that responsibility or not, it is theirs.

Then, somewhere along the line, we become accountable for our own actions. I’m sure it occurs at a different age for everyone… some of us race out of the home as fast as we can, desperate to live our own lives. Others, like my niece Teenut, have a safety net so deep and wide that they take their sweet time growing up and are still closely connected to their parents well into adulthood. Oh to have that luxury…

I want Mason back. I promise to be a better mother. I promise to apply what I have learned since his death and create an even more amazing life experience for him. My eyes have been opened, fully, and I want to make things right. We had a great life. No ifs, ands, or buts about it… but he deserved more. I can make it even better knowing what I know now. Can I have him back? I will do more for others. I will serve more, love more, be kinder, help more often. Whatever it takes. I will do it. I just want my son back. Is there anyone anywhere with the ability to give me a second chance? To give my son a second chance? Can he borrow a ‘chance’ from someone who has already had so many?

At first I thought I needed to go back to June 3rd, 2013. Back to the day he left. Back to the chaos of that day, the 47 different conversations, the information overload, the fear I felt for my child’s decision making, the panic I experienced at being out of town when my son was misbehaving. I thought that if I could just go back to that day, I could change what I did and said and have a different outcome. He was being a normal teenager. His actions were mild compared to what I did when I was his age. Did I over react? Did I scare him to death??? How did it ever occur to my son to harm himself? How did that idea ever cross his mind???? How did he figure out what to do? What was he thinking? What did he feel? Did he anticipate this outcome? No possible way.

Mase would jump a thousand times for me just so I could get a picture of him midair that we could laugh about later. Mason would sing happy birthday on video for my best friends, and make up nicknames for people to include them in our ‘club’. He would hold my hand, eat olives and goat cheese and crackers on the back patio when my father died, and talk to me about what might have been. He would snuggle with me before firing up his xbox for a work day. He is the kind of kid who chops down a neighbor’s tree if he thinks it is aggravating his mom’s allergies! He has noodle races in the pool with his little cousin from Australia… over and over and over as we all squealed with laughter. He finds every opportunity to laugh and doesn’t miss a beat.

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Mason made a snap decision so completely out of character that he shocked every single person who knew him well. I own the blame. I will carry that for the rest of my life. I was just being a parent, yes. I did nothing out of the ordinary. If it hadn’t ended up like this, I wouldn’t have given it another thought. However, now it is all I can think of and it replays in my heart over and over and over. I am responsible. Someone once said, “Mason got the last laugh on your control issues.”  How cruel. How very cruel. Another person said, “It’s your fault that Mason is dead” and then wrote to me and said that I started this blog so people would feel sorry for me.  True story.  People actually took the time to put these comments into writing for me to keep forever, not that I needed it in written form… once things like this are said, they are forever etched in your mind. Evil like that cuts deep, wounds forever, and scars permanently. I don’t ever need to look back at their writing because their voices are ever present in my mind.

It is true though. The blame is mine. I am the parent. My son was too young to know better. His brain wasn’t fully developed, his common sense was still under construction, and his self-esteem was still under my influence. In church circles, we talk about ‘the age of accountability’ as if we know what that is… well, my son hadn’t reached that. Of this I am sure. So the responsibility falls on me. If he went into the grocery store and threw gallon jugs of milk everywhere, I would be held responsible. If he threw rocks at a car, I would pay the price. If he damaged someone’s property, if he ditched school and got in trouble, if he did ANYTHING at all, the blame would fall to me.

We do it all the time with other kids don’t we? If a kid is a jerk, we blame the parents. If the kid does drugs, we fault the parents. If he was a bully or a smart ass or promiscuous, we would all point the finger at the parent and shake our heads. When a kid is fat, it’s the parents’ fault. When they go to school unwashed, we condemn the mother. When they are unsportsmanlike on the football field, we look at dad and think, “Well that’s where he gets it from.”

So it falls to me that in a moment of pressure and panic, Mason didn’t know what to do. Is it because I hadn’t properly equipped him? I wrap myself in that blanket of shame every day, multiple times a day. Why didn’t I do better? I loved him so much. I was so thankful for him. I thought he was amazing and knew he would lead others one day. I fought for him, protected him, prayed for him. I just didn’t do it well enough or right enough or often enough? I don’t know. I cry my eyes out because I cannot figure it out and I panic because he lost his life over this and I am not learning the lesson! Why can’t I get it? Was this a punishment for me?  If so, the punishment is too much. It is too big. I cannot recover.

The heart and mind are always at odds in times like this. Your heart holds on to emotion and your mind corrects your heart with logic and facts and reason. But the heart is stubborn and usually wins. My heart wins over and over and over, and it doesn’t show any love to me. It only loves Mason and it holds me to blame for all that went wrong, from the beginning of time. My heart keeps a record of every wrong, of every failing, of every mistake, even though it isn’t supposed to work like that. My heart knows I am to blame, and will not listen to my mind when reason tries to start a conversation.

My mind believes Mason was influenced by the world he lives in (which is much different than the world I grew up in). He spoke a language I didn’t speak and dealt with challenges far beyond my scope of understanding. All kids do today. All kids. Try as we might, we don’t get it. We never will. We can only pour into them all the love and guidance and hope we have for them… and then trust. Trust that the universe is kinder to them than to others. Trust that angels protect them from harm. Trust that good will happen to good people and bad will happen to bad people. Trust that our God will save them.

And when the opposite happens, and our trust is destroyed and our children are lost and everything we have done for 5,221 days is burned up… When ashes become ashes and dust becomes dust, and our nest is empty, and our hearts bleed, and we look around at the world we thought we knew and are left blinking stupidly into the light of day not knowing what to do next… what then? What do we do then?

Our hearts take over and we blame the parents. I am forever aware that the blame is all mine.


aMasongrace project

  • Karrah
    Posted at 18:23h, 16 March Reply

    you were a fabulous mother every day of Mason’s life. he was, and is, your whole world. you did not fail him. you worked hard to give you two the life you had. no matter the lessons we try to teach our kids, ultimately it is they who will choose their path. maybe the lesson is showing you how to fully live. another may be how to save just one other child from self harm. these lessons you are doing!!!….all in Mason’s name. you are a great person. (and remember, people who speak hatred are the one’s in need of help. they say horrible/evil things towards others to make themselves feel better…what was their lives like growing up and how involved were their parents?! you have to wonder.) YOU ARE AN AWESOME PERSON HOLLY!! and Mason was an aMasing person!!

  • FLoretta
    Posted at 19:51h, 16 March Reply

    Not long ago you wrote about ” just love,” Holly. I think you were so right . God wants us to love others even love our enemies. We know that love should be given without strings attached without deserving it just the way you freely gave it to Mason, Otherwise how could we love our “enemies. Perhaps the greatest challenge of all is loving ourselves. If we had to be without flaws to deserve love than love would be an impossibility but God says we ARE worthy of love and that above all else is why you are worthy of love!! my dear Holly!

  • Melissa
    Posted at 01:44h, 17 March Reply

    I came across this posting from each friends FB page, and my heart broke. You cannot take the blame. Kids make dumb decisions that can have lasting consequences. As parents we can’t be with them every moment of every day… I know my words don’t mean much but I TRULY hope you are able to forgive yourself and find peace. You raised an amazing boy, and I know he is looking on you with love.

  • sharon
    Posted at 00:44h, 18 March Reply

    I wish I could write you with wonderful words to make these feelings at least soften a little bit for you. I am praying for you… I can hear your feelings so strongly through your words, and I am sorry, i literally wish I could give you him back… I am so praying for you. (I am a triathlon coach…. why don’t I train you for a triathlon in honor of mason??) Mason would I am sure tell you that you were a wonderful mom to him…. hugs to you…

  • Julie
    Posted at 19:10h, 09 April Reply

    There is a bible verse that says, “Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.” I will pray for you…I remember you from time to time and come and read your blog. My only son is 14 this month. I raised him alone for many years…he was born in Vegas, so of course your blogs make me cry every time. I wish I could change things for you. I wish I could give you your precious lil guy back to you in this life time :,( but no, you have to wait till the next life. And to put that in perspective, it can be anybody’s next heartbeat away. You will get all your answers then. Your pain will be gone at that time. Ha wow- I know what you mean about family…every time I watch the Duggars or Duck Dynasty I still get teary eyed. I wish my mom and dad didn’t have 3 marriages (each) I wish my sons father wasn’t abusive. I wish I wasn’t in marriage #2. When I’m really down about those things, The Lord gives me uplifting bible verses. And most recently, as I cried about not having a home teeming with children, aunts, uncles, and cousins…and thinking about my family landscape of divorce and alcoholism…The Lord says, “You have ME.” Yes, yes I do…and very intimately. He saved me from myself when I was pregnant with my son. Don’t give up on your journey, please. Cry at night through the years, but as the sun breaks through your windows, God has not forsaken you. Even tho you don’t have your answers now, ok? Even if your heart condemns you, God is even bigger than your heart. Death is not defeat. Not your death or your little man’s. Don’t listen to poisonous voices. They are hurt and need to place blame somewhere, they don’t know where to take their pain. There is NO perfect parent. Don’t let Satan put all your thoughts in a double bind….he is the master of manipulation! Let your thoughts be pure, and true, and praiseworthy as the bible directs! Keep your dear memories and let Jesus saturate your gaping wounds with HIS strength. You can live again eventually, you can love again eventually, YES GOD IS that powerful! And when you do, the evil that is set on your destruction will be overcome. Please don’t feel alone.

  • Kelly
    Posted at 16:51h, 16 March Reply

    “I thought he was amazing and knew he would lead others one day.”

    This stood out to me because I see that you are carrying on this work for him — leading others to talk about something that most are afraid to talk about, letting kids know that they too are loved and cared for even if it seems at home (or at school, or with their friends) they are not, and that you matter, moments pass, please stay are words from the heart that many kids are desperate to hear!

    You are leading young people to learn that they deserve love, to understand the consequences of choices and that they are worth more than they can ever imagine. You are helping them prepare for the royal life they were born to live. That’s what leaders do – prepare those coming up for what lies ahead. That’s what you are doing. Keep fighting the good fight – keep reminding those kids that they matter, that they are loved and that we want them to stay.

    • its just me
      Posted at 21:34h, 16 March Reply

      Thank you for commenting, Kelly. Thank you for pointing out the impact the aMasongrace project is having. I truly appreciate this.

  • Debbie Bellon
    Posted at 18:08h, 16 March Reply

    I don’t know that there’s anything I can add to the amazing comments written before this. All I can do is offer you love. I do love you Holly and Mason loved you more than anything and he still does. Mason doesn’t blame you and as much is I want to ask you to not blame yourself I know it’s not my right and I know it’s not that simple. What I do know from being a mom is that our children definitely have their own minds. I see that in my kids. I see that sometimes no matter how much I’ve taught them either to do something or not to do it they choose the opposite for whatever reasons. I also understand that I won’t understand all of it. We are all individuals walking this earth doing the best that we can from the point that were at. I love you Holly and I pray for you, I pray so hard for you.

    • its just me
      Posted at 21:33h, 16 March Reply

      So very true. Thank you for your prayers and continued encouragement over the years.

  • Evelyn M Scott
    Posted at 20:25h, 16 March Reply

    Reading this a second time, I feel your pain so strongly. Guilt is the most destructive feeling in life. Throughout your writings you prove to others, if not to your guilty self, that you loved your son with all your heart and were the best parent you could be. I wish you could believe your own words. Unfortunaltely Mason may have had things to content with that you weren’t aware of. Like you said, our kids (my grandkids) are growing up in a much different, and more dangerous world. Satan may have had his moment of victory in Mason’s life, but it was only a moment for Mason. He is alive and well and living in a much better sweeter more alive more abundant place. You are the victim here., and Satan loves it. He loves to douse you daily with doubts about yourself, your worth, your intentions, your personhood. Look to the Bible and find Jesus’s words which tell you the Truth and that will set you free. Words Like, “Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven..” Jesus came into the world, not to condemn the world but the the world would be saved..” I know God is a God of mercy. Even if your son never knew Him, I believe that when he saw him, his heart melted and he worshipped. This the hope that we have as created beings. There is a loving merciful God that accepts us if we will recognize Him as our creator. Yes, there are some people who won’t bend the knee, who will hate Jesus when they finally do see him. But your son was not one of those.

    • its just me
      Posted at 21:30h, 16 March Reply

      What a beautiful, encouraging post, Evelyn. Thank you for taking the time to send some love my way. I have a book entitled The name of God is Mercy, written by the Pope. I know you understand what I mean when I write about the heart and mind being at odds. You might ‘know’ a thing logically but the heart tells a different story. xo

  • Sarah Douglas
    Posted at 21:19h, 16 March Reply

    Holly-you are loved and you are sharing the love you have for mason and the lessons that have been learned with so many people. The amasongraceproject is saving lives and educating others (like me) on what I need to do to be better, do better and prayerfully that is enough for my kids and other kids we encounter. This world is so full of crazy….this project is so necessary. No, you couldn’t do anything better – this feeedom to choose is gut wrenching. Praying the Holy Spirit wraps you in his arms and brings peace that passes all understanding. I am praying for your heavy heart, for your what ifs and maybes to subside, and hugging you now! You are worthy of love-always have and always will!

    • its just me
      Posted at 21:31h, 16 March Reply

      Thank you, sweet Sarah! It’s encouraging to read your words and know our story is impacting the way you parent your kiddos. Thank you for that.

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 19:47h, 18 March Reply

    OMG Holly…. reading this had me in tears. As your sweet sister said, I feel I know you simply because I know her, and my heart aches for you. The unbelievable shocking cruelty of some is incomprehensible to me, but know that by being honest and forthright and sharing your pain that you, and Mason, can hopefully help others from the same fate. My family life, like yours, was by no means ideal and who knows why some continue on and others don’t…but acknowledging what an essential role our parents lend to the people we become is undeniable. Big hugs to you. I’m so sorry for your pain but am certain the Masongrace project is saving others. Keep the faith.

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