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11:59 PM July 11

12:01 AM July 12

Both appear on my son’s death certificate.

One of many details mis-handled surrounding the end of his life. But after all is said and done, none of it matters. What use is an official record of the time and date my soul extinguished.

It’s merely another reminder of how long its been…

Behind me, yet another year without his quirky humor. Another year denied hearing his voice.

Add 365 more days to the running total “Without a Hug”.

Ahead, facing another year of sunrises slowly waking me to the seeping reality that he is gone. Enduring the next year as his friends graduate from college, remembering all the plans he had for his future. Wondering what life he would have known.

Grateful I have been given the gift of relocation. I can hide behind the character of “Woman with loving family, incredible children, comfortable home, spectacular friends”.

It would be easy to think Satan himself must have had a hand in the sudden, senseless death of a successful young man just starting out in life.  We prefer to blame a force of evil. Surely God would not allow the violent death of one of his own children, a boy who had attended church that very morning with a friend.

God would not have allowed the cell phone to lose all power just before it would be needed to call for help. How many times have we heard “God does not give us more than we can handle”. God would not have allowed his child to find himself confronted with a situation beyond his control.

But He did allow it.

How quickly we forget the merciful God on which we choose to focus is the same God who sent the plagues. The same God who ordered the killing of first-born sons. The God who allows children to suffer hunger and disease while others wallow in their riches.

The proof I offer?

If Satan truly exists, he would have recognized the opportunity awaiting him in Connecticut. A woman so desperately longing for one more hug, one more chance to say “I love you” she would gladly do whatever is required. The church, Hollywood, folklore has led us to believe Satan holds the power and ability to offer promises.

I am proof Satan has nothing to offer beyond inspiring bad rock lyrics.

We can all rest in the knowledge that Satan is no more a reality than the dreams to which I escape that allow me to feel the presence of my child.

Despite the endless stream of Nine Inch Nails, Disturbed and Linkin Park, this was a favorite: