Joined: March 26, 2013
Last Seen: 8 years
user id: 354470
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A picture of Caleb and I, holding our daughter for the first time.

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This little girl , Kenley Micah Sager, was just 7 months old when her father passed away from heart failure. Today, I watched my little girl walk all on her own, listened to her say "I love you mommy", and just all together experience the love that's growing each and every day. The last year a roller coaster ride of growth, change, grief, and new beginnings. These precious moments steal my breath and slow down time. These days remind me of all the blessings I live for and all the pain I've lived with. My family and Caleb's family joined me in tears as they have embraced her and helped her grow through challenges no child should ever have to face. Today is bitter sweet for a mom like me. My perspective has shown me the beauty in this moment. My past has given me the knowledge that nothing in this life is guaranteed and at any moment our lives can change forever. 
This photo was taken a year after Kenley's father passed away in 2013. Time has flown and yet it has seemingly stood still. This was supposed to be a family shoot, arranged before Caleb was hospitalized, and while I couldn't bear to be in the photos and see us as a family of 2 - I wanted the photo of my baby just the same. Tonight, as we get ready to face another year, here is what I think her father would want her to know. He would want her to know she is loved deeply, and cherished above all these. He would want her to live this life as fully and happily as possible. He would want her to have every adventure, climb tall mountains, see the world, and embrace the chaos that surrounds her. He would want her to do her best, play sports, listen to music, and learn with passion. He would want her to feel the sun on her face in the summer and the cool mountain air in the winter. He would never want to see her settle for less and always strive for me. He would never want her to fear death but instead fear a life not lived. Above all else he would simply want her to *live in the moment* because that is how he lived his life till the very last breath. He can't tell her these things so I take the time each day to show them what he dreamed of for her life. My gift to her is a lifetime of wishes from her father fulfilled in a way that shows her who he was.  His love, his life, his legacy - growing beautifully right before my eyes. He sees it all - I have faith that he does. 
From the depths of my soul I live for this little girl. She is the air I breath and the reason I have chosen to live my life the way I do. I won't show her that life ended on March 17th, 2013 because for her and I, it didn't. For the two of us it is a tragic day that will forever shape our world but we are left here on this earth to do more work. We are left here for whatever reason to live in the moment and make a difference if only in a small way. While we are here, I will raise her, shape her, explore with her, and LIVE with her the way Caleb wanted. I do his life, his memory, and his spirit no justice if we live any other way. So for me, it's no excuses, and absolutely no regrets.

Quotes by AubreeMae

3 years ago today is the day that I woke up from a terrible sleep and realized that all I saw and heard the night before wasn't just a nightmare. Everything happened fast, so unbelievably fast.. It was the worst day of my life. But that's a selfish thing to say when my brother isn't here anymore because it was the worst day of HIS life.
So far, time hasn't healed a thing, and to think where we all were 3 years ago, it seems like a brand new wound yet.
Nothing is promised, and nothing should be taken for granted. Not for one single moment. 


Good Night, Dad
-Luken Grace 

I could always talk to my dad. He was more like a big kid than an actual adult. In fact, he looked much younger than his forty-one years. 
He had straight black hair and a mustache, with no signs of graying or balding. He stood a strong six feet and had dark green eyes that seemed to always be laughing at some secret joke. Even my friends, who he'd make fun of without mercy, loved him. Most of my peers would be embarrassed to have thier dad hang around with them, but not me; in fact, I took great pride in him. No one else had a dad as cool as mine.
After he came home frmo work, we went inside, and I began to get ready for bed. As I entered my room, I looked over and saw my dad working intently at his computer in his office, which was across from my bedroom. As I watched him, I had the most incredible urge to just poke my head in and tell him that I loved him. I quickly brushed that urge away and continued on into my room. I couldn't possibly say to him, "I love you" I hadn't said that to him or anyone since I was seven, when my mom and dad tucked me in and kissed me goodnight. It just wasn't something a man said to another man. Still, as I walked in and closed my bedroom door behind me, the feeling continued to grow inside of me. I turned around, opened my door and poked my head into my dad's office.
"Um.. I just wanted to say goodnight."
"Oh, Goodnight."  and I went back to my room and shut the door.
Why didn't I say it? What was I afraid of? I told myself by saying that maybe I'd have the courage to say it later; but even as i told myself that, I knew it might never happen. For some reason, I felt that was going to be the closest I'd ever come to telling my dad I loved him, and it made me angry with myself. Deep within me, I began to hope he'd know that when I said "Goodnight," I really meant to say I love you. 

The next day was just like any other. After school, I walked with my best friend to his house, however, his mom surprised us by picking us up in the parking lot. She asked me whose house I was going to, and when I said "yours" she said, "no, I have this feeling your mom wants you home right now." I didn't expect anything. I thought she wanted to do soemthing with her own family and I didn't want to intrude.
As we pulled up to my house, I saw a lot of cars in front and a few people I knew walking up our front stairs.
My mom greeted me at the front door. Tears were streaming down her face. She then told me, in the calmest voice she could manage, the worst news of my life. "Dad's dead."
At first, I just stood there as she hugged me, not able to move or react. In my mind, I kept repeating 'Oh god no.. This can't be true..Please' .. But i kenw I wasn't being lied to. 
Why didn't I say it?! 
Once in my room, I hurt so badly that my whole body went numb and I collapsed on the floor, sobbing. A few moments later, I heard a scream from downstairs and then my baby brothers voice crying out, "Why, Mommy!" That's when I knew my mom just told him what had happened. For the next half hour, I tried to explain to him why Heavenly Father wanted our dad back with him, while I tried to pull myself back together.
I was told my father had died in an accident at work. Somehow, he had been knocked off the crane he was inspecting. Workers nearby said they didn't hear him shout or anything. He was pronounced dead on arrival at eleven o'clock that morning, May 21, 1993. 
I never really told my dad I loved him. I wish I had. I miss him very much.
When I see him again after this life, I know that the first thing I'm going to say to him is, "I love you." But until then, "Good night, Dad."


I haven't sat down to write in quite a long time, not even a single post on facebook. My silence hasn't been completely by choice, just a lack of personal inspiration and yes, desire; it definitely was time.
Over the last month, I've had a chance to put pen and paper; I was expecting to write a design column, or even better, a love letter. Well, scratch off the love letter idea; Cupid's arrow hasn't flown in my direction for some time.
What I wrote down on that piece of paper was not what I had intended. The thoughts running through my head were much deeper than any design column I've ever written, but they did lead me in the direction of that love letter; apparently a much needed one to myself. 

Dear Aubree,
Where have you been, and what took away your bright spirit? You are paralyzed by some self-created fear, but only you can determine what that fear is. You have lived your life determined to be "good enough" for everyone; what happened to being good enough for yourself?
You deeply believe that coming to the aid of others is what God requires from you; have you ever thought of coming to your own aid? And always hiding behind that smile, making sure everyone around you is happy and having them believe that you are too; with whom do you share the real Aubree, no on. How do you think that makes your family and friends feel? They want to be there for you, as you have been for them.
Do you honestly think that if you say "no" to unrealistic requests or demands, that you will lose the respect of that person? Well, by always saying "yes" you lost your self respect. When will you ever give yourself permission to fail at something? The price you are paying to succeed is costing you more than any failure ever could. Living a life isolating yourself from internalized fears is not going to change on its own. Find the courage to step back into your true self and "live authentically", as you preach to others. Never lose faith that love will find you again; but first you have to be willing to open yourself up to being vulnerable, trust your heart to lead you.
Lastly, please laugh again, you were always the life of the party! The strength of laugher is stronger than any medication you could ever be prescribed.
I miss you!
Love, Aubree.

-My dad's journal writtings.

My dear wife and I had just delivered the most difficult public address of our lives. It had never occured to us that parents don't typically spak at their child's funeral because emotions are so very near the surface. For some reason, we did. 

After the funeral service we made the somber journey to the cemetery. My son was in the hearse in front of us and all I could think was, "He must be so cold and scared and lonely."  I had those same nearly schizophrenic feelings when I was 19 years old and drove my father's casket alone in the back of a pickup truck from Edmonton to southern Alberta. It was snowing outside and I agonized that my dad was cold and I wanted to protect him like he so often tried to protect me. I cried a lot on that long drive - I was young, sad and very much afraid. Although those feelings of wanting to protect my father were strong then, they were so much more intense toward my son. What you read here was the most commute of my life.
As we followed our little boy I couldn't help but also think back on my life with Tegan. Instantly I had feelings of guilt and grief and a longing to hold him such that I had never before known. I cried on this drive, too - and my soul cried out even harder.

I couldn't imagine it then, but I see it now: death and dying, the funeral and all it's preparations, as difficult as they are... that's the easy part. It is in the quiet of things, long after death has come to steal away that which is most precious.. it is when the dust settles and the world spins madly on.. that is when the struggle truly begins.
I have heard many who wrestle with grief share feelings of personal guilt over a million-and-one things they wish done differently. I understand those feelings because I have felt them, too.  I wrote in this journal last December, "That list of "what if's", however couterfeit and scattered with lies, remains glossy, persuasive and deceptively."
Though I may be tempted to feel guilt for what might have been, or perhaps even should have been, I know I always had the welfare of my family at heart and I did the best I knew how. I wasn't perfect, but I was perfect at trying - and that is good enough for me. Grief is hard enough - guilt makes grief more difficult. Guilt is a lot like fire: if it is properly managed it can wield great power and effect change. If mismanaged, or gets out of control, it can burn us and cause deep scars.
Yet there are so many moments that invite feelings of guilt: from the foolish things people say, to those who suggest we're grieving wrong... because we're not doing it their way. To all of the nonsense I say, ignore it. It is easy to critique the grief of others for those who never knew it or bore it.   I don't feel guilty for having good days or moments of happiness - as though I've betrayed some unspoken rule of grief. To the contrary, I seek after such moments daily. We are made to find joy - and joy is what I seek.

On the other side of the grief spectrum there are some who suggest, "Tegan wouldn't want you to be sad."  Yet, I am sad he is gone. I don't feel guilty for grieving or feeling deep sorrow over the loss of my son... for I believe he understands my grief.. that grief is the language of the heart and points to unspeakable love and unimaginable loss. Why feel guilty for that? I don't feel guilt for grieving and I never will.

Mixed in the many layers of grief are the questions "Why me? Why this? Why?"  We may never know the answers.. at least in this life. But, I can't help but think there's a relationship between grief and grace.  At least to me, it seems if we endure our struggles well, grief can become our teacher and open our hearts to a deeper compassion towards others.
Though I wish the death of my son never happened, it did. Shaking my fists at God in anger won't change that.. in fact, such anger would change me... and I don't want that. 

I'll never turn my fist toward God. Instead, I turn my ear toward Him and do my best to listen. And, when I slow down and give my heart some space, I am convinced grief is a key to grace.


-My dad's journal writtings.

It was late spring, Tegan's headstone hadn't yet arrived and each day was getting a little warmer than the day before. It had only been a few months since I lost my son and my soul was still dizzy with grief. Quietly, I was grateful for the warmer days because the cold winter air carried with it vivid memories of the bitter cold morning my dear son was leaving our house for the last time. I will write of that experience soon.

So, on this spring afternoon Aubree asked if I'd take her to see Tegan and I told her I'd be glad to. Just then she dashed into Tegan's room to grab something. A minute later she came back with one of her brother's favorite family picture and said, "okay, let's go".  As we arrived at the cemetery I was curious what Aubree had in mind so I gave her some space and said, "Take your time sweetheart, I'll be nearby."

With that, she handed me Tegan's favorite family picture and gave me a soft grin, a confident nod, then sat on the grass and started talking to her older brother. I could faintly hear Aubree's young voice as she told her missing brother summer was around the corner, school was quickly coming to an end and a little about the movies she and Tegan wanted to see.  Aubree told Tegan about some of the new friends she made throughout the year and how her teacher was so kind to her when she cried in class because she missed him. Aubree continued to tell her brother about the tree Tegan's friends and classmates planted in his honor.

It was a tender thing to see my youngest daughter struggling to sort things out. I sat in the distance and cried as I overheard Aubree tell Tegan how much she loved and missed him. I cried because I missed my Tegan with all my heart; I cried also because my youngest daughter was in pain, too.

The protective father in me was tempted to sweet Aubree away... to try and distract her from the harsh realities of life. But I knew that would not help my daughter learn how to deal with hard things. For life is full of hard things and if I'm to pass on something, I want it to be a knowledge of how to weather the storms of life. For if there if one thing we can be sure of, it is we'll all come to know hardship... we're all going to get broken in one way or another.

In this moment I realized my responsibility as a loving father wasn't to keep my daughter from breaking or being hurt, for that is impossible... but rather to teach my daughter how to mend broken things. I wanted Aubree to understand true strength isn't seen in pretending to be unbreakable but in having the courage to make broken things strong. 

This is the thing I pray to teach my daughter; there are always broken things to mend - but if she's wise, she will seek Heaven's help and find the strength of a million men.
Though I am also broken, I seek after the very things of which I have spoken.


Does anybody remember Caleb on the account of UnforgetableCaleb?

I am missing him so much lately.



My dad's journal about losing his son 2 and half years ago at 18 years old. My older brother, my hero.

The night before Tegan passed away we sensed time was running out. As the sky quickly darkened the air grew eerily cold... and with each breath we felt a heavy, somber feeling grow within our hearts. That abyss that was inching to devour our son has its mouth stretched wide and was beginning to swallow him up.
We were preparing to cuddle with Tegan in his room to comfort him when we recieved a call from his best friend and next-door neighbor who wanted to see Tegan. Unaware that Tegan was already slipping away and was coming in and out of consciousness, we asked this young boy if we could speak to his mother. We told her Tegan didn't have much time and that perhaps her son would want to come over one last time. Within a few minutes of that call, this young boy came over to say goodbye to our baby, his best friend.
Tegan absolutely loved Luke. Tegan was always excited to spend time with him... So this last visit would mean more to Tegan than I think Luke realizes to this day.
What I witnessed in the quite of Tegan's room was the most tender interaction between two teenage boys I have ever seen. It was a sacred exchange between two boys made of clay - each being shaped by experience, hardship, sacrifice and love.
Lying on the bed was our young boy much too young to die. Standing next to him, another young boy holding his hand, bearing his young soul... much too young to say goodbye. It was not my place to ask God why such heavy things were required by hands of these two innocent souls. Instead, I began to ponder deeply and pray in my heart to understand what we were meant to learn from this hardship.
These aren't the only two teenagers to experience this, and they won't be the last. But they were our kids.. and we loved them so. It hurt so very much to see.
Luke, who had loved Tegan like a brother and faithfully served him with all his heart told Tegan how much he meant to him, that because of Tegan he learned what it meant to be a true friend and that he would never forget him. Luke struggled to hold back tears, his voice was broken with emotion, as Tegan lay unable to move or speak. His eye barely open, my little son listened to tender words of affection and friendship. My wife and I wept as we witnessed love and friendship in its purest form. I knew that Luke, Tegan's faithful friend, was breaking inside.
Afterward I hugged him and told him how much my wife and I loved and appreciated him. I told him I was sure if Tegan were able to speak he would tell Luke that he loved him like a brother and that he appreciated how he was always there to help him, and how much it meant to him that he always cheered him up when he was sad. I told Luke that he taught Tegan and his parents what it meant to be "your brother's keeper" and that we were so grateful to him.
Later that evening I couldn't help but think of that tender experience between these two boys who were forced to grow up much to fast.
I admit the burden of losing my presious son has my knees trembling, hands shaking and my soul in tremendous pain. There exist no words in human language to describe the depths of this sorrow. It is simply, utterly, bewildering heavy. But, like all suffering, the sting of that pain can make way to a deeper compassion towards others, a greater capacity to love, a stronger desire to reach toward God and understand His purposes.
The truth is, we are [all of us] no different than these two boys. We are all made of clay. And with each choice we make, each reaction to events in our life, we carve out something beautiful or something hideous - something that loves or hates. We need only look at our own life experience to know this is true... We have all seen some let the clay in their hearts harden and become brittle or unmovable. Others allow the tears of suffering to keep their clay soft and pliable.
It has been an agonizing 1 year and 7 months since I have seen my precious son. My clay is still drenced with tears and soggy. One day the tears will eventually dry and I will do all that I can to remain piable.



My dad's journal about losing his son 2 and half years ago at 18 years old. My older brother, my hero.

It was hard to see our son slip into oblvion. I'll always remember how lovingly Natalie held Tegan as he struggled to breathe. Tegan was taking medicine to erase from his mind oxygen hunger - without it he would be panicked, breathless, and gasping for air. It was a medicine of mercy. As Tegan descended further into the abyss he began taking other medications to erase from his mind the pain of organ failure and the panic of dying.
We were not prepared for such things; we knew how to make macaroni and cheese, play UNO and swim in ponds. We knew how to laugh and play, do homework and tell stories around the kitchen table. We didn't know how to manage the symptoms of death - let alone watch our little boy die.
My dear wife demonstrated a bravery and steadiness that humbles me to my core. She was soft and tender to Tegan and never did anything to scare him - even though in her heart she was terrified beyond measure. Occasionally I would find her in out closet weeping next to a pile of tissues - but around Tegan, she was steady and sure.
Though my sweet wife and I did our best to prepare for the holocaust of losing our son, I discovered it wasn't possible to intellectually or emotionally prepare for such a loss. Yes, I knew it was coming and I wept in sorrow anticipating the loss of my son - but, with all the sorrow I knew at the time, I at least had the hope of another moment. There was always hope of another something - and that kept the true weight of grief at bay. It wasn't until Tegan was gone that the true weight of grief broke every part of me. All of the sorrow I knew before, anticipating his death, was but a foretaste of a much deeper pain to come. That was when my heart was hurled into oblivion.
I have learned the true hell of losing a child happpens in the aftermath, long after flowers and casseroles - that is when it's the hardest. And it is hard for a long, long time. It isn't hard for want of sympathy, it is hard because he is gone. Really gone. Days seem to stretch eternal and night, with its promise of sleep, is welcomed escape from oblivian and the heaviness of grief.
For the next year and a half I found myself slipping in and out of oblivion. The first 12 months were absolute oblivion - there were more moments of tears than no tears. Thankfully that is not the case today. I still cry every day, but I no longer cry all day.
I find myself slipping into oblivian at the most unexpected times. Although oblvion is no0 longer home to my broken heart, it is a second home and my heart will take residence there without any warning at all.
In fact, just yesterday I was in a business meeting discussing many important topics related to our future as a business. At one point, without warning or provocation, I was taken over by a profound sense of loss. "He's gone. Tegan is actually gone." I found myself quietly gasping for air thinking to myself, "I can't believe he's gone." It was a wrestle of the soul. I tried to push those feelings aside so I wouldn't erupt in tears in the middle of our meeting in front of the other men. By the time I reached my office and shut my door, the floodgates opened. I wept as though I just lost him.
I don't know how to grieve any more than I know how to watch my child die. I just know how to make macaroni and chesse and play with my kids. I know how to cuddle by the campfire and dream up bedtime stories. I don't know how to live without Tegan - but I dont have a choice in the matter. Each day I take a step forward- and each day is a little better than the day before.
I miss my son - every moment of every day I miss him. I wish I didn't have to go through this. And though I find my heart in oblivion at the most unexpected moments, I'm somehow able to find my way back to that path of healing, that path of peace, and thankfully I haven't lost any ground.
Somewhere on the other side of all this hell, is heaven. I seak after that.



When my brother and I would fight as kids, my mom always would tell us that one day him and I would be best friends.
That tears me into a million pieces now, 'cause I know she was right.

 This is one of the many pages my dad wrote in his Journal after the tragic loss of my brother Tegan.
While he was on his way home he was hit by a drunk driver, where he later passed away at the hospital. .

ALL WE HAVE IS WHAT WE'VE DONE. It had been two days since Tegan passed away and I walked into my son's room with a quiet hope in my heart everything was just a nightmare. Instead, I found my wife in quiet agony. There she lay on his bed holding one of his pillows, which still bore the scent of our son. Our home was suddenly barren, our hearts desolate. Just a few days prior our home was filled with family to support us while our son was dying, each believing they were helping us in our hour of greatest need. What they didn't realize, what none of us realized, was that was the easy part, by comparison. Hell, with all its thunder and fury, happens in the aftermath.. Long after everyone leaves and you are left to navigate the bewildering wilderness of grief and desolation. It seems that everyone has it all backward - but that is a conversation for another day. Contrary to what many think, holidays aren't as difficult as one might imagine. Oh, they're plenty hard, but because you know it's coming and you're expecting it to be hard, you brace for impact and it somehow doesn't knock you off your feet. At least most of the time. While holidays are difficult, there are harder things still. It's the ordinary Saturday mornings when we work as a family to clean the house. I look to the windows my son used to faithfully wash, or the floor he would carefully mop.. and he is not there, nor anywhere. It's the absence of ordinary things that take your breath away and bring you to your knees. It's the empty bed, the vacant chair at the dinner table, it's the ordinary stuff we miss, the very stuff we take for granted. Among many layers, grief is a deep longing for the ordinary. So, as I entered Tegan's room and saw my dear wife in pain, my heart sank to the floor. I missed my son with all my soul - and though my heart wished otherwise, I realized my greatest nightmare was reality. I fell to my knees and wept... longing for the ordinary. I hurt for my tender wife and family. I hurt for my son. I later wrote in my journal, while pondering this moment of grief, "At the end of the day we all have is what we've done." That saying came to my mind with great force and conviction. All the things we work so hard to gether unto ourselves, the riches of earth and the praises of man can all be taken in an instant. I begin to think about the memories we made and the things we did as a family and the love we shared. Though death can take away my son, it cannot take away the things we've done. Though death and absence can hurt our hearts and wrench our souls, it cannot take away the love we shared or memories we hold; for love and memories cannot be bought nor can they be sold. At the end of the day, indeed, all we really have is what we've done. It has almost been two and a half years since I lost my little boy... my little soul mate. Though the weight of grief isn't as constant as it was last year, it is as heavy and visceral as it's ever been. I have a beautiful daughter who I am also losing. Though i am not losing her to death, i am losing her to time. Before I knew it, she was graduating high school, off to college, find her own purpose in life and already made the start of a family of her own. Everything I have today, everything I'm tempted to take for granted, will soon no longer be. One day, in the not-too-distant future, I will long to have my little ones back with me. I choose this day to make my moments matter, from here to evermore. I have come to understand with greater depth, because of my fallen son, all we really have is what we've done.