Grieving Sean

Our family is approaching the 6th anniversary of Sean James Stanton’s death.  I remember reading a blog written by another mom who lost their daughter, 6 years after she lost her.  She said it was still hard, still traumatic for their family.  I concur with her.  It is still hard, still traumatic. 

When it gets close to this anniversary, I find myself crying.  Sometimes, something triggers the crying—a book, a movie, driving down the road, a thought.  It could be anything, it could be nothing. 

 One of the books about grief that we read, used an illustration of waves of grief coming over you.  Sometimes they are so big and powerful, they knock you down, and you wonder if you are going to drown in that wave.  I miss Sean so much sometimes, it hurts, and hurts and hurts.  Indescribable pain.  The worst pain I have ever experienced. 

That pain became all encompassing.  It defined life for a while.  But God throws lifelines.  One of those lifelines was a couple who met with Rich and I for more than a year on an almost weekly basis.  They gave us books to read and listened to our anguish.  They showed us God’s grace and faithfulness. 

Other lifelines were longtime friends who walked with us, taking our children on excursions, and just being our friends.  Also, my family, especially my mom and my aunt (who had experienced great loss in her lifetime), showed up frequently to help with thank you notes and to be with us.  Our sweet neighbor organized meals for us for the first few months after Sean’s death.  Wonderful friends and strangers brought us meals.  There are so many people who reached out to us, to help us through this time.

One of our most significant lifelines were our children.  They needed us.  We found purpose in meeting their needs.  As we showed love to our children, we saw God’s love for us. As we cared for our children, we saw God’s caring for us. In the midst of our weakness, we saw God’s strength. I think it is significant that helping others, in particular our children, was a key component to returning to the land of the living.

The pain is still there; the grief is still there.  I don’t expect it to be gone.  There is no going back to life the way it used to be.  Really, there never is going back for any of us, there is only going on.

We put these verses on Sean’s grave site as they represent his life on earth, and his faith.  Galatians 2:20, 21: “My old self has been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”  

I wish you could have met Sean, if you have not met him.  If you have met him, could you leave a comment about what he was like to you, for those who have not met him.   

This is my comment: “Sean was filled with life.  He radiated joy.   A mom told me that the week before Sean died, her special needs son ran up to Sean and gave him a hug.  Sean hugged him back and asked him how he was doing. Sean was such a cool kid, and Sean was kind.  So many friends and family have told us that they could count on Sean to be kind to their children.  Sean truly lived out Galatians 2:20,21!

I don’t know if there is any encouragement in reading about the loss of a child, except this—to remember that each child is a gift from God and to encourage you to love— like there is no tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “Grieving Sean

  1. I didn’t know Sean well, but I remember he opened the door for me at co-op when I was carrying a baby carrier and an armful of books. I’m crying now at his consideration for an overwhelmed mom whom he extended kindness too. That was a lifeline to me, in that moment. Also I remember him calling out to you, Katie, from the car, when he was leaving co-op, and said, “I love you, Mom.”

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  2. Sean was such a light in my life through high school. We met through VBS and I remember seeing him goof around with the kids, facilitating games, and putting all of this energy into what was happening. I knew I had to be friends with him! My memories of him are so happy. Those who knew Sean knew what a light he was.

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  3. I have been thinking about Sean for weeks as I do when the anniversary is closeThe great memories flood my mind: leaning out of your car waving and calling “Have the best afternoon grandma, or every time he sat at my table he always complimented me on the food. He was unique, special, and so loved. Always missed and loved.

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  4. Sean was one of those guys that could just jump into any situation or group of people and belong. An easy smile and great sense of humor, he just brought down any walls people had up and got into their lives. He had an amazing and inspiring heart for God and genuinely loved people.

    He was an encouragement to so many that met him. I know he made a big impact on my life. Miss him tons. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for this description of Sean, Curt. He loved your sense of humor and you had a big impact on his life. You challenged him to start reading the bible every day and we saw him grow and grow in his walk with God, once he started doing that.


  5. You know we loved Sean… I so very much appreciated that he embraced Noah when we moved into the neighborhood; when he so needed a friend, Sean was the best he could have hoped for. I often heard them discussing how they wanted to do a mission trip together one day. Sean was a great influence on Noah’s spiritual growth. He was just such a good kid. Not perfect 🤪 (I told you about the popsicles) 💝 but so many fond memories.

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  6. My last memory of Sean was that last day of co-op before his accident. He held the door open for me as I carried an arm full of books. And said “thanks for class, Mrs. Osborn” I said”thank you, Sean”. He was so much fun to have in class.


  7. Hi Katie, I didn’t know your son, but I love reading the comments about his character and heart. I can tell he was truly an inspiration to others during his lifetime. Those memories and moments aren’t forgotten or lost. I can’t imagine what it’s like to miss him. Thank you for sharing and reminding us to value the time we have with those around us. Love you ❤

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  8. Sean was so kind, so fun to have in class, so earnest in the things he did. I remember the love he showed to Garrick and their blossoming friendship, complete with crazy schemes and plans for that upcoming school year. I wish we all could have had more time with him, but I am thankful for the time we did have. He was an excellent young man. ❤

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