Is Anyone Remembering Him Today?

I know of a man and his wife, a little older than us, that had a son who died some time ago in a car crash. Same age as our Hans, same abrupt end. I don’t know these folks personally; they are acquaintances of my husband. I have only seen them from a distance.

I never knew their son at all. To me, this young man who lived and died many years ago is just a shadow of someone else’s past. I do not know his name. I know nothing about him except for the traces of love mixed with sadness he has left on his parent’s aging faces. His family and friends know and remember him but he is only a nameless, faceless heartbreak to me.

And that is the way it will be for us soon. Actually, it already is. Hans is becoming “the son they lost years ago” and nothing more. New people we meet will not have known him. They have no memories of his life, no shared experiences and therefore they do not miss him. But…

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…I want so much for them to know him. I want you to know our Hans. Because then you would know why losing him is so devastating. If  you only knew him you would be sad too and you would not wonder why I still hurt. It is because you did not know him that you cannot understand. You cannot comprehend the size of the hole in my heart.

If you had known him, you would understand why I sneak his name into conversations. Why I am thrilled when you speak his name in a relaxed and casual way. As if he were somehow currently a part of your life. You would understand my sadness because you would be sad, too.

It bothers me that you never met him. You did not know him. You did not love him. You do not miss him. You do not remember him. It is an astonishing fact that he was not, and never will be, a part of your experience.

But maybe, as I think on that other couple’s son and mourn the fact that I did not know him and cannot remember or miss him, maybe I am remembering their son. Maybe thinking about not knowing who he was, and being sad about that, is a way of remembering him.

Maybe someone out there thinks the same way about our Hans. Maybe today someone will think about him and remember him.

And perhaps, when they do, they will smile.

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Hans Nolywaika

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28 thoughts on “Is Anyone Remembering Him Today?

  1. Pingback: Well Said – You Can Trust Him.

  2. Pingback: Four Years After the Death of our Son: Some of the Positives – You Can Trust Him.

  3. Dee G.

    Kim. I don’t know if you remember me, I was just a girl last time we talked. My name is Dee. Darcia’s daughter. I wanted you to know that I remember Hans. God bless

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that Dee contacted you. If people knew how much that thrills a mom’s heart perhaps we would hear from our kids friends often. I got a picture today with a note that at a college orientation in another state, 3 freshmen were wearing the T-shirt from the baseball tournament in my sons name. Made my heart scream with joy that Drew’s name is out and about! God is so good to us. Peace.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your words here stick with me. I didn’t know Hans, but I wanted you to know that I’m remembering him today. And a comfort to me–Jesus knows our boys always, in earthly life, in eternal life. He doesn’t miss a single minute or even a hair on their heads. He doesn’t just remember, he knows. Praying for God to be your close peace today Kim.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As we approach another March 3rd, the day our 19-year old son and his best friend died when they were broadsided by a drunk driver, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing. I want people to know Jason, to realize what an awesome young man he was, and to know how much brighter this world was when he was in it.

    Thank you for your post.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sorry for Hans not living with you and I understand your fear of people not knowing him, or of Hans being forgotten. Since Drew, 18, departed in August 2016, I have had that same fear. But I feel like I know Hans because of your writing and keeping him with us. And because of you, I’m more so aware of keeping Drew and his memory going. I’ve chosen to not concern myself wondering if people think I should or shouldn’t talk about him. I just do. He’s a part of me though he may not be with me but he is alive and I want people to know that. I want others to understand heaven and to know that our children are more alive there than they were on this earth yet I don’t want him forgotten. Your writings about Hans have inspired me as I said. I look forward to receiving your email and finding out more about him and seeing the beautiful photography of his. You’re a very loving and kind mother and friend. You have helped me and many others in this journey we did not choose. It’s to Gods glory. If I speak about Drew, I have to talk about the Lords plan and where Drew is now. Thank you for talking about Hans. #never forgotten. Nancy M. In Texas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…he is alive and I want people to know that. I want others to understand heaven and to know that our children are more alive there than they were on this earth… It’s to Gods glory. If I speak about Drew, I have to talk about the Lords plan and where Drew is now. ” That’s IT, Nancy. Like you, I want the world to know that death, for the Christian, is no tragedy and that God is good, whatever He allows. Our boys are witnesses to that fact and we have been given the precious opportunity to praise our wonderful Savior even while we are hurting. Thank you so much for your sweet comments and for all that your Drew Medford Memorial Tournament is doing in honor of Drew for young athletes down there in Texas.


  7. As I read the comments, I am amazed at how many parents have lost a son. I am sad for you, but at the same time your words of love and hope are so inspiring to all of us.
    Although I didn’t know any of these young men, I can somehow picture them all together in Heaven, getting to know one another, and waiting for the beautiful reunion when their parents are with them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elaine

    It’s easy to see from just a few pictures that your son Hans was a bright, vibrant soul! I know he left a gaping whole in this world when he left. Our son Greg and soon-to-be daughter-in-law chose Heaven over earth three years ago through a car accident. You have captured so well the pain we are experiencing now of people having never known them, the awkward moments of deciding whether to even introduce them when meeting new people or how to without having to go into the whole explanation of why we don’t share what they’re doing now because its just not worth the emotional energy. So many dearly missed people to know when we are all finally united with Jesus!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Loretta, Tom's Mom

    This so resonates with my heart. I feel as if I somehow do know your Hans, because I know your loss, as I too live without my son. And while my son is gone, I have not forgotten him, and I want others that did not know him to know him too. He was a part of me. He still is. We are separated by now and eternity. And while we are apart, he still is a part, and I won’t ever forget him. It hurts when I “perceive” people think I should ‘ move on’ (like not talk about my son), but how can I not? I just don’t know. Thank you for your transparency and the gift God gave you to articulate what is true. God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Loretta. It helps me to remember that, while we all will someday fade away into history, God never forgets a single one of His children. Thank you for remembering your Tom with us today.


  10. Betsy Harrell

    It’s been twelve and a half years since our 18 year old Mandy died in an off-roading accident. While there are many people around us who knew and still purposely remember our girl, there is a whole new world of people that only know me as the mother of one son. It is HARD, as you well know, to have those awkward conversations with new co-workers and acquaintances and sometimes now, I just don’t, even though it feels SO wrong. Thank you for reminding me that it’s my responsibility to “hold” that sacred space of remembrance for those around me that have lost children just as I hope they will continue to do for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. Since Hans left us, I am way more alert to the fact that when I meet a person for the first time, there is a whole back-story that I know nothing about. What I see in front of me as we shake hands is just a small part of their life up until that moment. We all have a story that makes us what we are. Thank you for remembering your Mandy with us today.



    I feel I know your son, Hans, through your loving testimonies of him. He was an adorable child and very handsome young man. You are keeping his memory alive through your love for him. My heart aches with yours as I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. Hugs and prayers❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Teresa

    You said what I’ve been thinking so well. As I sit here crying as I read your post, I am so very sorry you have lost your Hans as I have lost my Blake. Your son is so handsome. A year and 8 months and 5 days does not make it any easier for us. I have told people to not be afraid to speak his name. It does keep him alive and lets me know people haven’t forgotten because he truly LIVED. But the longer time passes, few speak his name. Blake lived…I want to shout it to the world…funny, hard working, loved life, CN trains, animals, Ghirardelli brownies, fast cars and especially his little boy! He is not forgotten. Sometimes the grief just doubles you over with no warning, though. Thank you for posting this today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am sorry, Teresa, that you understand so well what I have written here. I have found that as time passes, it becomes easier for me to accept the fact that life moves on without our departed children. It still hurts and I don’t think the astonishment of Hans’ absence will ever leave me, but it no longer sucks the breath out of me to the same degree as it did those first two years. Yes, Blake lived. Hans lived. And nothing can ever change that.


  13. Peggy

    I stumbled across his picture the other day…. and wept, for you, for me, and for well because. Then I intentionally looked for pictures of him and the boys. Laughing, playing soldier, at the air show, hanging out at your place. Remembering him eating with gusto. His eyes crinkling up at the corners. I love you!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Such beautiful words about a beautiful son. This is how I’ve been feeling a lot lately, as well. We go to a church that we began attending when the son we lost was stationed in Japan in the Navy. So, no one we know and love at our church ever really knew our son. They knew of him and they know of our intense love and pride of our son and all our children. But they never knew him personally. It makes the fact that we are still so grieved by our loss so much more difficult to bear while in the place we hope to find the most comfort – church. But, God is faithful to comfort us and carry us as we continue to walk this often dark and treacherous road. Thank you for sharing your heart and your beautiful son with us. Love and hugs to you, Kim.

    Liked by 2 people

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