My Greatest Honor

May 10

Hey, Babe.

Today, it’s been 6 months.  I can hardly believe it.

It feels like mere hours ago that we were last smiling and talking.  And then, like a gentle breeze, you were gone.  It still feels surreal.  That fragility has been breathtaking and, like the breeze, difficult to grasp.

I find comfort in still hearing your voice when I ask my frequent questions.  And yet I still have that anxious squeeze in the chest with the gravity of your physical absence.  I am definitely left wanting.  I do wonder what you’re experiencing now.  Was there a sound of sheer silence before Him?

We’re running reasonably well, but toward what feels a bit more vague.  It’s lonely and more difficult to recalibrate mid- to long-term goals without you.  I wrestle daily with pride but I seem to be hearing the Spirit’s whispers more commonly.  I see incremental growth and maturity in the girls with each passing month.  I pray that they will grow into their voice with a confidence in freedom to be as God wired them – and that I don’t entangle their journeys en route.  I’m messing up plenty, but so far there’s been no broken bones, attempts to flee or otherwise general mutiny.  The village is strong.  You could probably hear the chorus of car horns and banging pots as some of our people paraded past the house for Maren’s birthday.  (BTW, Maren’s dimple reached near record depths of joy)!  Just 2 weeks later, more village surprised Greta for her birthday.  Surely, you must be able to see the glow of our people :-).

Anticipating this day has been on my mind, but heavier on my heart than I expected.  Ironically enough, it’s also Mother’s Day today.  We’ve both been blessed with outstanding mothers.  Much of the foundation from which we venture is the result of their labors of love.  And so it has also been from you to our girls.

It has been hard not to create new memories during the other holidays with you.  But Mother’s Day seems different.  I think it’s because this day most closely honors the essence of who I’ve known you to be.  Steadfast partner.  Deeply intentional.  Truth sayer.   One who lives out loud.  Authentic.  Fun.  Compassionate.  Mentor.  Advocate.  Co-adventurer.  Courageous.  Teacher.  Mama Bear.

I often think about the depth of despair you felt when facing the prospect of not being here with the girls … to demonstrate for them what it means to be a young lady … to cheer their pursuits … to celebrate birthdays … to adventure as a family … to wake up in softies on Christmas morning … to dote on them in the really big milestones … to create fun surprises … to love them lavishly in the mundane.  I remain forevermore inspired by the depth of your yearning for them.  The girls have always been your most treasured passion.  Mama bear would do (and did do) anything for them.  Your fiercely loving intentionality is what made you so beautiful and attractive.

I’ve thought at night this week about how you slept alone in the hospital all but the last night.  I’ve wanted a do over.  But you chose it this way so that the girls wouldn’t feel burdened and so that their race would be free of disruption.  You would muster energy and focus beyond your capability in the last months just for the opportunity to invest in the girls for an hour or two; to hear their highs & lows of the day; to play a game; to look them in the eyes and tell them that you loved them.  You demonstrated a strength that can’t be acquired, but rather must spring forth from uncompromising clarity of purpose and the choice of with whom and for whom you would redeem your time.  So unselfish and completely loving.

The girls miss your snuggles.  They miss your loving presence and encouragement.  They miss your security.  They miss your fun.  They just miss you – all of you.  They love their momma.

A few years ago you wrote me a note that I now carry with me.  You wrote, “This year I’m using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to tell you, in writing, that marrying you was the best decision of my life.  Loving you and being your wife has given me enough joy for all of my days.  To the moon and back.  Love, Jen xo.”

Well, Babe, I’m using this Mother’s Day as an excuse to tell you, in writing, that marrying you was the best decision of my life.  Being your husband has been my greatest honor.  Thank you for choosing me.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Brad xo


  1. Sharon Parson /

    All of you are in our prayers
    You honor Jen so graciously 💕

  2. Bonnie B /

    Brad, your heartfelt words leave me speechless!! Such love expressed and vulnerability exposed! You and the girls are Loved beyond measure! Jen’s been on my heart and you all have been in my prayers Today, this Mother’s Day ❤️

  3. Amber hahn /

    Perfect. Jess and Gary, Ryan and Jenna came yesterday. We shared Jen’s photo and thank you card. We live the very, very short time we got to spend with her. Love you, Cincinnati and the Northstar Family. It’s our Sunday church!!

  4. Kim Rourke /

    I’ve had you and the girls on my heart all day as I also thought about what a wonderful “mama bear” Jen was, and how challenging this Mother’s Day could be. As always, you have honored Jen so beautifully. ❤️

    • Diane Allen /

      You are an amazing writer, as was Jen. You should write a book of Jen’s posts. etc. and your posts after. It would be so helpful to so many!! Your ability to express your feelings is amazing. Love to your family. I’ve been following from afar from the beginning, and have been touched beyond measure. ❤❤❤

  5. Marlayne /


  6. Newbie Friend /

    Jen was one of a kind, a brave warrior and a great lover of life. Your writing is beautiful Brad. She would be so proud of how you are carrying on.

  7. Bill /

    Your letter on Mother’s day was a tear breaking letter that reminds us how much you and we loved. Jen. She helped us all understand that there Is more to this world than worldly thoughts. The Lord is our Saviour and he looks forward to seeing us in the hear after. I look forward to seeing Jen in the future,

  8. Patty Wheeler /

    Brad I am speechless. What a gift you are just as Jen was!

  9. Lindsay /

    Been thinking and praying for all of you on this day and many others. ❤️

  10. Christin Stegman /

    Tears tears and tears. There’s not much to say, but I felt like I experienced every word as I read it. Thank you.

  11. Jen P. /

    Keep writing, Brad. It’s beautiful, full, vibrant…such a gift. The Anderson family continues to love well and live full. You challenge us to do today well. Thanks for this window into your world to know how to fight for you and pray for you.

  12. Peggy Allis Murriner /

    So much love to you ❤

  13. Kim Bunn /

    You are doing a great job. She is so proud. I remember her saying that it will feel like a long time for my family, but only a blink for me, and then we will be together again.

  14. Denise /

    Love to you and your girls. You honor Jen so well; thank you for continuing to share this journey with us all.

  15. Fredda /

    Thank you for sharing your heart, praying now for you and your girls.

  16. Jill /

    Goodness this is precious and sacred. What a beautiful wonderful love you all have!! Such beauty!!

  17. Lori6NV /

    Holding you and the girls in our hearts, Brad! Beautifully written.

  18. Conni Carlson /


  19. Lauri /


  20. Cindy Mitchell /

    Happy Heavenly Belated Mother’s Day Jen.. You will forever be remembered in Brad’s, your girls, and many of our lives forever.. Your Brad is carrying on your writing and we are forever grateful on the writing Brad is doing.. We know you are watching over your family and friends.. We miss your great attitude you took upon life,and your great smiles.. .. God Bless you and your family. Until we all meet together in Heaven.. We all miss you.

  21. Jimmy Reitman /

    Jen and Brad! Textbook definition of true love! We are all blessed!