A week ago, we had yet another blustery day cancelling activities; so, thankfully, it was a quiet night at home. I love those evenings when all the chickens are in the henhouse, and this momma hen’s soul is peaceful and content while everyone was doing their own “thang”. My activity of choice was crocheting while
watching crying through the Olympic tribute to Sarah Burke, when I heard the familiar ding for a text message.
Wiping my tears before swiping the screen unlock, I wondered who might be reaching out on this cold Minnesota evening. The picture on the screen declared it was one in the inner circle.
U watching the Olympics?
Yes! That was quite the story!
Broke my heart! Totally thought of u and the great lessons
you keep teaching the world about loss and grieving.
Her words, of course, brought more tears to my eyes. The lesson she referenced was from Sarah’s mom, Jan Phelan. In my best paraphrase, Jan explained that at first she was sad about not having Sarah any longer, but then she realized there exists a sadness even greater than that, which was never to have known her sweet daughter.
Intimately, I understood her words and sentiments.
Today marks a moment about which people still inquire, and if you have ever heard me speak, I do talk about it. I don’t think the inquirers remember that today was the day, but grief has a way of etching some dates into our psyches. However, this topic is just not something that comes up from my end of conversation very often. Six years ago today was my sweet boy’s Celebration of Life. I refuse to call it a funeral because it was so much more than that.
Many times, I have shared that due to Sawyer’s extensive injuries, we did not have the luxury of grieving Reed immediately. Required decisions had to be made, but we were doctor/nurse/grief counselor/physical therapist/pharmacist around the clock. Little energy was left to grieve. We arrived home in the evening only two days prior to the service. Greeting us at the door were a meal, a new ramp and flooring for a wheelchair, and the funeral home director. We needed to make final decisions for quite a few things still, and the clock was ticking.
I think I must have hugged over a thousand people the next two days. So when it was time for the final service, I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. But we needed to say goodbye on earth, and we had planned a beautiful way to remember him. I probably caught the FH director off guard with some of my choices – from Reed’s dog being a pallbearer to light sabers and the Star Wars theme, but at the end of the day, I wanted Reed and Jesus to look down and be proud.
Instead of typical funeral songs, we chose to have a worship band and family members sing. During the processional, that included family, friends, classmates, teammates, teachers, and Scouts, we chose “How Great is our God” to be sung. Our family alone took up half the gym floor; so the processional took a long time, which meant the song was repeated over and over.
The moment that people still comment on was one that was intensively private between me and God, even though all eyes in the school gymnasium were able to witness it. At some point, the words of the song really washed over me. As I stood there with a broken heart, my boy was standing before the throne of a King wrapped in splendid light. The same God from the beginning of time who chose to let his own son die so that I could see my son again was not lost on me. The God worthy of all praise who is infinitely wiser than I will ever be . . . chose me to be Reed’s momma.
Tears, cleansing tears washed over me at that instant, and I realized how incredibly blessed I was to have had him in my life. I wasn’t aware of anyone else in the room as I lifted my hands high in praise and sang the words to that song over and over. Interspersed were whisper prayers thanking God for choosing me to Reed’s mom. What an honor that was and always will be!
All time stood still as I was singing, praising, crying, and praying simultaneously, wrapped in the peace that can only come from God. It is hard to explain, but I was truly thankful and blessed God gave me that realization.
Even today when I hear that song, I am transported back to the gym floor, and my hands are raised in praise of a God who loves me like crazy and who chose for me to the be momma to some really great kids.
If you are unfamiliar with the song, here is a link for the song and lyrics.