Heaven stopped by
Dear Reed –
Just when I thought I was going to be able to get through this month without so much pain, February happened last weekend. Ever since that moment standing in the Children’s Hospital last Saturday, all the pain came rushing back and all the memories were just waiting to come pouring out of my heart and my eyes. For the last week, everything seemed to hurt for both Dad and me. Losing you was more than we thought we could bear.
I see all the amazing ways that your friends and classmates are going out in the world (getting married, graduating from college, or in some cases both) and my thoughts swim in a numbing sea of “What would he be doing today?” I try so hard to protect myself from questions that cannot be answered, but on occasion my dreamer tendencies get the better of me. Sometimes when it is just me and the dogs at home alone, my imagination creates a knock at the door and when I open it, you and Jesus have come to spend the afternoon with me. We laugh and cry but mostly, I just hug you both.
It is in those moments I long for heaven to come close – even if for a fleeting moment.
This last year has been a whirlwind for us all. Dad is now a deacon at the church, which keeps him really busy. Sawyer is thriving at college both as a student and as a leader. Sister is a senior now planning her next steps, and Sally is a 6th grader growing up before our eyes. Just like a momma’s heart always has room for one more, I have been going in multiple directions to feed both my mind and my soul. No matter how busy life becomes every day in each of our heartbeats, we carry you and all the memories of the way you loved us.
So as this week has unfolded, my heart has longed for the love that you embodied when you were here on earth.
When the pain of facing a day was too much, that love came pouring in. Wanting to be cloaked in my tears, love gave me the strength to keep going as text messages filled my day with encouragement. My heartache found solace in cards and flowers that arrived unexpectedly. The family we created stepped in to love Sister at her last home game – another milestone that passes without you. Tears of gratitude filled my eyes as a sweet little girl, a sister of one of Sal’s teammates, snuck little love notes into my teacher bag at the basketball tournament. The hugs and virtual hugs envelope me with a sense of peace and a comfort knowing that tomorrow is going to be okay. In each act of kindness and remembrance, we feel the love ripples that your heart made in this world and we are reminded how deeply we are cherished. Do these amazing friends know they are an extension of those ripples and a symbol of God’s never ending grace?
Even though, we know we can do tough things, there are moments when “warrior on” seem too hard. The scars of all we have lost seemed exposed as we opened our eyes today to the uncertainty of grief. God has collected all my tears in his bottle and perhaps for one small sliver in time, he allowed us a glimpse of the divine. What happened in our neighborhood this morning was more than magical, it was miraculous and precisely the thing we all needed to make it through this day.
Surrounded by the love of many and serenaded by heaven’s messengers, we know heaven came really close today. And I will be loving you every day until I can hug you again.
Note: The cardinals are singing in Reed’s garden over the tree house that love built.