38. (A Letter)

You’d be 38 today.

If you were still here, I’d probably call and poke fun at how old you were getting. Make plans to have you come over to have dinner with me, Nick, and the kids. I’m positive my mom would come, too.

…maybe you’d bring your wife and kids too. I’m sure my daughter would be excited to see you. After dinner, you and my husband would most likely argue about New York Hip Hop being better than Southern Rap. I’d smile at how you’re just as overprotective of me like when we were kids.

We’d retell the same jokes. Laugh about the same stories. I can actually hear your laugh in my mind. It never changed.

These images have made me sad before. But not today.

Because today is your birthday. Today is, and will always be, special.

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I miss you, Mike. Happy Birthday.

Love, Your Little Sister

Tribute to Your Little One

This post is not about me. 

I can tend to write about topics where I can easily draw a parallel into my personal life. Conclude with a profound anecdote, but today I cannot seem to do that in good conscience.

Because this one isn’t about me.  

Today is the 1 month anniversary of the day my dear friends said their temporary goodbyes to their newborn son. I say temporary because our Faith dictates that this life is temporary for us all, but that a blessed, never ending eternity awaits us on the other side of this life. I’ve been tempted to create a connection with our stories (the mother and I); but the more I think of her, or look her in the eyes, or hug her, the more I feel that the place she and her husband are traveling through together is foreign, scary, and noteworthy.  

The only image I can muster up in my mind that matches is the look I saw my mother give the day we put her son’s body in his grave. It’s one of my most vivid memories from that time. I remember thinking that this wasn’t right. Shouldn’t a child be putting their parent in the ground, and not the other way around? What was my mom to do now? How could she carry on? I can remember having brief feelings of anger towards God for letting things happen outside of His natural order.  

But as time went on, some of the questions have settled. My mother has been able to carry on, somehow. And even though I know that the pain is still present, it is contained within a precious keepsake; a box…Hope.  

Hope that God has a purpose for the events he allows & that no grief is to be experienced without a blueprint…and a map…attached. There is a Way that we all must go, & our God is aware of every tumultuous turn and terrain. Some areas are filled with breathtaking mountain tops and wide, peaceful meadows. And there are places so unstable and uncertain that we cry out questions to God of why He would bring us here.  

But I have seen my mom’s pain be transformed by this Hope. A purpose became clear. And Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”, became tangible. It is/was hard watching my mom grieve. It is/was hard being the surviving child; helpless and having no words to comfort. Only prayers that,at times, felt fruitless.  

…but I repeat, this isn’t about me.  

Their son’s life, no matter how brief, brought great joy. And that is the reputation with which he left for heaven. His little hands & toes & hairs were known by his parents. And I know he knew them. His bright, innocent eyes content with be holding his mom’s and dad’s faces. God counted him faithful & suitable for Heaven.  

I pray we live for that same purpose & will be ready when our times come.  

To the parents, I love you both. Words will never be enough, but I pray our presence with you may minister to you when you need it. And may God’s presence be felt above all.