I’m a little melancholy today. This coming Friday is the anniversary of my son’s death. Seventeen years ago his life here on earth ended and so did mine—the life in which I was blissfully ignorant of the true cost of love. The life in which I still had the illusion of control or at least some influence on what my life would be like. The life where I would raise my son to be a kind and gentle man who would go to college and become a successful business man or lawyer or musician. Then a few years later he’d find the love of his life and they would marry and I would be a grandmother before I knew it. But none of that happened. He never grew up or went to college. He never met the love of his life and I will never be a grandmother.
I heard once that “people die, not relationships” and if the ache in my heart is any indication, then the saying is true. My son is dead but the love in my heart for him isn’t and it will never die. And it’s the love I have for my son which has and will affect every moment of the rest of my life. Someone reminded me today of something I learned long ago. You never get over the death of your child. You just learn to live with it. But how I choose to live with it is up to me. Will I honor him in the way I live today? He would want me to be happy and to share that joy with others. He had a big heart, always helping others when he thought no one was looking, and I know that he would want me to give the hugs I want to give him to others who need to feel love.
Seventeen years ago this coming Friday, my son began a new life with Jesus and so did I. From the rubble of my broken heart, God planted and grew a seed of new life that broke through the surface of my consciousness a year later and that flower of faith and discipleship is still growing and blooming today. It’s God who gave me the strength to survive, endure and then thrive. He gave me a new purpose in life and most importantly, God gave me himself, his Son, his love and his grace. For that reason alone, I choose to celebrate today and the rest of this week with love, laughter, probably a few tears, and the hope that is Christ in my heart and my life.