Three minutes…….John Michael, the peaceful look on your face will forever be embedded in my heart. That smile….beautiful smile of when you took the hand of Jesus
Three hours…… hand in hand, Skip and I took our longest walk through the hallways of Baptist Hospital, to the car, and drove home in silence, knowing so many decisions were ahead of us
Three days……so many decisions came naturally because of our family who walked beside us and our Heavenly Father who carried us – planning for a celebration of John Michael’s life and the joy he brought to us every single day
Three months……our hearts are broken, will they ever be the same – Lord, why didn’t you take me, not him
The Cross….. It took three days for a wooden cross to take on a new meaning…..of hope, of grace, of love, of joy, of life.
I remember reading a book, maybe 15 years ago that talked about how much those three days symbolize how we must look at any trials and tribulations that come our way. The author said to never make any major decision without waiting three days or when sadness comes your way, wait three days for the cloud to rise….and, maybe three years. This past spring one of our pastor’s sermon was from the book of John, where Jesus was preparing his disciples for the future. This made me think of all the ways God prepared me for losing John Michael; I just didn’t know it at the time. I love to read anything….. but, a few books have left an indelible mark on my soul: Christy, where Catherine Marshall has Christy’s heart broken with the death of Fairlight Spencer, a beautiful soul; Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, a Rabbi searches for answers after his son’s death; Death be not Proud, a mother and father’s true story of losing their son; Journey through Heartstrings, the true story of ten year old Mattie as he shares his journey towards death through his poetry; and, then The Shack, where a father tries to make sense of the brutal death of his daughter. All stories about a devastating loss and heartbreak, but yet stories of faith and hope.
For several months now, I have had the best intentions of continuing with my blog…..but, my goal to be inspirational just wasn’t happening. My thoughts were swirling, but words on paper wouldn’t flow as the thoughts kept turning to the hurt in my heart. I remember late fall and early winter several people commenting to me how they admired how I was able to work through the pain and share with others the hope that emerged. I went through a few weeks thinking, I don’t want to be that person who others look to for how to overcome the pain of losing a child and move on………wanting to shout “The pain is as deep today as it was the first – I’ll never heal.”
But, last month, I looked at Skip and told him that my heart, though hurting, was slowly letting joy to enter – and, I felt guilty. Skip, in his always-wise way, said – “Just think of the joy John Michael’s feeling now.” So, as we reach the third year, the tears still flow every morning…..but, they are now just not tears of sadness, but intertwined with tears of joy….joy that I was so blessed with the gift of John Michael and am now so blessed because of the wonderful memories I have…and, the hope that was given to me when I said that final goodbye.
Three years……every step we take, John Michael takes with us; every laugh, he laughs with us; and, in every breath we take, he gives thanks with us for a glorious life, not only here on earth, but the one we will again share together.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”