No doubt, our journey as a family has consisted of many “firsts”. We could write in great length of all the different instances where we experienced something for the first time. Even though Elijah has passed away, the “firsts” haven’t. First time to visit the doctor without Elijah. First trip to visit family after the funeral. First Mother’s Day and Father’s Day without all of our children. Recently, we experienced another first.
For the first time, we as a family went to change out the flowers at Elijah’s grave. I’ve never really enjoyed going into stores that smell like elderly women and are full of silk flowers. But, now more than ever, I really don’t enjoy walking into that particular store. It’s not just the Christmas decorations that are up in the middle of summer that upset me. It is also the reason for our visit. We are there to purchase flowers for our son’s grave.
Even as I type, I am still in some state of disbelief. I can’t believe our little man is gone. Some moments it all seems surreal. At other times, it is way too harsh of a reality. A few weeks ago was one of those.
We visited the cemetery as a family and replaced the flower arrangement that we placed there months ago. The flowers were weathered and fading, but the reality and emotions were not. Deep down you somewhat hope that the hurt and pain, the sadness and sorrow would fade over time, just as the colors of those silk flowers did. But, such is not the case.
But I’m perfectly okay with that.
I am glad the emotions are still very real and raw. Because those emotions are accompanied by many beautiful and wonderful memories of our incredible son.
The unfading memories and feelings drive us every day to make the most of the God-given opportunities of sharing our faith and journey through the darkest days of our lives. I shared our story at a summer camp in Oklahoma, not knowing that I would later have an opportunity to talk to an 11 year old girl who lost her mother to cancer 9 months ago. We shared our story with a local journalist, and now our journey and faith is being published on their site and in this Sunday’s news paper. None of this would have happened if the pain and memories weren’t shining in a brilliant display of God’s love and grace. (Here are the links to the artlicles: family, marriage, photos)
Just as the sorrows of our loss and the memories of our journey have not faded as a flower arrangement left out in the elements, neither has our faith faded in a God who so brilliantly loves his creation in an undeniable way. I pray that the opportunities to tell the world about our son never fade. I pray that our trust and passion to live for Christ never fades. I pray that stories of people being eternally impacted by our superhero never fade. Because one thing is for certain, our time on this earth is fading. None of us are guaranteed another moment. All of us are getting ever so closer to the end of our existence on this earth. So, since the clock is ticking, we are committed to do whatever we can to express our faith in Jesus while we still have a chance.
God’s love is unlimited, unbelievably amazing, and unable to be anything less. In light of this powerful truth, I pray that our love and trust in The Lord is evident and obvious, brilliantly shining, never fading.