I’d love to encourage you and charm you right now, but all I can say is, this grief thing? A million times worse than I ever could have expected or feared. I thought I’d done pretty well when my mom died when I was 18 and she was 46. You know-- kept putting one foot in front of the other, wrote a slew of thank you notes, and stayed true to the kind of upbringing she had given me.
But THIS? Dear God! This?
There are many glimmers of good things happening as a result of my little boy’s life, many, many good things such as families growing closer, people leaning on God, and a community loving on a broken family. I aim to share those things with you on this blog because, as my sister says, “I don’t believe God caused this to happen, but I believe He can redeem it.” Amen, Sister.
But do those good things make the aching abate; do they make us miss our wonderful little boy any less? Hell No. Would we rather have our boy back in place of all of the amazing transformation that is occurring as a result of his short but generous little life? Hell Yes.
By the way, does anyone else find it interesting that after almost 4 years of blogging in anonymity and using very proper language (except for an occasional reference to pantiliners) that now, when my “cover is blown” and people know who I am, I feel the need to curse more than ever before? And, now that my former English students know who I am, I can’t seem to stop beginning all of my sentences with “And and But?” Oh well. I really don’t give a crap.
For those of you who were unable to be at Jack’s service or listen to it online , I want to make sure you know of something very special that happened the night he died. Our electricity was out because of the storms, and if I ever post the gut-wrenching account of what happened that horrific night, you’ll understand more about the role the lack of electricity played in Jack’s death. But it did serve as a measure of comfort as well.
I sat on the couch weeping, rocking, keening, and reading the Facebook posts that poured in all night. The electricity came on at about 2:30 in the morning and Tim came downstairs to plug in our cell phones. When he plugged mine in, instead of my password screen and regular app screen coming up, a Bible application, open to a particular verse, popped up. The only one who had ever used that app was Jack, for school last year, under a fair share of duress at Bible memory verse time. Here is the screen shot:
What comfort. What a gift. Thank you.
Then, this week, as the numbness started to wear off and the pain seeped into my bones, I plugged in my phone for charging and something else popped up. This image is from a different Bible memory app, also used only by Jack, almost a year ago. Here’s the screen shot:
Just a picture of Jesus, with the words, Follow Me.
And on the past two Thursdays since his death-- in a month of rain and clouds and the kind of days that have elementary teachers turning toward the bottle at the thought of one more indoor recess-- at sunset, at the exact time that Jack was missing that horrible Thursday night, the rain stopped and we were met with the most amazing, vibrant, multi-colored sunsets we have ever seen. The sun set right over the paltry little creek bed, now almost dry, where Jack left this earth in a rush of raging water. Many friends in our town saw the sunsets and thought of Jack.
So there are feelings, nudges, and blessings, and we know God is part of all of this somehow. And I don’t want us to forget about that as we navigate this waking nightmare. So I’ll write what I can here.
And we don’t want you to forget about us, either. All four of us. Our sweet Jack and the three left here to mourn, and miss him, and figure things out.