I miss you so much. It’s so hard to believe that one little person could take up so much space in my heart but you do. We called you our sunshine and because of you our lives will always be brighter. But because you’re gone the days will always be grayer than they should. I miss this sweet little face. How you’d laugh at Penny or your big brother. You were just so radiant and I believe it’s because although your time here was short, God was shining through you.
“Heaven does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Rev. 21:23
Despite what I know in faith this still wasn’t how I wanted my life to end up. Not at all what I pictured. This constant agony. Like swimming across the ocean with open wounds, each stroke brings the sting of the saltwater. But if I stop I’ll drown so I keep going. Some days I just bob there, exhausted, doing my best to keep my head above the surface. Just breathing hurts, some days I can’t seem to ever catch my breath. Like the feeling of needing to yawn or not being able to take a full breath, just enough to keep me alive but never enough to find rest. Other days the waves just continue to crash into me. Wave after wave after wave just slapping me, just beating me over and over while I am already so broken. My arms ache. The emptiness is overwhelming. My stomach feels like I’m forever falling, that feeling you get when you wake from a dream and you catch yourself, except I’m still falling. My mind plays back that day over and over and over. Every time I hear a siren I think of you. It all comes flooding back. And just like a flood there’s no control. Will it be sadness or anger? Will pass quickly or will it last for days?
I find comfort in the words of Levi Lusko, a man who also lost a child. Who, like me, also tried with all his might to breathe life back into his child’s little body. “Because of Jesus, we have hope. And because of hope, even in the midst of the worst storms of this life, we have an anchor for our souls.” Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
Some people seem to understand how much it hurts while others seem to judge. You were only here for 4 months so why am I still so lost 7 months later? Or those that imply that because I have your brother the pain should be lessened. I feel this pressure like I’m just supposed to get over you being gone and pick right up where I left off. Except there’s this gorge, this canyon, that I can’t seem to get across. I just stand there looking down but I can’t see the bottom. It fades into darkness. Do I climb down hoping to find the bottom and try to climb back up the other side? Should I attempt to jump? Do I stay put hoping someone else will come along with a plan? Should I walk the cliff’s edge to see if there’s a way around? And even though there’s an army of people who love me on the other side I can’t seem to get there. I’m just frozen in the vastness of what lies ahead and the brokeness of what’s behind me. I don’t know when the sadness will go away. I don’t know when the flashbacks will stop, if they ever even will. I don’t know when I’ll feel like the “old me” who was happy and social and fun. Maybe that person is just gone. Maybe I died with you.
I wonder some days if it’s because I can’t move forward or if I just don’t want to. Will I forget you if I heal? Does it lessen my love if my pain is lessened as well? Some days I feel like the grief is a crutch. I want it. In the movie Heaven is for Real there is a woman, Nancy, who lost her son during the war. She says, “You couldn’t take my pain away… I didn’t want it gone.” I think part of me is afraid that if the pain goes away you do too. I know how foolish that is. I mean you’re already gone and I’ll always remember you. I also know that’s just what grief does to your head. Your heart desperately holds on, clinging to everything that’s left while your brain tries to find logic in it all. There’s about 18 inches from your heart to your head but it feels like miles. My therapist says that I’m so tired because I’m fighting a constant battle. My head and my heart are at war with each other. Both sides wanting to be right. Both sides refusing to admit the other’s point is valid and real. One saying that I have to be this way because that’s love and anything else is giving up or devaluing your life. The other saying, “Why can’t you love and still live?” Maybe that’s why I try to do so much in your memory. Partially because I don’t want people to forget you but moreso because it’s still a physical way I can express my love for you. I can’t hold you, talk to you, look into your amazing blue eyes but I can still love you.
Maybe brokenness is what it’s all about. Maybe I’m supposed to be so broken that I am humbled like a child. Jesus did say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Whoever humbles himself like this child . . . What is childlike humility? It’s not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda. It’s that precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care what other people might think. The same un-self-conscious honesty that enables a three-year-old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing in the grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging out of your nose, is what is required to enter heaven. It is the opposite of ignorance—it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard.” ― Todd Burpo, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
Your birthday is in a few days. You’re celebrating your first birthday in Heaven. What a celebration that must be! And while I rejoice for you, I still mourn your absence. I don’t know how anyone gets through a loss like this without God. I’ve talked to some people who say they simply can’t believe in God. How could God let something like this happen? While I admittedly have days where doubt tries to sneak in, I know that God gave me you and even if I had known you’d go, I would still want the time we had. I’m still thankful that God let us have those 127 days of light and love with you. You brought us so much joy. You truly are such a miracle! And I know that you are in Heaven now with Jesus and those who’ve also gone ahead of us. I’m just jealous of all of them. To be with Jesus and to be with you in paradise, how could anyone doubt that? And is it not better to hope than to not believe and be right? My faith tells me otherwise though. My faith tells me that this isn’t the end and that some day I will be celebrating your birthday in Heaven with you.
Pastor Greg Laurie gave this metaphor about Disneyland being a point of reference for Heaven, “Let’s say you’re standing in line. You’re waiting to get into Disneyland and it’s a very, very long line. Suddenly the CEO comes out and goes to you in line…. “I’d like you to come with me as my special guest today,” The CEO says. And you go right to the front of the line. What would we all say? Do those left in line say, “I feel so sorry for that person?” No! They say, “Lucky Dog!” “Why didn’t that happen to me??”
….. That’s what it’s like to be called up to Heaven early. It’s a privilege not a punishment, a promotion not a termination, an early death means an early crown. The rest of us are just waiting in line. Life on earth is not the destination, Heaven is the destination.”
Greg Laurie also writes, “When tragedy hits us, we often ask the question, “Why?” The book of Job is filled with moments when Job asks the question “Why?”
Now, there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with asking God, “Why?” It’s OK to ask, as long as we don’t get the idea that God somehow owes us an answer. Frankly, God does not owe you or me an explanation.
Yet we may still wonder, “Why?”
Let me ask you this: if the Lord did tell you why things happen the way they do, would that ease your pain or heal your broken heart? I don’t think so. In fact, it would raise even more questions.
God says, “My ways are above your ways, and my thoughts above yours.” We live on promises, not explanations.
I’ve thought that many times in my desperate cries. Why? Why you? Why so little time? Why after all the years we waited for you would you go so soon? But you have gone and no explanation could stop me from longing for you. No knowlege, no answer could make waking up to this reality stop my heart from hurting. I know when I get to Heaven it will all make sense. It’s hard now because I want you here and I want answers but that’s just not how God works.
Charles Swindoll wrote, “God doesn’t work on our timetable. He has a plan that He will execute perfectly and for the highest, greatest good of all, and for His ultimate glory.”
I know you’re happy. I know that you’re loved. That you’re healthy and healed and whole. I know God’s promise and I know that Heaven is the destination. But it doesn’t stop me from missing you here. It doesn’t stop me from wishing you were here to destroy a birthday cake. To laugh with, to cuddle, to watch you grow. It doesn’t stop me from loving you and even though I know your birthday, your very first birthday, is being spent in paradise with the King of Kings, it is still hell down here. I am not of this world and if your absence reminds be of anything it’s just that. This is not my home.
I can’t wait until the day I am home. When I can run to you and scoop you up in my arms and kiss your precious face. To feel the warmth as you nuzzle up close to me. For my arms to feel full and my wounds all healed. You truly are a miracle and I am exceedingly grateful for your life and our time together. Happy birthday my sweet little man. You always be our sunshine.