Yesterday would have been our son’s 26th birthday. What a difficult day it was. My oldest son, Joe, called me today. In the middle of our conversation about invoices, he just casually told me that for him yesterday was as hard as the day we buried his brother. He said he thought we were all getting better until yesterday. It was that hard.
I am constantly surprised by the depth of the pain on some days. The first holiday after his passing was Thanksgiving Day, and I was shocked by the depth of the pain. Granted, it was only six weeks after he had passed, but it was still shocking. We were more prepared for the pain by the time Christmas came around, but it was still shocking grief I experienced. I remember I took down his stocking after we had opened all our gifts, stood and looked at it for a minute, and not knowing what to do with it, threw it down in the corner in a fit of anger. I was angry that he wasn’t there to take candy out of his stocking. New Year’s Day was difficult on a whole different level. It felt like the beginning of going on with our lives without him. A new year was beginning, but he wouldn’t be here to celebrate it with us. In fact, he would never be here to celebrate it with us again.
Yesterday, his birthday, the day I gave birth to him, brought back sweet memories for me. But, as all the other special days have, it brought with it deep, deep grief. I baked a red velvet cake to share with my husband and our four children in honor of his birthday. As I was putting it in the oven, crying like a baby, I told Dan I was baking a cake for our child who wouldn’t be here to eat it with us. We went to his grave and tied balloons onto his name plaque. We stood, in the chilly March wind, around his grave and talked and cried and hugged and cried some more. We miss him. We miss him so much.
I had a brief glimpse, though, of the strength of our family, yesterday while standing together around his grave. I have not had a moment like that since his passing. The six of us were standing in a half circle around the head of his grave, I on one end and Dan on the other of our four children, and I saw strength. I had a moment where I knew we are going to make it. We are going to pull through this, wounded and scarred, but by the grace of God we will still be here, a united family standing strong together. It was a brief moment, and it passed all too quickly and the crushing grief returned. But, I had a moment of hope for a better day to come.
I haphazardly opened my Bible today to read whatever was in front of me, not really serious about reading it, but knowing there is life within its pages. And, I need life right now. It opened to Psalm 84:5-7, “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills (the pools) with blessings. They go from strength to strength (increasing in victorious power); each of them appears before God in Zion.”