Three years ago today we had a very different life. Our family was my husband and I, our five children, two children-in-law, and four grandchildren, two of which were less than a year old. We were all very happy, full of life, and looking forward to the future and what it might hold. Our lives weren’t perfect; far from it, in fact. But we had a good life, blessed by God, it seemed.
Three years ago today our middle son rode his motorcycle out to our house to attend a block-party with us. At that time, we had lived here in this house for a little over a year and were still working on remodeling it. My husband had just finished putting my new kitchen in and I was making baked beans and potato salad to take across the street to the block party when my son came in the kitchen door and said, “Hi, Mom” and put his arm around my shoulders, tilting his head down a little so he could see my face.
That was the last time I ever heard him say those precious words to me, and I miss it very much.
Three years ago today was just another normal Sunday afternoon. But it turned out to be the last time I saw my middle son alive and well. It changed my life and the life of our family forever.
All my sons are motorcycle riders. My youngest son rides and races a dirt bike, and my two older sons have street bikes, the kind they call crotch rockets. They’ve always been very adventurous and daring and I’ve always liked that about all of them. It made for more-than-average trips to the ER, but they were fun boys.
My middle son had been anxiously waiting for a CD-Rom of pictures, taken by a photographer at the race track the last time he and his older brother raced, to arrive in my mail box, and it came 3 years ago today. He was so excited, in his usual subtle way, and asked if I minded if he put them on my computer, as he couldn’t wait until he got back to his apartment to put them on his laptop. Of course! I wanted him to put them on my computer. He did, three years ago today.
Here is one of the coolest ones:
I love how you can see his face in this one.
He drew the crazy-looking picture of the face on the front of his bike. And he chose the number 73 for his bike number because that was the number of his ship when he was in the Navy – CVN 73.
He was quite the young man.
No one, I imagine, is ever prepared for the “last times” with one of their children. I know, 3 years ago today, I had no idea there would ever be a final moment with any of my children, until I die.
I miss him.
I love him.
I’ve heard a saying since our son passed away – Grief is love with nowhere to go. I can identify with that. I have noticed, though, that the love I can’t lavish on my middle son anymore gets squeezed out in other unexpected ways on my other children and grandchildren, which is a pleasantly surprising relief for my heart.
I went to the cemetery this evening, like I often do, just to see his “spot” and make sure all is well there. It is a tragic thing for a mom to have to visit her son in the cemetery. But I heard myself pray this evening, as I sat there crying.
I know you are good, and that all you do is just and righteous. You are perfect in all Your ways.
I trust you.
I trust you with my son, with the lives of my other children, and with my husband and I’s lives.
I know you are good, God.
Praise God for these moments of surrender. They bring my heart sweet peace.