I wanted to wish you Happy 3 years in the Heavens. I often daydream about what you could possibly be doing. Are you sitting at the throne of God? Are you in awe of the majesty and power that surround you? Are you dancing in worship, letting your radiant spirit shine? Or maybe, just maybe you’re on a pier on a beautiful heavenly lake with a fishing pole in your hand.
I wonder if you’ve met my Uncle Billy who joined you in Heaven almost 2 years to the day you went? Do you remember me telling you about him? He was my uncle who baptized me when I was a young girl. He was the one I’d wake up in the middle of the night and pray for throughout the years. You never got to meet him on this side of glory, but maybe you are friends now?
I wonder if you ever think of me or our life? I wonder what your capacity for earthly memories are? I wonder if you remember your life here at all? I wonder if you’d be proud of me?
Baby Abby is growing so beautifully. She has your laugh. Your deep belly giggle, and grin full of comic mischief. She has asked so many questions about you. “My daddy who held me when I was a baby?”, she’ll say. She asks to see pictures of you often. I’ll swipe through years of electronic photos of our life. She sees the ones with me in a white dress and she’ll gasp in excitement, “Mommie, you look like a Princess! Did you and my daddy get married!?”
Her little mind is so sharp and full of curiosity. At first the questions evoked an explosion of sad emotion throughout my soul… but now I can smile and enjoy telling her about you when she asks. She knows you loved her. She knows you didn’t choose to leave her. She knows you’re with Jesus. She knows Jesus lives in her heart, so she immediately says you live there too.
Your memory is so sacred to us. No matter where life takes us, we Love you.
I can close my eyes and remember my head on your chest. I can still hear your heart beating with life. I can see the light in your deep blue eyes. I can see the Love you had for Jesus and people shining out of you. I feel your arms around me. It used to be so hard to allow myself to remember you, to truly remember you. But grief is so beautiful when we allow God to lead us into healing. I grieve still, but I am so thankful for the memories. I’m thankful for our life, even though it was only for a few short years. I am thankful for where the Lord has brought Abby and I. He has taken care of us every step of the way. He has led an amazing man into our life. It’s weird to say this, but I know you would like him. He is a man after God’s heart. He prays for Abby and I daily. He has been an answer to so many of my prayers.
I want to thank you for showing me what Love is. I think back to that young innocent 23-year old girl who laid eyes on you and knew you were going to be in my life. I had no clue of the heartache and devastation ahead. But I do know the truth of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I have learned to be intentional in healing and grieving. I cry out to the Lord in my grieving. He does not forsake us. He does not leave any stone unturned.
My favorite “winks” from Heaven as I like to call them, are when someone who was touched by your life and testimony comes to me and shares the difference you made in their life. One gentleman in-particular comes to mind. He stopped me at church one day and with tears in his eyes told me he learned what true freedom in worship to the Lord was because of you. He could raise his hands to our Heavenly Father without embarrassment because of how you couldn’t contain your worship. You helped so many men struggling with addiction. You may have fallen in your life, but you never gave up. You always mustered strength and faith and kept walking. That is admirable. You taught me about God’s Grace. I didn’t have a revelation of that kind of Love prior to you. I will forever be thankful for the season of “us”.
I remember 3 years ago today talking with you on our front porch. Abby’s baby body was spread across my lap as she was fighting sleep. I was tired. You looked in my eyes and were concerned. I remember telling you, “I feel like I’m grieving and I have no idea why.” All I wanted to do was cry and sleep, which was abnormal. You sweetly told me to go rest. We had plans that day and I chose to sleep instead of spend time with you. I woke up a few hours later and felt so burdened spiritually. My heart was already aching before the tragedy happened. I often think about this. How could I have known devastation was looming? The Lord doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but I believe when our spirits are in tune with Christ, we can feel things not of this world.
I want you to know I forgive you. I’ve learned harboring unforgiveness, especially for someone who is no longer on this earth, is dreadful. The Lord showed me my anger and unforgiveness was debilitating areas in my life.
I forgive myself. This one was hard. I forgive myself for being angry when you didn’t come home that night. I had no idea where you were, and I was mad at you. You texted me and told me you were checking the fishing lines one more time and then headed inside. But you never came back. Hours pass and I go out to the pier, I yelled and yelled for you but you never answered. Fog blanketed the dark lake. The silence was deafening. I stopped searching and I was mad at you. You weren’t here, and I was mad at you. I was mad for so many things I never said to you. I was mad at myself more than anything for not being emotionally present your last day on this earth. But the Lord has walked me through healing and forgiving.
One small word that is loaded with emotion and meaning. A word that feels tangible at times. A word that has been my greatest enemy these past 3 years. A word that has become my greatest friend when I need to hide from the world and allow myself to “feel” the trauma and loss.
Though we may never fully grasp death or heaven on this side of glory we have to learn to accept it. I vowed to allow the hurt to change me in a way that glorifies God.
You’re the lucky one… Basking in glory… praising with the Angels…Giving everyone in Heaven your famous “Cody Hugs”… Living your best life…
I will see you again one day.