remembering and going on…..balance, we never want to forget yet we want to go on in a healthy way, how do you do both? Tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of Andrew’s death, that means that five years ago we were at his bedside in the ICU in Bangkok, Thailand. Our dear friends, David and Lara, were with us, helping us. It was a time of difficult decisions and good byes that we never imagined saying…..
Five years later we still mourn, the wound remains, but indeed it is less raw. We keep reminders of Andrew around us, we integrate him, his essence, his spirit, and his values into who we are and into our memories of him. We tell stories, we laugh, we share, and sometimes we cry. I love some of the tangible ways we have found to honor and remember Andrew….at Peter and Michelle’s weddings he was present: his picture on EJ and Michelle’s head table, a softball picture/button worked into Michelle’s bouquet, a hummingbird that lingered during Michelle’s ceremony….everything yellow during Peter and Jula’s wedding: yellow roses places in a vase in front of the groomsmen, Jula’s yellow shoes, yellow flowers at the reception, the poem he wrote for Peter’s 20th birthday on the program, the groomsmen’s converse tennis shoes with his initials in yellow, and the yellow wrist bands with his name on the candy bar at the reception. Melissa’s presence at both weddings somehow represented him. To this day Melissa shares memories, things he told her, she became his voice for awhile after he was gone….what a blessing. In our home we have his quilt, pictures, and stuffed animals that were in this hospital bed during his illness.
Very soon after Andrew’s death another Mom who lost a child many years ago shared her story with me and shared a passage that was key to her healing and moving forward….that verse is II Corinthians 1:3-4, 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. This passage has in turn been central to giving me hope for the future. Early on it was important to me that somehow this experience could be redeemed, that some value could come from it, that Andrew’s death wouldn’t be wasted. This passage was like a peek of light through the clouds showing me that a piece of the value would be my being able to comfort others with the comfort that I was receiving from God.