"Hi, yes, I need to make arrangements for a funeral. It will be a service for my grandson."
I was making coffee when I heard it. I'll never forget it. I gasped, my knees buckled and I walked towards my bedroom in desperation to be alone to cry. My mom was caring for me by planning the funeral so that I wouldn't have to; a funeral for my son. Haddon was not only our son, but her grandson, it was a loss not only for Ernie and I, but both of our families.
This moment for me was four years ago. Haddon would be a preschooler if the Lord would have kept him alive on earth. Ernie and I have been talking together about how four years feels.
I have many struggles with walking through another year without him. Maybe you also have felt the ache of waiting, yet also having to trust the Lord who gives and takes away.
Four years feels deeper
I don't make it to Haddon's grave often; and it's because I'm busy with good things from the Lord. I did, however, go a couple months ago. The loss felt deeper and the sorrow came as I stood over his gravestone that read: Jesus lives and so shall I, when he returns with Him I'll rise.
I longed for Jesus to return that day and raise this boy of mine so I could embrace him once more. I know a day is coming when my arms will wrap around him and Jesus will wipe away the final tears from my eyes.
I stood over his grave and felt the affection for him as his mother in a deeper way. The Lord is teaching me and growing me in how to mother my children, which gives me more joy and new desires to love them and care for them, and for me this extends to Haddon, some how. I felt deeper love for him and longed to care for him once again.
The waiting feels harder
Ernie and I were ready for the return of Jesus when we rested Haddon in his grave. The New Heavens and New Earth felt so near to us; and really, they still are. Life is a vapor and eternity will never end. But four years here has started to feel long. I don't want to be 70 years old and visiting his grave, with a mind that will surely forget all the details of my sweet time with him. I want Christ to return soon, so this grief is only but a few short years. We believe God's plans are good for us, but the waiting has become difficult.
God is working in us and our joy is increasing and at the same time our sorrow remains. The truths from this passage are a clear picture of what our hearts feel:
[We live as] sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. 2 Corinthians 6:10
We are sad today, and we will be sad tomorrow. The sorrow we carry will be with us as long as we live. Do you feel this too? But the promise for Christians is that we will never have to carry sorrow without the hope of Christ. Jesus suffered and was crushed so that our earthly sorrow does not have to crush us. He allows deep waters and waves of grief but they will not drown us. We may be 70 years old, our eyes wasting away from grief as we stand over the graves of our sons and daughters, or wading through waters of other deep sorrows that threaten to steal our hope.
We can rejoice in our sorrow. We can't rejoice on our own (I have cried the ugly cries, have you?). The Spirit will lift our eyes to thank God that this loss is not where our hope dies , and that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the steady heartbeat of our sad but hopeful hearts. The Christian hope continues living because it's root is a living Savior.
Sorrow and hope, these are what our days are made of in our family. We miss our boy, yet God has not withheld goodness from us. We will walk through our years with the hope of Christ while we wait for the day that sorrows will be no more.
Happy 4th birthday to my precious son Haddon Brooks Blanco.
I wouldn't for a second trade your joy with Christ for a cake mix and birthday candles today, but I do miss you and my heart aches to see you.
With all my love, Mom