My son Christian passed away on Saturday, February 6, 2016 from a tragic accident. He was caught up in some rope while playing and slipped on the ice and was hung. There are no words to describe the pain in this, there is nothing that can fix this or make it better. I don’t know how I’m going to go on in life without him, except that God is carrying me through.
There are so many emotions and thoughts going around through my head, and they are a jumbled mess, things that I cannot make any sense of. But one thing I know…Christian was always proud of my writing, and he wanted me to continue to share the words. He cheered me on, always wanting for me to succeed. So I have decided to honor my son by doing just that, though it may be painful at times, and it may not make any sense to anyone but me.
A gifted writer and friend shared this with me: “I am trying to think of this as a chapter, not an ending. I don’t know what is next for either of us. But I don’t think Christian’s story ends here.”
I think she is absolutely right…his story will not end here. The love and joy he brought to so many hearts will live on and continue to be shared. He told me after his accident in 2010 that God wanted him to tell others to love God with all their heart, to know that He is real, and to love others with God’s love. That was his gift, his legacy. It was how he lived his life. And it is how I will live mine.
I am broken and my heart and life are in pieces right now. But even in the pain, I know I am not alone. God is carrying me through the love, support and prayers of all the hearts that Christian touched in his short time here. As He leads me and guides me through this new journey, I will do my best to share what He puts in my heart, to honor my child in sharing his love and memories.
A Celebration of Life was held for Christian on February 13, at our church. He had told me a few times that he thought loved ones gathered to share good memories and stories, joining each other in love, was far better than sadness and pain. He said there is enough sadness in the world, and he didn’t want to add more to it. So we shared the goodness and joy he brought to our hearts, even through some tears. I knew I did not have the strength to face all the people and speak what was in my heart, so I wrote a letter to Christian instead, and God held me up while I read it out loud. This is what it said:
I want to say thank you for the gift you’ve given me. It didn’t cost any money, yet it is of the greatest value. It wasn’t wrapped in sparkling paper with pretty bows, yet it is beautifully presented. It is not completely unique, yet it is one of a kind. I can’t hold it in my hands, but I hold it in my heart.
It is the best gift of all…It is the gift of your love!
When I think of Christ, I am filled with a sense of peace, joy and love. I think about the choice God made, to come into this world to bring us His most precious gift…His love and salvation. The choice He made to suffer on our behalf, because of that great love, to save us from eternal separation from Him. I know you understood that, and you loved Jesus for it! That’s why you chose to be baptized in His name, to give your life and soul to Him.
At the very deepest level, since before you were even born, there was a bond of love between us, and that is what I cherish most! You made my life fuller, richer, and more beautiful for being a part of it.
I am proud of the young man you were! I believe with all my heart that you were a wonderful person! You always had a way of showing that you cared in the things you did and said. Even as a very young child, you taught me about what real faith looks like. You showed me what forgiveness is, and even in spite of all my flaws, you’ve loved me anyway. That is what the Spirit of Christ really is…unconditional love and caring for and about each other.
I always admired the way you lived life to the fullest, taking advantage of every opportunity to express joy, laughter, and friendship, and your love of adventure and new experiences stirred the same spirit in those around you. Your enthusiasm and smiles were contagious, and you loved making people smile. Watching you and your friends always put a smile on my heart, and I am thankful for the friendships and experiences and the good times you had with them.
Your love of your animals was also something I shared and cherished about you. The unspoken bonds, the non-stop energy, the laughter, and yes, even the messes, were a wonderful part of your character. It showed that the passion and concern for others, even other species, was a strong part of who you were.
I was your mother, but you always belonged to God.
I did not know God’s plans for you, other than to love Him and others. But I tried to do my best to love you and guide you in the instructions of God’s word. I know God uses willing vessels to carry out His perfect plans, and I know you were a willing vessel.
You were in the arms of Jesus once before, sitting on his lap for a short time. Through your testimony, you shared a glimpse of heaven with us. I know there will be a day when I will see you there, and we will be rejoicing in His wondrous glory. Until that time comes, I have a comforting in my heart, knowing that you are resting in the arms of Jesus, in the fullness of His glory and love.
I know that God worked through you to help me learn so many things, I can’t even count them all. But the greatest thing is that He used you to show me what love really feels like. And that is the most precious gift anyone could ever have…so I thank you for that! You have held my heart in your hands since before your hands were even developed. And you will continue to hold my heart, forever. I love you so much more than words can ever convey! You are my son, a most cherished gift.
You will be missed by all of us.
With all my heart and love,