Nine months is quite a significant number to any mother. I carried Justin, our firstborn, to full-term counting down the days with eager expectancy. I spent numerous hours preparing for his arrival and tried with all my might to imagine what it might be like to be a mother. While I was full of anticipation to meet him, I was also petrified that in some way, I would ruin him. I eagerly listened to radio programs like Focus on the Family, I searched the Scriptures with a new set of eyes for wisdom, and asked as many questions as I could think of to other Mom’s that seemed to know what they were half-way doing. In the early days of his life, my biggest prayer was, “Oh dear Lord, please don’t let me mess him up!”. Truth be told, nothing fully prepares you for motherhood until you are holding your precious little one in your arms and an unstoppable bond transpires.
In the same way, nothing prepares you for your child’s death until you are walking in that very reality. For nine months, I have struggled to adjust to Justin’s absence. In this journey of grief, sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most difficult to bear. I look at his empty chair that sits at our dinner table and I am reminded of the many conversations and outbursts of laughter that once filled that space. I see his portable speaker and immediately can hear the music that once played at its highest volume faithfully blaring throughout our home while he sang out tone-deaf at the top of his lungs. I gaze at his enormous whiteboard etched with co-worker’s names, Scriptures, and beautiful truths and my heart brims with both joy and sorrow. With a grateful heart, I remember that no matter what went on during the day, there was always an “I love you” at the end of the night. I still smile when I think of my twenty-year-old son tenderly saying, “Night, night, Mama. I love you.”
Justin was quite taken with Heaven and talked about it often. I remember him repeatedly exclaiming, “Won’t Heaven just be wonderful!” or “Aren’t you excited to go to Heaven?” I confess that my reply was not at all elegant and I would usually say, “Yes, Justin, Heaven will be so wonderful. But please stop, you are freaking me out. I want you around for a long time.” We cannot go back and change the past, but I do wish I would have breathed in those specific moments with him and lingered there. It is obvious that the Lord in His kindness was giving him a glimpse of eternity. I do not beat myself up over such things, but I do take note of my limited understanding.
Now, I am no longer “freaked out” by one of my children contemplating Heaven, I welcome the thought of how glorious it will be. Justin had it right, his hope was anchored for what is to come. Now more than ever, I long for the day when He will wipe away every tear from my eyes and death will be no more. Gone will be mourning, sadness, and pain. The striving will be no more, and I shall see my Savior face to face. I will touch his nail scarred hands and my eyes will see what my heart has believed! “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 There will be a day that I am reunited with our dear Justin and we will worship the Lord together. I am certain that I cannot begin to imagine the pleasures of Heaven, but oh how it fills my heart with great joy to think on such things.
As for now, in the waiting; gone are the days when tears were a rare commodity, now it seems I have an endless supply that flow freely from my eyes showing up whenever they please. I am no longer alarmed by their presence, in truth, I have become so accustomed to them gliding down my cheeks that I am convinced that one day, I will have permanent grooves as a remembrance of what once was. I do not loathe these tears for I am reminded that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 To this I say, Come soon, Lord Jesus!
Until that day,