This Easter week has been an emotional one for me. I’ve heard it said that the first year of “first’s” without your loved one is hard. The first Christmas, the first birthday, the first Mother’s Day, etc. During the Christmas season, the pain of that was missing him being part of the family traditions.
But the emotions this week have been a different type. On Wednesday, I began thinking about Maundy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper. I was contemplative on Good Friday, the day Jesus carried His own cross to the top of the hill. I imagined His suffering as He was crucified. I thought about Him wrapped in linen and placed in the tomb on Saturday night. I thought about His mother, Mary, as she watched powerless as He hung on the cross. I thought about her grieving her loss but also having faith that this was what her son, Jesus, had been born to do. Jesus was born to die so that we might have everlasting life. I would imagine that even though she knew this was His destiny, the horror of seeing your son suffer and cry out was too much for any mother to watch.
I have heard the story of the death and resurrection my whole life. Although, I have always believed this account to be truth, it still remained a story from history. This week, this particular year, it ceased to be just a story. This year this became a story about Jesus dying on the cross to pay for the sin of man and to prepare a place for my son, Will, me, and all of our loved ones to live for eternity. Jesus went first to prepare a home in a new realm, Heaven.
Easter is no longer an abstract story about a man named Jesus, son of God. For me, this is now a story that includes Will. When I think that my son went to bed on October 1, 2016, and when he awoke he was in heaven, it makes me wonder what he thought. I feel that he woke up in such a peaceful, gentle world. I think that this new world was what he was made for. This is a world we were all made for. He lived on earth to accomplish a task. I believe that one of his tasks was to teach me to not hold on too tightly to trivial earthly matters. It taught me that this time on earth is so brief compared to eternity. While we were busy lamenting over his death, he was in heaven thinking, “I am Home. Please be happy for me. Look where I get to live now! This is the best adventure yet!”
When my children were young, I took them to church so that they could learn about God and Jesus. We always celebrated the Easter bunny, egg hunts with cousins, and dinner at Grandma’s but there was never any confusion about what Easter was really about. My son going to heaven was the goal the whole time. Now don’t get me wrong, he went much, much sooner to this wonderful world than I would have liked but heaven was always the goal!
I like to think that he prefers this new life. He doesn’t miss us because he is still here with us in spirit. He is showing himself through that crazy cardinal that pecks at my den window and stares at me while I look on in wide-eyed amazement. He shows me this through the rainbow that reflects off of the mirror in my bathroom every morning. “Good morning, Will!”
Through my son, I have a glimpse of heaven. I believe that the beauty of it is so magnificent that our earthly eyes and ears can’t even see or hear the intensity of it’s beauty. In the same way that birth is a portal in which we enter the earthly world, death is the portal in which we enter the next world. It is not so much a death as it is a new birth into eternal life. We are made for this place called Heaven.
I believe that Will is showing our family hope for the future. I believe he is showing us to have courage in the face of loss. He is teaching us to take comfort in the knowledge that our loved one is safe and happy. I think he showing us that he is still with us. We just need to quiet ourselves from the confusion and drama of this world. He doesn’t want me to be hung up on the old version of Will because I think he is so proud of the new Will. I think he wants to share his new world with me.
Will was a talented musician. He loved to play the guitar and he would practice in his room. The house would be filled with music. One of the songs that he especially loved to play was, “Gravity” by John Mayer. The song reminds me of how gravity, or the nature of man’s sin, can keep us tethered to things that aren’t good for us. We have the promise of Jesus and more love than a man can stand. But our mortal nature always finds a way to pull us away from the light and goodness. The last part of the song is pleading with God, “Just keep me where the light is.”
P.S. As hard as this may be to believe, after I finished writing this and was proofing it, the cardinal showed up and began pecking on the window and looked at me. This happened after I wrote my last post! Hey Will, Happy Easter!
Peace and love.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.