Dear Keith: 33
It’s a blessing and a curse that the first of your birthdays that we celebrate without you has come so quickly. You haven’t been in heaven a week and we are already faced with a milestone day. As I’ve learned in grieving the loss of my dad, the anticipation of the day is probably far worse than the day will actually be.
I miss you.
Walking with you through sickness and having to come back home without you will probably be the hardest things I’ll ever do. You are the best friend I could have asked for and even in the last hours of your life, you wanted me to know how much you loved me. As much as it breaks my heart that our kids will grow up without you as a daily presence, I am so thankful that they have an example of someone who lived and died courageously.
I see your gentle kindness in Caleb every day and it reminds me that your presence may be gone, but you’re not entirely gone from our lives.
Monday night I slept better than I had since you got sick in October. Knowing that you are healed and waiting for me in heaven is more comforting that I could have imagined. This grief journey is difficult and feels nearly impossible, but I have confidence that you are no longer in pain and praying for us until we join you.
I am reminded constantly that God is my comforter. Tuesday morning we woke up to snow. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to remind me that God cares. Each day since then, it has snowed somewhere where people are missing you. Even Ben & Jerry’s must have known we needed extra loving this week: they released the Peanut Butter Half Baked flavor we’d been waiting for.
Not quite sure how we will celebrate your life today, but I have to thank you for challenging me to do a lot of my grieving with you, while you were sick. It has given me a lot of freedom knowing that you knew and prayed with me over what I feared and we were able reassure one another of our commitment to walk this road as a team. I am thankful that there are no regrets; I’ll always wish we’d had more time together, but we made the most of every second we did have.
I love you, I miss you, and I hope you’re having lots of snow and ice cream for your first birthday in heaven!
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. [Isaiah 46:4]