Six Years


May 21st is that day that will be marked on our calendar forever. It is the day that our son died. It still feels surreal to write that. For all of the moving forward we’ve done since that day six years ago, our love for him has not diminished a bit. But still …

There are no new pictures.

There are no new stories to tell.

There is no end to the missing him.

There is just a depository of eighteen years of memories buried deep within our hearts. Not ours alone, but all of our family. His sister. His niece who was more like a sister. And extending to all family members, friends, and those he touched…there are these marvelous memories. I wish that were enough.

For all of the reading about grief and the recovery meetings I’ve attended and led, nothing really takes the words out of you like the arrival of this day.

Every time we hear of a new family living without their children, we are reminded of our loss…and we are so sorry that someone else has to know what this is like.

Some think their faith should have prevented their loss.

Some turn to God in their loss.

Some just sail around on a sea of unknowing.

Some just shake their fist at God.

Been to all those places myself.  In the free-fall of intense grief I landed on faith. I know not everyone does, but that’s where I am. I’m feeling understood by a Father whose son died. I’m feeling hopeful because that Father raised his boy from the dead. He promises to do the same for my son. And that’s where I lay to rest my questions … on His amazing grace.

I don’t pretend that there are no questions. I’m not nearly pious enough to suggest that this absolves me of grief and sorrow. No, but it does see me through it.

This week’s devotional guide took me to Psalm 126. I somehow think God must have been reaching out at such a time as this.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,  as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears  will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed,  but they sing as they return with the harvest.

There have been plenty of tears. But as streams renew the desert, God will turn our tears to joy. And we will sing.

I can’t wait to sing with him once again.


Together in Heaven ... John Robert and his Paw Paw Willingham. Paw Paw Duet with them too!
Together in Heaven … John Robert and his Paw Paw Willingham. Paw Paw Duet with them too!

Thanks for sharing this moment by reading this. And thanks for your prayers … I have always thought, even during the most painful times … that when we couldn’t pray for ourselves so many others were joined together on our behalf.

We are forever grateful, John

Link: John Robert’s Story

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