Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grieving With Those Who Grieve

Thank you, dear friends, for your words of love, for remembering Matthias, for grieving with me during the past days. I have been comforted and buoyed during this bittersweet time by knowing that others remember my baby and love him too. It is a terrible thing to think that his life will be forgotten, that I will mourn for him alone. Thank you for being willing to enter into that grief with me and letting me know he is not forgotten.

I was incredibly blessed to see evidence that others had already been to his grave when we arrived there on Saturday (Elisa - thank you, dear sister!). Thank you for the notes, the calls, the comments, the hugs, the music played in his honor, and for just letting me share and talk about Matthias. That in itself means more than I can say. I know it can feel like "I don't know what to say", but just asking "how are you doing?" and listening to me answer is such a blessing. I am thankful for all of you who have been willing to "grieve with those who grieve."

I especially remembered those of you who were with us when Matthias died, who came to the hospital and held him, who ministered to us in our darkest hour, who stood with us as our baby breathed his last breath. Thank you. You willingly entered "a house of mourning" and that is a frightening thing to do. You all have a special part in Matthias' life.

I was reading over the pages of the guest book from Matthias' funeral and found myself saying, "wow, I didn't remember that so-an-so was there!" To all of you who came to his funeral to support us, to grieve for Matthias, to honor his short life, to thank the Lord for him - thank you. Even now, three years later, it encourages me to see all your names written down.

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On Matthias' birthday, we were all able to go to his grave as a family and spend quite some time there. It soothes my spirit to be able to tend his little grave. I planted a miniature rose bush at his grave site (does anyone know anything about growing roses? I'd really like to keep this one alive!) and Grace helped water it and put mulch around it. Moses ran around the grassy field, laughing, and Judah just hung out with me. What a blessing all our children are!

We have a tradition of setting an extra place at the table on Matthias' birthday; a symbolic tribute to the little boy who is missing from our table. It is a poignant and sweet meal - we feel his absence acutely and try to imagine what it would be like to have him there.

I baked a special birthday cake to celebrate Matthias' life, and before we ate it we prayed that God would let Matthias know how much we love and miss him, and that we are celebrating and remembering him especially during this day. I think God does pass on our love to Matthias in heaven.

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