When I woke up last Wednesday, I thought, "I wonder if anyone will remember..." I'm not on social media anymore. I don't regularly write on a public forum like this. Will people still remember that he was here and that this day marks something special and sad and sacred for us?
Before 10am we received our first text message of encouragement. It came from one of the men who spoke at his funeral. In addition to sharing that he prayed for us that day, He told us how he mindlessly reached into the abyss of his closet and happened to pull out a bright blue shirt to wear that day.
I was encouraged.
A few hours later, another friend, the other man who spoke at David's funeral, offered some very kind words, some encouraging truths and a great post from The Rabbit Room entitled "There is a Narnia."
It filled me to know that my son was remembered so lovingly and our pain was not forgotten.
As the day went on, more texts came in from all over the country. Cards arrived in the mail from dear friends, new and old. They were all tiny pockets of very filling encouragement.
By the time evening rolled around, I decided that I wanted to do a little something more to mark his day with Justin and Abby. Last year we decided a birthday cake would be weird because the birthday boy wasn't here to enjoy it. Instead we ate his favorite meal, spaghetti. This year we decided to be a bit more festive, so we got ice cream and ate it at his grave. We had sweet conversations about what his birthday party in Heaven would be like, who would be there (Granny and Daddy Hob, both Mamaw's, Dyrk, Liam, Aaron, Mr. Dillon, King David), and what kind of cake he would have (either Granny's chocolate cake or her sloppy pineapple cake, made with heavenly pineapples). Then Abby imagined what kind of pet he might have (most likely an elephant with a little monkey to ride on David's shoulder as he rode on the elephant's tusk).
It filled my heart to speak with Abby about David in such a joyful manner, knowing that heavenly birthday party or not, he had a great day - and he has a great day everyday. He is more than okay. He is great because he lives in the presence of God, and one day I will be there, too. That is the best kind of encouragement - biblical, lasting, can't-take-it-away-from-me encouragement.
When I woke up on March 19th, I felt that wonderful lightness that comes when the heavy burden of grief lifts overnight. I am always so grateful for these mornings.
The day flowed a little more easily for all of us. There was more laughter, sarcasm, and silliness, so a pretty normal day. When Abby came home from school, she checked the mail as she often does after getting off the bus. On this day, she found a package from the Disneyland Resort: Lost and Found Department. Trying to wrack our brains as to what we could have left behind the previous week on our vacation, she tore into the well-wrapped package. When she finally got to the goodies, she discovered a brand new Woody doll with a very special "Sheriff David" badge in place of Woody's normal badge and an autographed picture of Woody and Buzz. In response to a note we left for Woody while we were there, they replied with this very thoughtful gift.
What a wonderful encouragement... One day after his birthday and the encouragement still rolled in.
The gift itself was kind and thoughtful and so special to us. It brings a smile to my face when I think of the loyal Sheriff standing watch on the shelf in David's room. However, the most satisfying part of Woody and every other note and text we received is the very thoughtful, loving, tender Father behind each piece of perfectly placed encouragement. These gestures - sometimes small, sometimes large - carry me, and they will continue to sustain me as long as I'm here. The God who sustains me when I cast my burdens on Him, is the same God who knows the hairs on my head, who uniquely created me in my mother's womb, and knows every need I have before I even ask. I trust Him to comfort me and heal my broken heart and help me weather birthday's and every other kind of day that comes. Thank you Lord for deep, all-consuming, soul-satisfying encouragement that only comes from You.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..."