Memories and emotions are funny things. Although they know no bounds of time, time can cause memories to stir and emotions to come to the surface. At least that was my weekend experience, where ten years felt like yesterday, as I reflected on the anniversary of the loss of my son.
The morning of my son’s funeral I awoke not knowing how to feel. My heart was heavy with loss, and yet there was almost a relief in the knowledge his battle was over.
It had been ten months since Alexx was diagnosed and I had begun to grieve. My grief was quiet. I had a childhood of memories to help him make during the span of a short prognosis.
I believe a mother’s reaction is an indication of the depth of challenge to a child’s trials. Mothers are often the gauge of success or failure. In my weakness, God was strong. When I stood in faith and prayed boldly in His strength, and with His confidence spoke words of comfort and encouragement, my son surrendered his life to God’s will. The open faith he displayed humbled me to the core.
During those months I experienced the tangible presence of God like never before. A closeness and comfort so overwhelming words seem inadequate. I rested in the holiness of the Living God.
The morning of the funeral I welcomed the extra activity our extended family provided. They cared for the baby and I was left to get ready with only my thoughts. I considered the blessings that had come out of this trial. I opened the box holding a gifted pearl, and for the first time gently hung it around my neck. I remembered the lesson it represented and prayed for comfort.
I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came to celebrate my son’s life. Several shared heartwarming stories of how their lives and faith were impacted by Alexx. Many of the stories I had never heard before. I was deeply touched to more fully realize how God had used him.
I was amazed when one young man stood to share his story. I recognized him as a friend of some counselors from the cancer camp Alexx had attended. They had stayed in contact with us after camp and he always looked forward to their company. On one visit, they had requested to bring their friend. They had told him about Alexx, and he wanted to meet him.
The young man shared how he had walked away from the Lord. He had grown up in the church, but had turned away and was living for himself. His friends had been encouraging him to come back, but he refused. When they told him of Alexx, he wanted to meet him. He shared how they had spent a couple of hours talking with him in our home.
It was with deep emotion the young man continued. He had been amazed by the eight year old boy battling cancer and living for Jesus. He spoke of repentance and how Alexx’s unwavering faith had renewed his desire to live his life for Jesus.
As each story was shared from different times of Alexx’s short life, I considered the time marked by cancer. We experienced life at rocket speed. We cried, we laughed, we lived and we grew.
After the funeral passed, extended family returned home, and my husband would return to work. I looked forward to a few days with my seven-month-old son before I would need to return to my job.
The first day my husband left for work, I was surprised by how quiet our home was. The phone that had rung nonstop for many weeks sat silent.
At one point I checked for a dial tone to make sure it was working. The silence was deafening.
Recently when watching a video of Ed’s story (link no longer available), he shared a similar experience of a silent phone the day after health required him to step down from the pulpit.
When you’re not needed, you lose part of your purpose in life. ~Ed
In those first few days, I would rock my baby to sleep with quiet songs and whispers of love. A voice of questions would come asking “do you love him more? can you protect him?” I fought guilt to fully love my children. I fought a desire to protect myself by guarding my heart and pushing them away from me.
Returning to work offered little comfort. I did my job and earned a paycheck. Days and months passed, seasons changed, and I went through the motions of work and life.
A day came when I had to consider the purpose of it all. I knew the enemy of my soul desired to kill, steal and destroy. I desired to live my life for Jesus.
When memories and emotions flood the bounds of time, I sometimes need to again consider the purpose of it all. I treasure the memories of my son, the impact of his life, and his example of faith. Sometimes I miss him so much I need to shed silent tears. Mostly I rejoice that when he lived, he lived for Jesus!
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony Revelation 12:11
Thank you for reading this part of my testimony.