April 18. This year, 2016, it will mark five years since Isaac’s death. There is a popular saying that “time heals all wounds.” I don’t agree with that statement, but I do believe that time provides perspective.
The first anniversaries of Isaac’s death were difficult to endure. The first year we felt a need to get away for the day and try to focus on something else. The second year was a much more quiet remembrance. I really don’t remember the third and fourth anniversaries.
So why does this year feel different? Maybe because five years marks a significant milestone in other aspects of our lives (i.e. marriage, employment). Maybe because this year April 18 will once again land on a Monday, the same day of the week that it was in 2011. I’m not sure which of these it is, or perhaps for some other reason, but this year the anticipation is slightly haunting me.
I mentioned earlier that I believe time provides perspective. One way this is true for me is that the intensity of pain from losing a child has lessened. The first year or two was just so difficult and painful, with so many thoughts and events triggering intense emotional responses. As we have forged a new groove for our lives, we don’t carry the heavy burden of that pain or get lost in the cloud of grief. We can remember good times with smiling and laughter and not focus so much on the events on and immediately after April 18, 2011. We can focus on the eternal truths in God’s Word and look forward to when we will see Isaac again.
By God’s grace, we have moved forward with our lives. We haven’t moved “on”, as if whatever happened before didn’t matter. But we have chosen not to remain frozen in the past, where we could play out the “what if” scenarios in our minds (though this is tempting at times, but quite unfruitful). Moving forward to us means that we still remember (how could we forget?). We laugh, play, and work, while rejoicing in all these things.
Yet, while moving forward and rejoicing, there is a piece of my heart that is missing. I am not always consciously aware of it, yet I feel that it is gone. I can feel the void that Isaac’s passing has left. It is difficult for me to describe that feeling. I just feel like I am not an entire person. The best physical analogy that I can think of is if one is missing a body part that they once had (which I’ve never experienced, so forgive me for taking the liberty of this analogy). While I see (physical) and know (mental) that Isaac is not here, in my heart (spiritual) he is still with me. These conflicting aspects of my being make me wonder if I am something less than a full person.
I am a new creature in Christ Jesus. It is only through my faith in our loving, merciful, and just God that I can even stand where I am today. I believe that Isaac is safe in His hands and I hold fast to the hope of seeing him again someday soon. Yet because Isaac is there in Heaven and I am here on Earth, a part of me is missing.
May you be blessed this day and rest in the eternal hope we have through Christ Jesus our Lord.