Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It’s looming. It crests the horizon as I draw nearer.

Tomorrow is Peter’s birthday.

How do you celebrate a birthday lost? How do you honor a life so special?

Those are the questions with which I struggle as his day draws near.

With Andrew we released balloons for a decade of birthdays missed. With Peter so young, and Andrew as well when he passed, it was enough for the young hearts, and young faiths, involved.

But Peter was not 5 when he passed. And the youthfulness of my faith is gone as well.

Peter lived a full life. Peter became a man. Peter fought and struggled and persevered for a decade through his disease. The valleys were deep but the mountain top highs so glorious. Through it all he found a faith all his own.

A personal relationship of intimacy and strength.

A source for comfort.

A power to change and overcome.

Peter’s greatest battle wasn’t with the disease. It was with himself.

He battled the sinful nature and selfish habits that dominate the human race and he won. He won by surrendering to the Power who transforms. He released the old and embraced the new. He walked each day striving for progress.

And it happened.

Peter went home a confident man, full of peace, ready to face his God in joy and satisfaction of a battle well fought.

How do you honor a life like that? What can possibly be meaningful enough to honor such significance?

In the long term, I can continue his fight. I can battle my own sinful, selfish nature. I can intentionally pursue the same God who loves us both so much. I can pour my life out on behalf of my students hoping to invest and shape them on their same journeys.

But to capture the significance of the one special day it all began…. I’m at a loss. I’m afraid this year will simply be a year of survival and he deserves so much more than that.

What I want is the essence of all I did every birthday for 13 years. What I communicated through homemade, self designed birthday cakes, through special presents, through special times of fun between us and with friends, I still want to tell him and show him…how special he is, how proud I am, what a gift he is to my life.


I want to laugh with him and connect with him and share life.

But that is what’s lost.
The connection. The sharing. The togetherness.

All I’m left with is a question that haunts me with his birthday so near.

How do you honor a life?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Juli and Jeff -

    Happy birthday to your beautiful boy! I know today is a hard day, I'm so sorry. How do you honor him? How do you celebrate without him? I wish I had the answers for you ...

    You are both, and Peter and Andrew, in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love, Carol