Anniversaries are powerful things. I'll often find myself irritable and uncomfortable in my skin for a day or two, to later realize my body remembered a loss my mind momentarily forgot.
At my house, we are walking tenderly over anniversaries from last year, all of the losses and the heartbreaks of preparing to let our son go- it's a journey that resolved in grace and joy, but the valleys were so real and so deep, there's still a hush over those memories. This week last year we were so blessed to be given a trip to Redding, where people of faith prayed for R2 and we soaked in the peace, even as he deteriorated. That trip was followed by one of our first (if not the first) family vacations, which our healthy kids desperately needed.
Over a 2 week period, R2 had grown increasingly detached, and was no longer making eye contact or holding his head upright without assistance. We fed him pouches of pureed food, because he had lost the ability or the will to chew. The last day of our vacation, we watched him decide to die. There's no other way to describe that- there was just a sense of separation where we could tell he was no longer willing to fight his brain and his body and he just quit. It was very surreal, standing in a water park, the sounds of our 3 healthy children calling and laughing, while we held R2's pale and prone body and mourned a loss that was not yet, but was.
We arrived home that day, about one year ago today, to an entirely remade house. Our friends and even strangers who loved us had raised funds and manpower and had done an unbelievable act of mercy and kindness- without our knowledge! We walked through every room with a sense of amazement and overwhelming emotion- every detail was done with precision and care- every room customized to us. At the time, we were spinning; we tried to take in what had been given to us, but it was so grand and so massive, it would have been hard to acclimate on a normal day, and this had been a very abnormal day.
In the weeks that followed, we took such comfort from the words painted on our staircase, "Does He not see my ways and number my steps?" (Job 31:4). As R2 faded, we tried to cling to a God that knew every step and every day. When the healing began, we slowly started seeing in color again, and realized that we were surrounded in not just beauty and comfort, but the prayers of hundreds of people.
My house has been soaked in the tears of people who love and pray. Through the plumbing, under the flooring, in every cabinet and every shelf, the hands of Jesus have been felt. As we pass through the anniversaries of our sorrows and soon, the anniversaries of our joys, we are continually and unceasingly blessed by the gift that was given- our home.
We live in this house. We sleep beneath the blankets and we dream together on the couches. We dance across the rugs, and run laughing up the stairs with Job's words. We want to say again, one year from the day we opened our new front door, thank you. Thank you to all who gave, and who prayed, and who labored. Your efforts gave great hope and joy. Thank you. May you be every bit as blessed as you have made us.