Sing for the joy that's found in setting up the pins and knocking them down

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Eric, do you know?

Do you know that in 2 short days you will be gone from us for a year?
Do you know that the combination of snow falling and the scream of an ambulance makes my eyes fill with tears, every time?
Do you know that Henry went into your closet (which will always and forever be called your closet even when it fills up with my clothes) and pulled out the leather jacket that I gave you as a wedding gift and has been wearing it ever since?
Do you know that Beatrice sleeps in your ratty Eddie Bauer sweater that I've been trying to get rid of for years?
Do you know that just last week Simon told me that he didn't cry for the months after you died, but lately it makes his eyes fill with tears when he thinks about you?
Do you know that the Scout leaders at 409 wear a patch with a Dutch oven that says "Eric"?
Do you know that I can't change the voice message on your cell phone even though it's been Simon's phone for the last year?
Do you know that some nights I spray your cologne on my pillow hoping that you will be in my dreams?
Do you know that I'm done with my treatments, my surgery, my cancer stuff and that I'm alright?
Do you know that we joke about putting a big nativity scene in the front yard now that you're gone?  (Don't worry, we won't)
Do you know that each and every time I see a mini van like yours I check to see if it's you?  So far, no luck.
Do you know that just the other day Simon held up his thumb and finger showing me the space of a couple of inches and said, "This is about the amount of time we have to be alive on earth" and then pointing outside to the horizon he said, "and the time we get to be in heaven just goes on and on. Mom, we're going to be with Dad in no time and then we'll be together forever."
Do you know that the weekend is the hardest because that's when we spent the most time together and every time I sit in church I think about what it felt like to have you slip your arm around me?
Do you know that I still sleep only on my side of the bed?
Do you miss me?
Do you know that Henry and I didn't want them to take you away with the shirt you were wearing that day (because it was the same shirt you were wearing the day he was born) so we wrestled you out of it and laughed about how much I hated that shirt and how perfectly ironic it was that you would die in it?
Do you even care about any of this?
Do you wish we were with you?
Do you know that we buried you right by your Grandpa Buys, just yards away from corn and alfalfa fields?
Do you now know the answers to all the questions you had here on earth?
Do you spend time with my dad?
Do you ever see Cassie? Arie? Luke? Grandma Rynders?
Do you know how inadequate I feel some days as a single parent?
Do you know how amazingly strong and resilient our children are?
Do you know that we still laugh?
Do you know that we still cry?

There you have it.  I spend a lot of time wondering about what Eric thinks about right now--what he knows right now.  I know that many of my fellow Christians feel that once we are in the presence of God that the things of this world grow dim--unimportant, so to speak.  I'm absolutely certain that that's true and I wouldn't want to imagine Eric fretting around about what's going on down below.  But it's also hard for me to wrap my head around his separation from us.  Is the veil between us sheer and airy or a thick heavy tapestry.  I think anyone who has lost someone has to wonder about the connection between the here and now and the there and ever after. So we're left to wonder about these things, I don't imagine that Eric's God-created mind has been erased of the relationships and history that he held so dear during his time on this earth.

So how do I imagine him?  That's a good question.  During those moments in church when we're belting out one of our favorite songs or hymns and I can feel my eyes fill with tears, those are the moments that I think "This must be what it's like up there".  Some days I almost raise my hand in praise.  I said almost because the Dutch in me just can't quite do it yet.  When we're singing those songs, those favorites, I imagine him singing right beside me, drowning me out with his big, bold voice.  In that moment he feels very close.  Heaven feels very close.  I like that.  It comforts my weary heart.

So I'll wonder about him today, this week, for years to come, until I join him in heaven to worship next to him once again.  Right now I have all these questions, but I'm pretty sure at that moment all the questions will fall away and the only question and answer that matters will be the one that got us to that glorious place.

This is probably Eric's favorite question and answer--not probably, it is definitely his favorite.  It is Heidelberg Catechism question and answer number 1.  He committed it to memory and recited it to us often.  We read it on a very cold December day as we laid him to rest.  I think if he could talk to me today he would tell me that it was the only answer that really mattered.

What is your only comfort in life and death?

That I am not my own, 
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. 
He has fully paid for all my sins
with his precious blood, 
and has set me free from all the power of the devil. 
He also preserves me in such a way 
that without the will of my heavenly Father
not a hair can fall from my head; 
indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. 
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me
of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready
from now on to live for him.