My fourteen year old son, Brian, was having a hard time and really missing his brother last night. We had gotten in pretty late from church, and it was way past his bedtime, but he asked if he could write something for Christiano. Like me, I think writing helps him to release his emotions.
Here is what he wrote…
People say that time heals. I say that only God can heal. When I look at the past year I don’t know how I have gotten to the place I am now. It is still really hard to go to school and to church and put a smile on my face, even through the pain. I miss my brother, but I don’t think that I would have been able to get through this rough time in my life without God. God has been here for me when nobody else has and sometimes it’s hard to see that. A lot of people have heard that my brother died, but they have never heard about him. Christano was Funny, Smart, a Leader, a role model, and a brother…. But most of all he was a man I looked up to. When he wanted to do something, I would automatically do it because to me he was so awesome. When I heard he passed away a part of me left. I had so many questions, why MY BROTHER? How was I going to be the brother my siblings looked up to, and who is going to listen to my long boring stories and act like they are funny? God has shown me that Christiano is with Him and doesn’t have to deal with the problems of the world… Even though I love and miss him, I am glad he is in the presence of God.
Yesterday was a difficult parenting day. One failed to communicate something important to me, another got in trouble in a class and was asked to step out into the hallway for some time. Over the last year, I’ve had to watch my children cry themselves to sleep, act out, be withdrawn, question God. One of my children can no longer hug with ease because it triggers the awful memories of the wake and funeral. Sometimes, I just feel so discouraged. Reading this reminded me that, just as God is with me, He is with them. So many times, I just want to fix this for them. But, there is no fix. The most important and effective thing I can do for my kids is trust God with them, but that can be a major challenge when you’ve lost one. None of us are unscathed by this tragedy. We are all broken inside. Yet, somehow, I still choose to stand on the promises of God for our lives. The ones that say He will be with us and never forsake us; that He is near to the broken hearted.
I love the part that Brian wrote, ‘A lot of people heard that my brother died, but not a lot of people know him.’ My biggest fear is that people who know me won’t know my son. It already feels like I talk about him less than I did a year ago. How will my grandchildren KNOW him? Is it truly possible for me to keep his legacy alive? This is just another concern that I have to bring before God. I have to let go and let Him do it – through me and through others.
I also love how Brian has a sure knowing of who His help comes from. This journey of grief has taught all of us so much; lessons we just wouldn’t have learned without this horrific tragedy. Some of what God has taught me feels like it may have been suggested by Christiano. Haha. Things like slowing down and saying no; things like being content and being present in each moment. I hate the reason we’ve learned what we have, and I loathe the what behind our changes. But, I’m grateful for the grace of God that teaches and changes us in the midst of this darkness. Christiano is surely smiling when he sees me laying in bed with Nate at night instead of rushing bed time, or all of us sitting on the couch talking about life and me doing more listening than talking. Christiano was the best listener. I’m convinced he left me his gift. He left us all with something; multiple something’s, actually. There is a part of him in every one of us, and, for that, I am truly grateful.