Last week, we celebrated our little Babe's 4th birthday, and as he blew out the candles and ate his cake happily, I couldn't help but to think how four years have flown by in a breeze. I still remember showing family members in the hospital his little fingers and toes, to quiet 'ahhhhs' and 'ohhhhs', and how I held him for hours on end, giving others a chance to hold him, only when my arms ached from cradling him.
And now, he's a big boy. He is his own person, own sense of humor, his own preferences, and vocabulary to express himself. It's a wonder that four years have indeed past so quickly, and quietly.
It was a day full of celebrating life, this boy's life, and entrance into our family. It was rejoicing in this gift of personality and talents that God had given him, and to us, through him. It was a joyous day, with the other children, too, giving Babe gifts they had made or loved themselves and were ready to pass on. Birthdays are meant to be just this, celebrating the gift of life this person has been to us, gratitude for the life God gave us, the chance to be with him, to love him and to know this individual, so perfectly chosen for this particular path in life.
Juxtapose last week with this week.
My husband received a call, of a childhood friend lost to cancer. HH and I have sat in quiet moments here and there, contemplating this young man's life, 28 years old, to already be on his journey toward Home. I, myself, shook my head in disbelief, many times.
While his pain may be over, his family and his parents' pain is just beginning. I can not fathom the loss of one's own child, no matter the age, a parent should never bury their child. It's not right and it doesn't make sense.
As we prepare ourselves and our children for an upcoming wake and funeral, I mentally prepare theological questions that I predict will come from my eldest children, who yearn for explanation and understanding from God's perspective. I am ill-equipped. I have little answers, as God's plan is infinitely bigger than the speck of my imagination.
All I can think, is how we celebrated our little 4 year old's life last week, and a funeral will do something quite similar. It celebrates the life this man had, the gift of his unique personality, his gifts, his time with us and his family. Not with cake and candles, but we do come together in order to recognize this individual's mark, his stamp on humanity. His life was important to God's plan, or else he wouldn't have been born. So, while we mourn, we remember. His mother will mourn and remember his tiny fingers and toes when he was born, the countless times she held him in her arms, or gave him words of comfort or support.
Most of all, I hope and pray that this family will remember and celebrate the 28 years they did have with him. I hope and pray they can see how his life, however short, was lived in fulfillment of a greater desire, of God wanting him to live, and how blessed we were to have those years.
Though perhaps this will come later, perhaps the shock and anger will subside and a sense of God's hand, His mercy in ending this man's pain, will come at last. Perhaps a quiet night of retrospection will have this family looking past these fresh emotions of loss and suffering, to a new understanding of how fragile life is, how God is giving a chance each and every day to turn to Him, to search Him out, in order to find true comfort.
I sit with a heavy heart. How easily our little Babe floated into our lives as though he had always been here, and yet, can be blown carelessly into 28 years in the blink of an eye. It makes me sit and enjoy every moment I have with those I love. It makes me treasure them, every little story and knock-knock joke they tell. It has me grateful for each and every year that God decides to give me with them, that it is not yet their time.
And truly, the time is simply borrowed from God. These past four years with our little Babe, well, they were borrowed time. God gives us each day, each year as a gift. Each child in our home, each day with my beloved husband is a present that we can either treasure and rejoice in, or squander away with complete disregard for God's gifts.
Make a choice today. Do I recognize today, this moment as God's gift to me, or is it simply another speck in time, moving slowly across my life that I waste out of my own ingratitude?
Death happening near us, makes us think of these things. And it's good to do so. And it's good to teach our children, bring them to funerals in order that they too, have a real understanding of not only the fragility of life, but the reality that God has a plan, for each and every day of their lives, God has a plan. It's important that they know that each day is an opportunity to give it back to God, to use it as He would have us do, because we don't know just how many days God will bless us with.
May eternal rest be granted unto his soul, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul
and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Sahmatwork
About the Author
We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact editor@CatholicMom.com.