Gratitude Day 39 – Happy 40th, Nate

Nate - young

Sun., May 13, 2018

Matthew 3:17 – And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

I have been thinking about today for several weeks. Today is the day that Hubby Rick’s eldest son, Nate, would have turned 40.

Would have, because at the age of 21, Nate was killed in a snowmobiling accident. (For more of this story: https://simplewordsoffaith.com/2017/05/13/happy-birthday-nate)

It has been 18 years since Nate died. Never a day goes by that Rick and I do not think about it. To say this single event has had an impact on our lives, our family and how we look at life would be an understatement.

In honor of Nate, today, I reflect upon a few things I have learned because of Nate’s death:

  • Grief is hard. It never ends. Some days, grief is much easier than other days. I admire how Rick has not let the grief of losing a son take over his life. I see a man who has moved on with his life, continued to live his life and wants to make the most of every day.
  • Every day is a blessing. Every day. As a pastor, I have conducted well over 100 funerals. In a large percentage of them, I have spoken about today being called “the present” for a reason. We call today “the present” because every day is a present. We choose whether we consider and allow today to be a present.
  • People grieve very differently. Rick’s grief cannot be my grief. Nor can my grief be Rick’s grief. I am very careful about telling someone, “I know what you are going through,” because, honestly, I don’t. Even if I may have been in a similar situation, the details and feelings are never the same. It would be presumptuous for me to think I know and understand your grief.
  • Losing a child does not mean you love your other children less. When a loved one dies, it can become very easy to idolize this person. Rick has two other children. He loves them no less nor no more than he loved Nate. Sometimes, it’s difficult for a parent to convey how love for children is never divided. It’s just always there.
  • Faith is what can help us get through the loss of a loved one. Rick and I do not blame God for Nate’s death. Yes, we have plenty of unanswered questions around this situation and many others. I admire that even though Rick has questions, he still and always turns to God as the source of his strength. We can allow awful situations in our lives to push us away or pull us towards God. I pray we find God as a way to see through the foggy times in our lives.

Not too long ago, Rick and I sat with a woman who had recently lost her grown son very suddenly. As she apologized for being out of sorts, I held her hand and said she should be out of sorts. She had just lost her son. Just as God proclaimed that Jesus was his Son, whom he loved and with whom God was well pleased, this woman must continue to proclaim love for her son, with whom she was well pleased.

Nate - HS grad 001Rick – I know today you can proclaim your love for your son, with whom you were well pleased.

For this, I am grateful.

Father God – when we read carefully the words you spoke about your Son, we see the deep, deep love you have for Jesus. Thank you for displaying your emotions about your Son. It gives us permission to share these same emotions about our own children. I pray for any mother or father this day who is missing a child or grandchild. May your peace be with them. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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