My In-laws are the "keeper of the grave." Let me just tell you, they do a really good job of it too. Every holiday, there is a thematically coordinated set of flowers that satisfy my appreciation for aesthetics and also look surprisingly real. Christmas is especially spectacular with the tree and ornaments and grave cover. And there is no doubt that they are singularly responsible for the grass that grows where there had been nothing but dirt in the days and weeks after the burial.
Me? Not so much. And it's my son's grave! I'm sure they wonder who is going to give theirs the same devoted attention when they eventually die. But it probably won't be me. I'm sure they have resigned themselves to that by now.
I know people have different needs and different ideas of what is helpful in their grief, but the truth is, it makes me incredibly sad to go out there and stand over his earthly body and read the dates on the grave marker. All I can think about is his body being in a cold, wet grave when I know his spirit is with the Lord.
And I think about the day we lost him when all I could do was sob, "My baby, my baby, my baby, my baby, my baby over and over again. I couldn't stop saying it and I couldn't stop sobbing. I was inconsolable. We all were.
I think about that most grievous of moments at other times, but for some reason it is especially fresh when I stand at his grave. When I'm not there I don't dwell on the excruciating pain and loss. Rather, I wonder what he is doing, what indescribable sights he is seeing and who he is talking to. I delight in thinking about how he is helping the Lord decorate my mansion because they both know my taste. I smile when I think about him waiting expectantly and being the first one to meet me when it is my turn to cross the veil.
When I am engulfed in grief and loss and missing him so much I think my heart will simply stop beating, I make myself think about God's greatest gift to me this side of salvation. It happened the day he died. We were driving back from Norman where we had picked up Jacob and told him his brother, whom he'd just seen that morning, had survived the emergency surgery only to die in "recovery. "
It was late at night as we headed back to Tulsa and thunderstorms were raging. There had been a couple of tornadoes up and down the turnpike. I sat in the back seat of Jay's best friend's truck with Jacob's head on my shoulder trying to comfort him. When he finally stopped sobbing I turned and stared out the black window that was being pelted by an angry storm. Suddenly, there flying an arms length from the truck, I SAW JORDAN! His spirit, I mean. But I saw him! Oh my gosh. There is almost no way to describe it! He radiated the shekina glory of God. I know what it looks like, folks, and it is brilliant and golden and translucent and it radiates from within your entire being ! He radiated pure joy. None of us, in our best moments, have expressed what I saw at that moment. As he flew alongside the truck, arms stretched above his head, he gave me two thumbs up. His spirit spoke to mine as I'm sure we will all communicate in heaven and said, "Can you believe this mom?!"
And he was so happy! I have never seen that kind of joy. I laughed because he was so happy and free from his poor, tired body. I looked at him with tears running down my cheeks and pressed my hand against the window and said, spirit to spirit, "I love you, Jordan!"
He looked at me like I had just told him the sky was blue and said, "I know mom! I love you too!" There was the shared amusement of stating the obvious. We looked at each other and laughed. It was so unbelievable. And memorable. And healing.
And do you know what? The best part about it all is that I know it was real and not just the hallucinations of a grieving mother. How, you ask? Because he looked just like he would have looked if he had never had the transplant! His face was lean and smooth. There was no puffiness from the steroids. His hair was soft and thick and curly just like it was before the drugs made it course and dark and thin. He was ALIVE. Radiant. Oh my gosh! He was more alive than any living soul on this planet!
So I don't like to go out there. I can't stand to think about the physical reality when I have seen the spiritual reality. Ah! And the latter is much more comforting!
I miss him every single day. More as time goes by. It is often the moments of remembering his present reality that get me through the unspeakable loss.
(I love you son!)