Friday, September 11, 2015

Andrew's 34th Birthday

Today Andrew would have turned 34 years old. Rather than sad, I'm usually thankful for Andrew's birth on this day. I find myself eating Vietnamese food. Probably because Andrew and I used to get pho on date nights when the kids were babies. It used to cost us $13 total in Everett, WA. So today we got pho again. It hit the spot. I felt just fine. Then I went home, sat in a bath tub, and cried my eyes out.
This morning, I met another young widow. She unexpectedly lost her husband over a year ago. She has one little boy. I've met a lot of young widows over the years. One thing I see in them is the grace of God sustaining them. And though it's unimaginably difficult to be a single mom, she smiled through tears and said, "But we do not grieve as those who have no hope" (1 Thess. 4:13).
Tonight at small group we sang a praise song. And I thought, "I wish Andrew was here so I could sing this with him." And then I thought, "I am singing this with him. Except he's standing before Jesus doing this!"
Sometimes before bed, 9 year old Gracie Olivia sits up in bed and looks at me. "I just wish I could remember something about my dad!" She was 2 when her father died. "But the one thing I do remember is that I loved him with all my heart." She bursts into tears when she says this, usually once a year out of nowhere. It's a sad cry that I never hear her cry except when she thinks about her dad. I hold her and we cry together. Then we watch videos of her dad from our blog together. After this happened again last month, we took a walk, my arm wrapped around her shoulders, her arm wrapped around my waste. She said, “I’m happy. I mean, I’m not happy that papa died--I’ll never be happy that papa died--but I’m happy that you watched videos with me of him.”
AJ still shares with me memories of his dad. He was four when his dad died. AJ grieved for a few years. He's okay now. But it has never been easy for AJ to not have a dad or to not have anyone to teach him how to be a man every day. 

Tomorrow Andrew will be re-buried in Princeton, NJ. (His parents, who also live in NJ, asked if they could move him from MN). In light of that and that it's Andrew’s birthday today on September 11th, I thought I’d re-share the letter he wrote for us to read at his funeral. I hope it blesses you 
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