Chuck died five years ago today. Like this year, it was a Monday. Unlike this year, it was the first day of school. That man would do anything to get out of class.
It’s been five years, and I still struggle with how to phrase his passing…”He went home; He met his maker; He entered eternal rest; He passed away.” It seems very important to get this phrasing just right, as it shows the world how you interpret death. In the end, I go with simple…Chuck died. People can get lost in my attempts at flowery wording, and I don’t think I could fully explain my interpretation of death with a single phrase anyway.
As is my tradition, I will get a haircut today to commemorate the day Chuck “went home.” See, I did it right there. He let his hair grow for 15 months, awaiting his release from the hospital…at which time, he would shave and coiffe his hair. Thus, the haircut on August 20…every year I am able…for as long as I am able.
But this year, ah this year…I have Eden…and that puts a new spin on everything. I celebrate Chuck…but more than that…I celebrate life. I celebrate God’s story of love…written through a new marriage, a new baby, and a constant promise…never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. Because I am living it, I forget the miracle of my loving Phil, of giving my heart and my life to another…on the heels of losing “my heart, my life, my Chuck.” I am reminded of this miracle as I dusted off my “grief journal” to share with a friend who recently lost her beloved. I looked back through the story of my utter brokeness…of my great love for Chuck…of my utter dependence upon God just to get out of bed each day. AND LOOK WHERE I AM! Shame on me for forgetting. Shame on me for not realizing HOW EXTRAVAGANTLY God loves me. Shame on me from not shouting it from the roof tops. He did not leave me in ruins. Far from it. I have a family. A BABY. My life is a walking, talking illustration of God’s redemptive work.
Today I will celebrate the extravagance of Chuck’s fierce will…a quality that still undoes me.
And I celebrate, in humbled awe, God’s new blessings in my life. Phil. Eden. Family. Home. (And a cute, new haircut.)