[Y]ou don’t know me, but I’m your brother.
I’m sorry about The Doobie Brothers reference.
Anyway, recently — on a Sunday after church — I went for a walk.The air was cold. It was the kind of cold which makes normal people freak right out and turn their heaters up high enough to make Satan sweat, but I was comfortable.
I walked to a little stone bench and sat down.
I stayed there for a while, but I never said a word.
I don’t talk to tombstones.
There’s nothing wrong with it, but I guess I never have because I know you aren’t there.
I know some other things about you, too.
I know you changed Sharon’s name to Mama. I know David became Daddy because of you.
They were young, in their 20s, when you came along.
They enjoyed you. I can tell by the picture.
They loved you. They love you still. A parent’s love never leaves.
You are their first baby.
You took your last breath on their first wedding anniversary.
They don’t celebrate their anniversary much, apart from a date.
I don’t know exactly what goes through their minds when the day rolls around each year, but I know they think about you.
I think about you, too, sometimes.
I wonder if we would’ve gotten to play catch or go fishing.
I wonder what we would have talked about.
I wonder what you’d be like today.
I don’t know why I can count the number of days God gave you on two hands.
I do know God has used those days to make a lot of difference in a lot of lives.
He still uses you.
Somehow, in the midst of pain no parent ever wants to imagine, God gave our parents the strength to move forward.
Now, your story is told with the hope it helps parents in similar situations find even the smallest measure of comfort.
I’ve seen how God has used your story. Once I found sense enough to really pay attention, I learned something profound.
Our parents’ pain has helped bring others peace.
Their story — and your story — has changed the way I look at some things in my life.
You’re a big reason why I know there is no grief too great for God to use it for good.
I don’t mean to say I don’t question things sometimes. I do. I wonder why things work out the way they do, or why they don’t work out at all.
The difference is, now I also wonder how those things could impact others down the road.
Maybe I’ve been happy so I can know what it means to rejoice with others.
Maybe I’ve been sad so I can share in others’ sadness when they need it.
Maybe my heart has been broken so I’ll be able to help people pick up the pieces of theirs.
Maybe I’ve learned what love is so I can show love to those who need it.
Your life on this earth was short, but you’ve had a long-lasting influence.
You have parents who will never forget the time they had with you. You have a brother and a sister who never met you, but we know about you.
You have two nieces, and a nephew on the way. He’ll carry your name in the middle of his own.
There’s a heart-shaped rock in the corner of a church cemetery with your name on it.
When I see it, I think about you.
I think about our parents, their strength and how God has used them since you left.
I think about what it must be like to be in a place more wonderful than I can understand.
I’m excited to meet you there.