SpiritStirrer

sojourner, hearer, & follower of Jesus

In Memoriam II

“Later of course we realized that such a day-brightener as Alex wouldn’t want to be held close by grief. Now I see him best when I grieve him least.”

William Sloane Coffin in Letters to a Young Doubter

My dear Garrett,

I can’t believe it has been two years. In some ways the memories of that day are still so raw, maybe even permanently chiseled in my soul. Yet in other ways much has happened in the last two years. We have celebrated the arrival of your brother Nate, baptized him, and are now amazed to see how much he has grown. Avery has become a great baseball player and we celebrate that legacy, your legacy in his life.

And then there was my move to a new church. Although excited there was some sadness that we would not be close to your parents and to our circle of friends. In the last year since the move we have realized time and time again that the bond we share is one that is stronger than miles in between and paralleled lives. Your leaving in some ways cemented what we knew was there long before.

I am not where Coffin is . . . I am trying to grieve you less. I am trying to honor you in my work each day. Then Sunday after Sunday I get on my knees and see little hands outstretched, little hands begging for a little bread. Little hands eager, open, ready, to hear the words “every time you eat this bread remember you are a beloved child of God.” And there you are, part of the great communion of saints that interceded for us and who gathers with us in the braking of the bread. So I am trying to let go and to celebrate your “day-brightedness” by grieving you less.

And then there are those that you have given life! Those understand Coffin well. Thanks to your gift of self others have found life when death was so near. So on this 2nd anniversary of your leaving us I celebrate life! I invite all those who want to make a difference to consider the giving of themselves in organ donation. I invite them to read your story and talk to their loved ones about this important issue.

Your mother sent us a text recently reminding us that in some ways we were all your godparents. What an awesome and honored place in your life! So I am thankful that I had the opportunity to remind you of the love of God for you, in a small way I did my duty as a godparent without even knowing it.

Thank you again for your constant presence, for the constant reminder that I am doing God’s work, for me, each day. I’ll see you soon!

Peace & much Love, Juan+

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4 Comments

  1. Christie

    Very well written. On one hand I can hardly believe that it has been two years since Garrett died. I remember the call from Shannon. I can still hear the deep pain and raw emotion of that phone call. Ben and Ellie were with Josh visiting family and I was alone working on commissioning papers. So two years later – the kids are all around me and I am beginning to work on ordination papers. The entire Thompson family and Garrett's Godparents are in my prayers this day.

  2. Kami

    As always, thank you! I am sitting here in my office trying to work, trying to feel normal today. Last night was restless and the tears are flowing again as they have so often in these 2 years. I was thinking about how much all of our children have grown since that day and how G will always be 6 to us. It's a blessing and a heartbreak, but I guess that's what life is all about really. We deal with the pain because we know that somewhere on the other side of it will be laughter! Thank you for being there through the pain and the laughter…I love you!!

  3. Tracy L.

    Thank you…

  4. Larabee

    Thank you, dear friend. Beautiful.
    Neither can I believe it has been two years. Our lives continue to seem surreal. As Avery grows, I think about the "what-could-have-beens." Avery will go to 1st grade in a couple of weeks – Garrett never made it that far. Garrett was scheduled to go to church camp for the first time just days after his accident – we'll take Avery for the first time tomorrow. In all of Nate's baby babble, he has a word that sounds very much like "Garrett." I have to believe they know each other.
    I continue to be astonished by how something so personal affected so many people. He has forever changed many people. I stood in line today at Hobby Lobby, returning a few things. The woman in front of me asked what the date was and I thought "how can you not know what today is?" And then I realized that this was not a Holy-day for everyone. Then, the mother behind me told her child, "Get that out of your mouth! If I see you put another thing in your mouth, I'm going to spank you!" (I'm not sure if it was the son or daughter – but they were both old enough to know better.) And I got a lump in my throat and turned to sneak a peek behind me. About that time, the son asks, "What's today's date?"
    I don't know where we'd be without our support staff. Sometimes it was hard to lean on them, knowing they were grieveing themselves. But somehow, you all found the strength to hold us up and help us put one foot in front of the other. Some days, that's still the best I can do.
    I do look forward. A very wise woman, a donor mom of 12 years, told me that it doesn't get easier and it doesn't go away. She said it gets softer. I think I can understand that!
    I do feel closer when I'm smiling, when the memories are happy, when I'm telling his story to make a difference. It is in those moments I can feel G standing right beside me.
    Love you much!

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