I want to start today by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone who offered us a word of encouragement, or lifted us up in prayer, sent a card, a meal, or offered to help in any way. I say thank you because that’s all I can do at this time. Those words alone are entirely inadequate to express the gratitude Ifeel because I am truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we have experienced over these past months.
In mid-April Rachel and I had a meeting with Patty at Alexandra’s House. We talked about Jack, what we could expect, what worries we had, what preparations we might want to make. One of the things Patty told us was that Pope John Paul said that when the soul is pierced by tragedy what comes out is love. When I heard that I thought, I hope that’s true, because at the time I wasn’t sure how I would be able to cope if and when Jack passed. That thought of love emerging from tragedy stayed with me and I thought about it often until I realized it really was true. I knew it was true because of you. Friends, family, acquaintances, and people we have never met were hurting for us, for Jack, for themselves. And your response to that hurt was love.
So you didn’t just feed us a meal, you didn’t just get us through another day, you gave us the courage to find strength in ourselves because we knew we were not alone. Thank you.
This copy of the New Testament belonged to my great grandfather and it was given to me by my grandmother last summer. I don’t think she gave it to me for any particular reason other than she thought I would like to have it. Inside the front cover she had pasted the Upper Room devotional from the day my great grandfather passed away. The verse for that day was II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Late Saturday afternoon in the hospital while I was changing Jack he took a deep sigh and threw his fists above his head. This verse came immediately to mind as Jack struck this triumphant pose.
He could have given up easily so many times, and no one would have thought less of him for it. We spent so much time, often every waking hour, focusing on making sure Jack was loved, but in the moment I didn’t realize that he was fighting so hard, not for himself, but for us. And in that way he was an example of Christ’s love for all of us. I am humbled to have been in his presence for those three glorious days, let alone to be able to call him my son.
May we each take Jack’s bravery, selflessness, perseverance, and courage with us every day.