First, here is the link to a higher quality video of the memorial service for Peter. The slideshow is also visible on this video, unlike the video on facebook. https://vimeo.com/217748027. Yes, you may share it. We don’t want our son’s death sensationalized, but as I said at the funeral, Peter’s life preached a better sermon than I ever could. Good stories are meant to be told and good sermons are meant to be heard.
“How are you?” A lot of people have asked us that, and for good reason: our eleven year old son died nine days ago, after suffering for six months with cancer.
Well, we cry every day. We miss our son. We are tired. We don’t feel like having a lot of visitors. There is a low-grade depression that sometimes seeps in. It still seems unreal that he isn’t with us. The number five feels incomplete. There are constant reminders of his absence. He is always on our minds.
But we are doing remarkably well. We are not incapacitated by grief. We are not hiding. We are not numb. We are grateful for Peter’s life and so, so glad he was unafraid of death. We are confident that he is in God’s presence, which is light, and life, and love, and joy. We can say with confidence that God is good, and he has been good to us. The words of 2 Corinthians 1:5 are very real to us: “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” How are we doing – are we suffering, or are we comforted? Yes.
There are a few reasons why I think we are doing so well:
- Our grief was spread out over several months. If, back in November, he had been diagnosed and died the next day (which was possible), our experience of grief would have been much different. Instead of a sudden drop, we were lowered down in several stages. That gave us time to prepare ourselves and Peter. We grieved together while he was with us.
- Peter’s fearless and uncomplaining attitude gave us strength and confidence. For a kid with a tendency to whine, this was an unexpected gift of God.
- We feel the prayers of so many people. I am well aware that not everyone experiences so much comfort in their grief.
“What are you doing?”
Our kids are back in school, but there are only two weeks until the end of school. And then the ball that got stuck begins to roll again, and we expect a straight track to Belgium now. I thought we would need a good bit of time to recover enough to be ready for the move, but we are finding that we are eager and ready to go. My work here is complete; the only thing keeping us here was Peter’s illness; a new adventure will be good for us all, so sooner is better than later. So we put in our 30 day notice on our rental house today, we are collecting the documents we need to apply for a visa. When the application is in and we are out of the house, we will spend time with family and friends, we may travel, we will hike, and I will write.
I have a book incubating. I’ll let you know when it breaks out of the shell.
One place we may visit en route to Belgium is a certain spot in Scotland. The first song played in Peter’s slideshow is by the Piano Guys, who film videos of classical and cover songs (often combined) in beautiful locations around the world. This video was filmed at Eilean Donan castle. Peter had decided that this was the place he wanted to go after cancer was behind him. As with many experiences in the future, a visit there will include heavy shades of sadness. We will go and remember our beautiful and beloved son.
“How are you doing financially?”
So many people have been so generous, and we are so grateful. Our oldest son saw some checks yesterday and I said, “Now you know that there are a lot of people who love us.” I know that is what you wanted to communicate; the message got through. So now you can direct your generosity to another person, another cause. Again, the words of the Apostle Paul have become a reality to us: “It was good of you to share in my troubles…I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied” (Philippians 4:14, 18).
If this isn’t clear enough, let me say it another way: Please stop sending money to us. Send it somewhere else. Again, I would direct you to Partners International. Or International Justice Mission. Or World Impact. Or Voice of the Martyrs. Maybe in six months or a year I will have a project with refugees in Antwerp that you can support. But don’t wait for that. There are people who need your help now.