Not a moment goes by when I don’t think of that cute and smiley Bennett. Oh, he blessed our lives. And it was such a joy to celebrate him last week.
Our first celebration was on Wednesday night on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis. We asked those friends that had loved and supported us there to join us as we spread Bennett’s ashes into the river. It’s the place Bennett and the kids enjoyed to play. It’s the place where you could just feel the beauty of God as you watched the sun set. It’s the place that connects Memphis and Louisiana. So 50 of us honored Bennett that evening and it was something I will never forget. Just perfect!
Then on Thursday, we loaded up the cars with way too much stuff, hopped on a plane and headed home. A home we have greatly missed. Of course, we would’ve rather been coming back with all five of us, but God provided the exact love that we needed. When we landed at the airport, there were probably 30 friends there with welcome home signs and blue balloons…and great hugs! And my home was beautiful with fresh flowers planted in all my pots outside and a spotless house inside. We were served!
For Saturday, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Not only was it simply beautiful outside with clear blue skies for Bennett, but we got to see and hug so many friends and family. And my facebook page was filled with other families wearing their blue (thousands of people!). My baby was truly honored and celebrated that day. And I was filled with joy…the kind that is miraculous. Never would I have imagined I could go to my own child’s funeral and find overwhelming peace and joy. We recorded the service, so you can watch it if you missed it on Saturday.
So you may be wondering how we are doing now. The family and out of town friends have gone home. The celebration services are over. And the four of us remain.
Well, we sure are learning that the grieving comes in waves. There are moments in the day where I am doing great and then something triggers a memory of Bennett and the next thing I know, the tears are falling.
Yes, we miss him. I long to hold him one more time and hear his sweet voice say mama. I long for the five of us to hold each other and have one more family hug. But honestly, I’m learning to long for God even more. I don’t want Bennett to be back here with us. I want us to be there with him! But until then, God is teaching Ben and I what it looks like to have an eternal perspective as we live here and as we grieve the loss of Bennett.
And one of the biggest lessons so far is that being joyful is a choice. It’s an overflow of trusting God’s plan and our role in His greater story. And it’s hard. Really hard. But it doesn’t mean walking around with a smile on your face pretending to be ok. It means fighting back the lies and bitterness and choosing to only focus on the things that reinforce God’s truth.
So tonight I go to bed rejoicing where God has me because I know it’s right where He wants me…trusting Him more! Whatever storm you find yourself in or disappointment that overwhelms you, if you are where God wants you, then it’s worth being joyful about too!