Today would have been my son Christopher David Laurie’s 34th birthday.
But I cannot wish him a happy birthday, and that breaks my heart. Because he is in heaven and I am here on earth, thinking about him. Missing him. Heartbroken still, even after nine months.
I would like to tell you that it has gotten better, and that “we are back to normal” again. For some reason, people still ask me if I am “back to normal yet.”
The answer to that question is no, because our life has been forever changed. It’s a new kind of normal.
Some days are harder then others, and there is not necessarily any rhyme or reason to it all.
One thing is for sure: holidays are hardest. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our own birthdays were tough.
But this day is especially hard, for it was his day.
What Christopher was like
Christopher was our firstborn son. Born on April 1, 1975, weighing in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces. I remember the day like it was yesterday.
Many words come to mind when I think of him:
- Extremely talented
- Short–tempered, at times
- Very generous
- Tender-hearted and Spiritually-minded
He was an adorable baby, a cute child, and a handsome young man.
Yet surprisingly, he was not at all vain. He didn’t have time to fuss with things like that, because he was too busy living his life–Serving the Lord as well as playing with his daughter, spending time with his wife, riding his skateboard, surfing.
He was like a blur. He was always in motion.
Christopher did not simply exist. He lived life, squeezing out every drop. From the day of his birth, Christopher (or “Topher,” as we called him) was a burst of energy blazing across the stage of life.
Christopher loved to design, draw, paint, and even work on crafts at home after putting in a full day in at work.
The boy simply never sat still. Fun-loving, quick to laugh, and warm to people, that was Christopher.
He was loved
Because of my cold upbringing, I wanted him to know he was loved and cherished.
There were times that I admittedly spoiled him, but he never took advantage of it. He just seemed to revel in being loved. And when his daughter Stella was born, he surpassed me in the love he showed her. That girl was the apple of his eye.
It has been said you don’t know how good of a parent you have been until your children have children. When we saw Christopher with his daughter, we knew we had done just fine.
He has another daughter now too, who sadly he never met. He left us suddenly and unexpectedly last year, and not a day has gone by that I have not missed him with all of my heart.
Our last birthday with Christopher
Normally on his birthday, we would get together as a family and celebrate for dinner. Last year, when he turned 33, is still vivid in my mind.
Christopher went to work that day at Harvest Christian Fellowship, where he was headed up our graphics department where he was the art director. They had a Bible study with some of the people from our web department and celebrated Christopher’s birthday with food from his favorite Mexican restaurant in Riverside.
That day was Topher’s turn to speak, and he shared his testimony with them. Some of the people there had never heard the story of how he had been a prodigal for a number of years and how God had turned his life around.
How could they have ever known that would be the last birthday they would share with him? How could we have known?
Making up for lost time
But Christopher was making up for lost time and getting bolder in his faith, even having a Bible study in his home. One of his last texts to me was a request for a study Bible. We were thrilled with all the Lord was doing.
Last year, at his birthday dinner, Christopher told us that he and Brittany were going to have another child. Cathe and I were elated!
Then he laughed and said, “April fools!” We were crestfallen.
He then told us he was kidding and they really were having a baby, but it took us a while to re-adjust to the wonderful news. I told you he was mischievous!
He was so looking forward to that new arrival talked about it constantly.
The celebration of a life
Now, we remember his birthday without him.
You might say, “Greg, rejoice that he’s with the Lord!” We do, believe me.
But of course, we wish he were here with us, so we could put our arms around him and tell him we love him and wish him a “happy birthday.”
My Christopher David Laurie was and is a “saint.”
Now don’t misunderstand and think that I am saying he was perfect. No person is, and that is not what a “saint” is anyway.
The Bible refers to a true believer in Jesus Christ as a “saint.” So, in that sense, we all are. You can add the word ‘saint’ before your name too.
But today, I do not want to mourn a death as much as I want to celebrate a life. The life of Christopher David Laurie,or ‘Saint Christopher”
- Son of Greg and Cathe
- Husband of Brittany
- Father of Stella and Lucy
- Brother of Jonathan
- And child of God, now safely in heaven, having more adventure and–dare I say it–”fun” than he could have ever imagined
We miss him, but we will see him again. Until then, here on earth, we say, “Happy birthday, Toph!”
P.S. I read these verses today that encouraged me:
“In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).
“For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to the living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).