I remember our last Fourth of July together as a family so vividly, as our oldest son Christopher was still with us.
It was the best and most memorable Fourth of our lives. We spent it in Whitefish, Montana, with friends Levi and Jenny Lusko and Brian and Crystal Ray (Lewis).
Whitefish is classic Americana the whole way. It reminds you of those small towns that you see in movies, but don’t think exist–with its boardwalks, beautiful weather, and classic ice cream store with a line.
Early on the Fourth, we went and bought a bunch of the most powerful fireworks that I have ever laid my eyes on. Compared to what we can purchase here in California they were so much better and more potent.
Unsafe and insane!
Frankly, they also were a bit on the dangerous side. If the slogan for California fireworks is “Safe and Sane,” then these fireworks that they allow in Montana could have been designated “Unsafe and Insane”!
After a delicious dinner that Brian prepared (he is a great cook!) of hamburgers, chicken, sausage, and all the trimmings, we waited for night to fall. We shot our arsenal of fireworks off lighting up the Montana sky and had so much fun! It was a memorable night.
This year, we decided to stay home.
Like all events that mark time, it is hard for us. Events like Christmas, Easter, the Fourth of July, and, of course, birthdays and anniversaries are all quite difficult. Each one releases a flood of memories of our son Christopher, who we miss so very much.
He was always quick to laugh and loved being with his family. His absence leaves a huge hole in our lives and gatherings. Sure, we still have fun and we laugh, but one can turn quickly to tears as well when a fresh memory of our son comes to mind.
So how are we doing?
People ask me how we are doing as we approach a year since Christopher went to heaven. The short answer is, “OK.”
I’m sorry if you were hoping for me to say that we are doing just fantastic, but I have determined to be honest about this journey of grief we all are on.
But know this: we are not alone in it. We have the Lord, whose sweet presence is felt every day. We have each other, and are more apt to say, “I love you,” than before. We have you, our friends who remember us in your prayers. We also have our memories that bring back days we long for.
We have our future, where we will be reunited with Christopher and other loved ones that have gone before us. And we have today, which we are determined to live for the Glory of God.
A word to you this Fourth of July
I have not written this post to depress you, but to say, “Don’t ever take anything for granted.”
Not your liberty that you enjoy as an American, nor your health that is a gift from God and especially not your family. Make sure you tell each one you love them. And despite what friction or challenges you may have with other family members, remember that you should be thankful that they are here to still reconcile with, and you are here for them as well.
Bottom line, don’t take anything or anything for granted. So, from our family to yours, have a blessed Fourth of July.