It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.
(Ecclesiastes 7:2 ESV)
At 12:10 pm Thursday March 27th 2020, my wife called me on my cellphone concerned about our son. She works in the ER and heard there had been a car wreck and young men were being airlifted. She had a gut feeling our son was one of them. He was.
Despite his injuries, which were severe, Chris was most concerned about his friend Ros. As long as he was conscious, Chris put Ros first. Chris fought hard for life, lasting 60 hours, 36 hours longer than we were initially told. His life was 20 years, 4 months, and 21 days.
My last view of Christopher before the accident was Wednesday night. My wife came into my office and said both Chris and his dog Duce were on our bed snoring. I looked at him there and thought about laying down with them, but didn’t want to disturb them. I had no idea that was my last chance to hold my son and tell him I loved him.
Christopher and I hadn’t been close since he was around 15–his grandfather was in hospice care at our house and died there in 2015. Chris was profoundly wounded by this and fell into a darkness that none of us could enlighten. It grew worse until he ran from home a few days before his 17th birthday in 2016. For a year and a half, he bounced from couch to couch, street to street. We heard about him sporadically and worried constantly.
Then on March 1st 2018 at 3am we got a phone call. Chris wanted to know if he could come sleep on the couch–he had no where else to turn. We went and picked him up and he came home. It was not an easy homecoming. He had a host of issues and was full of anger, but he was home. It was rough, but he overcame things that I have never seen anyone overcome. He was walking back to being our smiling, loving Chistopher.
On March 1st, 2020 at 9am he was pronounced brain dead. We had two years of joy and peace that our son was home. Two years.
It’s been over a week since the accident and his funeral was yesterday, but for us it is one never-ending day. Everything is all linked together with no interlude. It is all one day. Two short years. One long day.
Why am I writing this? Is it to put words down and work through sorrow? Is it to try to comfort myself somewhow? No. It is because as that verse says, the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. All my coulda, woulda, shoulda’s are empty and worthless toward Christopher. He is with the Lord. I will go to him, but he will not come back to me, nor would I truly want him to. His pain and suffering have been overcome and overwhelmed in the presence of the Lord.
No, it is because I have learned more deeply the admonition of the Lord to love one another. Love today. Reconcile today. Hug today. Kiss today. Whomever you have affection for in your life love them today, love them tomorrow, love them everyday. Grab them and hug them. Hold them and squeeze them tight. Seek out the sound of their voice. Do it today. Do it now. Because we are not promised tomorrow. And while there is great solace in the knowledge that you will see them if they are saved, that does not erase the pain of separation on this side of eternity.
Love them today.