The holidays are here again, and while some are celebrating, others are desperate for just a glimpse of a loved one. As we gathered at my in-laws’ home for Thanksgiving this year, I was keenly aware of our loss. The deep ache of losing our 3-year-old (almost 10 years ago) has not healed with time. This stuffed puppy looks like Austin’s beloved “woof woof” which we buried with him.
In the Erickson kitchen, an old computer sits on the counter and plays family pictures all day. To get a look, just a 15-second view, click on this link to see what I’m talking about: https://photos.app.goo.gl/R34GaxgS7f2tkOnW2
Every now and again, Austin’s face would come on the screen and my heart would contract and my breath would stop ~ for just a moment. While I am thankful for the many, many blessings we have, I am desperate to see our son again. Living with loss, especially through the holiday season, is a unique blend of joy and pain. You are joyful for the opportunity to celebrate with your family. Yet, the pain of loss lurks under each smile, each laugh.
When you’ve suffered the pain of losing a loved one, you learn to cling to any bits of joy that come into your day. Most days, I can set my mind to focus on those moments. But, some days, the wounds of loss wrap tightly around all of my soul, making it difficult to catch my breath, let alone grab those bits of joy.
These past few days of the Thanksgiving celebration, I caught myself standing in the kitchen in front of that computer for far too long ~ just waiting, hoping, longing for another picture of Austin on that screen. Each time the screen would scramble, getting ready to show a new picture, in my mind I would be saying, “please be Austin, please be Austin…” Desperate is my heart for just a few seconds to see his face.
How will we get through yet another holiday season without our little boy? I cling to this hope ~ that there will be a day when:
My hope in heaven will see me through this holiday season. Tucked into my heart are all the promises God has made and written down for us in the Bible. I will sit with my Bible each morning and let the Lord whisper “there will be a day” into my broken heart. The Word of God will be like Neosporin for my soul.
When I feel desperate for a glimpse of Austin Lee Erickson, I will get into my car and play this song loud enough to drown out my sorrow: There Will Be A Day by Jeremy Camp
For all of you living with loss this holiday season, I’ll be praying for you. I’ll be praying that you will turn to your Bible (email me if you don’t have one: firstname.lastname@example.org) and allow the promises of God to wrap around your heart. By the grace and power of Jesus’ name, I pray for our ability to point to Jesus while we wait for our turn to go to heaven. Amen.