Grief and Loss

The Gift

It was one of my “good days”. I decided that I would be able to go to church that morning (which is, for me, a big trigger after my son’s funeral was held there…) after being out of town the past few weeks. It was hard, but on that day, it was “do-able”. 

We drove there, I walked in and dropped the kids off at each of their Sunday school classes. Dan came and met me for a quick “good morning” in the church basement after finishing up his music practice. 

To be honest, it was a pretty uneventful Sunday. 

As I was about to turn around to go upstairs, and sit down for church to start, a woman who I’ve known for years walked up to me with a bag in hand. 

She handed it to me and said, “This is for you”. 

For me? But why? It’s not a holiday. It’s not any anniversary of anything. Am I missing something? It’s just Sunday…. 

A bit confused, I thanked her for thinking of us and pulled out a gorgeous handmade quilt from the bag neatly tied with a gray string and a simple note tucked atop the perfectly folded fabric. 

It took my breath away.

It was in that moment that I knew I was holding something different. My heart and my arms knew- this is not just a gift. It is something beyond special. A sacred gift. 

I looked down at the fabric held in my hands and saw raindrops. I saw butterflies. I saw arrows. I saw blues and grays. I saw bursts of yellow throughout. And the memories and significance of each of those things overwhelmed me for the next few moments. 

I thought tears would come. Internally my broken heart wept. But being so overwhelmed by what great love and care and what a gift I held in my arms, the tears didn’t come. My words barely came, in fact. How do you thank someone for something like this? 

To be given a gift that someone poured time, painful finger pricks, money and most importantly- their heart into is sacred. We had been given a sacred gift.

It was 14 months and some odd days since we lost my son. Yet the first words on that note tucked between the folds read “this is in honor and memory of Philip David”.

My mind stopped after that sentence. 

Humility swept over me. 

Someone remembered?!?

After being so used to him not being remembered in the big wide world, the idea floored me. 

Someone remembered? And not just remembered… Thought of him over and over with each piece of this quilt as it was stitched together. The concept awed me. 

He is being remembered by people we didn’t expect and in bigger ways than we could have or would have ever asked for. 

How? Why? 

Don’t get me wrong, certainly that is my hope and I’m endlessly grateful for this… But I was completely shocked. 

A quilt takes hours and days and months to put together. And this one was done in my sons’ honor. I suddenly knew a piece of this sacred blessing was in realizing that he wasn’t forgotten but very much alive in not only our hearts’, but others’ hearts as well. 

And in the moment when you realize this-that your child is not forgotten when the rest of the world screams past you… It is a sacred moment. 

This was a sacred gift.

The letter went on to explain how each fabric, each color was carefully chosen to represent this journey we have been on. The yellow for the bits of hope amidst storms of gray. The blue to remind us of our sweet boy and of course the raindrops bringing both life and hope to our hearts. 

I knew I held in my hands a sacred gift. 

A gift far beyond any wish or expectation I could have asked for. A gift unexpected, much like the most Divine blessings are. A gift undeserved after feeling like I’ve failed so many times in this journey. A gift echoing the heart of my Jesus, handed to me so humbly, so quietly, in a church basement Sunday school classroom. 

A gift given exactly as Jesus would have done it. 

I carried it with me through church and after and got home and laid it on the couch in my living room only to realize that the colors in this quilt matched my exact colors in my living room. I mean exact. His plan was so perfect, so detailed, that He led my quilt-blesser to use the very colors we painted our living room not 6 months before. And it reminded me that His plan is that good. It is perfectly-matched details good… A reminder of His plan being so much greater than mine. 

A sacred gift.

The quilt will cover our family during movie night and story time, during power outages and at the drive in movies, it may be even be part of a couch-fort on certain rainy days. And each time we see it, or curl beneath it, or picnic on it, or play superhero with it flying behind as our cape… It will remind us of our little heaven born boy being with us through it all. 

This gift will remind us on the stormy days that there are bits of bright yellow hope shining through. And on the sunny days with butterflies that our hope is in Him who cares for my heaven born babies and our earth-born family. And on the rainy days it will remind me of the great purpose that those raindrops hold. Great purpose, indeed. 

To be honest I don’t know if this wonderful friend that spent hours quilting this will ever know the intrinsic details and significance it has to us- from the raindrops being white (his birthstone color) to the butterflies that always remind my daughter of her brother. To the flowers that need both rain and sunshine to grow and the arrows that remind us of what a blessing each of these children are. (See Psalm 127:3-5) I don’t know that she will ever know how truly and deeply sacred and special her gift is to us. I don’t know that she ever truly could. 

And I know I’ll never find words enough to thank her for this. They just don’t exist. 

It was her hands that crafted a Divine work. Her hands that passed it to us, and reminded us of the sacredness of this calling and of this journey. And now it is our hands that must strive to spread healing through hope as we continue this journey forward. 

Because we were given a sacred gift in that little boy, and sometimes it takes an unexpected, unearned, undeserved gift to remind you of that…and of how we can use that gift for His glory. 

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