Our culture likes to ignore death and pretend it doesn’t happen. People also act like the ones who have died, haven’t really existed. They don’t say their names anymore. They don’t tell their stories. For those who were very, very close to the one who died–pretending they didn’t exist is not a possibility.
June is the birthday month of our son Sean. As his parents, we can’t pretend that he did not exist. Sean is still alive to us. He is still real. He is still celebrated and he is still grieved.
I write about Sean and the grief of losing him, and the joy of his life—to help others with their grief in losing their loved ones. I also want us to know that the person(s) who passed on to eternity–can still be celebrated–their life was a gift to those who knew them and loved them.
Our family still celebrates Sean’s birthday. We do this because Sean’s life was a gift to us from God. When we celebrate, we are acknowledging to God that we recognize that He gave Sean to us, and we are grateful to Him.
This past week, my husband and I had lunch with a young man and his wife who are going into ministry. This young man was friends with Sean. He told me that he started getting more serious about his relationship with God in High School, and some of that seriousness came about because of Sean’s death. This young man realized that life on earth is temporal, but there was another life after this one.
When we celebrate Sean’s life—we are celebrating that there is another life after this one–that Sean is in this other life–and he is cheering us on in the race that we are all in–in this life–
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Sean is in that great cloud of witnesses, cheering us on.
Our loved ones who have run their races of faith here on this earth, are part of that great cloud of witnesses, cheering us on in our races.
They have not forgotten us, and are rooting for us here on this earth. In remembering our departed loved ones and celebrating their lives, we find encouragement and strength to live for eternity, to fix our eyes on Jesus–and to run with endurance our own marathons of life.
If you have ever run in a marathon, you know how grueling they can be, and how there are many times during the race, one is tempted to give up. Sometimes a cheer from the crowd, or another runner coming beside you to say, “You can do this, I’ll run this part with you to help you through”, is the encouragement needed to finish the race. My niece had this experience, she was ready to give up, when a 72 year old woman told her to run alongside of her and my niece said that is why she was able to finish her race.
I write, to give voice to the ones cheering us on, and to encourage us all on our races–because even if you have not run a Marathon–you and I are in the Marathon of life!!
Happy Birthday Sean!! We celebrate your life!!
Thank you for cheering us on!!
We Are Encouraged!!