Today, I thought, “I think I’ll call Marilyn today.”, and then as soon as I thought about it, I realized, “I can’t call Marilyn, she’s gone.”
Marilyn is my mother-in-law. I say “is” because although she has passed on to the next life, she is still living, and we are still connected through her son.
Marilyn passed in the summer of 2020, at the age of 90.
April is Marilyn’s birthday month, so I find my thoughts going to her during this month. I find myself wishing I could pick up the phone and call her.
She used to tell me stories about my husband, times when he was a baby, a toddler, a young child, a young man, times when I had not yet met or known my husband. She was so proud of her son, she was so proud of her children.
My husband swam competitively in High School and College. He was offered a full scholarship to Boston University to swim. My mother-in-law did not think it was a good enough school for him so she had him turn it down. She told me, this was a great regret of hers—as my husband went out of state to college, and he never returned.
She thought if he would have gone to college in Boston–he might never have left Massachusetts.
She loved her son and her grandchildren so much–she hated to be apart from them.
I used to tell her that if he had not left MA, he would not have met me, and she might not have any grandchildren.
She would then say, “That’s true, I never imagined him getting married at all.”
It’s funny the things we look back on and regret, and wish we had done it differently–things that in reality made us who we are. Things that we learned from—some things we learned from to never to go that way again, and some things we reaped the benefits of those choices.
I’ve been learning about forgiving myself and others, and receiving God’s forgiveness. Part of forgiving myself and others is realizing that my brokenness, my regrets, my scars—they brought me to Jesus in the first place for that forgiveness. Jesus was broken, was scarred, was crucified for me and for you.
Jesus died for this forgiveness to be possible. I have determined not to take this great sacrifice of His for granted. I will ask for forgiveness from God, from others and from myself, and I will extend forgiveness to others and to myself.
This is a time of new beginnings. This is a time of hope and forgiveness. This is Spring. This is why we celebrated Easter. This is Joy!!
Today I want to write about Sean. I want to share stories of Sean with you all. Each time I do, I get to relive those memories, and “see” Sean again, in my mind’s eye. So here goes….
Sean was my third child; Sean was a younger brother to two brothers and a big brother to two sisters. He was my middle child– with blonde hair and green eyes. I had two children– a boy and a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, and two children– a boy and a girl with brown hair and green eyes. Sean—my middle child, had blonde hair and green eyes.
Sean had a sensitive soul, right from the beginning. We were driving down to the hospital from our home, (it was an hour away), I was deeply in labor—sure I was going to deliver by the side of the road—yelling at my husband to hurry, and my husband yelling back at me, that he was hurrying as fast as he could—when all of a sudden, the labor stopped, just stopped.
It did not start again, for a week. This time, we calmly went down to the hospital, with me rubbing my tummy saying, “It’s okay, you can come out, no one is going to yell.”
Sean always hated yelling and fighting. He would calmly share this, whenever there was tension and yelling in the house. Although, even while I’m writing this, I am remembering Sean, provoking fights. He could push buttons in other people, like nobody else!
Sean also had really, really, good manners and social skills. (I taught all my children about manners—but I did not really have to teach Sean—he just knew things instinctually.) Other moms used to tell me, “We love to have Sean over, he has such great manners, and he is such a great influence on my child.”
Other children looked up to Sean and followed his lead. When he was in Royal Rangers, (a Christian boy scout group)—he was elected by the other boys as their patrol leader, over and over again. When he went up to the next level, the level his older brother was in—he used his influence with the other boys, to get his older brother elected—something that had not happened, until Sean came into the group.)
Sean and his brother used to invite their friends over for airsoft games. They would run through the woods near our home, playing their games. Sean was fearless and relentless in this game. He looked like one of the Power Rangers, he used to watch and try to emulate when he was little, out there playing this game.
Sometimes I imagine him up in heaven, leading a platoon of angels into spiritual battle, whirling and spinning, and dodging—winning the day! Just my little flights of fancy. 🙂
Anyway, the last summer before Sean died, he seemed more aware of living life to the fullest and including everyone in his summer. We were taking him and his friends to an amusement park to celebrate his birthday, and his sister’s birthday was coming up as well, so he asked if she could bring a friend with her as part of the celebration.
When we went out East to the Beach house, he insisted that everyone join in the games at the pool. I was exhausted, and just wanted to stay sunning myself and reading my books, but he would not take no for an answer. Those games were some of the last memories I have of Sean and the rest of my family frolicking and playing together in the water.
When Sean was a little, little guy, 3 or 4 years old, he would tell me that someday, he was going to die, and I would tell him, “No, not for a long time, and I will die first and I will be waiting for you in heaven.” But he would insist, “No Mommy, I am going to die first.”
Sometimes, when I look at that summer, and how Sean “lived” to the fullest and abundantly, I wonder if he “knew” as he seemed to know when he was little, that his time on this earth was coming to an end.
I know he really wanted to spend time with his brothers and sisters, his family and his friends. One of our most delightful memories was riding in the van with his best friends and his sisters, coming back from the amusement park, and listening to those boys, laughing, and joking. They were so, so funny. I have never laughed quite so hard in my life. I knew when I was living in those moments, that those were some of life’s shining moments.
Since that time, I have seen these kids suffer, and their families suffer, and my kids suffer, and my family suffer. It was like a bomb went off in our lives. I have seen crises of faith– not just in my life, but in so many others. I would give anything to make it better. I would give anything to see the hurt healed.
This is how I know how terrible death is. Nothing can sugar coat it; nothing can stop the pain. But God, But God. But God……
God is the only One Who can. He died for each of us, two thousand years ago. He entered into our deaths, to give us life. Life eternally. Life abundantly. Life in the fullest.
Sean lived that full abundant life here on this earth. Sean is living the eternal life.
After Sean’s death, a friend of ours told us that their daughter was confirmed in their church, and the daughter shared that she was doing this in part, because Sean was all about faith and family, and that is what she wanted her life to be about as well.
Sean was all about faith and about family—and if you were his friend, you were a part of the family.
So– I thank God for the gift of Sean, for the gift of his life, and for the gift of eternal life!!
The first tulips have blossomed in my garden. I simply love Tulips!! I love going to the Tulip Festival in our State. I have been a frequent visitor for the past 7 years, except last year when it was cancelled due to Covid19.
The year after my son died, I took my mom, my daughters and a couple of their friends to The Tulip Festival. I had decided to be proactive in making time to “Do” little things with special people—to make memories. I was very aware that any day could be my last day on earth.
That is what happens when someone you love deeply– dies. You are very aware of how fragile life truly is, and you want to celebrate the gift of life. You want to celebrate the people you love. You want to take moments and celebrate.
Seeing the tulips come up reminds me of this memory and the resolve behind it—to seize the moment– to seize the day. You see, I had wanted to go to the Tulip Festival for many, many years, but the busyness of life made it just one more thing that got pushed out of the way.
After, my son died, I resolved that celebrating people and life would not get pushed away anymore.
I need to remind myself of this decision I made, and that is why I am writing this blog. The Tulips coming up have reminded me of my decision I made 7+ years ago, and the small act of celebrating love, in going to the Tulip Festival. Every day has its moments to think of someone else and love, serve, and listen.