It was 35 years ago today that our son, Timothy Wayne, slipped beyond our grasp, took his last breath and entered into life eternal. It seems like just yesterday and yet, it seems like another lifetime ago. Was it real? Did it really happen? Surreal is a good word to describe the reality of a life once lived, one that ended before it was meant to end. A day never passes without a thought surfacing about him and his life’s journey with us.
Unique is a good word to describe Tim. He never questioned his Leukemia – no not once. Oh, there was that one time that we were at Shand’s Teaching Hospital. He had just had his test to see if he was still in remission. He wasn’t. It meant that his hope of playing Little League was crushed. He climbed into my lap and quietly asked, “Why now?” The tears were soft and quiet. He was so looking forward to being a Pirate. His red baseball cap still sits in our family room on the head of his stuffed buddy, Henry. They are the quiet sentinels of a little child’s hopes and dreams once held.
When I close my eyes at night and think of Tim the one image that occurs repeatedly is his small slender body in that big hospital bed. He had slipped into a coma. I had just spoken to him, giving him permission to go be with Jesus. I promised I would take care of Tracy, his younger sister, and mommy. As I held his hand a single tear emerged from his right eye and ran gently down his cheek. He didn’t want to leave us, but life had other plans for him. The pain is still there even as I right these words.
Today we remember his death and just in a few days, March 2nd, we will remember his birth. Two separate events. Two separate realities. Two separate sets of emotions. One life, one reality, one singular existences stretching between poles so far apart.
Our youngest daughter, Erin, marks these events with a different set of emotions. She embraces our sadness for having lost our precious little son, but she fully realizes that she won’t be a part of our family if he had lived. We adopted her a year after Tim’s death. She is glad that she is a part of our family, but it comes with the knowledge that someone had to die to make it happen.
Through it all there is a peace of knowing that one-day Tim and I shall be reunited. It will be my son who will meet me at heaven’s pearly gates and say, “Come on dad I want you to meet my friend Jesus.” Oh, that will be glory for me. But the reality of it all still lingers, the pain of his absence is still here and the longing to once again feel his little arms around my neck still wells up within my heart.
Tim you will always be remembered by those who knew you. You touched so many with your love and kindness … and with your enthusiasm for life (his precious doctor loved to come to his room just to watch him eat). You will always be remembered with thanksgiving that for nearly 9 years we had the joy of your presence.