“How do we celebrate the first birthday of our son who died eight months ago?”
This is the question pressing me for a few weeks before the big day. What complicates the decision is that for 26 years we celebrated the twins birthdays together - and now one is gone. How to celebrate the living but still honour the dead?
Life is full of both sorrow and joy - the ups and downs of life. No one can escape it. No one has a perfect life without pain. Even christians. Becoming a christian doesn’t mean your life becomes perfect and God will magically take away all your problems and pain. Wow, wouldn’t that be a great selling point for the gospel?
But what God DOES promise is that He is WITH us during our joys and trials. He gives us peace in the storm. He gives us Joy in the sorrow. He gives us hope in an eternity where we will live with Jesus without pain, sorrow, death, or tears.
We just have to lean into him and accept his love, grace, peace, and joy.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14/27
And so, the planning began… I asked friends and family about ideas to both celebrate and commemorate the day. I didn’t want us to forget Ben, but I also didn’t want his remembrance to overshadow the birthday celebration of his twin brother.
We took the day off from work. We planned our meals. We planned our activities.
I purchased balloons to tie on “Benjamin’s Birch” tree on our front yard. I set up a few of his favourite things by his photo to remember him during the day. We ate cake, unwrapped presents, and sang happy birthday.
It was a bitter-sweet day. Were there a few moments of sadness and tears? Of course, but overall it was a day of happiness, celebration, and laughter.
The next morning, the birthday balloon was gone….I’d like to think it went to heaven with Benjamin in the night.
Happy Birthday baby. Give Jesus a hug for me. I’ll see you again someday soon.