Most of the gifts and cards people have sent us since Sarah’s departure are still stacked on the hearth in the kitchen. They are a constant reminder of the love that has been lavished on us by the body of Christ at large. I bought three big boxes of thank you notes a few weeks ago with intentions of writing personal notes to share how precious each expression of love is to us, but I have failed to muster the fortitude to do it. My stomach turns every time I try to force myself to start, the thought of having to acknowledge the end of my child’s physical life over and over again with each note pains my heart. I try to refocus myself by saying that each note is simply a celebration of the love we have been shown, but my broken heart refuses to be fooled in such a way. I have had precious friends offer to help me write them, but I am so thankful for each card and gift that I can’t bear for them to not be acknowledged by me personally. And so the unopened boxes of thank you notes are still sitting there, repeatedly pushed back as a conquest for “tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow” will eventually come and they will be done, because the gestures of love mean far too much to me to go unacknowledged, but for today I offer this feeble “Thank You.” Thank you for each card that was simply signed with a name because the pain of compassion was too great for words to flow. Thank you for each card with handwritten expressions that flowed out of heartbreak and love for us. Thank you to those precious prayer warrior friends who have sent multiple cards, some no doubt tear stained, they never fail to be perfectly timed with words of encouragement, and most importantly the message that we are remembered and loved. Thank you to the stranger out of state who has sent so many cards I have lost count, each simply signed “lovingly” with her name. Thank you to all the precious brothers and sisters in Christ in churches we’ve never visited across the Southeast who have sent us cards with dozens of signatures inside to say they as a group are praying for us. Thank you to multiple groups of precious ladies ministries who have sent us the sweetest and most thoughtful care packages and handmade blessings.
Thank you to the dear friends who have given precious thoughtful, creative gifts that celebrate the life of Sarah, her testimony and her legacy. Thank you for the precious throws and wind chimes that each bless us. Thank you for the flowers that surrounded Sarah at her service. Thank you to each person who helped at her service, those who set up, helped with security, childcare, transportation, food preparation, media, clean up, and I’m certain many other tasks that my numb mind was completely unaware of. Thank you to those who fed us when we were too overwhelmed to think about food for our family. Meal after meal each delivered with expressions of love and support. Thank you for the gift cards for restaurants that have been such a blessing in carrying us through.
Thank you for loving us so well. Thank you for hurting with us. Thank you to many of you for weeping with us, your shared tears testify we are not alone and that you are longing to carry the pain with us. The first few weeks were so overwhelming, and I was so very numb that I failed to keep good records, plants and gifts ended up being disconnected from accompanying cards, I completely failed to record who brought us food, and I have no doubt there were many other oversights on my part with my muddied thoughts in those first weeks. As a result, if I fail to personally acknowledge how you ministered to us, please know that every single expression of love has been a healing balm to our broken hearts. “Tomorrow” will eventually come and I will send those thank you notes, but for today know that we are forever grateful to be a part of the body of Christ where love is lavished and the Holy Spirit within us compels us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. ‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.'” John 13:34-35 [NASB]