Friday, October 31, 2014

My remembrance stone

The Bible, in the Old Testament, speaks about remembrance stones. God's chosen people, the Israelites, set up remembrance stones as ways to honor God, to remind themselves and their children of God's faithfulness, how He rescued them from their enemies and brought them through impossible circumstances. God has done the same for me. He has brought me through what I thought, and even wished that, I wouldn't survive: the death of my 16yo. son, my firstborn.

So I did what I said I would never do. I got a tattoo. Two tattoos, to be exact. My first tattoo was three weeks ago. It is Matt's signature, in his handwriting. I have thought about getting a tattoo for three years (as long as Matt's been gone). I waited because I knew I didn't want to do it as a response to my pain and grief. I also wanted to be sure I wasn't going to regret it since they are, essentially, permanent. I am glad I waited, too, because I didn't know, until recently, that a person could have a signature tattooed. (Matt's actual signature is about a 1/3 or more smaller than my tattoo, but they can't do tattoos that small. They took his signature and enlarged it.) I am so, so happy with it. I love seeing it every day. I love that it's small and simple. I feel as if I have a part of my son with me every day.

I knew immediately, however, that a tattoo of Matt's signature was not the only one I would get. As special as it is to have his signature, I knew I wanted something else that signified what God has done for me. I wanted to set up, so to speak, a remembrance stone. I could think of no better way to do this than by getting a tattoo of a cardinal with some Forget-Me-Not flowers in Matt's favorite shade of blue.

From the beginning of this grief journey, the cardinal has been our "sign." Matt loved watching the birds daily while siting at the dining room table. He knew every one. His favorite were the Indigo Bunting and the Cardinal. Our family of nine ate lunch and supper together every day, so Matt's absence at the dinner table was particularly difficult for me. But the LORD knew. For the first year after Matt died, a cardinal showed up at the feeder at dinner time every single day. Every day. No matter what time we ate dinner, the cardinal showed up. It was as if God were saying to us, "Don't worry. Matt's closer than you think. The veil between here and eternity is so thin."

The cardinal tattoo is my remembrance stone of what the LORD has brought me through. He has done so much for us. Our hearts still ache daily and Matt is still gone, but God continues to be our comforter. He is our Rock. He is the reason I live and move and have my being. (Acts 17:28) I don't ever want to forget what He has done for me in surviving the loss of my son and also in giving me eternal life. Because of that, I have the hope of a glorious reunion with Matt and eternity in the presence of God, my Father, and His son Jesus Christ where there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. (Rev. 21:4)

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