a couple of hours later, we were solidifying all the funeral arrangements with our pastor over the phone. he mentioned how i probably felt stress over the rain this morning. he went on to say that the day that jonathan was born, october 8th, was the last day of the jewish holiday "feast of the tabernacles", also known as the "day of salvation." after this time, the ancient jews would start praying for rain. rain, he told me, was symbolic of the Holy Spirit. so the rain we experienced in the morning was symbolic of the Lord being present with us on the day we would bury our son.
that brought me much comfort.
"Since in Israel the rains normally stop in March, there is no rain for almost seven months! If God does not provide the "early" rains in October and November, there will be no spring crop, and famine is at the doorstep. This ceremony, then, was intended to invoke God's blessing on the nation by providing life-giving water. It is in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles and this eighth day that the gospel of John records a fascinating event. John wrote: "In the last day (eighth day), that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38). The Son of God was saying in the clearest possible way that He alone was the source of life and blessing; that He could meet every need of the human heart."
this past week has flown by. 7 days ago, i had no idea that we would be here. 7 days ago, i was still hoping we would have another month left with jonathan before being induced. 7 days ago, i would never have guessed what was ahead of us in the coming week. and now, here we are: having already given birth, experiencing 40 wonderful minutes with jonathan, loving on him when he passed so peacefully away, and then yesterday, celebrating his life and mourning our loss with a funeral.
greg and i have been so wrapped up with preparing for the funeral that it seems more like a month has passed, rather than a week. we are tired. we are somewhat just "going through the motions" right now. and we are looking forward to getting back to our "normal" day-to-day life, whatever that may look like now. we are now a family of four, except our newest member just happens to call Heaven his home. so we aren't operating like your typical family of four. but make no mistake, jonathan is very much a part of us.
"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose...all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~Helen Keller
yesterday was probably the second-most anticipated day of our journey, next to delivery day. we were very intimidated by it, but again, astonished by the strength and grace the Lord provided to us to make it through.
we were actually OK until we pulled into our church's parking lot and there, front and center, was the hearse. the walk from our car, past the hearse, and into the church was a very long and hard walk. and then, from the foyer of the church, we could see straight down the center aisle of the sanctuary the tiny white casket that held the body of our baby boy. it took several moments to compose ourselves, but eventually we went in alone to spend time together in front of the casket. it was a surreal time. it was hard to believe that we were actually experiencing this. that our baby was actually in there. but then, we reminded ourselves that jonathan was not there. he was in heaven, probably looking down on us, saying, "mommy and daddy, don't cry! heaven is awesome!! i'll see you soon!"
the funeral was absolutely wonderful. i know that you don't typically think of funerals being wonderful, but this one was. yes, it was sad. but it truly was a celebration of a tiny life that has touched so many people and has blessed us in ways that we can't begin to fully describe. we are truly so thankful for our baby boy, and i speak for both greg and myself when i say that meeting jonathan face-to-face was worth every hardship, every teardrop, every physical and emotional burden we experienced throughout this journey. we would make the same decisions again. we have no guilt, no regrets. we have experienced peace and love on an extraordinary level. it has been a blessing.
the "wish frame", where people placed scripture and messages to us and jonathan
a few of my former bosses from the sheriff's office
friends, cathy and lindsey
with my friend cathy's husband, ken
the ceremony was filled with songs we love, sung by our dear friends who have been right there with us during the journey, lisa, jonathan, and faith. the songs were "enough", "where joy and sorrow meet", "blessed be your name", and "since the world began."
during the song, "blessed be your name", three of my closests friends read scripture in between the stanzas.
we also played a slideshow that greg and i put together, with scripture and pictures of jonathan.
because both greg and i have several friends and family members who were unable to make the funeral and wanted to be there, we plan on posting clips of the songs and message as soon as we get around to uploading them.
since the cemetery in which jonathan was buried was directly next door to our church, greg, our pastor, and i rode in a golf cart behind the hearse in the short drive to the gravesite. it was ominously overcast and windy, and the thunder was already rolling in the distance. it reminded me of the day we came to the cemetery to make the funeral arrangements. the birds were still chirping in spite of the coming storm. by the time we reached the gravesite, it had begun to sprinkle, and then steadily rain harder as we walked to the tent over our son's grave. greg and i had decided that it would just be the two of us attending the burial, with our pastor. we wanted to spend that final time alone with our son.
after our pastor prayed with us, greg and i had a few moments alone with jonathan. by then, the weather had really deteriorated, and we were ushered to the safety of a waiting van. the lightning was too bad for us to stay out there under a metal and canvas tent. so unfortunately, our time spent with jonathan before his burial was cut short. my mind really wanted to go to those places where i question God, saying, "why would you let it happen this way," etc. but those thoughts were overpowered by the reminder, again, that jonathan was not there in that box. that would not be him in the ground. the time had come to say "good-bye, for now" and "i'll see you again soon."
even today, i like to think of the symbolism of rain being the Holy Spirit. we were definitely covered by it at the gravesite.
after the time spent at jonathan's grave, our families and close friends all went out and celebrated again at a mexican restaurant. this is fitting, because 1. jonathan had lots of chips and salsa while i was pregnant, and 2. who doesn't enjoy eating chips and salsa, surrounded by lots and lots of loved ones? it was the perfect meal for this day. i wonder if there is chips and salsa in heaven? jonathan would probably like that.
afterwards, it had finally stopped raining, so we went back to jonathan's grave with our families and stayed there until it was completely dark. i had another fleeting moment of guilt, leaving jonathan behind under cold, wet soil, but that thought was immediately conquered again. please continue to pray that we will stay strong in our moments of weakness and the Lord would continue to show us that jonathan is very much at peace with Him.