Matt, Since your death my faith has taken a beating. I was so numb that first year my brain didn’t have the capacity to grasp that your death was my reality. My foggy brain refused to let that reality break through the steel cocoon that kept me sane and surviving all those firsts.
Now as the years have passed I find myself in a constant state of anxiety wondering about the afterlife. I remember praying for God to keep you safe when you moved to Florida for treatment. I prayed day and night that you would survive your disease and find your way to recovery. When you died I questioned if God ever heard my prayers or if God saw the big picture and saved you the only way he could.
I continue to search for answers. I scan the internet for articles written by those who survived a near death experience. Those who speak about seeing their bodies floating above the accident scene or surgical suite. Those who speak about feeling peaceful and experiencing a joy they never knew here on earth. Of bright lights, magnificent flowers, and beautiful voices. Of being welcomed by beings they felt an immediate kinship with. Of never being afraid.
My bookshelf holds books written by doctors and experts on Near Death Experiences. I feel like I’m walking through the desert dying of thirst and trying to quench this thirst by reading everything I can find to help my heart in accepting that you are in a better place. I continue to search for anything that will give my heart hope.
The one book I never opened was my Bible. It remained on my nightstand untouched. I don’t know if I was mad at God or just didn’t trust him anymore. A part of me felt He either didn’t hear my prayers to keep you safe or He chose to ignore them. Every conversation I’ve had with God since your death ends with me saying to God that we must agree to disagree. I wanted you saved on earth. Obviously, God had other plans for you.
One day while searching the internet I found a reference on death and life after death. To my surprise that piece was referencing the Bible.
I was having one of those very dark days when my grief was overwhelming my soul and I felt like I was not going to make it through the day. The reality that you were gone and I would never see you again on this earth was just too painful for me to accept. It was on that day I reached for that book I had ignored for so long and began to read.
I found the copy of the passages that had been referenced in my internet search. Before I knew what was happening I started to feel a slight sense of peace. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I can’t explain what happened to me as my eyes read those words written over 2000 years ago but I know I felt a shift in my soul.
Everything I’d been searching for all these years was right here. Everything I needed to know about where you were had been sitting untouched on my nightstand. My Bible has become my go to book. I know you are probably laughing at me but it’s true. I read the Bible every morning and continue to find a peace that even baffles me.
My favorite verse is found in the book of John. One my bad days I sit by myself and let those words wash over me. John 14 gives me hope that you are with Jesus and one day I will be there with you. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were no so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
I’m not going to lie. I still have those days when I question why God didn’t save you the way I wanted him to. I still have days that my anxiety gets the best of me. I still tell God we will continue to agree to disagree about your death, but I also have days where I feel a peace come over me as I read those words written so long ago.
I remember sitting on the beach together. We both loved the beach so much. I remember laying back looking at the blue sky and saying Heaven is a beach. I remember you laughing and saying I hope so Mom. Matt, I hope so too. I hope when it’s my time I will wake up on a beach and see you running toward me. Until then I hold onto John 14 and slowly begin to rekindle my faith.