March 2nd is a significant day for us. It’s the day our baby son, Matthew, went to be with Jesus.
Every year around this time I take time to remember him, and I’m usually struck by the same thing – I’m actually not that sad! I may be very unusual in this, and parents who have lost children will all have a unique perspective on their experience, but the best way I can explain it is this:
On March 2nd we celebrate a life well lived and a race well run.
I don’t understand why our little one was born with a serious heart problem, but I am incredibly grateful that he was born at all and that he lived 2 months longer than he ‘should’ have done.
It is astounding to me that a baby who lived 75 days could have had such a profound impact on those who met him, loved him and got to hold him. It blesses me no end when his story gives others hope, even when it didn’t end in a traditionally ‘good’ way. His life still brings life to others.
It is very different on December 17th, which would have been his birthday. I don’t find that day easy at all. I remember that he isn’t here with me any more – and I wish he was!
But today is March 2nd. For us, it’s Matthew’s day! I’m emotional, but not sad. I would have loved to have seen him learn to walk and talk, but I am grateful that I got to see him learn to smile. I am constantly in awe of the gentleness and peace, which marked his life, and was evident to all who knew him. I am grateful that I knew his love for me as well as mine for him.
Matthew lived his life and ran his race well, and we were privileged to be with him at the finish line, making sure he felt safe and that he knew he was loved.
Don’t get me wrong – bereavement sucks! I hate it! I don’t believe death was ever in God’s plan for us, and the pain of loss of a loved one is intense, messy and often prolonged. I’m writing this 24 years on! We have needed seasons of time and space to rest, recover, and process the jumble of emotions we felt - and we still sometimes need to revisit things.
But the incredible grace, strength, peace and love we experienced through Matthew’s short life took us deeper into God’s goodness than ever before, and made our shout louder: ‘He’s a good, good Father!’ That’s who He is, and no circumstance or situation can ever change it.