Carter was pronounced dead at 3:08 ET Thursday May 25, 2017. I remember wondering what we should do next. Some of the hospital team who walked the journey with us was still in the room I think, crying with us. No one told us we needed to leave or even hinted at anything we should or should not do. After several minutes we began to gather our stuff and make our way to Katie and Joshua’s house. We were numb, exhausted and foggy; we seemed to be unable to think through the issues still ahead. Because of the holiday weekend, it was almost another week before we got Carter’s ashes for the memorial service Katie and Joshua had planned. But on Wednesday after the holiday weekend, about 4:00 pm we gathered in Clam Bayou where Carter’s ashes were scattered and 111 (one for each day of his life) carnations were tossed into the water.
So May 25, 2018, in observance of Carter’s untimely death Robin and I tossed two dozen carnations (one dozen for Rachel and family and one for us) into the Tennessee River at 3:08 pm ET. Rachel and family were unable to be with us physically, but were there with us in spirit.
We read the same scripture passages from Isaiah that we read last year; they are always good to repeat:
“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. The will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Is 40: 28-31
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor… to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Is 61: 1; 2-3
I have some of the same questions this year as last. What do we do next? What is our response to reliving the day Carter died? “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb…” Mark 16: 1-2. I think our response should be the same- we get up and go about our business. This year we do not have to wait for someone else to do their job so we can move on with our lives. Waiting last year was very difficult and made a bad situation even worse. That doesn’t mean we won’t have any emotional lows, or that we won’t miss our Little Buddy. It just simply means we get up off of the mat again and start fighting for joy. It means we do life with an “in spite of” attitude. It means we do again what we’ve learned to do this past year.