Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I haven't written in a while.
It's not that I haven't thought of Andrew~ or his sister.
Haven't come here and looked at an empty screen and wanted to say something.  Anything.
But I felt quiet.

Much has happened in the last couple months.
We went to the Walk to Remember.
Joe asked where Andrew's body was...

We decorated our Christmas tree,
our kids showing us Andrew's (many) ornaments before placing them on the tree...

But still I came, looked at a blinking cursor and just~

I come here today not to write about my own losses~ my own grief~
But someone else's.
Someone whom I've never met, yet has danced around my thoughts and moments
much as my own children have these last months.

His name was John Schmidt.
Even as I type that sentence, the word 'was' pains me.

Someone from my church had asked for prayers for him.  He was young~ turning only 21 years old and spending his birthday fighting cancer.

I thought back to the days when I watched my father-in-law in his own battle.  How I used to draw pictures of rainbows and happy things because I thought a little color would make things just a little brighter.  And it did. For a moment.

I thought of John.  Celebrating his 21st birthday and I wondered about his walls.
I looked around where I spent most of my time (the first grade classroom where I teach) and how the colored pictures and love notes from my students just seemed to lift my days.

Together with my students, we made cards for John.  We wished him well and my students asked him important questions (like what his favorite sport was or the color of the shirt he was wearing...).  The cards made me smile and I hoped that (for a moment) they'd make him smile.

The summer went by and 
I wondered about John and even asked how he was doing.
The answer: Not well.

Again we took to more letter writing and the last batch of letters went out a month or two ago.

Last week, we made another batch of letters.
This time to the Schmidt Family.
I told my students that they were having a hard time and could use some color to brighten their days.
I didn't tell them, what I told their parents.
John lost his battle with cancer.

I felt so Sad. Deflated. Empty. Quiet.
My first thoughts were of prayer.
Of how sometimes the way our prayers are answered are not in the way WE would like them answered.
I had prayed for John to be healed.
For his pain to stop.
For him to feel whole.
But wasn't that prayer answered?  Is he now healed? Has his pain stopped?  Does he now feel more whole than any of us (here) could imagine?

I'm sure that I've spent more time (than most) thinking of death. of heaven. of what happens next.
Mostly in those times where I have no words.
But I pause.
And I can feel it.
I know.

I like to think that as John is now dancing. healed. free of pain.
That he has floated into our first grade classroom.
Just for a moment.
That perhaps he watched as we wrote letters that would bring just a small smile to his family.
To make them happy.
And he was happy.

I don't know John.
I don't know his family.
But I have spent much of this year thinking of them.

I remember how big the absence of Andrew was in our house.
Even though he had never lived there.
I remember how strange my in-laws house felt, when my father-in-law had died.
Even though I had not seen him in that house in some time
(he had spent much of the year in the hospital).
I wonder about John's home.
And it makes me sad.

It is the absence that we mourn.
The memories that could have been made.
The laughter that we wish we could hear.

Please join me in praying for the Schmidt Family~ Not just today but in the days ahead.
And remember.
I know I will.

To view this video on YouTube, you can click HERE.