Since Christiano passed I’ve said the words, ‘I wish’ and ‘What if,’ an awful lot. There’s a lot of things that I wish I could have said or done or known before October 24th, and almost every thought I have experienced since that day has come in the question form. What if this happened, and what if that happened? I often think, ‘if I could just have one more day with him.’ A day to talk, to make up for some things, and, definitely, to ask him a few questions. Some of the times, I receive answers to some of my daunting questions; sometimes through the Word, or through other people, or through a still small voice on the inside. It says certain things like, ‘Shannon, he didn’t suffer pain,’ or ‘Christiano knows how much you love him.’ I’m always grateful for the peace I receive through answers, but I also know that ultimate peace is always available to me. Even when I don’t get the answers I am looking for, my peace has already been provided through Jesus. So when the questions won’t relent and the understanding doesn’t come, the peace of God still remains, and I have to trust that He knows what He is doing. I often find that when I make a conscious choice to trust in Him, and I lay certain things down at His feet, He comes through for me. When I let go of trusting in human wisdom and tangible comfort, I find rest; when I let go of my own desires and place them in His hands, I find rest; when I open my heart and tell Him what I’m feeling, I find rest; when I stop striving to make sense and I surrender to the rhythm of His grace, I find rest; the perfect rest found in Him alone.
Almost every other day or so, since October 24th, I’ve gone through Christiano’s things. Whether it be his personal things, his social media posts, his pictures , his cell phone, his notebook, or anything else that presents some hope of finding what I’ve been looking for these past few months. I’ve been looking for a letter. But, not just any letter – a letter for me and my husband from Christiano. Of course, I didn’t know if such a letter existed, but I wanted it to. ‘I wish he wrote us a letter,’ I would say. (There’s that ‘I wish,’ again.) I have often wondered if this is ‘normal’ – if other grieving parents long for the same things. Those of you who have followed us in our journey know that we are a family of expression. We express our love through various avenues – pictures, texts, social media, over the phone and, best of all, face to face. Face to face is no longer an option with Christiano, but I’m thankful that we have so much of that love captured and recorded for our family to look back on. Christiano’s friends tell us all the time how much he loved us – that he raved about his family. I’m grateful that they’ve shared that information with us. Sometimes parents wonder what their kids really think of them; at least I do, and his friends’ stories have provided us much comfort and joy. But, I still really wanted a letter. Maybe it is because I think letters are intimate. Often letters are written in the privacy of ones own thoughts and display the heart of a person on paper. I wanted a letter from my son, and I thought about it every day since he passed up until about two weeks ago. One day, I just stopped looking for one and stopped dwelling on it, and although the desire never left me, the desperate pursuit had ended. But, God – He was up to something.
Our family laptop had crashed about eight months ago, but since we had the home computer, we had left it untended to for awhile. The laptop had gotten so bad that we would have to leave the plug in it every time we wanted to use it, and eventually it just stopped turning on. About a week ago, my husband had it fixed and was finally able to gain access. When my husband got in the laptop, he was pleased to find all of Christiano’s essays, research papers, composition papers, and notes. He was a wonderful writer, and his sense of humor was present in each of the pieces he wrote. It was a great treat for Chris to have found these treasures. He came home each night after work ready to share about something he had read. Christiano wrote about Sports, The American Dream, Martin Luther King Jr., and Moralism. He wrote poems, songs, and random things. One of his papers was about his sister and her fear of ducks. We were so grateful to have our hands on these precious pieces of Christiano.
Yesterday, I was having a tough day. I was weepy and my thoughts were trying to run my mind. ‘What were his last thoughts before the accident?’ ‘How did I see a future for him if he was going to be gone?’ ‘Is this even real!?’ The last one is the question I ask the most. Is this real or is it some sort of sick joke. It’s very easy to let these thoughts take my whole day from me. I have to literally change my mind and think on something else. I decided to ask Chris to bring home one of Christiano’s written pieces. I knew that would cheer me up. As I cooked dinner, I had something to look forward to, and that helped the other thoughts to quiet down. When Chris came home he had three written pieces in his hands. One was for Gabriella – the piece written about her duck fear; One was a piece written on The American Dream and how this generation has gone astray from it; and, there was one more. This one was a gift from God, there’s no denying. It was a letter – a letter from my son, and it began with ‘Dear Mom and Dad…’ I was in tears over our sons heart, but even more so the heart of our God. He heard my cries and he made a way. He presented us with the letter and in doing so granted me the desire of my heart.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I love you. I don’t just love you because a kid should love their parents. I love you because you brought me into this world. I guess I take that for granted sometimes but always remember that through thick and thin I always love you guys. I know you and I cannot always be perfect still don’t think for a second I don’t love you guys.
P.S. I will always love you guys
Our boy wrote us a personal letter, but not just any letter – a love letter. Now we can all choose to look at this as chance or coincidence, a surprise or an accident. But, I choose to see God. I choose to see my God, who is rich in love and mercy. He is a good God and everything good is from Him.
‘The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.’ Psalm 145:9
There is still so much I don’t understand in my mind, but my heart will rest in The Lord. My questions may not cease, but His peace won’t ever leave me. He loves me, he loves you, and He loves Christiano more than we could ever fathom.
If something is broken, we generally discard it. However, God uses broken things to accomplish His purposes. ~ Larry Acuff