The day Chris was diagnosed with cancer, marked a very significant part of our families history. I realize that firsts from today on, will be less of a celebratory nature and more introspective and solemn. So, the question I ask myself is this, “how do I walk through these many days, and still demonstrate grace and joy and thanksgiving?” I am still seeking the answer. Still mulling over the loss and sadness. And still chasing after hope like fireflies as they flit here and there. It is drawing me closer to the goal, with its tiny light, in a way I do not understand, a way that seems random and chaotic at times. But the One who orders hope’s direction, is the One who knows my needs. So, I chase after hope, because… He is its source.
It came to mind this week, the stories of old. When our ancient forefathers wanted to leave behind a historical memory, they’d often take stones from a significant place, whether a battle field, a rescue from grave danger or a crossing of deep waters miraculously.
(Joshua 4:3-9) and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.'”  that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’  then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”  And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.
With these stones they would make a memorial. And when furture generations would ask “what is that?” and “why is it here?” They would tell the stories of God’s great love, provision and help in time of need. In light of this thought process, it hit me, I could do the same, in my own way. Wherever Chris and I went, all these many years, we’d alway bring back a rock. Eventually we built a wall and some beds are lines with them in the garden area. The last month Chris was here we couldn’t travel, so we’d take little trips out to his dad’s property. Everytime we went, I found a heart shaped rock, they remind me of the love that we had for each other and that God had for us in spite of the agony of cancer, especially that last month. So, I have decided to remember these days, these tough days of Chris’s battle, with small stones, painted with a reminder that there is beauty from ashes. And when the girls ask “what are these?” I can tell the story of how God provided and loved us through the valley.
This is an excerpt from my caringbridge site. As I prepare my heart, if that is possible, for the coming days ahead. Days we will walk through that dreamlike place of remembrance. In a few short weeks we will celebrate a life well lived. It will be different then a memorial… because wewill not be fresh into a deep loss, but rather we will have spent one whole year without a significant part of our family, husband, best friend and father. I wasn’t sure the best way to go about this one year anniversary, and… still am not sure. But God promted my heart, I believe, in one word… “celebration.” As I plan this “celebration,” I was reminded of this post from several months back. Where God helped me explore the importance of remembrance and having tangible, touchable reminders of the positive and beautiful days we had with both beloved husband and father.
This one year anniversary will be hard and good as we stack up our stones. And may the future generations ask us “why they are there?” and “what do they mean?”