As time moves on, I sometimes tend to lean towards the idea that people have forgotten.
Life has moved on. That's what it does. It keeps moving.
When loss comes, our lives feel shattered and we don't know how we will ever move forward. We realize quickly that nothing will be the same. Most of all, there comes a time when people stop speaking his name.
The first year, Joshua was remembered in a way that left me speechless. People from all over remembered him. They lit candles in memory of him, they sent cards. They said and wrote his name to me. Those who got to know him in real life, reached out to me and encouraged me to remember his life and what a blessing it was instead of focusing on his death. All of the words of encouragement, love, and remembrance brought peace. My baby was remembered.
Then there was year 2. Some relationships fell apart, while others began to blossom. Joshua was remembered again, but not by as many as the first year. I know it's wrong to expect people to remember, but it hurts when they remembered the first year and not the second. It was a painful reminder that life goes on.
The 3rd year was even less. And I noticed. I noticed the ones who were intimately involved in Joshua's life and our life, who didn't even acknowledge the day. Close family and friends who didn't remember. It hurt. A lot.
But what can I expect? Life just goes on. It just does.
I let it go, knowing that I can't expect others to feel the loss like I do. I let it go, praying that God would help heal my broken and bitter heart. I let it go, just trusting that God continued to have a purpose in Joshua's life and my brokenness, and that he would reveal it to me when it was His will to do so.
Next month is year four. I am expecting the number of phone notifications to be even smaller this year. I am expecting the sting of others forgetting or not realizing the importance of acknowledging the days- even if they aren't involved in our lives anymore. Life just goes on, I can't blame others. I just can't. But it does hurt.
But this is where God has poured out his graciousness on me. This year is different.
God has shown me, in specific people, that Joshua's purpose on Earth was fulfilled.
Just a few weeks ago, a woman reached out to me. She said that because of Joshua's life and my words telling his story, that she accepted Christ as her savior just after Joshua died. Not only that, but shortly after she received the gift of salvation, her husband and 3 sons did also. Now, don't get me wrong- I take no credit for their salvation. I did nothing to bring them to it, but God worked in their hearts through Joshua's life. What an honor. What an amazing purpose to his life. God is so very good and so very gracious.
And over the past 3 days, I have had 4 separate emails/facebook messages from completely random people (that I would never expect to hear from) telling me that they remember Joshua. They have shared how Joshua's life has impacted their own, and I have been beyond blessed to know that my sweet baby boy has been remembered.
Tonight, I am in awe of God. I am in awe of a God who knows me so well and provides for my every need. I am in awe of a God who prompts others to share their memories with me. I am in awe of a God who is the creator of the universe, yet provides a way for my heart to heal through others.
I am so undeserving of his grace, yet he lavishes it upon me.
For those of you who remember, thank you. Thank you for blessing me in such a mighty way. Thank you for keeping Joshua alive in your heart and giving meaning to his life. Please don't ever hesitate to say his name to me or Shane. We love to know that he is remembered.