I am putting my oldest son, Nathan to bed. At 2 years old next week, he has come to really feel settled at night when dad sits in the room with him while he is lying in his crib, his arms down by his side. Just before I leave the now dark room, I stretch my arm out and lightly scratch his back and softly tell him all the things I love about him. He lies there…so quiet and I can feel his soul soaking in all my love for him.
I tell him I’ll always be there for him and I hear him whisper “Dada.” As I stare down at his back, his face lying on the matt in the dark, I begin to think on how one day he’ll be standing over me. My eyes begin to tear as I realize a time will come when all the love I’ll have poured into him will come pouring out over my casket. A tear falls on his tiny palm. I think it odd that the more I love him, the greater he’ll feel that pain and loss.
I quietly cry in the dark, and silently begin asking God to minister to my son’s heart on that day so many years away. My arm stretches more, but this time between two realms. One hand on his back and my other hand being clenched by my son’s. His tears now wetting my palm. Will he ever know that this evening, now long in the past, his father thought of that moment and prayed for his little boy, now a strong man?
I am somewhere far away for a long time praying in Nathan’s dark room. When I look back down, I can hear he is sleeping, and I resist an urge to wake him. To scoop him in my arms to tell him…something.
I don’t reach for him. I just continue to rub his back until my arm begins to go numb. I fumble over his hair for the briefest of moments and closing the door, squint down the hallway where my wife sits, feeding my 7 month old. She smiles at me. So does baby Daniel.
“Everything all right?”She asks. “You were in there a long time.” Then she looks into my eyes. She sees me. She always does, and knows there is nothing to be spoken. Not now anyway.
We sit quietly together in the soft evening light and I let myself come back to this realm. Soon love is once again greater than pain, with that all too familiar ebb and flow of life that I have become so accustomed to. I recall something humorous Nathan did tonight and I begin to laugh. Soon, I am falling asleep in the chair, my mind beginning to dream of the sound of toy fire trucks and of creaking coffin lids. Of boys laughing and of men crying. I am ok with that. I am ok with that because I know another day will also come. A day where all of time has run its time. When all tears will have been shed for the last time. And my family will all be together.
(taken from my journal written back in 2011)