Below’s a love letter from a devoted father to his son. It is the second guest post on my blog (do click here for the first).
This is a deeply personal piece from someone I got to know while touring Israel at the end of 2018.
I feel deeply humbled and honored he’s allowed me to post here this memorial letter he wrote recently to Seamus his son. (Seamus passed away a year ago tomorrow in an untimely accident. He was 26).
As I begin to write this, it feels like you’re still alive.
Perhaps you’re at home on your bed now. Looking at your phone. Designing your next watch. Using your 3D printer. Playing your guitar.
It’s like you never left.
But you did.
A year ago.
Suddenly. Without warning.
You were having breakfast that morning in the kitchen when I left for work. And when I received the news in the afternoon, you were gone.
That fateful day
It still pains me as I recall that fateful day –– possibly the worst day of my life.
It’s hard to imagine another day worse than that. Almost impossible to describe the thoughts and emotions that ran through my head. Like a part of me had died that day and I felt like a zombie the rest of the day.
I’m telling you about that day not to make you feel bad or guilty for leaving us.
It’s not your fault.
You did not intentionally leave us to cry, grieve, and long for you.
It was an accident.
And even though I have done enough crying and grieving, I still do so now. Sometimes.
That’s because I love you. Pain comes when love leaves.
You have left mommy and me for a year now but we still miss you. And that’s ok. That means we haven’t stopped loving you.
And as long as we live, we will never stop loving you.
So, we will continue to miss you. Our hearts will still ache for you. It’s ok not to be ok, for we don’t miss someone whom we don’t love.
What I will miss
I will miss your beautiful smile, which was quite rare and elusive when you were with us. That’s why it was so precious and special to me whenever I caught a glimpse of it.
Just a few days before you left, I saw that angelic smile in the living room where we were watching a movie on Netflix. Can’t remember the movie or why you were smiling, but that smile just warmed my heart deeply, and I felt so happy and proud to be your father, and you, my son.
I don’t know what you’re doing in heaven now, but I can imagine you working with the Great Carpenter Jesus, using your creativity and your hands to fashion something new. Probably not a new watch because time is irrelevant in heaven.
Heaven, after all, is timeless and eternal.
But I’m sure you’re helping Jesus design things that neither my mind can fathom, nor my eyes can visualise.
Your sweetheart Elisa jokingly said that God is using you to fix light bulbs in heaven. But I believe you were made for more than fixing things. For you were made by a loving God for much, much more than this earth can offer.
With your multiple talents and the courage to take risks, I’m sure you’re creating amazing things in heaven right now. Perhaps making things for us when we get there. Preparing gifts for each of us when you welcome us to heaven one day.
Just thinking of this makes me happy, and that’s ok. You would want us to think about you and be happy, wouldn’t you?
Happy that you’re in the presence of our gracious and awesome God. And doing what you’ve always loved. And much more than I can ever imagine.
We’re happy for you, yet we miss you. I miss talking with you, although we didn’t do that as much as I had wanted. We are both the quiet kind – men of few words. But after hearing from your close friends recently, it seems you’re quite a riot and a joker in their company!
Praying for you
I miss praying for you too.
I wish I had more of those precious moments when you were here.
But that’s ok. Regrets are normal. Sadness is normal. But we don’t want to dwell too long in them.
We live on. We will get through the grief.
But we will not get over the loss. But that’s ok. You would want us to live on, and you would want us to keep our faith in God, our hope in heaven, and our love for each other.
And of course to keep your memory alive.
In fact, you are more alive now than we can ever imagine or understand!
Son, you are so, so special and you are so, so loved. I’m tearing up as I write this because I know it’s not just true for me. I know in the depth of my heart that this is true what God thinks of you.
You are so, so special, and so, so loved by Abba Father, our gracious God – the One you tattooed across your chest when you were just 16 years old –– “Dei Gratia” or “By the Grace of God”.
God has put His mark on you since you were born. You are ultimately His son, not mine. You were only on loan to us for a while, but it’s a precious loan we will always treasure and remember.
Thank you for being my son, even if it’s just for 26 years.
Yes, Seamus, we will see you soon.
I love you.
Your daddy always,
With his permission, I share below a poem Stephen wrote for Seamus last year. If you would like to connect with my friend, you may find him online here.
“Thank you Stephen for trusting me with this privilege to share your story with the world. Please know that you and your family will never be alone. There are those of us who will always share with you, in ways big and small, this journey of grief and longing.
Shalom bro, for I know in my heart you will be more than ok!”