Today is the one month anniversary of the day we buried our baby boy. Though it was such a blur of tears and anguish, I do remember a few thoughts I had on the day we placed our baby in the cold ground of February. “I cannot believe this is happening to me.” “I cannot believe this burial and memorial service is for my baby.” “I cannot believe this will be our story for the rest of our lives.” I also distinctly remember thinking, “Lord, I cannot believe how much You love me.” To my complete surprise, feeling the depths of God’s love for us was also something I felt strongly on the day we buried baby Charlie.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am wrestling a lot right now with God’s love for me. But, I have also felt His presence, and seen evidence of His love for me so deeply over the last four weeks. Right now, God’s Word speaks more loudly and clearly to my heart than ever before. His arms feel more strong beneath me than any other time He has carried me. And in a very real and tangible way…His Body is so very evident to me. And that is because of each of you.
Christ’s physical presence here on earth in the form of the Body of Christ has never been more visible and real to us than in the last month of our lives. And so, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for being the conduit of Christ’s extravagant love for us as we have grieved. Hundreds of faces and names flash through my head even as I type.
To those of you who have served us by bringing us meals, caring for our kids while we were at the hospital, having play dates at your houses, and planning Fred’s birthday party the day after Charlie was born… You each have shown us the nail-pierced hands and feet of Christ.
To those of you who have given us flowers, gifts, books, and sympathy cards and created things of beauty for us to remember our baby boy by. My “Charlie” necklace, a homemade journal, a tear bottle, a necklace with each of my four kids names, a “Charlie” hankie, a music CD, a little wood block with Charlie’s birthday, height, and weight… You have each been like the fingers of Christ. In an intricate and delicate way you have created beauty for us to have as ways to worship the Lord, and to remember Charlie for the rest of our lives.
To those of you who saw the things we needed when we were simply too blinded by tears and grief to see clearly. Bringing over an activity basket for our kids to play with when we were in the throwes of grief. Asking if we wanted to go to the funeral home one last time to hold Charlie’s tiny body. And especially, to the hospital nurses who made us hold our baby boy and took tons of pictures like it was a happy occasion instead of the saddest moment of our lives. I now treasure those pictures beyond belief. You have been the eyes of Christ.
To those of you who have listened to us as we have shared on our blog, through our emails, over the phone, and in person. You have heard our broken hearts, and sat with us as we have cried. You have been the ears of Christ.
To those of you who have cried with us and for us because you can imagine the pain we are feeling. And especially for my dear friend Jenn who got so mad at death and the pain of life that she tore down the wallpaper on her walls and let her kids write “We Love Charlie” all over the place. You have been the tears of Christ. And you have reminded us that just like Jesus did for his friend Lazarus…He cries with us even over something He ordained.
To those of you who have prayed for us and have sent texts, cards, and emails saying that you are praying for us, often during the moments we most needed prayer even if you didn’t know that at the time. Your prayers have meant the world to us and we are so thankful for this way you continue to love us as the first sharp days of grief slowly turn into a lifetime of grieving with this permanent dull ache. Your prayers have lifted us to God, and you have been the knees of Christ.
And finally, to the precious women God has brought into my life who have walked this journey of suffering before me. My kids lives always introduce me to new people, and God has used Charlie’s life to introduce me to each one of you in a profound way. I like to think of each of you as the mom’s of Charlie’s friends. We sorrowfully live life together here, while our little ones joyfully life together There. I am so thankful to have you in my life. You have each spoken truth, empathy, and life into the deepest places of my soul, because you actually know what it feels like to say goodbye to your precious baby. You have been exactly where I am, and by the grace of God alone…you have survived. You have suffered the unimaginable heartache of losing a child, and you have chosen to still treasure Christ. You have shown me by your lives that knowing the Lord Jesus is more valuable to you than anything or anyone you could ever have taken away. You are some of the bravest, deepest, most loving women I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and I am so grateful for how you have spoken LIFE into my broken life. You are the voice of Christ. I think Charlie’s friends have some incredibly special mommies, and I think Baby Abigail, Baby Jada, Baby Evan, Baby Andrew, Baby Rhett, and Baby Lake…are so very blessed to be your babies. I can’t wait for us to meet our precious little ones Someday.
With love and gratitude to each of you in the body of Christ for all of the ways you have literally shown up as “Jesus with flesh on” and loved us through the most difficult time of our lives,
the Zeller family