Today HeeJun would have been 36. It’s his 5th birthday in Heaven.  I wonder if he would have salt and pepper hair now.  Would he still work at BOA?  Would we still live in the house we built?

In his 30 years of life this side of Heaven,  he taught me that it’s okay to be myself even if it’s not cool.  It’s okay to be silly.  He taught me to work hard,  so I couldn’t play hard.  He taught me that Dr.  Pepper is the best drink ever,  and that life is always better with a dog.

In his precious 9 years as a Christian,  he taught me that having a relationship with Jesus is most important and brings the most joy.  He showed me that following Jesus and His commands brings real life.  He knew that Jesus should be the center of all things and sought His Truth in all circumstances.

In our 5 years of marriage he taught me that marriage is hard,  but the beautiful kind of hard.  He taught me the importance of prayer in marriage and that marriage is a beautiful and sacred thing.

In his death,  I learned that I can do hard things.  I learned that time doesn’t heal all things,  Jesus does.  I learned the import of family and close friends.  I learned that there is hope after death,  and that with Jesus,  death is not the end.

Happy birthday, HeeJun.  I’ll be eating Korean and drinking lemonade thinking of you.

 

We made a video to tell our story.

Nine years ago, we sat in a small room in a circle for a weekly Bible study. We called it a community group. None of us had kids yet. Most of us were newly married.

As months went by, we learned that it was much easier to talk “deep” when the husbands weren’t around.  So, we formed a women’s Community Group.

Our group became less of a study group and more of a real community. Baby showers. Dinners. Potluck suppers. Movie night. Running 5K’s.  Most of us attend different churches now, but we are still a community. Jenn, Rachel, Shelly, Amory, Nicole, Liz, Heather and I were doing life together.

We had no idea when we first sat down in the small room what “doing life together” would mean for our group. 

It started with a brother taking his life. Jenn was 8 months pregnant when she found out her husband’s brother died.

Then, Rachel’s family was in crisis. Shelly’s family was facing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

After my miscarriage, we heard that Amory  found out her precious baby boy has Spina Bifida.

This is the same baby that 9 months later, she placed on my chest the day HeeJun died.

A husband in this group was dead. That had to be it, right? No more tragedy, right?

A few months later, Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer. We started joking that we should wear shirts that say “Be our friend at your own risk”.

Then the dreaded text, “Calling the troops.”

Liz’s husband was in the ICU. Her baby was only a few weeks old. This ICU visit would result in a life changing, devastating brain injury with loss of vision, hearing difficulties, and memory loss. (You can read her story and pray at www.caringbridge.org/visit/BrianSanders).

Heather made a drastic change to move in with Liz and her family.

Why did God place us all together? 

I think He knit our lives together, so that when tradegy struck, we could remind each other that we are not alone. We could comfort each other when life did not turn out the way we had planned. We could give each other practical tips on grief and understand each other more because we get it. We could tell each other it’s okay to be mad and sad…and it’s okay to have fun and smile.

We could remind each other of Christ’s love, strength and comfort. 

 

 

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