May 25th, 2015
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Today may be your first Memorial Day without a loved one.

My heart goes out to you and your family as you try to process the overwhelming feelings of loss while also trying to figure out how to go on with your lives.  How can you make your way down this long, winding and sometimes brutal path?  It’s a path you do not want and yet, even as you try to reject it, you find it is one you are slowly learning to walk.


ou may feel alone but you are not.  You are loved and many want to offer you support.  Reach out and tell the story of your hero.  As often as you want, as often as you need.  Hold on to your story for it will give you strength and hope.

In commemoration of the conflicting memories of today, I would like to share with you my wonderful Resilient Readers, a poem that I recently discovered that immediately touched my heart.  It’s titled, “First Birthday In Heaven.”

I found it in my church bulletin and received permission from the author, Joe Bozik to print it here.  Joe wrote this poem about the first anniversary of his mother’s death but he told me that the poem is really about “putting loss into perspective.”  Joe added, “It has to do with all those ‘firsts’ during those first ‘unique’ 365 days after a loved one’s death.”

First Birthday In Heaven

By Joe Bozik

So what must it be like

Not having your loved ones,

With you on their birthday,

Because they are now gone?

Is there something special

About all of those firsts

During this very year;

Sometimes feels more like worsts?

That first round birthday cake

Imagine it chocolate;

Bakers mixing batter –

That spoon, who gets first lick?

Imagine this party table

In Garden of Eden,

Surrounded by roses,

Forget-me-nots, even.

Who will be around table

Singing, smiling, happy –

Imagine Jesus himself:

Seems very heavenly.

Or could this table be

At one edge of eternity,

Peering over to one side

Viewing earth again, you see.

Imagine thousands here

At these tables, patient,

Lighting many candles;

Sharing this first birth date.

With others who too share,

This first birthday up here,

Since dying and arriving

Within the last full year.

So many birthdays past;

Some barefoot, shoed, in sandals –

Jesus leading the song,

Then blowing out candles.

Do they add more candles

For good luck; to grow on?

These details don’t matter –

Make portions a big one.

Imagine other people

Gone years ago, and yet

They too had first birthdays

With cake and singing, I’ll bet.

And now they celebrate

With millions of older souls,

Each day, one more party –

These simple birthday symbols.

Yet every day, how can this be

Of cakes, frosting and candles?

Well you see, here in heaven

All things are possible.

So bring on more cake

And don’t forget ice cream.

Call Jesus over this way

To sing with Him again.

All these firsts happening

During this first year up there,

Knowing this, gives us comfort;

Seems so special, so dear.

Happy Birthday Mother!

Enjoy with your Brethren,

Today, this your very

First Birthday in heaven!

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