For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17 (NRSV)
In the summer of 1985 my 20 year-old son John Matthew was killed in a traffic accident. This followed by only a few months my own surgery for coronary heart disease. I had survived; he did not. This began a very dark time for me. A void had opened. I knew time would gradually let other activities fill the time he had spent with me; I doubted the ache in my heart would ever be soothed. Some mornings required a visit to his gravesite at Cave Hill. At Christmas, I placed a small ornament on the wreath on his grave, then recovered it as a remembrance to treasure.
Years passed. Visits to Cave Hill became less frequent but still quite painful. The feeling of loss remained. Then one beautiful October Sunday Sharleen and I were riding our bicycles in the neighborhood near the cemetery. The day was beautiful. Soft sunlight filtered through the leaves remaining on the trees. Other leaves rustled as our wheels disturbed them.
We pulled onto Grinstead Drive across from the cemetery and started coasting back toward Bardstown Road. And I realized then that this life remained good. Cave Hill was no longer so painful. My son was gone, but he was not in pain. He was at rest; as the Catholics say, “eternal rest”. And my heart, too, rested.
I cannot say with certainty that God was near that day. But the peace came then. And I will be eternally grateful.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.