A Difficult Day for Us

Four years ago today our oldest son, Christopher, went to heaven.
Though this is one of those days that marks time, we miss him each and every day.
Here is something my wife Cathe wrote that sums up how I feel as well:

Four years ago today, at 9:01 am, my firstborn son Christopher left this world and was ushered in (as Elizabeth Elliot so beautifully put it) “Through Gates of Splendor.”
I struggle to find a way to express my four-year-old grief. It’s a burden that grows ever lighter…and ever heavier. Like Frodo’s ring, it is both treasured and dreaded.
Around his grave, under the olive tree, I’ve replanted flowers of fragrant lavender and rosemary.

Just recently, the oxidized lettering on the stone bench began to fade. We had it reapplied and darkened it again. (Greg chose the particular font Helvetica because it was a font Christopher liked.)

Last year, the little modern birdhouse and feeder Stella and Lucy hung in the olive tree mysteriously disappeared. Brittany replaced it.
The tree’s grown taller, wilder, and needs pruning each fall–a reminder of each passing season.

We are older. His precious children are taller, more beautiful, and full of personality and talent. His brother has a family, a wife, and just this month a third child. This one, a boy, is named in his honor.

Life continues, and every day, every day we miss him.
Looking back, and at where we are now, and the unusual things that the Lord has done, I am grateful…but not fully satisfied. What I want, and am certain I will have one day, is for a restoration of all things.

29 thoughts on “A Difficult Day for Us”

  1. Judy Spradley says:

    Dear Pastor Greg and Cathe, I think of you too often and the loss that you have experienced with Christopher going to heaven. I have prayed for you both and for Brittany and the girls. Thank you for sharing an update. I can’t imagine the pain as I too am a Mother but I am encouraged by the faith that you two have so openly shared. Thank you.

  2. Ann says:

    Greg and Cathe, may our Lord Jesus be with you as you “press on” from the loss of your beloved son. All my family have entered eternity and are with our Lord Jesus in heaven,and I am the only family member left on earth. There is not a passing day that I do not miss my dear aunt and dear grandmother who raised me. There will always be an empty spot in your heart for your son.
    Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts with us. God bless you both.

  3. Kelle Watson says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I have counseled several people who have lost children. The pain they feel is like no other pain. I myself had a miscarraige and I thought I could not have children. A year later I sucessfully gave birth to my daughter and then 5 years later on the day I lost my first child, my second child was born. He is now 23 and has a calling on his life to be a pastor. What I have learned with my finite mind is that while I still do not understand why I lost my first child, I do understand God can take our pain and work it for good. In my example, I am able to empathize with those who loose children in a real way that helps them heal. I also have the blessed assurance that one day I will meet the child I never met and be able to give them the love I have felt for them since the moment I found out I was pregnant. No more pain only time for love.

  4. Nadia Ramos says:

    Hi Pastor Greg, I listen to you in the mornings from Miami. I recently heard your son, Jonathan’s testimony on the radio. I want you and your family to know that it touched my heart so deeply. My son’s name is also Jonathan. He happened to be with me at that very moment listening too. When your son said “what will it take, what will it take” it also brought something to my mind and touched my heart profoundly. You see, recently my little brother of 21 yrs. also went to be with the Lord on 10/22/11. His loss has been very painful for us. It has been more difficult for me at times because I actually thought about my brother passing a week before it happened and I’m almost sure I thought to myself “what will it take!” Your son took me to that very moment of when I had that thought! I’m now learning to walk by Faith. So, here I am writing to share that I too understand your sorrow, and at times feel encouraged, especially a day like today that you talked about Heaven. I truly accepted the Lord as my Savior in December of 2011. On my b-day in March 2012, I was baptized. Listening to you in the mornings helps me understand so many things, like God’s promises and that is so comforting. I believe God uses you in a mighty way! I don’t know exactly what God’s plan is with me, but I do know that taking my brother Michael was definitely to stir, shake and strip me and several in my family. Although, I knew of Jesus before, I did not know him personally like I try now to get to know him personally. My son has come a long way from saying he was an Athiest to now accepting he believes in Christ! This is just a glimpse into my testimony. Your’s allows me to get through mine. Thank you for allowing HIM to use you.

    p.s. funny thing is I got on your website today to get a copy of Jonathan’s testimony for my mom to hear and I ended up hear. I will try to search for it tomorrow. Thank you and GOD bless you and yours.

  5. Jeanette says:

    Pastor Greg, you and your messages have been such an inspiration to me over the years. I live in NJ, have never met you, but still feel a connection because of our shared faith in Jesus Christ. So my heart also aches for you, Cathe and your entire family because of the pain you suffered and continue to suffer because of your loss of Christopher. I know he is in Heaven too, which is cause for rejoicing, yet I can’t imagine how much you must miss having him physically here with you. Please know I and so many others lift you and your family up in prayer to God to continually strengthen you and ease your pain. Thank you for all you have done for my faith walk and that of countless others!


  6. Justine says:

    Thank you for writing from your heart Cathe and expressing some of your deepest thoughts. I loved that last line in your letter…”What I want, and am certain I will have one day, is for a restoration of all things.”

  7. Gracie says:

    Dear Pastor Greg and Sweet Cathe,
    I was sitting in one of the first pews (first service) at Harvest when you, Pastor Greg announced that you and Cathe were blessed with a new little grandson the previous day. I have to tell you that my eyes swelled up with tears. The congregation was touched too, as applause and whistles rang out.
    Your church has pained with you since the day we heard of your deep loss of Christopher. Yet, our Lord is so wonderful. He returns to us joy, as I know He has for you with little Christopher David. Please keep us posted with pictures of him. I have a feeling that you are going to see little mannerisms and talents that will point to “Uncle Chris”.
    We love you, and continue to pray for you both to have strength, and thank you for your faithful service.


  8. Tami Russell of OC says:

    My heart weeps with yours, as I remember the sudden departure of Christopher, four years ago.

    I prayed for you, Pastor Greg (all of you,) with more fervency than I ever have before. Then I begged God, “Lord, please let me hug my pastor and offer some comfort, even though he is surrounded by so many people. If I could just hold him Lord, and somehow communicate my deepest sympathy, Lord, please let me.”

    God heard my prayer: the day of Christopher’s memorial, I hugged you, with tears in your eyes, Pastor Greg, I felt your hurt through your tight hug. How I wished WITH ALL MY HEART, that I could take your hurt away.

    You all are so very loved. You are like family to our family, even though you don’t know us.

    I hope we can spend some time with you in Heaven.


  9. Oscar Ramirez says:

    I want to say thank you for continuing to spread the word of Jesus even when going through a grieving time in you and your families life, I listen to you on the radio everyday on the way to work every morning and your words of our lord help me get through the day. Again thank you and god bless you and your family.

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