Friday, August 7, 2009

6-month memorial ~ 11 July 2009

i can't begin to explain how hard it was to be at matthew phillip's grave on July 11, 2009. 6 months after our little boy went to be with Jesus.

it was just plain hard.

we went a few days before the 11th to check on things and see what we needed to do to install the bench, and i just couldn't believe that this was where i had to visit my first child. of course i know he is not in that ground, because he is in heaven, but it didn't keep me from holding onto the grass and half-thinking about pulling it up and digging him out with my bare hands.

oh, Lord, why? we need You to give us strength to carry this burden. better yet, carry it for us on the really hard days.

if you're in austin, feel free to take a look under the bench. you can read the letter we wrote to our son. we invite you to just sit and think about life, how precious it is, and what really matters.

we want matthew phillip's short life to bless you.

(The letter we put under the bench):
July 11,2009

Dear Matthew Phillip,
Six months ago, on January 11, 2009 you went to be with Jesus and it broke our hearts. Even though we know you ascended to such a perfect place in heaven that we cannot comprehend, we were still so sad to let you go.

Baby boy, you were born five days earlier in such a beautiful place in Chania, Crete, Greece. Daddy works as a Lieutenant Commander in the Civil Engineer Corps for the Navy and we were stationed there for the past two-and-a-half years. We are not sure why you came early at 28 weeks but you were a fighter. You were not sick at first but for some reason that we will never know, your little body starting shutting down on January 11, 2009. Mommy did not make it to the hospital before you went to heaven because I was at a hospital two-and-a-half hours away recovering from a c-section. But daddy came and saw you each day. He got to see you open your eyes and look at him. I am convinced through daddy’s eyes at that very moment, you were able to see all of the love that poured out of both of our hearts for you.

Every day without you is a hard day for us. On some days our anger with God is so intense we cry out like David did in the Psalms: “Why Lord?? Have you turned Your face from us and left us all alone? Why did You want our precious Matthew Phillip with you in heaven?” But on other days, which are slightly better, we can find some comfort knowing you are cradled in His perfect arms looking down on us full of joy. Mommy and daddy think about Matthew Seth Shubzda, our best friend who introduced us, and Phillip Raymond Schwalbe, your uncle and daddy’s big brother, who both left this earth early before they bore their own children. We are sure you were immediately cradled, hugged and kissed by both of them as soon as you got to heaven.

We talk to you each day. We pray for you each day. Mommy is a hobby writer and I have been afraid to write on most days, but I promise to acquire more strength and courage and write about you more. I want to tell your story, precious son, because in your brief five-day walk on this earth, you have already touched the hearts and lives of so many. God is not done with you yet, sweet boy! He intends to give true joy to those who hear about you. He intends to bring those who do not know Him to a very real, authentic place with Him. And in those moments, through your sweet life, He will meet them where they are. In time, they will decide to begin a walk with Jesus and gain eternal life. When these souls get to heaven they will find you and thank you, our precious son, for bringing them to the Father. What a special little boy you are!
The Lord has great plans for you yet!!
God performed a miracle to bring us home from Greece but we are still not here in Austin. It gives us comfort to come to this place where you are buried, but we know your life did not end in this soil. Your eternal life in heaven began January 11, 2009 and will impact many souls way beyond this day.
We will be near Annapolis, Maryland for the next several years but we will come back and tend to your grave as often as we can. When we are not here in Austin, you have friends and family nearby who will come to this place to fix the flowers, pull weeds, or talk with you and Jesus. Daddy and I put in a nice bench today for these very moments, these very chats.
We love you precious son. We miss you each and every day, but we find comfort in knowing that one day we will ascend to heaven and hold you once again. We are going to smoother you with hugs and kisses at first, but then when we come to the realization of all the glory in heaven, we will realize the eternal perspective, complete joy, and total fulfillness you have had for these last six months.
Until next time sweet, precious boy…we love you very much!
Mommy and Daddy


julie said...

beautiful, cort. he will never be forgotten.

Carly K. said...

Matthew's memorial is beautiful. My thoughts and prayers are with you.