Family Update: An Engagement, a Scholarship, and a Beautiful Bench

Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend has just come and gone and we ourselves have just come and gone—we are on our way home from a brief trip to Louisville, Kentucky, where we spent some time as a family. We very much enjoyed our few days with Abby, with Ryn (Nick’s fiancée), and with Nate, (Abby’s fiancé). Yes, my Abby is engaged! Nate asked her to marry him at just about the time they reached their one-year dating anniversary. He had spent some …

Moments With My Father (and My Son)

I have many fond memories of my father—memories accumulated over the 43 years we shared this earth. I have fond memories based on my first twenty-one years when I lived in his home and saw him nearly every day. I remember him taking me to old Exhibition Stadium to watch the Blue Jays play. I remember going on a road trip together—just the two of us traveling across Georgian Bay and onto Manitoulin Island. I remember getting up early in …

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I Miss My Son Today

I miss my son today. That goes without saying, I suppose, since I miss him every day. But on this day the pain is particularly sharp, the ache especially deep. I miss my friend, I miss my brother, I miss my protégé. I miss the son of my youth, the delight of my heart. I miss seeing him and hugging him, I miss teaching him and learning from him, I miss the sound of his voice and the cackle of …

My Anchor Holds

At one of the many shipyards dotting Canada’s East Coast, another great oceangoing vessel is very nearly complete, and in just a few weeks it will begin to transport containers across the Atlantic. But before it can embark on its maiden voyage, it must endure a strict regimen of tests. Waters flood the dry dock and, for the first time, the great ship floats. Its propellors rumble to life and it slowly steers into deep waters where it can test …

A Family Update and a Cause of Death

It took nearly six months, but the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office finally determined the cause of Nick’s death and sent us an autopsy report. It was a very long wait for a crucial piece of information. And while it was very difficult to receive the report, we were glad to finally know. We couldn’t bring ourselves to read it, so took a quick photo of each page and sent it to a doctor friend. He read the report thoroughly and …

A Family Update, Six Months Later

It’s hard for me to believe it, but today is exactly six months since Nick went to heaven. In some ways it feels like more than that, but in so many more it feels like less. Six months ago we were a family of five and looking forward to soon being a family of six through a fast-approaching wedding. Today we are a family of four, though with an unofficial “extra” we love very much and gladly consider a daughter, …

How Long Is the Dash?

Nick’s gravestone has finally been installed, and I have come to see it for the very first time. I have been looking forward to this day and dreading this day in equal measure. For months I have had to visit an unmarked grave, a patch of bare earth with no way to identify the name of the precious person who lies beneath it. Surely my son deserves so much better. Yet now that it comes to it, I also hate …

To My Son on His Twenty-First Birthday

Happy birthday, my boy! You’re 21 today! Or you would be. Do you celebrate birthdays in heaven? Do you even mark days, months, and years? I confess, I have only just begun to realize how little I know about the place you have gone to be. I’ve got many questions, but few answers. Then again, I could only get credible answers through the Bible and it seems to be far less concerned with describing lives in heaven than directing lives …

Homesick

My thoughts these days turn often to heaven. In those moments when I hover between asleep and awake, in those moments when I bow my head to pray, in those moments when I lift my voice to sing, my mind turns often to that place and to its people. My father made the journey there not too long ago and my son trailed close behind him. The two key men in my life—the one in whose footsteps I followed and …

Waiting with Faith

Have you ever bitten into a green tomato? Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fall apple during the heat of summer or into a summer strawberry during the cool of spring? Have you ever listened to a choir’s first rehearsal, read a book’s first draft, gazed at an artist’s initial sketches? Have you ever tasted a chef’s half-baked dish, watched a choreographer’s first dance, listened to a song’s initial lyrics? If you’ve eaten that apple or read that …