Unthinkable that we’ve weathered four June 3rds, that Nora has been gone for TWICE as long as she was here with us. Time has unapologetically ticked on without her. A substantial part of me is still stuck in 2014, refusing to adhere to any clocks or calendars. The rest of me has no choice.
Every year it’s a struggle, for obvious reasons — we MISS her. It’s painful to remember those last days and hours we had with Nora. It’s also a struggle trying to find the “perfect way” to honor Nora’s last day with us. We’re not big planners or organizers. Something big and public is completely overwhelming, yet something low key seems inadequate. What do we do?!
And then as if God had already pre-arranged everything, beautiful opportunities have presented themselves to us on our sacred June 3rd. Our first June 3rd, it was a ceremony at Xavier University to honor and remember organ donors. (Nora was a cartilage and tissue donor). This year, for the third year in a row, we were invited to Camp Lionheart through Starshine of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It is specifically for families who have experienced the loss of a child/sibling. It always falls in June, often on June 3rd.
So here we are in community with a dear collection of families who are also forced on through time without their sweet children. There’s no need to try and explain the weight of the sorrow that we carry around with us every single day. It’s not strange or awkward to bring up our children and talk about them with one another. We have met some fascinating people here all with their own unique stories and experiences, but with whom we share this common bond.
We all sleep in cabins scattered throughout the camp. Creaky bunk beds, rudimentary showers, and the basic necessities. We gather together in the dining hall for our meals, and then there are organized activities throughout the day — swimming, zip lining, hiking, arts and crafts, fire pits and camp songs that are led by the animated camp leaders. It is truly the awesome “camp experience” in every sense of the word! All this — just handed to us on THIS particular weekend as a soothing balm to our wounded hearts. We’re so very, very thankful for Starshine / Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and all that they do to nurture families like ours who have endured the unimaginable.
Here are some photos from the weekend:
We also paid a visit to the cemetery this evening:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)