On Mother's Day at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, every mother was given a key of their choice; LOVE, HOPE, GRACE or COURAGE. I chose GRACE. My thought was that I would pass my key onto one of my daughter's good friends, who had recently lost her father.
But I wasn't quite ready yet.
I had a son living in Denver, Colorado, who had struggled much of his life. I told myself I would give the key to this friend when I felt Tim was in a better place. Just when I thought things were going well for my son, my aunt, who was a very important person in my life, died rather suddenly on June 2, 2015. I then held onto my GRACE key just a little tighter.
On June 13, 2015 we were greeted by a police officer and a Chaplain at our front door,. Immediately I knew that something tragic had happened to out firstborn son, Tim. We lost our son that day, and now I held onto that key as if it had some magical powers. It wasn't magical, but it did seem to help me get through the next week, and in some way bring me comfort.
Everything happened so fast. By Tuesday my husband, Tim's brother, his wife, his two younger sisters and our 3 month old granddaughter all flew to Denver to say goodbye to Tim and bring him home. We spent 4 days in the area on the recommendation of the Chaplain who gave us that dreadful news, visiting the mountains that our son so loved. We embraced the spirit of our son as we traveled to many of his favorite places, and felt God's loving arms wrapped around us as we tried to find comfort in the magnificent beauty surrounding us. As sad as it was, it was the best advice we could have been given and we all came home a little lighter.
My daughter in law and I flew home. My husband and son drove Tim's car and his belongings cross country from Denver to Chicago. It was on that plane ride that it became very clear to whom my key must go. I was sitting next to a young man who I struck up a conversation with. He was from the Denver area and was going to Canada visit a friend he met 2 years ago on a mission trip in the Philippines. I asked him if it was for vacation. He then told me his friend had a blood clot near her heart and she was in the hospital. I thought my heart was going to break for this young man, he and his friend were only 17! I told him how sorry I was and I would keep them in my prayers. Then he asked me what I was in Denver for.
I have learned that not everyone on a plane is going on vacation or to some business meeting. I told him that our son had died and we were bringing him home.
You can only imagine the shock on this poor boy's face when I delivered that news to him. There are no words that such a young man could say to a mom who just lost her son, but he was kind and most sympathetic and told me he would pray for me as well.
As we were getting ready to take off, I felt the prompting that my GRACE key was meant for his young friend. I reached into my pocket and held tightly to the key as we started to lift off. As we headed to what seemed like heaven, with tears in my eyes, I pulled my key out and handed it to my new friend, Spencer. I explained the reason for the key and my story. I told him I had to keep that key by my side till I knew my son was in a better place and that I knew he now was! He was Home with the Lord and free of all his earthly struggles! I told him to give the key to Brittany, she needed it more than I did. I told him to tell her the story, and when she was well, she would know who the key was meant to be passed on to. He had tears in his eyes, and then very carefully placed the key around his neck and told me she would love it.
The rest of the trip was quiet and I spent most of the time praying for Brittany, her family, and her friend Spencer. After we landed, we gave each other a big hug, and then we went our separate ways.
I would love to know that Brittany fully recovered, but I will just have to keep praying for them and hope that my key travels far.