love and friendship

Its 5am but there is just so much on my heart.  I could go on and on and on about visitation last night and how uplifting it was.   What a tremendous blessing, an uplifting blessing to hear so many stories about my Lucas.  To hear so many kids say “he always smiled at me” “he welcomed me to the school when he was new” “he was always laughing in class” “he was was always such a nice kid.”  Those are just paraphrases and the way the kids (and of course adults too) said that was much more beautiful. I absolutely going to talk about that.  I’m just so tired right now. This is what I want to say: It just shouldn’t take a death to say those kinds of things.  Everyone should be shown that kind of love every day.  I know a lot of kids (and adults) that do need to hear that kind of stuff don’t.  We just don’t say it enough.  Or show it.  Especially in high school where, well, its high school.  I haven’t been there in a long time but I will remember the insecurity, trying to fit in, not feeling accepted.  Lucas could have benefited so, SO, so much from hearing these things during life.  They should be said.  And shown. Constantly.  Lucas didn’t always feel like he had a lot of friends.  Its raw, so raw and painful for me to say that. Yet if one kid takes another under his wing and loves on him it will be worth it.

John 15:12

“My command is this, love each other as I have loved you.”

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28 thoughts on “love and friendship

  1. Hello Melissa, I woke up at my usual 4:30am this morning and my first thoughts were on you and how you are. We don’t know each other, but I live in the Cascade/Ada area and have been thinking and praying for your family since the tragic accident. I woke up wondering how visitation went for all of you and after reading your latest blog, it’s very evident that God has His arms around you, comforting you thru others. What I was thinking about the most is this. I want you to know that no one, not even someone who has lost a son or daughter due to an accident, due to illness, or do to any other means, knows “exactly” what you are going thru. No one can tell you how you will feel today, tomorrow, or a year from now and the reason why is because YOUR relationship with Lucas was not exactly the same as anyone else’s. Most importantly though, YOUR relationship with Our God is not the same as the next persons. So today may be worse than tomorrow or tomorrow may be worse than today, there is no text book on grief. Lean on others, listen to their stories about your precious Lucas and especially lean on The Lord, He promises to never forsake you. One more thing, a few years back, I witnessed two families going thru a cancer battle with their kids, one boy who was 17 and played hockey on our sons high school hockey team, and a young lady, 20, who was a patient where I work. I connected with both thru their care pages. Over the past few years since they both lost their battle and passed away, their grief stories were both soooo different, (they kept updating via the care page). You could hear God speaking thru one families grief and the other was so opposite. I’m not saying that that family didn’t believe, I have no idea whether they do or don’t, but I can say that grief is clearly individual. Don’t ever feel like you should be crying when you aren’t or you are crying too much, etc. One day at a time Meliessa. No one knows your heart other than Jesus. May He hold you tight today and everyday🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏. Sincerely.

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    • Last night I held my daughter as she wept after Lucas’ visitation. I wept with her. Not for Lucas. He’s whole and happier than we can imagine. He knows how much he is loved by his God, his family and his friends . I imagine that there is no such thing as teenage angst (so common here on earth) in heaven. We weep and mourn and pray for you and your children. It’s those left behind who suffer. I will be at the funeral today with my daughter and I want you to know that I will be praying for you and your precious ones the whole time. ..as I have been doing for days. May you feel the tangible presence and comfort of our God with you every moment. ..holding you up and holding you together.

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  2. Melissa, thank you for this poignant reminder of how our Lord asks us to behave in this world. I, also, have a student at FHC that didn’t know your precious Lucas but is still profoundly affected by his passing. We’ve been uplifting you and your family since the moment we found out. We continue to pray for your strength each and every step as you navigate through this dark valley and come upon your new normal. May God graciously hold you in His arms and tenderly provide you with Grace you need for the moment.

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  3. Your words are beautiful, Melissa. I’ve been praying for you since Friday and I will continue indefinitely. You are so right. It shouldn’t take a death to say beautiful things about each other. I think kids don’t always realize the power of their words – words that can cut or can heal. What a different atmosphere the halls and lunchrooms would have if our kids spent time lifting one another up instead of putting each other down or ignoring each other.

    The comment left before me is amazing. And true. No persons’ grief looks the same. I pray God’s comforting arms hold you today and every day to come. It will be a beautiful service, I know that.

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  4. “Everyone should be shown that kind of love every day.” My kindergarten daughter brought home a special book made by her class, just for her. Each classmate drew a picture and wrote what they think is special about her. It was very special, to see these pictures and to read each page with her.. Kids are off to such a great start in kindergarten…so loved. Yes, I sooo agree with you that everyone should be shown this kind of love. They should know this today, now. And this doesn’t have to end with elementary school..I feel this pain as a mother too, I see this in my 9th grader’s life as well. I hope hearts will change through this. Thank you for sharing yours, Melissa. Praying for your sweet family, moment by moment.

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  5. I could not agree more! Grand Haven High School lost a student last week also, to a tragic accident. I heard so many wonderful comments at his funeral and visitation. It would make high school a much nicer place, if we shared these things with each other now. Everyone could use a few nice words. Continuing to pray for all of you, through this terrible time.

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  6. Melissa, there are Mothers like me throughout West Michigan grieving with you. I don’t know you and didn’t know your son and can’t imagine your pain. But I am with you in Spirit. I’m sure there are many of us out here praying for you.

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  7. Dear Melissa,
    You are spot on and we all fall short of finding the good in everyone. The world is so corrupted with evil and negativity that we forget to love our neighbors. LOVE EVERYONE even our enemies. Lucas did love everyone and find good in all! He loved the Lord and believed he could do anything he set his mind too! Melissa he was happy and determined to do great things. I loved reading his wall board in his room. A tell all for who he was and what he stood for! We all can learn from Lucas to be better people. I am thankful that you are writing and inspiring others to BE LIKE LUCAS!
    Tricia

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  8. I keep thinking about the song, “No Man is an Island” by Tenth Avenue North. We all need to lift people up on a daily basis. I am guilty of this. Living life, getting busy this my own life.

    NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

    I won’t run, I will stay
    I’m not leaving you
    I know there’s friction here
    The struggle makes us new
    I wish you never thought you had to go
    Wish you never thought you had to leave
    Together we can lift each other up
    We can build a shelter for the weak
    No man is an island, we can be found
    No man is an island, let your guard down
    You don’t have to fight me, I am for you
    We’re not meant to live this life alone
    I see fear in your eyes
    There’s no safety here
    Oh, my friend, let me in
    I will share your tears
    I wish you never thought you had to go
    I wish you never thought you had to leave
    We can always lift each other up
    We can build a shelter for the weak, come on
    No man is an island, we can be found
    No man is an island, let your guard down
    Please don’t try to fight me, I am for you
    We’re not meant to live this life alone
    Through trouble, rain, or fire
    Let’s reach out to something higher
    Ain’t no life outside each other
    We are not alone
    Through trouble, rain, or fire
    Let’s reach out to something higher
    Eyes open to one another
    We are not alone
    No man is alone
    Why you try to fight me
    We don’t have to do it alone
    We don’t have to do it alone
    We don’t have to do it alone

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  9. So so beautifully said. My heart goes out to you in your loss. There are no words that can be said to take it all in what you are going through. I have a son who was hit by a car going about 50 mph at the age of 24. He lived and we went through so much with him. He was in a coma for 2 months and it took a full year of rehabilitation to get him where he is today. He isn’t the son we had before because of his traumatic brain injury. He has the mentality of a 10 year old and needs 24/7 supervision and he is 37 now. I could have been in your spot and I prayed to the Lord to take him if he would end up like a vegetable. We have been blessed and your words comfort me when I think of the son I lost, but I gained a new son through that accident. I pray for you daily and will forever.

    Cheryl

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  10. Melissa, my daughter is a 9th grade classmate of Lucas’ at FHC and also went to Ada Elementary. When I heard of the accident I prayed fervently for him to make it. I cried at work when I found out he didn’t. I find myself short of breath for you and cannot imagine your agony. I only hope that somehow with the heartache that so many of us feel, that we can somehow relieve you of just the tiniest bit of pain. Why don’t we tell each other how much we love each other in time? So many of the kids feel like they have few friends when they are actually so important to each other. I will use your words to encourage my kids to let people know how they feel while they can. I thank you for sharing your grief story and pray for yours and your family’s healing and finding even the smallest amount of joy in your new normal. Sending love…

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  11. Hey Melissa,

    I haven’t stopped thinking about you or Lucas at all. We don’t know each other, but I grew up in the Cascade area, and I am FHC alumni. My heart aches for you, because we both live with the dreaded question plagued by all children of God that have suffered unexpected, tragic loss. My father committed suicide last November. Every single day, I ask God “Why?” Who knew three letters could carry so much weight? I pray that you continue to love God, despite the grief and conflicting emotions in your heart… sometimes it’s really hard to do that. Keep reminding yourself of his faithfulness and his healing power.
    A song that gives me continual support is called “Mark’s Song” by Eastmountainsouth… I encourage you to listen to it… It brings me so much comfort, still a year later. I have a playlist devoted to the feelings that I cannot explain… and this is at the top of the list.
    You are so loved, and I pray that you continue to feel it and thrive in it everyday. Be thankful for those moments where you feel close to him-the moments where you sense him, or you feel him brush your shoulder, feel him in the glimpses of the sunshine or the warmth of a fire. See his joy in every smile you receive.
    Continue to write, let this be your outlet. Keep a journal, and write your precious memories with him… Let those be your treasures.

    We are with you.
    Ash

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  12. I truly can’t imagine what you are going through. I just read all of your posts today. He sounds like such an amazing young man who blessed many. What a great family he must have had also. You will be in my prayers and thank you for sharing your words with us. I pray God’s Comfort for you.

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  13. Hi Melissa,
    You don’t know me, but we have a mutual friend in Arleta Swarz. I understand her daughter used to babysit your son. She posted about the tragedy and I immediately responded to let her know that I AM HERE FOR YOU!! I found the link to your blog so that I can just let you know that this mother’s heart grieves right along with you.

    You see, I lost my 17 year old son (Jenison High grad) in a car accident back in 2000, and I know what you’re going through and the road you are now traveling. Please know that there are complete strangers praying for you and your family, and we’re here if you want to talk.

    For whatever reason, God has permitted our lives to share in these two similar events. After our son’s death, my husband and I have ministered to many (sadly) parents that have gone through the same thing.
    Some local pastors even keep our numbers to pass out when they know of others that are facing the same trial.

    You and I know the brevity of life, and how important each and every day with our children is. I’m writing to you now after everything has ended, people have gone away, and life continues on. These were the hardest days for me. I went to the grocery store, and thought to myself, “don’t you people know how I’m hurting? Don’t you know that my son is gone?” And I remember a fierceness within that I would do everything I could to see that he wasn’t forgotten as others seemed to get back to their routines.

    I’m here for you now, during these times, dear sister. I know you don’t know me, but we are sisters in Christ. If you should ever want to talk to someone who’s been in your shoes, walked the road you are about to go down, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can get my information from Arleta, or look for me on Facebook and we can connect that way. And maybe you’re not ready now, or maybe you won’t ever be ready, but I’ll be here in case you are.

    Waiting for that blessed HOPE and the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, when we will once again be reunited with our sons. Love and hugs to you, Kim Mouw (formerly from Jenison)

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  14. I have heard amazing things about Lucas all week long, Melissa. Kids walk through the halls and talk about how they knew him, knew of him, saw him. His locker is decorated with signs of love and sadness, there are paper hearts throughout the building on the walls and lockers, reminding us to be good to each other. All of our kids are expressing themselves in different ways, and Lucas has brought together 1400+ people in this building in a way that things like Homecoming, Winterfest and Prom cannot. Kids are honest and kids are raw right now, and for many of them, that’s exactly what they need. Teachers and staff are honest, and teachers and staff are raw right now, and students are realizing the humanity of the people standing before them. We are weeping with our students even as we work to understand what has happened and how we navigate through the coming days. It has been an awful, awesome, cathartic experience.

    So many of our students see Lucas, a part of him, in themselves; so many of our students want to see part of Lucas in themselves and have made a conscious decision to be kinder, more loving, more accepting. They have realized what a joy he brought to others through simple actions that seemed so inconsequential but meant so much. Lucas may not have thought he had many friends, but his impact when he was with us was huge, just as it has been since he went to Heaven. I’ve seen kindnesses from kids this week who are going out of their way to ensure that their classmates are doing okay, getting through things, feeling supported. It is awesome and tragic, all at the same time.

    Our community has been profoundly impacted by your son, Melissa. Thank you for sharing him with us, if only for a few brief moments. He is entirely missed and yet his example lives on here in the halls at FHCHS.

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  15. Dear Melissa,
    You are absolutely right, it shouldn’t take a tragic death to love and be kind to one another. My son knew Lucas through baseball and spoke highly of his kindness toward everyone. He never heard Lucas say anything negative about his peers, which is almost unheard of in high school. You have so much to be proud of. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort in this song by Matthew West. It’s called Save A Place For Me.

    Don’t be mad if I cry
    It just hurts so bad sometimes
    ‘Cause everyday it’s sinking in
    And I have to say goodbye all over again

    You know, I bet it feels good to have the weight of this world
    Off your shoulders now
    I’m dreaming of the day
    When I’m finally there with you

    Save a place for me, save a place for me
    I’ll be there soon, I’ll be there soon
    Save a place for me, save some grace for me
    I’ll be there soon, I’ll be there soon

    I have asked the questions why
    But I guess the answer’s for another time
    So instead I’ll pray with every tear
    And be thankful for the time I had you here

    So you just save a place for me, save a place for me
    I’ll be there soon, I’ll be there soon
    Save a place for me, save some grace for me
    I’ll be there soon, I’ll be there

    I wanna live my life just like you did
    And make the most of my time just like you did
    And I wanna make my home up in the sky just like you did
    Oh, but until I get there, until I get there

    Just save a place for me, save a place for me
    ‘Cause I will be there soon
    Save a place for me, save a place for me
    I’ll be there soon, I’ll be there soon

    Don’t be mad if I cry
    It just hurts so bad

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  16. Dear Melissa,
    Thoughts of you, Lucas, and your family have been with me, bringing me to pray for you all so much the past difficult days. God is in the mist of it all. I pray you FEEL His loving arms around you as He carries you through the darkness and grief.
    Leonne
    (A Forest Hills Parent who cares)

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  17. Dear Melissa,
    Dear mama Melissa;
    As many here have commented, we are many mom’s who have lost a child. The causes are many, the years are decades or few, but the pain is still the same horrible, almost unbearable sense of loss you feel today we all remember.
    This is a poem we were sent after Nikki died, and I modified it for you, as someone did for us. It spoke to me, and I hope it does to you also.
    Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. Some people say or do things for the best of reasons, but it feels wrong to us. They do not know what to say or do, and they did do or say what they did from a kind heart.
    Best,
    Mari Jo Thompson

    A Sparrow Fell

    A sparrow fell and no one heard.
    Nobody cared. It was just a bird.
    From all the numberless flitting throng
    of sparrows, who would miss one song?
    But God leaned down and whispered, “I care.
    It was one of my sparrows, and I was there.”

    A little boy, all sunshine and laughter,
    (and sometimes scolding’s, with kisses after!)
    And hurts to smooth over, and deeds to applaud
    A little boy fell!! Where were you God?
    A little boy fell!! God, why weren’t you there?
    Is it only for sparrows and such that You care?

    If you’re God at all–then you could have prevented
    this nightmare of pain! So You must have consented.
    I’ve always believed You were Loving and good.
    I’d like to believe still — if only I could.
    But God, if You Love me, how can You allow
    such unbearable pain as I’m feeling right now?

    Such helplessness – hopelessness – bitter regret –
    so many tears that have fallen, and yet
    so many more that are still locked inside.
    Oh, God – out there somewhere – have you ever cried?
    I’m not even sure, anymore, that You’re real.
    But if You are, God – Do you care how I feel?

    Beloved, I care! In the midst of your grief,
    in the midst of your stricken and crumbling belief,
    in the midst of the blackness of total despair,
    in the midst of your questioning, Child – I am there.
    In the midst! Not far off in some vague fifth dimension,
    but there, where you are, giving you My attention…

    My constant attention – and not just today.
    Since before you were born, I have Loved you this way.
    You’re important to Me. Every hair on your head
    I have numbered Myself! Can these tears that you shed
    Go uncounted? Unnoticed? Nay, Child; here I stand
    Close enough that each teardrop fall into My hand.
    Nor am I a stranger to anguish – to loss.
    My own Son was taken one day – by a cross.

    I know what you suffer. I know what you’ll gain.
    If you’ll let Me walk with you into your pain.
    I’ll carry your grief, and your sorrow I’ll bear.
    You’ve only to reach out your hand – I am there!

    Fear nothing for Lucas. Your dear little boy
    is safe in My house – and all Heaven’s awhirl
    with the ring of his laughter, his quick eager smile,
    and the things he’s saving to show you – “after awhile”.
    Yes, I could have prevented – but Child, you can’t see
    with My perfect wisdom. Trust Lucas to me.

    Of course you will miss him, but while you are weeping,
    remember, it’s only his body that’s sleeping.
    His ‘self’ is awake. Wide awake. As I said,
    I am God of the living, not God of the dead.
    He trusted Me, and My sure Word comes to pass:
    “Who believes shall not die.” that included your son.

    Let Me walk with you now, through the long, heavy days;
    let Me slowly begin changing heartache to praise.
    Take hold of My hand, Child: take hold of My Love.
    I will lead you to Joys that you yet know not of.
    Your faith may be weak, and your trust incomplete,
    but I’ll not walk too fast for your stumbling feet.

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  18. Melissa, my heart is crushed into pieces, the effect of the loss of your beautiful, precious Son has pushed me to my knees asking “why God?” I know this was God’s will and we may never understand his reasons. As I heard details over the last few days, I would cry at the thought of this happening in front of family & classmates, please know your in my thoughts and prayers. There is no set time of grief, so you cry for your boy, also don’t be afraid to laugh at a funny memory.

    Isaiah 41:10
    fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
    I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with cmy righteous right hand.

    NATALIE GRANT
    “Held”
    Two months is too little
    They let him go
    They had no sudden healing
    To think that providence
    Would take a child from his mother
    While she prays, is appalling
    Who told us we’d be rescued
    What has changed and
    Why should we be saved from nightmares
    Were asking why this happens to us
    Who have died to live, it’s unfair
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We’d be held
    This hand is bitterness
    We want to taste it and
    Let the hatred numb our sorrows
    The wise hand opens slowly
    To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We’d be held
    If hope if born of suffering
    If this is only the beginning
    Can we not wait, for one hour
    Watching for our savior
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We’d be held

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  19. Amen! I wish wisdom, maturity and kindness resonates through all the halls of our schools as a tribute to Lucas. God Bless You and your family. Praying and thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Melissa I’ve been thinking of you and your husband and children all day. I can’t imagine how you got through today. keep writing, it’s a good for you. you are all in my thoughts and prayers. ask Conner to visit you in your dreams, I do that with my mom, when I do see her i always wish it wouldn’t end, but somehow it helps. take care!

    Renee wright (Andreas cousin)

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  21. This is beautifully written….you have such a gift. I think that I’ve learned, more than ever before, how important it is to cherish the relationships you have an always do whatever you can to make people feel loved and cared for. It’s easy to do that for your small circle, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t do that for everyone we know. I’m thankful for that lesson and will take away being a better friend because of it.

    Thank you for being so open with how you feel. It is raw, but it is touching people every day too.

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  22. I also do not know you but felt I NEEDED to reach out to you. No, I do not know the pain you are feeling but I pray so hard for you and your family every night since I read this story. Every time I look at the picture of your son I see the kindest eyes I have ever witnessed. Everything you write about this sweet boy iisjust amazing. I applaud you because even thru your unimaginable pain you are still trying to help others that may go or have gone thru this. No wonder you had such an amazing boy…they learn what they see. God bless you and your family!!

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  23. Hi Melissa – I don’t know you, but I’ve been so moved by your story and your words. My heart truly aches for you. I just heard a song by Matthew West on the radio that he wrote when his grandmother died. He was inspired by the words of Billy Graham right after his wife died. He said “She’s living in a big mansion with the Lord and she’s saving a room for me.” The song Matthew West wrote is called Save a Place For Me. I just heard it and thought of you and your lovely son. You are in my prayers continually every day, all day.

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  24. Melissa,
    My heart aches for you, your children and husband. (Also for Josh) The sorrow that has striken our family is so intense, I truly can not imagine how you are managing. I have no words to describe your strength and courage through this. I just want you to know that the last conversation Alex had with Lucas on Thursday night was the the two of them professing their gratitude for having eachother as friends. This brings me great comfort that those were the last words they shared with one another. Lucas was a remarkable human being. And I’m so incredibly grateful that he was able to be a part of our lives. His love and compassion ran so deep, than he was able to teach adults lessons on the ways of being a better person. I will always remember the day a 14 year old boy taught me, sitting around a bonfire in the backyard, a huge lesson on judging a book by its cover. You did a beautiful job in raising him and you should be so proud! He will always be the example that Alex will compare future friends to. Alex doesn’t have a ton of friends, she a quality over quantity kid of kid. The place that he filled is gaping right now, however she has promised him that she will presevere, strive for great success and “live like Lucas” to her fullest ability. Lucas will never be forgotten. He will survive in our hearts forever.
    Continued thoughts and prayers,
    Portia

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