In Memory of Lukey

I wrote this the day we buried Luke in Nashville last August. Today would have been my precious nephew's first birthday.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

Dearest Luke,

We will sit under a tent today and say our final good-bye to you. Your daddy and mommy have decided to make your earthly resting place the same cemetery in which your cousin, Audrey, is buried. It is not for you that I write this letter. You are perfect and whole, in a place where sorrow cannot touch you. I am writing these words for me.

In ten weeks, Luke, your presence changed our family forever. We couldn't have known on that happy day of your birth this spring that we would only have you for seventy-one days. I love the picture of your mommy on the operating table right after you had made your entrance into the world. Her eyes have never looked so blue or peaceful to me. There you are, right next to her face, swaddled up in your hospital blanket, trying to look at her through the ointment they had put on your eyes. That picture speaks to me of life, and hope, and all the possibilities of what lay ahead for you.

Ten weeks was not enough time to get to know you. You came with your big sister, Summer, to Nashville with your daddy and mommy. For a few short days, my house contained your little person. Your cries echoed off the walls. I didn't know then, Lukey, that it would be the only time I would sleep under the same roof with you.

The way I planned it, you would have established your place as a boy in a family filled with girl cousins on both the Sponberg and Smith sides. There were anticipated days of me watching your big cousin, Chase, play ball with you outside or you running around with your cousin, Jackson. I looked forward to seeing you crawl, then walk, and then run. And I assumed that there would be laughter...lots of laughter.

But instead of laughter, we have cried tears of anguish over what was taken away from all of us on May 27th. At first, I believed it was all a bad dream. I remember Nana's voice of panic telling me what my brain immediately rejected the minute I heard it...that you were not breathing. I called Uncle Rob and your cousins into the room. We all got down on our knees and begged Jesus to breathe the breath of life back into you. I can't even say I was panicked at that moment. I just knew that God would answer our prayers.

We heard the news an hour later that you were gone from us. It was at that point that I lost all my reserve. I sobbed and screamed, "No! NO! NO! Dear God! No!" I wanted nothing more than to be in Georgia with your daddy and mommy. To hold them, to cry with them, to do something to help.

Luke, I know that you are perfectly happy in the presence of Almighty God today. I have often wondered what you are doing. Are you still a baby? You know things I cannot know yet because I live on this side of eternity. You know perfect peace. You know complete joy. You know a place where evil cannot touch you. You have every need met continually. Will you forgive me if I tell you I wish you were still here with us? Will you understand when I say I miss you everyday?

You will never be forgotten. We are all changed drastically for knowing you. Every Christmas we will miss you. Every birthday that Jackson has, we will remember that you and Audrey should have had a cake with candles to blow out, too. You were all supposed to be the same age together. There were supposed to be three parties, not one.

Lukey, I love you. I will tell the story of your powerful life to others. You made an incredible impact on this world, baby boy, without ever speaking a word. I look forward to heaven knowing that we will have all of eternity to spend together.

Aunt Shawn