New Year, Old Grief, Same God.

January 1st is the day of new beginnings. It is the day of new goals and possibilities. It is the day to turn the page on regret and disappointment- a day pregnant with hope.

And yet…

January first is Corey’s birthday. He would be 27 today, my sweet, fun, brother-in-law, unexpectedly taken from this world nearly four years ago. For my family, each New Year begins with sadness and longing for a son, a brother, a friend, who is gone.

I spoke at his funeral. I told story after story that illustrated his “big, big heart.” Stories that still make us all laugh and cry at the uniqueness and special life of Corey. Facebook has been full of favorite photos of him. I know this brings my mother and father-in-law such joy as the world brings to light the son they think on all day every day- being remembered and posted with such love.

I wish I could post my favorite picture of Corey, but I can’t. It’s just a memory. I was lying in a hospital bed, nine months full of Anna, waiting for the bitter end. Chris had asked everyone to leave our room to give us some time together. It was dark, but in the small bit of light coming in from the window, I saw Corey sitting quietly, alone at the end of my bed. He simply could not leave us- leave her.

After Corey died, my father-in-law was looking though his wallet and do you know the one picture that was in it? Anna. Corey had a love and a tenderness for his niece that was precious and unique. And now they are together, loving one another in eternity. Corey did not know he was going to die. But his tenderness for Anna, it makes me wonder… was God pouring love and longing into his heart for the sweet girl he would get to know long before the rest of us?

The closest picture I have to exemplify the tender and eternal side of Corey is this picture of him at my wedding asking my three-year-old niece Rebekah to dance.

 corey003

I love this picture of my little brother, because it captures “Uncle Corey” so perfectly. So I will post it today as I close my eyes and open my heart to behold the heavenly reality of Uncle Corey asking his little Anna for a dance.

Tears.

My goal for 2015 is to live a deeper, richer, more joyful existence, meandering through the inevitable wildernesses of grief with torches of praise and thanksgiving. And so as I approach this first day of the year (and each year forward where the sun rises on our longing for Corey) I stand also with joy and gratitude for what it means to be a part of the Kelty family and to have known and loved such a sweet, fun guy.

Sharon and Dale- I hate that we are both missing our babies, but I am so glad they are together, both held in the arms of a perfect Father. Today I celebrate who Corey was and who he now is in eternity. I also celebrate you and how you loved and love him still. I am grateful to be a Kelty and I love you both so much.

May we all who begin this year longing for someone who is gone, feel the warm embrace and presence of the one who holds us both.

Happy Birthday Corey and Happy 2015…

Because even when life is hard our God is so very good!

 

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