Gift Wrap and Graveyards

His Ways, His Timing
Yesterday we celebrated our daughter-in-law Rachael on her 28th birthday. On our way to the birthday festivities, we stopped at the cemetery nearby to pay our respects at the grave of my husband’s firstborn son, Sean. He died on his wife’s birthday four years ago.
Thursday brings the second anniversary of my mother’s death. I will drive to San Diego to meet my father at the cemetery where her ashes are interred. Later that day, I’ll meet my daughter Elaine, son-in-law Rob, and grandson Cadence for dinner. Cadence will be four on Thursday.
My maternal grandmother died on my mother’s birthday in 1980. In 2000, my cousin died late on a Sunday night; the coroner notified my aunt on Monday–my daughter’s 18th birthday.
It’s a strangely bittersweet practice we’ve had to adopt, grieving our loved ones as we celebrate the birthdays of other loved ones. I think we cry at birthday parties more than most people do.
But the cakes, the singing, the excited children and bright gifts remind us: Even in our darkest moments, we have cause for joy.
We have God.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for His own glory.
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)


  1. Sheila and Rich, I am very sorry for the Sean's death as well as the death of Sheila's mother. At the same time, I am very glad for the celebrations of life you share as a family. I am very greatful to have you as friends and I hope you have more joy than sorrow in your lives together.


  2. We do, Mike, we do….not the least of which is your steadfast friendship.