I am watching a show entitled "After Jimmy" or some name close to that. It is very hard to watch. Jimmy was a high school senior. Jimmy was depressed, but as in many folks who are struggling with depression, Jimmy hid his illness. Jimmy was the life of the party on the last night of his life. He was free, He had made his decision and he had made peace with that decision. The next morning Jimmy shot himself and died. I have lived that story. My son Ron swallowed a rifle May 30, 15 years ago. He was struggling with school. He experimented with drugs. He was trying to find himself. He was the life of the party a couple of days before he committed suicide. I could not cope. For two years I was a terrible pastor and a lousy father to my other 3 kids. I watch "After Jimmy" and all those memories come flooding back. Jimmy's father says "The What ifs drive me crazy." The rifle Ron swallowed was a present from me. It was his hunting rifle. I used to go hunting with Ron. I don't want to go hunting any more. It is still hard to hear about the successes of my friend's children because it reminds me of how much I miss Ron. Ron would have been 36 years old this year.
All of this is so raw that even while I write about the experience, it does not make any sense. The one thing that every parent is supposed to do is to protect their children from harm. I couldn't do that. I want to hear him call my name once more. I want to feel his arms around my neck again. I loved Ron more than life itself. I miss him more than I could ever say. That hole in my heart will never be filled.
I live in the promise that some day I will see Ron again. The last days of Ron's life he was upbeat and positive. The psychologist said "Once they see an end to the pain, it can be euphoric." I look forward to the day that I will see Ron again. I no longer fear death. The celestial reunion will be welcome because I will be able to reunite with my beloved son. How do people go through something like this without at community of faith? I can't imagine facing this kind of loss without the church. Keep the faith, and remember that in the worst darkness, hope sees a star and Jesus Christ is the promise of resurrection.