We just buried my little great-nephew, Rocky.
Strictly technically speaking, I don’t have any blood claim to Rocky. Let me back up a little to give you some perspective.
My sister Mary, who died many years ago, left behind her wonderful husband Roger, and their two lovely daughters Jeannie and Emily (who are like my own). Roger remarried a few years later, and his wife is Marcia. To quote Marcia, she and I are “sisters-in-law by choice”. Marcia has two kids from her first marriage, Vanessa and Derek. Vanessa and her sweet, strong husband Billy have 3 kids, plus Rocky. I am “Aunt Amy” to all of them.
When Vanessa was 6 months pregnant with Rocky, she went into premature labor, and Rocky was born 3 months premature, at 1 lb. and 6 oz. He spent 3 months in NICU, fighting valiantly to survive. He was finally able to go home (here on earth) 3 months later, on November 9th, which, coincidentally, is the same day we buried my sister in 1994. Last Monday, he lost his battle and went home to his Heavenly Father.
I was not able to get to know Rocky myself personally. My sadness in this particular situation is for Vanessa and Billy and Marcia, and the rest of the family, and just for the fact that this sweet little one fought so hard and could not, in the end, overcome all the problems associated with his early birth.
I’ve never before been to a funeral for one so little. It is heartbreaking. The tiny little casket was pulled on a little wagon by his father as they left the auditorium. The cemetery has a corner dedicated to babies, and THAT is heartbreaking, too.
As sad as it is and was, there was laughter today. You get to see a lot of people you haven’t seen in a while in this situation. In my case, I got to see a bunch of Roger’s family – whom I have known since I was 5 years old and consider as much family as my blood kin. You can’t get together with that family and not laugh.
Rocky is being buried at the same cemetery where my sister is buried. After the graveside service, Roger and his brothers and parents, and his brothers’ wives, followed me over to my sister’s gravesite. There we stood in a little semi-circle and cried together, for Mary, for Rocky, for each other, for everyone who is sad over death.
Isaiah 25:8 says that God will “swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away all tears from all faces…”
“And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
‘Even so’ – it is well with my soul.”
I long for that day, more and more as time goes on and I get older and experience more losses. The day when God himself will dry our tears and bring us all home to him. In the meantime, we lean on each other, and on our faith in anticipating that day.
The family solicits and appreciates your prayers.