There will always be dates on the calendar that we will withdraw from our memory bank when we lose a loved one. This week is my husband’s birthday. Like most grave markers, there’s a dash separating his birthdate and date of his death. There’s a stanza in a poem by Linda Ellis that defines it well:
“For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth”
That space holds a sacredness to the life he lived and the love he left for me and my children. There’s an added element to the date of my husband’s birthday. It was my dad’s birthday, too.
As a 10-year-old little girl who lost my dad too soon, it was my first experience with loss. His death represented my first time at a funeral and first time at a cemetery. My recollection was that my mom, dad, and I were baptized at my church six months before he died from throat cancer.
The impact of knowing my dad would be going to heaven after he died affirmed my faith and paved the way for my spiritual journey.
Fast forward 17 years when my husband and I were dating, and he told me his birthday. I couldn’t help but wonder the kindness of God to tie the two men I loved together by the same birthday. There was a tangible sense of God’s grace in that moment.
I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God numbers our days and dates according to His Sovereign hand. This Saturday, March 25, I will remember my husband and my dad and the memories, love, and legacies that remain. The connection that we still have with our loved ones endures as we continue to remember them.