Posted by: karanoel | October 16, 2019

Anchors Away

Cole would have been 24 on October 7th. Last year, he’d only been gone for a few months by the time his birthday came and the days leading up to it were brutal with anxious anticipation. The thought of a quiet day to think about my loss panicked me deeply, so my ever-gracious husband whisked us off to Disneyland, allowing me to spend Cole’s birthday lost in a distracted escape from the painful realities of the day.

This year was different. There was no real anxiety leading up to his birthday. My heart felt so much steadier; less fearful of what was to come. I felt at ease facing that Monday alone, in quietness, with John at work and Chase at school. First thing that morning, Madison sent a video of her choir performance from the weekend, in which she sang a beautiful solo. Fly Away Home was the piece. The choir director couldn’t have known when it was chosen, nor could Madison have known when she performed or sent it, what an incredible, ministering gift it was for me to receive that very sacred day. I listened at least 15 times that morning (and so many more times since), releasing a river of tears as the song washed over me and reminded me, sweetly and beautifully, that my boy’s journey on earth is complete and he has flown away home. 

My insistence to swap out the new car John gave me highjacked the rest of the day so we were unable to celebrate Cole the way I would have liked. It seemed like an opportunity lost, until we decided on a belated celebration on Sunday, our “family day.” The whole thing felt so lacking in the heaviness of grief. Yes, it was tinged with sadness, but it really did feel like a celebration and one I joyfully anticipate repeating.

We wore temporary anchor tattoos, a tribute to his job in the Navy, his love of tattoos, and Jesus who has so faithfully anchored our souls. It was playful and magical and, next year, because of a friend’s suggestion I loved, we will invite those around us to celebrate Cole’s birthday and life by wearing one too. 

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Since Cole also loved making art, Chase thought we should draw something to honor him and I agreed. So we all drew anchors to compliment our tattoos, and I’ve already housed them in a birthday binder I made to collect these tributes year-by-year. 
Chase also drew a picture of Cole in a sailboat under the sun in high seas. In the picture, the chain has broken away from the anchor and it almost looks as if the boat is going to float up off the water and fly into the sky. I couldn’t help but soak that truth in. That Cole is untethered from this earth, no longer needing an anchor because he is far above the reach of thrashing waves. He has indeed flown away home. Someday, when my journey is complete, I too will fly away home to join him. Until then, I will keep anchored to Jesus, my only hope, and do my best to make my boy proud.

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Cole and Chase on a walk to the lake


Responses

  1. Wow – perfect song sung beautifully, and then seeing the anchor on the back of Cole’s sweatshirt in one of my favorite photos. Beautiful remembrance, revelation, connection and day. Thank you for passing this all on.

    XOXO

    On Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 12:22 PM where waves grow sweet wrote:

    > karanoel posted: “Cole would have been 24 on October 7th. Last year, he’d > only been gone for a few months by the time his birthday came and the days > leading up to it were brutal with anxious anticipation. The thought of a > quiet day to think about my loss panicked me deeply” >

  2. I’m so glad you guys came over. I loved seeing you with the tattoo on your arm! That photo of Cole and Chase is one of my favorites and seemed just right for this post 😊.


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