His pants are folded in my drawer.

The ones he was wearing the last time I saw him.

I remember being handed the bag that contained his clothes at the hospital.
They were folded in a neat square. 
Striped shirt, black pants. 
And rather than walk out of the doors with my son
the only thing I had was this clear, plastic bag. 


The fragments of a life left behind.

In John 20, the disciples enter the tomb to find the cloths of Jesus.
The only remainder.
And a beautiful reminder for me . . . 
If the disciples had been so focused on His death . . . 
They would have missed His life.

I get stuck remembering the bad.
The minute I knew there would be no miracle.
The awful moment when his little body slipped from this world . . . 
The last glance I took as I closed the door to his room.

And in focusing on the bad . . . 
I fail to remember the good.
The legacy that my son left behind.

What remains.

My breath catches when I remember he was here . . .
That my hands once held him.
How privileged I was to have loved him on this earth.

There is a beautiful story here . . .
Even in the tragic loss.
The profound realization hits me: 
His death would never have happened,
If his life had not been lived.
I cannot take one without the other.
Life and death go hand in hand.

One of my favorite Bible verses is found in Ecclesiastes 3:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die.”

If there is life . . . 
There will be death.

My son lived.
And my son died.

This is hard.
But we are promised beauty for ashes.
The trading of pain for joy.

It is here where I surrender.
Where past meets present.
And the life once lived collides head-on with the present.

It is here where I have the choice to decide to trade my sorrow of this world . . . 
For something eternal.

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Shannon Shpak

Shannon Shpak is a writer and social media manager who is rebuilding life after loss with her 5 children. She believes in hope, perseverance and being strong . . . all legacies her son left behind.