You were the first, dear Darren: the first grandchild and the first boy, the first daughter’s first child and the first one to be held first by our Mother Mary, the first searing pain and the first small white casket. As I sat with my heavenly family in Mass this morning, I was reminded of you in the blazing white of the lilies and the heavenward pointing of our hearts and souls.

There you are, dear Darren, with Lucas and Logan, who you play with and roughhouse in the heavenly garden. You saw the rejoicing and felt the triumph when you arrived there, nurtured as you were by our Father and Mother. Maybe you were the littlest angel for a while, just like in the book I read your cousin at night. Maybe you are the one she sees when she starts talking at Mass with such intensity. Maybe it is the miracle of your life – and death – that has made us all the loving family we are.

In the midst of our Easter rejoicing, dear Darren, you are not far from our hearts. We remember you and the joy of the day simultaneously, and we thank God for the grace to wait until that day when we will meet you face to face.