Being a day late with this post doesn’t mean you were any less on my mind, dear Darren. It’s Easter, after all, and how could I not think of you?

The first time you came clearly into my realization at the deepest level was during that first Holy Thursday Mass. Remember the one? (Has it really been four years ago?) Your mom was at that Mass, though she’s Lutheran now. It was for you, you see. Rebecca begged me to go up with her to get our feet washed by Padre, and I did. Then Mabel followed, having not-so-discreetly insisted on wiggling out of her tights and walking-at-almost-a-run down the aisle.

We were sitting near the back, and a dove landed on the railing of the ramp by the side door. That dove sat there through nearly the entire Mass, and your mom was fighting back tears. So was your grandma. They were certain it was a sign.

Though I was not so certain of the dove, I was certain of the impact you have made, though you haven’t been here, growing up among us to make it. You, dear Darren, were the first of three, and you changed everyone’s value of life. When Lucas followed you – a different year, a different sister – there was something that happened in the family, something that, as an outsider, I can see is truly amazing.

We believe, dear Darren, that there is hope. It may seem strange to see hope in your death, but there was Another whose death brought hope. You point us to our heavenly home and the rejoicing we will do someday when we get to meet you face-to-face.

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