We are remembering today the first year since Anna’s death.
Today has been busy with the preparations for my mother’s funeral on Saturday so we have not really spent time together remembering Anna. Instead we have checked in with one another from time to time, mentioning Anna or asking about certain memories. The outward focus has rightly been on my mother and helping my father. But in the background of everything is our memory of Anna. The experience of losing Anna certainly clouds this new experience of losing my mother. I don’t think it fair to say it has desensitized us, but I do believe that Timberley and I have approached her death with a realism that we would not have had before. I am certain that in my own case my reflections on death and the resurrection have prepared me for answering certain questions about my mother’s sickness and death. Of course, the whole experience of losing one’s parent is a wholly different experience than losing one’s child. This week has not been as gut-wrenching as the week we had one year ago tonight. Timberley reminded me of that while we were eating dinner this evening. We were talking and joking about things. Sometimes we spoke of Mom, sometimes we spoke of other things. But everything, even the serious things, had a lightness about it. Timberley leaned over to me and said, “Todd, do you remember the night after Anna died, how you felt like your heart had been ripped out, and everyone else was just walking around and talking about mundane things? Look over at your dad. I am sure he is feeling the same way now.” I looked at my dad. As we were all laughing about other things, my dad just sat and ate and looked at his food. His other half is gone. The one with whom he had become “one flesh” is gone, and so he is no longer one flesh, but what, just half a flesh? Which half? Left? Right? Perhaps he is just the outside with nothing inside. He is hollow and aching. Or perhaps he is just the inside with no outside, raw and exposed to every passing intrusion.
I received a letter–email actually, but letter sounds more human, less mechanical–from a friend who knew Anna perhaps better than anyone outside our family. Their daughter was one of Anna’s best friends in Indonesia. She was writing to tell us how they were remembering Anna’s passing on this one year anniversary. They read Anna’s book aloud as a family. They listened to Switchfoot. They brought out things that Anna had given as gifts. They have planted a memorial garden for Anna and they spent time in that garden. I am really glad that on this day in which we are busy with other things, that other families are able to celebrate and remember the day in this way.
If you have young children, consider printing out Anna’s book and reading it together with your children. Read some of the stories about her and what others have written about her. Think about the example that Anna set as she followed Christ and use her as an example for your children to follow, or for yourselves to follow.
In preparing for this day we thought about putting something in the newspaper as a remembrance of Anna. This was what I wrote. I asked Timberley if was too “high-school-yearbookish” but as I told Timberley I was trying for something that had the character of Anna, something light and playful but serious at the same time.
Anna Christine Borger (March 29, 1999-May 7, 2008)
We wish to remember Anna Christine Borger on the first year after her death.
She gave freely.
She loved deeply.
She played happily.
She sang joyfully.
Anna, do you still have your eyes wide?
It’s not over yet! Jesus is coming soon!
Anna resurget. Anna will rise again.