For years after he died, I was unable to hold other people's young children at all. I told myself that at some point I would get past the pain enough to do so, but I wasn't sure when. It took me a while to realize that one nevers gets over such a loss, but that one learns to live with the pain and continue to live life.
Then one week, almost 12 years later, I was ministering in a small church. A family was there with a baby boy. Something happened during a dinner - I still can't remember what - and the mother just sort of thrust the baby at me and said, "Hold him just for a minute". Well, what else was I to do? I held him. He smiled at me, and snuggled right up to me. And it was okay.
This past Sunday was Easter. Older Son and Daughter in Law showed up as a surprise for Leon and me. We were delighted. They have two beautiful children: Emma, who is in kindergarten, and Max, who is seven months old. Max has big blue eyes, and ginger coloured hair. I've held Max many times, of course, but Sunday was different, because it was so close to Simon's anniversary. While we were in church, I had a chance to hold him during communion. Max sat quietly in my lap. I leaned over for a kiss, and I said, very quietly, "you look just like Simon". And Max looked into my eyes with that all knowing wisdom that sometimes seems to stream from very young eyes, and smiled very broadly, then patted my mouth with his little starfish hand.
Then he went back to chewing on his teether.
Because life goes on. As well it should. For Max. For all of us. Even some of us who will always have scars. And that's okay. We have a saviour whose life shows that scars are sometimes the way we are known.