Even though the water was only ankle deep, there was a 20 foot drop cascading into a beautiful waterfall just on the other side. The roar of the water made it impossible for you to hear me, “Get back! Watch the edge!”

You were a safe distance away from the edge, but being a mom, I needed to make sure you didn’t stray too close. I yelled louder. “Tristan!”

You didn’t look up. You were too busy hauling logs and watching them splash.
My greatest fear was you being swept away and out of sight while I was too far away to reach you. I called to you with as much power as I could muster, but the roaring of the falls snatched my voice and carried it away.

I waved my arms from the shore hoping you would catch a glimpse of me.
“Tristaaaaaan!”
I knew you were safe where you were, but what if? And that’s a mom’s greatest fear, the what-if. We spent a lifetime guarding you against it.

What if you got kidnapped? Snatched away at a gas station while I went inside to pay?
What if you fell victim to a predator?
What if you ran in front of a car, chasing a runaway skateboard? What if you fell from the platform practicing parkour at the gym?

We did our best to guard against all those because we were your parents and it was our job to keep you safe.
We never asked what-if about suicide. It wasn’t part of our safe and loving family landscape. Why would it be?

What we didn’t reckon for was silent and deadly. It crept in, incognito, until the roar of those waters filled the whole space between us and there was no reaching you.

I thought we were in ankle deep water.

I didn’t see the edge.

I didn’t see the mental illness that made you jump.

Now we are living with the missing of you roaring in our ears, it’s a waterfall that never stops.

I have a picture of you sitting triumphantly at the top of the falls. We used it for your funeral bulletin. Designing your f-u-n-e-r-a-l bulletin. Not your graduation announcement, not your wedding invitation, we were designing your funeral bulletin instead of the font on your business card.

Why, oh, why God did I need a funeral bulletin for the precious boy you gave me!

I want the roaring of this world to stop. I can’t cover my ears enough, the truth still gets in. He’s gone. I wish I would have been swept away instead, I would’ve done anything to save him.

But Lord, You didn’t give me that job. You gave me the job of waiting, and trusting and hoping until I see him again.

I see all the saints that have gone before me that You have asked to wait. Those agonizing days when Mary and Joseph had to hunt for their little guy everywhere, thinking You were dead. Those agonizing days when Mary wept her eyes out because You WERE dead.

Eve’s tears for her baby, Abel, as she dug the first grave there ever was, Job digging room enough in the family grave for all of his children, Jacob holding that bloodied coat close enough to smell Joseph on it, long after his scent had dissipated. They all experienced this pain.

They are together now. Forever. But they waited first, and hoped.

Jesus, it says You are waiting, too. Can we wait together? There are so many moms and dads here needing you. Will you hold us so we can make it? One day, the roar of this world will fall away into the perfect peace of looking into Your eyes. All of our what-ifs, if-onlys and whys will make perfect sense in those eyes. And just behind You, will be our babies, waiting to hug us again. Is there really a beautiful waterfall just on the other side of this?
Come quickly, Lord. And hold us in the waiting.