Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gardens, Graves,Grief, and Glory!

 The morning we left Woodland Park CO we headed back down the mountain to Colorado Springs.  On the way we stopped to view the Garden of the Gods.  Years ago one man owned this whole area, and when he died his children gave this beautiful, vast place to the state of CO on the condition that they never charge anyone to visit.  I knew our son Kevin had gone there and I wanted to go somewhere he had visited.  Joel was right with me on this, and we both were so glad we took the time to go through.  It was amazing.  Another stunning example of the Creator's best artistic works of art.  No matter how they were created, God is the Creator! 

We were able to stop and walk through more than one area, along with many other people who were out in the beautiful weather, hiking and walking, taking photos and enjoying the views.

Behind Joel is the "Tower of Babel"

Balance Rock

Walking the trail at
Garden of the Gods

Walking area at Garden of the Gods

The view of Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods
 from the Visitor's Center

After spending a few hours at the Garden of the Gods we headed into Colorado Springs to find the cemetery where our son Kevin is buried.  Kevin died over 10 years ago when a virus attacked his heart.  He suffered briefly from congestive heart failure before dying at the age of 25.  I was too ill to travel to CO for the funeral , but Joel and our oldest son Matt went along with my nephew and his wife who lived in the area at the time.  Circumstances kept Joel from going to the graveside that December, and then my illness got worse, Joel was put on disability with Lyme, and traveling was not an option.  This was our first time to visit the grave, and we had plans to also order a gravestone.
Kevin and his wife were divorcing at the time of his death, so there was no stone.  Our hearts were heavy with this, and we now had the opportunity to remedy it and do right by our son.

The cemetery was so large.  There were 22 miles of paved roads inside it.  They have a staffed office and we were able to call ahead and then talk to someone who was there when we arrived.  We did find out that legally we were able to place a stone.  Thank you God.  We were given a marked chart to find the area, and once we got there we walked through the 500+ graves in that section until we found where Kevin was buried.  I cannot describe it, but one friend said, it was "holy ground" we were experiencing that day.  It was a beautiful way to describe that day and the next, when we met our grandson.  God is so good.  We stood at our son's grave, , we were able to order a stone, and we were able to find closure and peace of mind.  We left Colorado Springs struggling with deep sadness, but also with a sense of relief and closure.  Thank you God.

We drove to Castle Rock, a nice bedroom community between Denver and Colorado Springs, for the night.  It was a beautiful hotel and a great place to regroup before heading north to visit our grandson. 

We were so excited to meet our grandson Eli.  Joel had actually spent a little time with him at Kevin's funeral, but Eli was only 2 at the time. We had sent him cards and letters periodically, but his mom had remarried and Eli did not know that Kevin was his birth father until a couple of years ago.  When his parents shared this information with him, we felt we could then be a bigger part of his life.  His parents graciously invited us to come by and spend time with him and we were eager to do so.  It worked out that Eli and his sister B. both had basketball games that Saturday morning so we arrived at their home around 10am with the plan to go to the games.  When we saw Eli outside, and watched him walk towards the van, we were stunned.  He reminded us so much of Kevin at that age and even his mannerisms and actions were familiar.  It took my breath away. 

Elijah Christian, age 12

Papa, Grandma Na, and Eli

Throughout the day I would find myself just staring at him and quietly giving thanks to God for working all things out for good.  His Grandma Tracy was there too and we were able to thank her for staying in communication with us about Eli over the years.  We went to the games, and then out for lunch at a super fun restaurant called Cinzzetti's.  What an a amazing place.  Huge.  Inside were several stations, like one for desserts, one for seafood, one for pastas, pizza, etc.  Each was staffed by chefs, etc. and you went around finding what you wanted, eating as much as you wanted.  We went back to the house for awhile where we gave Eli a book of photos of his birth dad that I had put together.  We headed back to the hotel after spending the day together with him and his family.  It. was. wonderful.  A very special day with some very special people.  Only God!

Eli with his family

At Cinzzetti's Italian Restaurant

Those two days were very emotional, but we would not have missed any of it.  God answered our prayers in so many ways.....up at Charis Bible College, at the cemetery, and with the time we had with Eli and his family.  God keeps His promises.....He work all things out for good.......

Our last two days on the road were pretty uneventful except for the heavy fog through parts of Nebraska.  We were not ready to come home, but we were ready to sleep in our own beds.  Our hearts are filled with wonderful memories of our trip to the SW.  Nine hotel beds slept in, nine states visited.  Twelve great days with my sister and her hubby, gathering with friends, worshiping at Charas, grieving at our son's grave, getting to know our grandson.  Three weeks and 2 days filled with an adventure orchestrated by a loving God.   Giving God praise for so many beautiful days ending with such amazing sunsets.   To God be the glory!

Our last sunset on the road...
Kearney, Nebraska

1 comment:

Anita Johnson said...

I am so thankful you had this time many memories. Seeing you with your grandson made me smile.