Paradise. What is your paradise? To some it is a mountain home overlooking the vastness of God’s beauty with a stream flowing below. To others, like me, it’s the calm winds of an ocean breeze with the palm trees swaying slowly with sun beaming down. Three years ago today we were headed to that paradise, Hawaii. It was Trey’s paradise. That was the first thing he put on Twitter when we arrived at the hotel, “Just arrived in paradise.”
When we were in Hawaii, it was also Mother’s Day. I remember waking up that morning with an envelope next to my bed. “Mom” I opened it to find a notebook piece of paper that said, “Happy Mother’s Day, I love you thisssss much! Trey”. He enclosed a picture of the two of us from the Orange and White game when we were in Knoxville just a couple of weeks prior. That note and picture is taped to my bathroom mirror. I see it every day, multiple times a day.
I can’t help but think about how he is experiencing his paradise with Jesus. I want to believe that there are beaches in heaven. I want to believe that he is not thin and his body is restored so that he can soak up the rays of light that Jesus gives. When he had cancer, the sun was not his friend. He only burned. I want to believe that the light is no longer blinding his eyes and he can see all that God has that a beach paradise offers. I know what the bible says, so I know God is loving on my boy.
Our paradise wasn’t exactly what we had hoped. Trey couldn’t get in the water because he was too sick and had no strength. He had fallen in the suite and had burns on his arms and legs, so the sun really hurt his skin. The pool water was so very cold for him. But one thing I’ll always cherish was waking up and looking up at this tall, skinny kid looming over me at 6 to 7 a.m. saying, “Come on Mom, let’s go eat breakfast!” We did, after I came down off the ceiling. He loved the way the hotel fixed the oatmeal and it was one thing he could tolerate, sometimes.
It seemed every time we got on the elevator the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow was playing by the artist IZ. Trey loved that rendition and downloaded it on his phone. I almost had it played at his celebration, but for me, I would not have been able to handle it.
It will always seem like yesterday, and for me, it was. Children are growing up, getting married, going off to college, coming home from college, going into high school, and mine is still 15, reminiscing of his Hawaiian paradise. There are days that I sink to the floor in tears with grief because it hits me so hard. And honestly, I’m trying to reel in a little “unfairness” towards Collin too. Grief really messes you up!
We are going back to Hawaii in about 30 days. We are staying at the same hotel, same floor. Yes, it will be emotional, but it will be paradise. All I that comes to mind is the scripture from Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” I think Trey is experiencing that glory which is much better than the paradise he thought was Hawaii.
Mother’s Day is always bittersweet. I still have my own mother with me, but I’m without one of my own children. I will enjoy Mother’s Day with my Collin, but in the meantime, I will be praying that he is enjoying paradise with Jesus and knows his mama loves him thisssss much.