Post #14 “I am sitting in a lawn chair at the foot of David’s grave”

IMG_38751 (1)I am sitting in a lawn chair at the foot of David’s grave. I have come in the evening to spend time with my boy. I sit here really in disbelief that I am sitting at the gravesite of my sweet baby boy.

I look around and see that I am surrounded by hundreds of others that have made the transition into the next world. From where I sit I can see 2 headstones of young men who died early. One is 20 as was David and the other 27. One is a member of our Church as evidenced by the inscription on the headstone.

From where I sit I see a family plot of a mother, father and a daughter. I get it. All here have passed and one day I will as well. Yes knowing the gospel plan is comforting. However, it is still hard. The permanency of my boy being gone is so finite, so hard, there is no solution to death, meaning something I can do to fix it, and there is no fixing death. It simply is what it is. As a Dad I have known that wherever my kids are I can get to them, whatever the problem I can help them. However, now that is just not the case. That is hard truth, very hard truth. I am very aware I can do hard things; I have done a lot of them in my life. To know I cannot do anything, well that knowledge is hard truth to take.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. I know that Christ Atonement is real that on the third day he was resurrected and gives to all of us freely the miracle of the resurrection. I know that David is working and preparing for the day Christ will come and rule and reign forever. I know these things. However, it is still so hard that my sweet boy is not here and I can’t see him, talk to him, and hug that 6’6″ giant of son. It’s just hard. I know I should count my blessings and I should stop whining. I know that, but that is hard. Sometimes the pain is a welcome friend to remind me how much I love that boy. I love to think on his memories; I listen to his voice in videos. I love to hear him and play them over and over.

IMG_2071I know this will pass. I do know that. But for now this is my deep water that I am want to swim in. It will all be ok, it will, I know that. My life really is good I mean really good. I have been blessed beyond my worthiness or anything I might deserve. I know God loves me and that I am never alone. That is what I know for sure.

As I sit at the foot of David’s grave I think about how just a few feet from me separated by some grass and dirt is the body of my son. In a coffin lay that giant of a mans mortal body. It caused me to think about something that happened shortly after David died.

Within a few hours of us finding out about David’s death we received a phone call from a lady who represented an organization that asks if families of those who have died would like to donate their loved ones body or parts of their body as a donor. Of course as you can imagine that was not a phone call I was not prepared to take. However, after talking to the woman and talking to Trish we decided, it is something that David would want. By the time we found out about David’s death it was to late to donate his heart, or other major organs. He had been dead to long. However, there was time for other things that could be donated. His eyes, skin, veins, bone. It was very difficult, however, we decided that it would be the right thing. We signed all the papers and gave them permission to proceed. Honestly, I tried to forget about it, the thought of it all happening was a bit too much for me at the time.

It’s funny how the Lord helps us in our very moments of need. Within a few weeks of David’s death we received an email that told of a story that would touch our family deeply.

A couple of friends were having lunch and David and his accident came up. Later that night, this women and her husband were having a family home evening and having a talk with their daughters about how our bodies are temples and about the proper use of them. They spoke about chastity and keeping themselves pure.

The husband just happened to work for the company who recovers the donations from donors and told the family a story he had heard at work.

IMG_0042When he had gotten to work, which was the day after the recovery of David’s donations. The people in the tissue and eye department were talking about this case they had the night before. They said it started at the coroner’s office when they went to pick up the body. The girls from coroner’s office who work in the back talked about how they couldn’t believe the investigators report about a young man that had been brought in. The workers from the Coroners office said that they had never had a case like this. The investigator had reported that this young man had never taken drugs, had never been sexually active and had no tattoos or other markings on his body. They said he was so different and so pure. The workers at the company where the husband worked had said similar things about David. Those who do actually do the recovering were talking about David and his case. They have to inspect the body for needle marks, tract marks, prison tattoos etc. Those recovering were astonished that a 20-year-old man didn’t have any of these things. They as well commented on how different he was. One said, “it’s like he’s so pure”. They hadn’t seen someone like this before. The woman who had been to lunch with her friend put the story together her husband was telling with the story she had heard at lunch. It was the same person it was David.

The woman via an email said this: “I thought how interesting, that they noticed this young man who took care of and respected his body that God gave him.  They could tell the type of person he was by how he treated his body.  This young man opened a conversation that my husband was able to have with several employees…what an example”

They said that David’s donations would help more than 70 people. His eyes would go to a young girl and that she would have sight because of him. After the first year has gone by, we will receive information about those who were helped by David. If they are willing we might even get to meet some of them and what an incredible meeting that will be.

I sat in my lawn chair and thought about this story. It bothered me that my baby boy had been in the hospital morgue and then the coroner’s office alone, no family there to be with him. However, even in death, alone among strangers David was helping others. His life was teaching and having an impact. That is just amazing to me. This experience was for me another of many Tender Mercies.

IMG_0056Despite my grief and my limited view, God was using these moments to touch others. I have learned a valuable lesson in the past months. David’s death though it has affected me deeply, is not about me. It is bigger then my limiting beliefs and me. It is a tool with which God will do more than I could ever dream of.

Today is Easter! Today it means more to me than in times past. Today the resurrection of Christ is more personal, more meaningful. I am grateful that we will all be given the gift of resurrection. One day David will be reunited with his body, it will however, be perfect. All will be restored to its perfect form.

It’s funny the things that run through our mind, for me sitting at David’s grave I find myself feeling grateful. Grateful for what I know, that I will see my Son again, that all things will be made right.
I am sitting at the foot of my son’s grave and I am feeling grateful. That in and of itself is a Tender Mercy.





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5 Responses

  1. Donna says:

    I am so glad you can find gratitude. Only the Savior could facilitate that. But I am still heartbroken for you. I understand there isn’t a why to be discovered, but it feels so senseless.
    Easter will always be different for the Maples family and I know we will all pray a little harder for the second coming. I know David was behind the hover board incident, do you think he is having the same kind of fun with the elections?

  2. Denise Stoehr says:

    I have found such inspiration, hope and love in your blog. I am deeply touched by all of your words. Your faith is beautiful. What a special testimony for an Easter Sunday.

  3. Trudy says:

    And when this young girl comes into your lives looking at you all once again with your boy’s eyes what a joyfull day that will. be. You can remain in her life for a long time to come and remember when David was just a twinkle in your eyes but his twiinkle will live on. What a great day to look forward to.

  4. Steve Earl says:

    Thank you for sharing these inspiring thoughts Greg. You have always been such a great example to me. I am certain that David is so proud of you.

  5. Barbara Voss says:

    Greg, you are truly an inspiration to me. My only brother recently passed away and there isn’t a day go by that I don’t ask God, “why?” After reading your story’s about David, I no longer ask that question. You have helped my healing and understanding in more ways that you can ever know. God bless you and your family.

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