Wednesday's Word: Remembering 10 Years

Pictured is Christopher and myself, during a visit to our home a few months before his death.  

As I write, it is 10 years from the last embrace I had with my brother, Christopher Cederberg. 

And so, on this Tuesday night, I find the word REMEMBER, at the top of my list for my Wednesday’s Word Series. Because it is this word, that is etched in my mind, as I replay the last evening of his life.

I remember well the taco dinner we had together. We had a full house with he and my sister and her children visiting. The laughter and chaos during dinner can still be heard in the back of my mind. The children running around the house, and making their way to the basement after dinner is etched in my heart. And mostly, I remember the conversation, as all of us adults moved to the living room. I remember the authenticity of my brother sharing about his drug addiction. The fact that although he had been clean for a bit, the urge to use was still strong, sometimes stronger than others. Oh, how he wished the desire would disappear. Yet, it taunted him, like a lion in the brush. Eager to use any weak moment, as an opportunity to pounce. 

I then remember the family, circled in our living room, taking turns praying. Thanking God for the evening we had just spent together. Asking for strength in the days ahead. Praying specifically for Christopher, and the addiction that clawed at him.

I remember how my heart sank that night when he told us he would be leaving for a birthday party that evening, spending the night in town, instead of returning to my house. Concerned for what his night may hold, the uneasiness began to press down heavily on my chest. 

I remember vividly, standing in my living room, hugging him, and both of us saying, “see ya in the morning”, as we planned to meet as a family the next day. Once again, I remember his embrace, his strong arms and over six-foot tall stature towering over me. 

Because the pain is too vivid, to deep, for family, even after these 10 years, I won’t go into detail about the memories the next day held, as we learned of Christopher’s death, from an accidental drug overdose at age 32 years. But I will share that I remember all too clearly every moment of the day, as if time stood still. As if someone pressed the slow-motion button, and the world moved forward at a pace that gave way to more time than we wanted, to sit in the agony the day held for our family. 

I have wrestled with REMEMBER for some time now. And over the past 10 years, I have learned to value it in a different way than I had been able to in the past.  Remember caused me a lot of pain. It would replay parts of the journey that I didn’t want to watch again. It would haunt me, as I would look back at times when Chris was alive. As I would consider how things may have gone differently that night. In fact, I didn’t want to remember; I wanted to have life look so different. I wanted to have Chris here, on this earth, with us, his family. As he should be. I didn’t want the “need to remember” what it was like before he died. So, I found myself angry, pounding down Remember, because frankly, I shouldn’t need, Remember, at all. Remember wasn’t supposed to be part of our story.

However, I now find myself reconciling with Remember. Not that the pain of remembering isn’t still there. Not that my heart doesn’t still cry out at this loss. But I’m also able to embrace Remember, as I allow my heart to journey to the gratitude of having Christopher at our home the night before he died. As I’m able to be thankful for the conversation and dinner we shared together. For the prayer time we had, minutes before he left. I allow myself to remember, giving permission for time to stop, then for it to move forward in slow-motion, so I am able to soak in those moments. Granting them the opportunity to dwell within my core, becoming a part of the woman I am today.

And mostly, I remember this. I remember that we serve a God, a Savior, who meets us right smack in the midst of our difficulties. Our challenges. And yes, our addictions. Christopher knew Jesus. He had a relationship with Jesus. And just like all of us who are dealing with any type of sin, anything that dares to pull us out of God’s will, Jesus was walking with Christopher on the journey of life. He was walking with him when he was doing great, playing with his nieces and nephews, talking with friends and family. He was walking with him on those days when the journey was hard, when the tugs of the addiction were strong. He was walking with him during those times when his body gave into those cravings. When he wasn’t strong enough to stand against the temptations. And he was walking with him, when he left this earth. And when He entered his new home in Heaven. 

Remember. Remember is my friend now. Because I am reminded, we are never too far gone for the love of Jesus. That He doesn’t need us to be perfect, or even close, in order to start a relationship with Him. (Romans 3:23) In fact it’s our imperfection that creates our need for a Savior. (Romans 6:23) That even in the midst of us falling into temptation, He loves us and offers us forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) That we don’t have to understand all that this life holds; we don’t have to know all the answers to the questions of “why”. And most importantly, that when we believe in Him, when we let him know we want to be His follower, we are able to experience eternal life with Him, in Heaven, after our time on this earth.  (John 3:16) And with that promise, I will see Christopher again. Now that, is something worth REMEMBERing.  

To my family who are reading this, I pray for you, for us, as we continue to navigate the life we lead now without Christopher. I ask that God would work in our hearts in a mighty way today, somehow providing us with a comfort and peace that may only be explained as divine. I love you all, and praise God that He has placed you in my life.

And for those of you who are reading this with a tears in your eyes, because you too have lost someone, someone who you love beyond what words can express, someone whom "remembering" brings pain of what should have been....my heart is with you, too. I'm praying for you right this minute as I write. May God grant you the strength and courage to move forward one day at a time, remembering the truths that He has to offer you today and always. 

Misty Cramer, is an author and speaker whose desire is to encourage others, as she shares the hope Jesus provides in the midst of life’s darkest challenges, as well as it’s brightest triumphs. If you would like to receive “Wednesday’s Word”, as well as other encouragement, you can subscribe to her website https://mailchi.mp/7844a4ba7f8b/welcome and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  #imagine320 #wednesdaysword #jesus #devotions #christian #encouragement #exhaustion #peace #addiction #alcoholaddiction #alcohol #drugaddiction #druguse #drugs #overdose #death #remember #hope #salvation #john316 #loss #family #siblings #love #heaven #eternallife #sin #forgiveness 

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