Homily for my son Aaron

Four years ago my dear son Aaron died. Everything changed for me and my family that day. It’s hard to put into words. Perhaps only parents who have lost a child can understand.

Not a day goes by when I do not think of Aaron. Not an hour goes by.

In Lament for a Son Nicholas Wolterstorff wonders how his other children feel about the deep grief that has taken hold of him since the death of their brother:

Was he special? Did I love him more—more than his sister and brothers? When they see my tears, do they think I loved him more? I love them equally though differently. None is special; or rather, each is special. Each has an inscape in which I delight. I celebrate them all and love them each.

Death has picked him out, not love. Death has made him special. He is special in my grieving. When I give thanks, I mention all five; when I lament, I mention only him. Wounded love is special love, special in its wound. Now I think of him every day; before, I did not. Of the five, only he has a grave.

I preached the funeral homily for Aaron. It was the most difficult homily I have ever preached, yet it also felt as if my entire priesthood had been a preparation for it. I have not stepped into a pulpit since. This hasn’t been a deliberate choice—just the way life has worked out. Perhaps it is for the best. I poured my heart and soul into my homily for Aaron.

I ask your prayers for my Aaron.

May he rest in peace.

May his memory be eternal.

May he be raised by our Father into glory.

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