When you've lost someone, the holiday season is an emotional grind. Luke is gone. The ache is deep. There are no words, no kind gestures, that can even begin to take away the pain we're experiencing. We're so grateful for the calls and the cards and the visitors who helped us make it through. On Wednesday Judy spent the afternoon helping Laura prepare our Thanksgiving dinner. On Friday we had dinner with Tony and Danielle, along with baby Everett and Luke's buddy Jude. Our parents called. Matt called. Katie called. Rhonda called. The Mustaines stopped by. We received hand written cards, and yellow flowers. These words, these kind gestures, they made a difference.
This afternoon about a dozen of Luke's friends (see photo) came to our house for lunch. We've always loved having young people in our home. After lunch we shared memories of Luke. Very poignant, and a tremendous blessing to me and Laura. Two of Luke's friends, Brian and Ethan, wrote and recorded a song in honor of Luke, and shared it with us today. Man. Very, very powerful. If you have a few moments, it's worth a listen. Click here for the link. (Yes, that is Luke's actual heartbeat you hear in the middle of song.) Here are the lyrics:
Whole in Heaven
Where have you gone?
You feel so far away
I never thought we would have to come to this day
You never lost heart, through the pain, through the chains
Who's to gain, stayed the same, never once did you change
Crying I don't know how you could be so strong
I know we'll see you soon, no it won't be long
Couldn't be happier since you made it home
But since we're not with you all we can do is mourn
The Lord gives and takes away, now you're truly saved
Cannot wait for the day, when we again see your face
It doesn't seem real, you're done with this Earth
You're in Heaven with our savior free from the curse
The sufferings that we face are not gonna last
Your sufferings are gone, they're all in the past
We lost a brother, in remembrance we look high
We're running the race, but this was your final time
Broken on Earth
Made whole in Heaven
Heaviest thing that I ever felt
Left behind, but I know he’s doing well
Man the light and life of Christ was bright in Luke Elijah’s life
He knows Jesus took the sacrifice
For those of God, it’s all the same
When the Father calls us Home, to live is Christ but to go it’s gain
This is not a goodbye, just a see you later
The journey will be long, but we know He’s with the Savior
Pain now is not worth comparing to the glory because of His love
We are more that conquerors, nothing ever will be able to separate us, uh
Luke, bro, you forever made an impact
Your body let you down, but your purpose stayed intact
I don’t know what to say, man I don’t know what to feel
We prayed for you bro now you’re perfectly healed
Broken on Earth
Made whole in Heaven
Hello friends. For the next weeks we will be posting a series of tributes written in honor Luke. If you'd like to write or suggest a tribute, please let me know. This one was written by Marsha McGuire on September 6th, the day Luke passed away. Luke met Marsha's son MacKale at DeVos Children's Hospital as they were battling cancer at the same time. The photo below was taken at DeVos last December, when Luke was bloated having just completed steroid treatments for his lung. You can read more about MacKale's story here.
Our hearts are heavy today. Losing friends or family to cancer is never easy. When your son loses a friend . . . a boy . . . a child . . . it is unbearable. We never knew Luke before cancer had ravaged his body. He was one of the first friends MacKale made when he entered the world of childhood cancer, chemo, surgery, broken bodies and hospitals. You couldn't help but love this kid. Luke was kind, outgoing, witty, wicked SMART and funny.
I remember one day when he found out Mac was in clinic and he didn't have his wheelchair, he grabbed one of those rolly doctor stools from his exam room and rolled himself down the hall until he found us. The nurses were searching everywhere for him.
When the pediatric oncology floor was making team posters for each room right before the big MSU/UofM football game, kids were posting banners of their favorite pick . . . MSU or UofM. Mac, of course, displayed his MSU poster with pride! Luke didn't care about football . . . He picked OHIO . . . just to make us crazy. (We loved him for that!)
He was brave and had such amazing faith. It makes my heart hurt to think of a world without this young man, but as he proclaimed in his own words, "broken on earth, made whole in heaven." This young man of incredible faith, touched so many lives and was an example to so many of us. I have no words Laura and James that will comfort you, but I can assure you that your boy was truly loved by all of us.
We love you Luke!
Marsha, Mike, MacKale, MaGill, & McCoy McGuire