Nine years ago, today amidst a swirl of both joyful and frightful confusion, our first-born son – Peter Alexander Witkowski (Second Peter) – was born in the early morning hours. About 4 hours later, he abandoned his earthly body for the loving embrace of Jesus. As the days between Second Peter’s birth and death continue to grow, the truths that comforted our hearts at his funeral continue to resound in our souls. April and I still have jellybean size holes. But God’s goodness, love, and comfort far exceed the depths of our sorrow. Our savior dries our tears, holds our hearts when weary, and remembers our prayers, blessing us with our second son, Luke Alexander Witkowski and with two beautiful little girls. God is faithful! Today as we celebrate Second Peter’s life, we affirm with an ever-increasing realization that, “To live is Christ!” Below are the words I spoke at his funeral which remains our hope for today.
What Do We Say:
The fleeting dance of poetry, the smooth elegancy of prose, and the most insightful uses of language all seem inadequate, trite, trivial, and unworthy of expressing what has occurred. On Tuesday morning after a sleepless night, April and I welcomed our precious little baby boy with trembling souls; our souls broke into happy smiles as we heard Peter Alexander’s heart beat firmly and his lunges taste the softness of the air. And then as if heaven itself had fallen, we flew calmly back to Second Peter’s tiny plastic bed to love him with unending passion. After an eternity that had been shrunken into four vaporous hours, we softly and slowly kissed his cool little forehead one last time. And now we follow his body to this somber chamber. So what do you say to these things? What do you say when your son of promise is born at 9:08am and then dies in your arms at 2:49pm?
“To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil. 1:21.)”
When Second Peter died, he gained. April and I pleaded for his life, and God saw fit to give him eternal life. Our First Born Son is glorified. He knows fully the joy of Christ. He bounces playful to heavenly music. He gets to play with David, Samson, April’s Papa, and my own dear Grandfather, whom I never meet. He is the coolest little child that I’ve ever known. To die is gain!
For April and I, “To live is Christ.” We have and will continue to shed tears for Second Peter. And I know that both of our hearts will always have a jellybean size hole that will never be covered. Yet we will go on living, serving, and ministering because we have a savior who is a perfect high priest. Our hope lies in the life of another son who once lost his life alone on a cross to conquer death by rising again. For this we live, looking forward, as David did to going, to being with our precious son (2 Samuel 12:23). To live is Christ.