It was the worst day of my life, and I say that as a man who once despaired of life itself and who has been cause of the same.
To see these pictures again, and to remember that day, is to be reminded both of the depth of my own sin and the surpassing abundance of God's grace. It is to be reminded of the truth that God proclaims through St. Paul in Romans 8.28: "For God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose."
To see the picture above is to realize that if we had not lost Niall we probably would not have considered adoption. Thus, this picture would not exist:
And yet, here we are: six O'Donnells.
On this day in my son's memory I want to thank God for Catherine Marie (nee Allen) O'Donnell, a woman of great faith and courage whom I am humbled to have and to hold as my wife. She has endured things that I cannot imagine and yet perseveres.
Niall sings in the heavenly choir and awaits with his parents, grandparents and siblings the promised resurrection of all flesh. We who toil here thank the Lord for what we have learned since Niall's passing, and we live in hopeful expectation of that day when we will join him.
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be The Lord. Amen
Yours in Christ,
For those who may be interested, I published an abbreviation of my funeral homily in the April 2006 issue of For the Life of the World, the magazine of Concordia Theological Seminary--Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Here is the link: http://www.lifeoftheworld.com/lotw/article.php?m_vol=10&m_num=2&a_num=3
Here also is the picture of the special obituary notice that Cowan and Son Funeral Home of Van Wert, Ohio laminated for my family. Thanks again to John and the family for handling Niall's arrangement with faith, hope and love.