In Honor of Chandler....
Since the beginning, I have been been humbled and blessed by the multitude of people who have prayed for Chandler and for us, many who don’t even know us. The day after Chandler’s accident, I learned that a local Catholic church, San Francisco Solano, had prayed for Chandler during mass on December 16. I was strengthened knowing we were being lifted up by this community of faith that I had never even been a part of.
After Chandler died, I SO hate typing that, I received a note in the mail that on February 24, San Francisco Solano would be honoring Chandler during the 10:15 service. I put it on my calendar and made plans to go. Last night, I began to have second thoughts. I have heard Chandler mentioned and prayed for among those who have departed during services at St. Johns Episcopal Church and at Santa Margarita Catholic High School mass. It was difficult to hear. I knew it would be difficult to hear it again today. It just makes everything so final. You can’t take it back once it’s been said out in public like that. He’s gone.
I decided that if this congregation was kind enough to honor Chandler, a young man they didn’t even know, I wanted to be there. I needed to be there.
I am grateful I went. It was a privilege to worship with these good people. When the priest mentioned Chandler Espinoza, more than once, I wanted to shout out, “That’s my son, and he was amazing! I wish you all could have known him.”
The music, the scripture, the sermon. It was all so good for my soul.
After the service, I approached Father Duy. My heart was pounding.
I reached out my hand to shake his.
“I…..” Breathe. “I’m….” Breathe.
“I’m Chandler’s mom, and I want to thank you all for praying for my son. I know you prayed for him since the time the accident happened.”
Tears have a life of their own.
He hugged me and said he was so sorry and assured me that they had been praying the whole time. He said if there’s anything I need, please let them know.
I wish I could thank EVERY community of faith that has collectively prayed — for Chandler’s healing and now for our family as we trudge through the pain of losing him. There is something so meaningful, so powerful, in knowing that a group of people who don’t even know you are pouring out their hearts in prayer for you.
I could have missed this morning’s service. It would have spared me just a bit of pain in hearing my son’s name called in a context that I…..I will be honest, I HATE. I don’t want him to be named among those who have departed. But this is my new reality, my new normal. Had I missed hearing his name called, I would have also missed an opportunity to connect with this group of people who have joined with me to honor Chandler and to pray for our family.
I am honored. I am humbled. I am grateful.