5 years ago tonight at this time we were arriving at the home of my brother and sister in law. The ride from Grand Rapids to Bellville was excruciatingly painful as we had just learned that Len had been killed in a car accident. I remember posting on Facebook the next morning:
Our hearts are shattered
Leonard Hugh Borgdorff
1964 — 2012
It was hard to see beyond those first hours, days, weeks, even months…
And to think we are now at years!
Five years! Life has changed and we still miss Len so. There are Len voids in our hearts and lives that will never be filled in the same way again. And God is present in those tender spaces in kind and gentle ways.
There are spaces we never could have imagined finding joy again, and I can assure you joy has returned. Joy does not cancel out sorrow, but joy does live in the midst of sorrow. We are a family that can testify to that.
We have shared a memory dinner this weekend and we have celebrated Christmas. We have shared tender moments and gentle tears and we have laughed together. We have come to understand that grief comes in different ways for each of us and we have learned to stand with one another and embrace whenever possible so we can ensure that when together, no one grieves alone.
I am not sure I like the word heal when I think of grief. It is true that our hearts were shattered that night five years ago, but there were not sick. I believe that time has allowed us, individually and as a family, to adjust to life in the absence of a man we adored, in different ways and for a variety of reasons. Time is a gift and we as a family remain grateful for the presence Len had in our lives. For his humor, his work ethic, his sense of adventure and risk-taking, and his deep love and loyalty to family. Len’s life enriched ours as a son and brother and expanded our family in his role as a husband and father. We have come to embrace that even in Len’s death, in every day we are given, Len is close to our hearts and never forgotten. As written in his obituary: Len was deeply loved, sincerely liked, truly unique and will never be forgotten
Writing a poem with your gift presentation has been a tradition in our family over the years. Len loved poem writing and it was rare (if ever) was he able to present his poem without endless laughter.
I will never forget my last conversations with Len. He was driving home from North Carolina to Bellville and I spoke with him 2 times that Sunday afternoon. He was working on his poem and couldn’t write it because he was driving. He was preparing for Christmas together and it was fun to anticipate the upcoming holidays. I was on my way to the Kroc Centr and I said I would call him after my workout. Len always ended the conversations with Love you, Bye. And my response on that Sunday afternoon was Love you too bye. I left him a message after my workout without giving it a second thought.
Oh, how life changed 5 years ago today and we can fully claim Psalm 100:5, For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Till we meet again brother…