Recently the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive landfall was marked vividly by the howling landfall of Hurricane Isaac. As someone who lived on the Mississippi Coast during Katrina, that was a painful time back in 2005. It was one that changed all of us in so many ways.

August 29th is another anniversary, though. One that is more painful. It has been a year since my wife Maggy’s dad passed away. Having been a part of the family for so long, he was a father to me as well. Really, he treated me that way from the beginning.

Maggy recently found a picture of her dad and our son, who passed away in 2008, while going through some boxes of photographs. It was John Robert’s third birthday. The days that we are born are markers for the rest of our lives until the day we die. Those are the two dates on our memorial stones at the cemetery. From the moment of the first birthday we never know how many of those we will observe until the last one.

Now Pawpaw and John Robert are happy in heaven together, along with many other loved ones and friends. It’s only been a year – but it has been a very difficult one for Maggy’s mother. And that has made it a hard year for her sisters and brother.

Anniversary sounds like a happy word … I hate to use it in regard to something as sad as death. But whatever word we use, we mark that time. If we live to be 100, we will know how many years it has been since we said goodbye to various ones we love. A family at church used to tell the age of their child on his birthday, even though he had passed away several years prior. I could not understand that at the time. I had compassion, but no real way to grasp the importance of that. Now, unfortunately, I do.

Over time those markers change. The anniversaries that at first bring us such painful grief later are blessed reminders of the love we shared and the times we had. And that will have to do until that blessed day when the hope of all is fulfilled.

People do not hope for something they already have. But we are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently. ~Romans 8:24-25

May your anniversaries be times of healing, filled with hope.

John Dobbs

About the Author
John Dobbs is a Christian minister who lives in Monroe, Louisiana. He and his wife Maggy lost their 18 year old son, John Robert, in May of 2008. John has spoken several times on recovery from grief and has a series of four message called "Acquainted With Grief". He has hosted GriefShare groups and is active with The Compassionate Friends chapter in Monroe. John writes on grief, and a variety of other subjects, at his blog called Out Here Hope Remains, located at
What is Grief?