I'm sure many of you have heard by now, but for those of you who haven't, Sweet Anton went to be with Jesus last night. Do you remember him? I first saw his picture and found out he needed a forever family in early February of 2011. I have NEVER in my life felt so pricked and so immediately called to do something as I did the first time I saw his face. On that day he stole a piece of my heart and I knew I would never be the same.
Do you remember what happened next? Do you remember how God moved? Do you remember how He used me AND YOU and so many beautiful, wonderful, life-giving, love-exuding people to fight for Anton? To give him hope and a future? Do you remember how we came together to find him a family, started Hope for Anton and fundraised to bring him home? Do you remember how God used us to change a little boy's life forever? Do you remember the God story?
Do you remember when I had never met Vanessa but she came here and lived with us for a week to learn everything she could about EB? We met for the first time when I picked her up at the airport and that day she stole a piece of my heart and I knew I would never be the same. She is one of the most incredible people I've ever met and we were instant friends, even sisters.
Do you remember how God entwined our lives and wrote a beautiful story of love, redemption and faithfulness that changed not only Anton, not only their family's life, but ours as well? Her story became mine and my story became hers and God did something so big it took my breath away and I wondered in awe why in the world He would let me be a part of something so amazingly spectacular.
Do you know how I have loved that child as if he were my very own from the moment I saw his face? Do you know how the light he gave to the world changed it forever and how it is ever so much darker now that he is gone?
I got to travel to Minnesota over the weekend to see him and tell him goodbye. I can't believe I had to tell him goodbye.
And now he's gone. And I know where he is and that he no longer suffers. I know that God is good and Anton is healed and whole and running and jumping and playing and wrestling. I know that he's met his older sisters by now and hopefully even run into Gabe and Tripp. I know he's in the arms of Jesus.
But my heart is breaking. I miss his voice and his light that radiated from Russia to Texas to Minnesota and back again. I miss his silliness and his sheer will to fight and live. I miss the happiness he unleashed wherever he went... and even where he didn't. One day I'll be okay. But today is not that day. I miss Anton. As Vanessa said, he charmed the world.
And we will never be the same.