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Letter from Cindy and Les Morgan in Bangladesh

April 17, 2009

In memory of Everett

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last Saturday, on Easter weekend, we buried our son Everett’s ashes on Cave Mountain in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Cindy and I had spent fifteen months with him in Houston while he received treatment for bone cancer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and we were at his side when he died on December 27th.

Photo of the Morgan family standing in a wooded glen with their arms around each other, smiling. The sun is bright. In the foreground is a dogwood tree about four-feet high just beginning to leaf.

Les, Cindy, Stewart, and Laura Morgan with the dogwood tree planted in memory of their son and brother, Everett.

Our daughter, Laura, and son Stewart helped us prepare the mountain site, dig a hole, lay the ashes, and plant a young dogwood to mark the location. Then we spread a blanket next to it and had a picnic. The next day, as we celebrated Easter in a nearby church, rains soaked the ground and helped the little tree take root and grow, its arms spreading up towards the light above the forest.

Although interring Everett’s ashes was the final ceremony for our son, my grief for him continues its slow, relentless course. Like rain in a mountain forest, it is seeping through the soft, saturated surface of my daily life and into every crack of subterranean rock, finding its way down into the aquifers of my soul. There lies my deep wound, still open and tender.

The wound will never completely heal, I know; and because of it, I will never be the same. Everett, his life and death, will continue to teach me. I have learned much from the journal he kept throughout his illness and which we found after his death. In the last entry, just six days before he died, he requested us to read what he had written, as a favor to him. At one of the lowest points in his illness, he wrote,

I am empty. Lord Jesus, fill me with your loving spirit and guide me through the dark waters of this day. I am no good at praise yet, God, but you just wait. Teach me as your humble servant.

I am adopting Everett’s prayer as my own as I resume missionary service. Tomorrow Cindy and I will travel to Bangladesh for six weeks to discuss our future ministry with the Church of Bangladesh, the indigenous church with whom we have worked for many years. Most likely, we will resume active service under the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in July and return to Bangladesh in early September for a three-year term.

Although I will take to Bangladesh the deep wound of my son’s death, I pray that God will teach me once again to raise my arms in praise to him, like the small dogwood tree we planted over Everett’s ashes. With God’s help, both the tree and I will find our way to the light. We will do it together, in memory of Everett.




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