Last July 4th weekend, I had the honor of going to a very sacred space with two bereaved moms, Dixie, and today’s guest and dear friend, Michelle. We retraced the steps that Michele and her family took on that fateful day on July 4th, 2020 when Michelle lost her amazing 19-year-old son, Corban, who drowned in Lake Michigan. From the first steps walking along that trail, I knew that we were doing something very special. I could feel Corban, Parker, and Andy. I could feel God walking along beside us.

In the first years after Andy died, whenever we dove past the accident site where Andy died, I would feel sick to my stomach. That has never been a struggle for Michelle, however. Perhaps it is due to the beauty of the sand dunes or perhaps the sparkle of Lake Michigan in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore area. Whatever the reason may be, this spot has been dubbed by Michelle as ‘Corban’s Spot’ for she feels his presence close whenever she is there. For me, Corban’s Spot feels holier than any cathedral.

Three years ago this week, God gave Michelle another gift at Corban’s Spot. She went up to be with Corban for her birthday weekend. While there, she noticed a new large piece of driftwood had washed ashore. Michelle had always looked for hearts in nature to help remind her of Corban, but on this day, God gave Michelle a piece of driftwood that looked to have a cutout heart in the center. Over the last three years, the appearance of the driftwood has changed, but it has remained as an ever-present reminder of her love for Corban. It even inspired Michelle to write a poem.

~Driftwood Heart~
A grieving mother’s heart,
A piece of driftwood on the beach.
Pieces missing, not complete;
Changed but the same.
Rough edges, smoothed by the elements.
Ever changing, never what was.
Created by God, changed by the world.
Searching for a new purpose.
How to fit into this place?
A changed heart, a different world.
A piece of driftwood, looking for its place.
A piece of driftwood, tragically beautiful.

Thank you, Michelle, for helping us see the beauty in tragedy. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and all around you.