David Jeremiah wrote, "journalizing, memorializes the blessings of God" in his book, "When Your World Falls Apart, Seeing Past the Pain of the Present." My dear family and myself have recently experienced a terrible tragedy, resulting in the death of my precious daughter, Samantha. This is an unwanted journey, one of the most difficult walks that any parent can experience. It is riddled with extreme grief, profound disorientation, and beautiful graces from God. He holds me close. He has not forsaken me. Even though, my heart is shredded with sadness, I shed buckets of tears, I question my purpose now and I wander astray at times, I know I love God. He is real and present. I know what I know!!! And, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to share with you. I have learned that I am at my best when I walk with God, not against Him.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting to Know Granny

As this unwanted journey continues, I have gained and garnered strength, allowing me to visit with others. It isn't easy, there is still an unnerving sensation that sits within me while in public. Gratefully, I have found a few safe places. But, even there, things just aren't the same.  To some extent, I am who I use to be , but not really.  The person you see in the grocery store might look the same, but she isn't the same. As I sit with old friends at dinner and the normal conversations ensue, I struggle to engage in simple chit chat. My life fast forwarded years, within a split second.  She, I have had a profound change in my life, a sharp turn to the right, no warning, no reasons, no explanations, no good-byes.   As well, I have experienced something divine that has the weight to overshadow the pain that exists, at times.  Having had this experience there is a genuine sense of peace that reigns within me concerning where Sam is, I know she is in "Her Father's House!" I just need to get acquainted with and accept living without her, not caring for her and accepting that she will not physically be a part of our family.  That, she will never again be in a photograph.  I have the last one taken!

So, on a strengthened day, I visit.  One on one, in the beginning, taking baby steps, gradually finding enough confidence in myself, to recently, share with a bible study group.  My dear friend, Erin urges me, beckons me, sweetly and strongly suggests (imagine her being like that!) that every opportunity I receive, that I should share our story.  I'm beginning to feel that call.  What I find, is when I tell our story, emotionally and spiritually, I am strengthened.  Speaking it out loud, aligns my heart with my head.  I feel His peace, His presence and His promise of eternal life.

One question that I am often asked is, "Where does your faith come from?'  I already know where "it" comes from, it comes from "Granny."  A pending project, required me to rifle through "the girls" boxes of "stuff."  These tupperware bins are placed in my bedroom closet.  A box labeled for each child, filled with memories including, photographs, baby books, favorite preschool projects, school report cards. newspaper clippings, artwork, interesting school reports, homemade gifts, and my favorite, early sentence writing.  My children's life, represented on paper is contained in these boxes.  When finished, I returned Brooke's box to my closet for future filling, with regret, I placed Sam's in a spare bedroom, knowing I wouldn't be adding to it.  Strewn among their work, was a few of "Granny's" letters.  What a remarkable woman she was.  Entering heaven at 102 years of age, each day faithfully serving her God.  I loved this lady. Upon her death, she donated her brain to The University of Georgia in Athens, having participated in an age study there.  She was blessed with such clarity of mind and soul. Granny was a letter writer and her  penmanship was impressive as well, her attention to detail, divine.  My favorite part of each letter that I received or read was the last paragraph.  As I read, I anticipated this particular section, I knew I would be receiving my own personal benediction.  On Dec. 22, 1978 she writes,

Another letter ended with:

I can't help but to be reminded of the t-shirt Samantha was wearing her last day on this earth! The shirt bore a cross on the back and written on it was,"Where love is, life is full.  "God is LOVE!" 1 John 4:8.

 On another occasion, Granny writes to my father, concerning the death and resurrection of my mother.  She comments on her letter ministry, which my grandmother began at 92 years of age, and the words of comfort and consolation that she sends to each member of her church family that has lost a loved one, that year.  She reflects on the human tendency to feel reluctant to be joyful and happy, after death.  She is at her writing best, when she offers her pray for each family, then for my father, in particular. Praying for him to have "a sweet new attitude about death." Praying for his future happiness and dictating to him, that, "It comes through God!"

David's father, Sam (yes, my daughter Sam is named after David's dad) suffered a tragic fall on the stairs of the New Orleans Arena during a New Orleans Hornets game, on the eve of Thanksgiving 2004.  The fall resulted in paralysis from the neck down and a 7 month stay in the hospital from where, he entered heaven.
Each day David visited with his father, our children were young, his father was an hour or more away from our home and he was bed ridden, nonverbal, and paralyzed, yet another tragic accident with life changing consequences.  My Granny had plenty to say concerning David's fathers death and what she wanted to seer upon David's soul.  She writes to David:


My Sam, was born with a club foot that required surgical correction at the precious, tender age of 6 months.  Granny, steered me and David to depend on God, as our Great Physician. She writes,

For today, this is the last letter I will reference but, it is so powerful.  In this letter she writes to my mother, following a honor bestowed upon my her, Jean Adams Battle, for years of service at her church, Parkway Presbyterian Church, Metairie, LA.  My mother served as the Preschool Director there.  My grandmother is so proud but, my favorite, are her words of duty that she commands of my mother.  Granny writes:

I couldn't resist, the next letter is so ironic to me.  Granny thinks she is nearing death, little did she know of God's plans for her. She continued to bless this world with another 25 years or so of ministry!! Her words are a treat and make me smile, knowing what I know now:

And she writes to me, concerning Brooke:

Following is the prayer she wrote and prayed on my wedding day:

Of course, she wasn't without thoughts for Samantha, upon her birth she sends these words:

Just one of the many birthday cards Samantha received from Granny:

  I often wonder, "What would Granny write to "me", at a time like "this"!?" I believe her words of wisdom and truth would be very similar to what she told my dad and my husband, "Cast your sorrows aside; as Christian we are not to fear death; it is now a time to rejoice !" Oh, I am sure, am absolutely sure she would comfort and console me, but rest assured she would undoubtedly write to strengthen my spirit, to increase my dependence on God and to look to Him for total healing and peace.  She clearly stated, to my father that, "It only comes through God."

I don't know all the answers to the questions, but I do know how to google.  I told myself that it was ok to not know everything before I began this project.  The fear of being perceived as and realizing myself, that I was ignorant, unschooled in the Bible, not knowing something I should have known would have erected a barricade. So, I admitted my ignorance, accepted that I have so much to learn and began researching. A question nagged me, what did the Bible say or did the Bible have a story about passing down faith from generation to generation?   I found, 2 Timothy 1:5 this scripture tells me, as it ought to be, "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.  This is the passing of faith from grandmother, to mother, to child. It is the passing of faith from generation to generation to generation.  Reverend Mark Steiger, in his essay, A Treasure of Faith,  in exploring this scripture, reveals how and where faith is passed down.  He states,

Granny, you taught me well! Thank you for writing and sharing the song of your soul with me.  You and mom passed down the faith to the next generation!  You laid the foundation for my very soul!!! Because of you I can begin to mindfully, massage and mold ""my" sweet new attitude about death."

I pray, I can pass this peaceful life-giving baton, as well as you!


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