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.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Half Way

Why is it, when I write it empties my thoughts? Once I record "it", I can let "it" go, just a bit more. I know I've been breathing since January 16th but, not deep breaths, only shallow breaths. Like,  I periodically hold my breath. Making sure I "really" did it, having to wait a few more days to ensure that "it" really is past me, making sure I'm not going to go backwards and have a meltdown.  These are such new feelings, new thoughts, new scenarios that sometimes I don't know what to expect from myself?  So, to try to help myself, I need to record these few days.

Unfortunately or fortunately, I am aware of the the proven symptoms of grief. So, as the 6 month mark began to manifest, I am already owning the knowledge that the days prior to the "actual day" are sometimes more anxiety filled, than the "day" itself.  I wonder, how will "I" be - how will "I" feel - how will "I" act?  (It is like an out of body experience, I am watching, listening and searching myself, through all of this.) I thought I was doing ok! But, the evening of the 15th, brought with it a tumultuous thunderstorm causing a major mudslide.  (I made it all the way to the evening hours of the 15th - I think that's pretty good) A simple conversation with others twisted into a surge of doubt, within me. I began to question myself, wondering whether I had made the best decisions concerning Sam. I grappled with questions like, Did I raise her the best I could?, Did I have
her in the right activities, the right school, the right environments?, Did I love her enough,  Did I tell her I loved her enough?, Did I spend enough time with her?  Did I teach her enough?  Did I praise her and discipline the correct way?;  I was losing it, sliding deeper and deeper down that slippery slope.  The worst of the thoughts that night was, there was nothing I could do about it now.  It was done - I couldn't fix the mistakes, change the course, rewrite the script.  David and I have been taught how to deal with these landslides - so he handled it as instructed. He is the doctor on-duty when I can't help myself.

My eyes opened, and it was the 16th; 6 months, it was here. I paused to check my surroundings, I took note that I was breathing, David was next to me and my room was intact. Those were steadfast signs to me - but they brought the realization that I had to get up and "live" this day. Really, I thought - how am I suppose to feel about this day - am I to be happy that I have been carried this far or sad Samantha has been gone that long or better yet is this day a big deal at all?  I thought to myself, " anniversaries are of this world - "man made" time increments - is this really a day that I need to mark as important within myself?  I didn't have the answer so, I put my feet to the floor and headed for the coffee.  I poured a cup, and walked to the front door, focused on the rising sun knowing, I was scared to face the day. Yuck, I thought, this is not going to be a fun one. I wanted to fix myself  before David and Brooke woke up. (I'm the barometer - if I'm good everyone else is better.) I looked out the window and I prayed - I confessed my fear, my anxiety, and politely pleaded with God to just let me know he was still close or maybe He could let me know Sam was "good." Just something, anything! I caught myself asking for more, I fussed at myself - how could I ask for more - ( I have since been reminded it is ok to ask but, not to demand) and I know 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells me, "We walk by faith, not by sight." So, as to not get in trouble with Him, I quickly changed my prayer.  I changed it to the sweet thoughts sent to me on my birthday - another one of "those" days:

This was a nice way of asking for what I wanted - I thought - a reasonable request - sweet gentleness from Heaven -  it worked on my birthday! I was done - I had prayed - I walked away from the door - ready to "do" the day. Next stop, my devotional, "Jesus Calling" - the words on the page were clear instructions to me:

I read it out loud to David, I read it out loud to Brooke - it told me "Don't relive that day!" I was to live January 16th, not relive July 16th!!  I can do that - I was excited - I knew how to do "this" day. While walking, I noticed a red bird nestled in the plant. Immediately, my thoughts returned to the book  "The Gift of the Red Bird" by  Paula D"Arcy. This 3 month pregnant woman was slammed with the loss of her 3 yr old daughter and husband by colliding with a drunken driver.  Her journey was great - she made mistakes - her healing did not come quickly, after approximately 7 years she found true peace. Immediately, the memory of her story strengthened me . Returning home, my niece met me, only to share with me, her dream from the previous night.  She dreamed of Sam, in a bright yellow sundress, happy and in our home.  It was necessary for me to remind her that this day was "6 months." I asked her to jot the dream down.  So, before noon, I know within myself that I received 3 sweet, heavenly blessings to help me ease through that day.  With gratefulness, a shaky confidence and a constant gentle pressure within myself not to go backwards, I lived, January 16th.   

It is necessary to remember Brooke's behavior on the 17th.  This was the first day she actually left school because of a peak in emotions.  In the past, she has experienced "bad days" at school but, she has been able to ward off leaving school by using the resources provided  to her while there.  Not this day. Escaping, was the only relief.  On the 16th, she felt the sadness of the 16th, but ignored it for the sake of me. On the 17th, I was glad she came home;  she recognized and respected her feelings. I was thankful for her weakened state. On the 17th, I was stronger and able to listen and be present. (On the 16th, I was deeply committed to conquering another conflict.)  I was able to fill her soul, to comfort her, and to love her. I communicated to her that not only is she grieving the loss of her sister, that she herself, mind, body and soul was involved in a traumatic accident with life changing consequences.  I made her realize that she needed to heal, not just me and dad.   Just as I write this, I think of  2 Corinthians 12:9, " My grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Brooke definitely has her own sadness, disorientation and fear. They are different from mine. I can't change them, but I was "there."

The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in my day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him.  
Nahum 1:7

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