Saturday, December 29, 2012
Holidays are hard.
Especially for those who have lost someone in the last year...
The parties. The gatherings. The laughter.
Sometimes you wonder if they remember.
The Christmases have gone by for me. 10 of them now.
I have gone to the parties. The gatherings. The laughter has been mine.
Still sometimes I wonder if they remember.
My birthday is on Christmas Eve.
A day where I know I will sing, Silent Night and think about the greatest gift, and the gifts He gave me.
And I will think about that silent night when he was born.
The silent delivery room.
The silence when he arrived.
I will sing, as silent tears fall.
Like Mother's Day, I have mixed feelings every Christmas Eve.
This year, my mom handed me a bag with two boxes in it.
I opened the first and saw a beautiful necklace.
A family of birds sitting on a branch.
2 big birds.
4 little birds.
I couldn't really look at it. Are those two things on the end of the branch butterflies?
My mom shook her head no.
"They are just leaves."
"I think they're butterflies."
My heart hurt a little and I choked back tears. Ten years but certainly she remembered. My mom who has listened to my journey~ walked it with me. My mom who once answered that questions "How many grandchildren do you have?" with, "My son has two and my daughter has four 'at home'."
Yes. I heard. I hear it all.
We all do.
How could she forget.
I wanted to cry.
And then I opened the next box.
A pair of earrings.
Two birds that left the branch.
And flew away.
I love them more than you know.
I love more that you remembered.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
I know broken.
I know numb.
I know empty.
I know sad.
I know despair.
I know guilt.
I know anger.
I know release.
It has been nine years since we last laid eyes on our son and still it was a moment that will forever be frozen in time for me. I remember my husband. How he lost his voice. He couldn't talk for two days. He just sat. And stared. As tears rolled down his face.
I remember going through motions as the time passed. I heard people's laughter, but couldn't find my own. I couldn't smile. It hurt too much.
I walked along quietly. Often not knowing how I got from one place to another. Wondering how I would get out of bed. I would cry in the shower. Scream into my pillow. Sink to the floor.
I went back in time. Looked at my calendar. Replayed the days. Was there a change in movement I didn't feel? Why didn't I ask to be induced earlier. Why hadn't I let her strip my membranes to get things going. Why did I wait?
He shook his fist at God. Went toe to toe with him. How could He take our son? He went through the motions, went to church to appease me, but he wasn't really there. He turned his back for two years.
And then one day it came. I didn't cry. And I cried because of it.
He went to the garden. I heard his guitar sing.
Friday's events brought back many of those feelings for us as I am sure they did many in this community. That night as we drove to a Christmas party, we hardly felt like celebrating.
"How could God let this happen? Where IS He?"
He was angry. Furious. Broken.
I reminded him of the release. Of our road. Of the God that got me through. Got US through!
He yelled at me (at Him), "Where is He now?"
We stopped talking. Went through the motions of the evening. Put on our smiles.
Where is He?
He's with them. He's next to them in the silence, as the tears roll down. He walks with them in their haze as they cry in their showers, scream into their pillows, sink to the floor. He's beside them as they wonder why they sent them that day. He's facing them as they scream and curse His name screaming WHY? WHY DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?
And one day it will happen.
They will feel His presence.
They will have that sweet release.
A feeling of peace that covers you when you're ready.
Falls down over you like a flood.
That knowledge that they are OK and so too will you be.
You are not alone, they've left you with something you didn't think you'd ever find again.
On Saturday he apologized. He held me.
On Sunday he stood before our church and before he strummed his guitar he pointed out a lyric.
One that I had sung many times, but had never resonated with me like it did in that moment.
"And I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see.
Because this broken road, prepares Your will for me."
We have certainly walked a broken road. A road that at times I crawled.
But that road has helped me. It's shaped me. Prepared me. And I am so proud that I can call myself Andrew and E's mom. I can call myself blessed.
They won't get over this, but they will get through it.
These lives will not be in vain. They have shaped a parent. a sibling. a neighbor. a teacher. a town. a state. a country. the world.
And we will be blessed.
Friday, December 14, 2012
My Dear Children,
I wanted to write you about today but like I have shielded you from some of the details of the pain I went through when I lost Andrew and E, I know you aren't ready (nor should you be) to know about the horrific details of today. Still I know that today is a day that will go down in history and so I wanted to share with you my thoughts on it not on our family blog that you sometimes read but on the blog I imagine you will learn about one day, when you're ready.
On Sunday, we will sit you down and tell you that some very sad things happened in a school in another state. That some children died. We will pray for their families and I will tell you that I know that there may be some children that will talk about it in school but that some of them may not know the whole story and that sometimes they say things that aren't true. We will also tell you not to believe what you hear but to ask us and talk to us about it if you ever want to. And I hope you will. I also hope that you will not talk to others about it. That this can be scary or sad and that it is something children should talk about with their parents.
You have all (especially you, Jonasen) been very forthcoming with questions about sadness and sorrow and death. I pray that I can follow your lead as I have in the past. That God will give me the words I should tell you in a way that is appropriate for what your young hearts can handle. This has always been a fine line for me as I often wonder what my poor old heart can handle.
The sad truth is there is sadness in this world. As a teacher, I have heard some things that have made my heart sick. Losing your brother and sister made my heart sick and learning that there are so many more families grieving their children tonight makes me heartsick.
It makes me sad.
A coworker first asked me if I had heard the news. She told me there had been a school shooting and I assumed it was a high school somewhere. Then I learned of the number dead. Then I learned of the ages.
Zach. You are in kindergarten.
When I came home you wrapped your arms around me and told me you loved me and you'd never let go. I told you that you could stay that way forever. Today I felt that you could. Knowing that someone in this world would never have those five year old arms they felt just that morning wrap around their neck again, nearly broke me, but I didn't let it. The odd thing about sorrow is you are given just as much strength as you need to get you through a moment. Just enough to breathe in and out.
I haven't seen any pictures from today. I haven't heard any news stories. I'm not sure that I want to.
I also want you to know how fearful I am of guns. How the idea of having them in my school scares me. How having them in your school PETRIFIES me. I often wonder what is happening to our state, our country, the world... I sometimes wonder what God wants us to do with this. I hold my hands out and am still. I am used to having questions go unanswered. But still it makes my heart sick.
Last night we painted ornaments for Andrew. We painted ornaments for E. We painted ornaments for two other babies you and I had hoped would stay but left too soon. Life has some tremendous sadness and if you aren't careful, it can swallow you up.
That is what I am afraid of. I am afraid of the sadness and the anger that swallows you up. Because when it does, you are lost. I don't know, but I imagine those who commit such horror have been swallowed up. Lost.
So be kind to others. Smile often. Hug. Don't underestimate the power of a loving touch on someone's shoulder or asking someone how they are~ if you see someone getting swallowed up, hold out your hand. Rescue them. Just like there are tragedies in this world, there are also miracles. You were all a miracle to me. You can be a miracle to others.
Just like one lost soul can change the world, so can one brave soul. You can change the world by reaching out and saving someone. By being an ear.
The children are OK. They are in heaven and whole. Their families are not. They are in a lot of pain and will be for years and years to come and for that I am heartsick.
I love you,