Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shaken

"And He will come to us like the rain."
Hosea 6:3

I decided that Jesus was my life when I was 2.
I gave Bible sermons from my "pulpit" for anyone who would listen.
And for years we had this mutual give and take relationship.
He would give...and I would take.
I lived by faith.
And faith alone.

"He always knew that my temple was a house of cards.
His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down."
C.S. Lewis

My daughter died.
And I crumbled.
Empty.
Broken.
Abandoned. 
"If this is the type of God I am supposed to follow...
I would rather walk alone."

And I let darkness surround me
while I fell to my knees.
All on my terms.
I felt myself reaching out to a God
who simply wasn't there.

"Perhaps your own reiterated cries 
deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear."
C.S. Lewis 

The truth is
my heart had not been silent enough to even hear God.
I was so busy screaming through the pain...
and fearing that God would not show up
that I missed Him.

My wounds had been ripped open.
They bled out the hurt, the sorrow, the anger.
The gut wrenching reality that nothing I could do
in this earthly life
would ever bring her back.

The "faith alone" that I lived for years?
Shaken.
How easy was it...
 that in one, single breath...like a house of cards...
it could be blown over?
What kind of faith was that?

So I silenced myself.
I forced myself to face God.
Unrestrained.
Without fear.
Empty handed
and brokenhearted.

"Meet me...

God
will use 
this pain.

Because this story
is far from over.

"I carried you on eagles' wings
and brought you to myself."
Exodus 19:4




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

She Said "Yes"

"Hope is not found in a way out
but a way through."
Robert Frost

On the other side of grief...
beyond the sorrow 
and weeping...
there was a greater story unfolding.


Forever ours...
Harper Jubilee


"'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord,
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11


Friday, May 23, 2014

What Remains

"His grief he will not forget;
but it will not darken his heart,
it will teach him wisdom."
J.R.R. Tolkien


In April, Ethan celebrated a year of life outside
of the hospital.
One whole year with his family.
And on May 10, he turned 4 years old.


The last 6 months have been filled with God
revealing Himself in more ways than I could ever imagine.


I look at this life...
these children...
there is abundant joy. 
She was part of us.
She will always be.


This is what remains...


"And now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:13

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Six Months Gone


"Now at last they were beginning Chapter One
of the Great Story
which no one on earth has read: 
which goes on for ever: 
in which every chapter is better than the one before." 
C.S. Lewis

Life will never be the same without you, baby girl.
But you will be honored through the life you left behind.
Your legacy will always live on, Haven Joy.

Haven Anniversary Slideshow from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Divided

"There will come a time
when you believe everything is finished.
That will be the beginning."
Louis L'Aomour

Time has passed.
The world 
seems a bit brighter.
A new season...
Hope.


I have come to realize that there is nothing tangible
in this world that will ease the pain.
And somehow...
that helps.

There is no getting better.
Time does not heal.
We flip between peace and anguish.
Strength and weakness.
We smile again.
Slowly...we breathe.
And life goes on.

We stand divided.
And I have learned that it is possible to be in both worlds
We can have joy...
and sorrow.
We can embrace the complexity of grief
with long-suffering.
And ultimately we can
allow ourselves to live again.
There is freedom in realizing this.
And with that freedom comes healing.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Now...
we will watch as God works.
He will make something beautiful out of this, too.

"This is not how it ends..."

"Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Holding On



I find myself holding on...
to her favorite blanket,
the drawing that she made that morning,
the framed picture that has forever captured her beautiful smile.

I cannot bring myself to put away her pink birthday dress,
the last ribbon that still has a few strands 
of her hair attached,
her sippy cup.

And still...
I feel her slipping.

I cannot relive those final moments.
The sound of ambulance sirens makes my heart race.
And I never want to step foot in a hospital again.
I remember the eerie silence,
the faces of strangers,
footsteps echoing in the long hallway.
I remember the coldness of the night 
and the first snowflakes falling as grief and shock consumed me.

The memories come in flashes. 
I see her in my dreams...
I hear her sweet laughter.
I reach for her...
and she fades.

I sound redundant. 
I smile and play the role well 
because I know what is expected.
People don't ask anymore
and I fear that she has long been forgotten.

At home
we are moving towards honoring her...
preserving her memory.
I want our children to be strong...
resilient. 
And they are.
I do not want them to fear death.
I want them to know that this life
is not the prize.
They still choke back tears
and their voices crack when they talk about her.
But they have found beauty...
even in death.
They remind us of her.
And their connection to that past is healing.
They want to go back to the places she liked best.
They want to feel her again.

"Remember when we took Haven to the beach?"

"Remember how much Haven loved our picnics in the woods? 
I can't wait until summer to go again."

"Remember how Haven could use chopsticks better than anyone?"

It is so difficult to think of the future...
one without her.

"We cannot understand.
The best is perhaps what we understand the least."
C.S. Lewis

Death is a constant in life...
and I find this ever growing need to make sense of such a profound loss.
Perhaps I shouldn't.

There are memories to relive...
footsteps to retrace.
Places that we will find her again.
There will be a moment when the past and present collide.
She is with us still. 
We hear her voice singing along to her favorite song.
I catch the sunlight streaming at the very right moment
and I remember how it reflected in her eyes.
We visit the woods she loved so much...
we feel her.
And it all comes back.

"You were here...I remember it."



Sunday, March 9, 2014

4 Months Ago...

"Her absence is like the sky,
spread over everything."
C.S. Lewis

I could see her future.
But as I was writing her story in my mind...God had already written hers.
And they did not end the same.

In my story...I could see her growing into a beautiful young woman.
I could see her living a life filled with joy and hope. I envisioned sharing memories and laughter that would carry her into adulthood.

But the reality is her little body had already started working against her. Long before anyone realized it. And while we knew she was terribly complicated and medically complex...we did not know the missing piece. She was terminal.

And nothing in the world could buy her more time.

That day everything changed. And for 4 months we've been living with a grief that encompasses us. It tears my heart and threatens to destroy the faith I've had my entire life.

Thank you cards sit undelivered on my table. Words left unsaid. These little things that post-grief feel like they will only bring unwanted closure.

I spent the first 2 months numbed by shock and carried by this little net of amazing family and friends who picked up the shattered pieces. And I moved into a state of anger. Predictable. I watched myself going through the motions of grief. Bitter...that a God I serve would choose to take my daughter. Resentment at people who dared to complain about things that simply didn't matter. Because nothing matters anymore. Not when you've experienced loss.

And then it lifted...and there is sadness. A consuming sadness that leaves me raw and vulnerable.
With a longing...that is desperate. 
And an ache that proves futile.
Some days I feel like I am on a neverending quest to breathe again.

I miss her.
I miss everything about her.
.She filled our life with joy. 
  
"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together,
keep me in your heart.
I'll stay there forever."
A.A. Milne


Thank you to my amazing friend, Caleb Lococo for his time and dedication to honoring our precious Haven through this video: http://caleblococophoto.blogspot.com/