Sunday, February 24, 2013


Flip-I feel pain. Flip-I am okay with it. Flip-it hurts deep and hard. Flip-I am just living. Flip-I look at her pictures. Flip-I realize today is today and not four years ago. Flip-I feel the person I was back then. Flip-I live in the reality of today.

Today. Today. I don't like this date. February 19. The year changes but 2/19 still happens every year. I go through the motions. I know what time I tried to get up that morning, and what time I tried to eat breakfast. What time Merlin left for a meeting, what time I called the ambulance, what time I started yelling at God to save my little girl from death. And then the dreaded time at 10:45 which I could never quite figure out. That time was significant to me for months after her death. I would stop, not knowing what time it was, and start crying. After weeks went by I finally figured out that it was the same time every Thursday. I have always wondered if that is when she died.

Time: I like that it has moved on, but I would like for it to stop. I like the healing it has brought to my life, but it has brought distance in the form of reality between Kira and I. I like it and yet I hate it. Hate is a strong word, but time is really repulsive in this form, and yet not at the same time. Our family has changed, grown older, another child has been born and another one on the way. Time is simply the only element that could have forced that to happen. One thing we could not stop; I have learned to accept time and the healing it brings. And really, if all fails, the mirror will remind me that time is not four years ago. The gray hairs soon flip me forward to 2013.

The one thing time cannot erase is my memory. It has stayed and will stay with me. In the muddle of my emotions I still remember the trauma of her sickness and death. I still have flashes of fear, and I still feel the PTSD rising. I feel the muscle tension the trauma left me to deal with. It goes away, but if not cared for properly, comes back. I remember the horror of reality at those moments.

But I don't feel called to go back there. My heart strongly says...flip, over. To now.

Today. February 19, 2013 is raining and dreary. Last year I would have snorted and said "it matches." Today I say "Okay, let it rain. I don't mind." I call that healing. Today I look back on the past year and somewhat measure the distance I've covered. A few weeks ago I realized that I only drink Tear Soup a few times a month anymore. (Read "Tear Soup" if you don't know what I mean). And when I do drink it, I have to get it out of the freezer and warm it up. Even then, I don't drink much at a time. It doesn't feel right. I get this strong feeling from my heart that God would be more honored if I would use the energy that I have to care for the ones that are here. After all, it was just last week that I found their boots outside in the yard. A few moments later I located the children gleefully running around barefoot. They admitted the snow they found in the shadows was a bit cold on their feet. Today is today.

I can honestly say for the first time in four years that I am glad today is today. Yes, the coin flips back and forth with my emotions, but I am not confused or disoriented; nor am I weeping. Yes, I feel morbid. That is unavoidable. I woke up feeling morbid before I realized the date. That is a body clock thing.

Even the flipping of this coin seems to be okay. The redemption side calls me so much more strongly than the other side. I know with all my heart that my pain has been redeemed.

Today I stand at the foot of the cross and softly say "Thank You" to my Redeemer. This journey of pain has been difficult, but God's grace has been in equal measures. I also say "Thank you" to the many people that have embraced this journey with me the whole way, or even in bits and snatches, or at different times. I am so grateful.

No, I do not consider myself to have attained. This one thing I do; I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Until then...


Monday, January 7, 2013

Still Missing

Missing, missing, missing something? It has been three years and some months since this feeling appeared, and still it haunts me. Yes, differently than three years ago. I am grateful for that, although the tradeoff of missing my daughter is equally painful. But truly, ugly as it may seem, time does promote healing.

This feeling sometimes happens at the grocery store...I look around to make sure the children are all with me. The oddness of looking for someone I can no longer see is unsettling, disorienting. I still forget that she left in the chariot, dancing. Life seems more normal now, and the missing feeling catches me off guard. My friend put words to this feeling when she told me how for a few minutes she was looking for her daughter at an amusement park. Yes, that's how I feel, but I never find her.

Some days I think of life as if it never changed. For example, the first day of this school year, what would have been the first day of first grade for Kira. I stood for a few minutes outside the door of first grade. I looked at her classmates, all shiny, scared, and happy. I looked at the mothers I was standing with. The pain was too raw. I left for the safety of my vehicle with tears streaming. It was strange, with me standing there wishing I could see Kira inside. The other mothers stood there wishing their babies would not have grown so quickly. I felt oddly backwards, turned around.

One day this feeling hit me in the gut. I was sewing and the house was quiet. I woke the boy and girl from their naps and drove to school to pick up Marlea and several others. I think I must have been off in la-la-land somewhere. Marlea came to the van and the two other boys that ride along. They got in and sat down. For a split second I waited for Kira, then reality jerked me back again. How could I still wait for someone after three years at a place she had never attended? This action reminded me of people who talk about still feeling their amputated arms or legs years later, phantom pain. Yes, she was part of me, but gone from the reality I now live. Just harsh reality returning to my peaceful brain. And yet I was surprised at myself. Either way, I am thankful I can still feel and thankful I still miss her.

I love Christmas, decorating for Christmas, and Christmas music. Yet I am tempted to wake up Christmas morning and feel grumpy, the same as last Christmas and the two before it. I struggle to enjoy the joy in the day. How do joy and sorrow mix anyway?

My frustration is perhaps tinged with a bit of bitterness, or is it self-centeredness? God only has these words for me, which mellow me every time "I sent my Son, that is what Christmas is about." Simply and to the point; nothing else, just these words. How truly those words bring to focus the real meaning of Christmas, and really, life itself!

Oh God of this imperfect world: May your life and the Holy Spirit live inside me. Somewhere God, in this muddle of missing someone that is not in my sight anymore, may I grow more and more to appreciate the tears that must have run down your cheeks that fateful, yet wonderful day on the cross. May I more fully claim the redemption that became possible from your Gift in regard to my own wounded heart. But most of all Lord, thank you for the gift of your own Son to this grief-stricken earth. Thank you for your plan of the redemption, resurrection, and hope beyond the grave. O death, where is your victory?!