By way of update, the girls are doing well. It is amazing to me how resilient they seem to be. They are still sad and miss their big brother, but they are at the same time such happy little girls. They still have their sense of humor and it does my heart well to hear them laugh and play every day. They very much enjoy talking about the happy times with Brandon and love looking through pictures of the good times we shared.
Tim seems to be doing well. He missed Brandon especially this past Saturday when he went to play softball at church. Brandon thoroughly enjoyed tagging along with Papa to softball and he enjoyed fetching the balls during practice or games. Tim’s the only man in the house again. He probably misses the physical punching and kicking banter they shared.
As for me, just when I think I am doing fine, another wave of emotion comes over me, knocking me right off my feet. A flashback resurfaces, the “what ifs” come back, the denial, the anger, the confusion, the worry of not being able to reach Tim again if I need him. Every place, every food, every event, every song, every scent reminds me of the fact that sweet Brandon is not here, nor will he ever be here again, and the tears fall and it’s hard to get them to stop once they begin.
This past weekend there was a brief moment where the fog of my own crisis settled long enough for me to look around at other people who are hurting as well.
I saw a wife and mother of 3 who has been fighting cancer for many years. I can’t name one part of her body that cancer has not invaded. It seems like one flame of cancer gets put out, just to have another flame pop up somewhere else on her body. I saw another mother who has just been told her young son has a terminal disease and there is nothing more they can do. They have exhausted any and all options. I saw others who have miscarried several times, another mother who had a still-born baby, a 3-year-old girl died in a car accident; 2 people have lost their fathers; one has lost a mother. Numerous soldiers have deployed leaving behind grieving wives and children.
While all of these difficulties of life can become so overwhelming to me, I still believe we can find comfort and encouragement when we look to the Cross. I think of that old hymn that says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Last week in Bible study we read John 8:29. The part of the verse that stood out to me was this: And He (God the Father) that sent me (Jesus) is with me. The Father has not left me alone. It struck me that even in the darkest hours of Christ’s life on the Cross, the Father did not leave Him alone. Those of us who are Christians have the incredible peace in knowing that we are not alone in our darkest hours either. The Holy Spirit leads, guides and comforts us. Additionally, the Holy Spirit leads and guides other Christians to serve those people who are hurting or who are in need.
I see evidence of this in the last month very clearly. Some have been led to give money to help with the burden of our funeral expenses. Others gifted with hospitality have brought us meals. Those gifted with compassion have listened as I’ve spilled my heart out and cried. They’ve given hugs. Some have sent out notes of encouragement. I had one dear friend make a c.d. mix with all kinds of encouraging, uplifting godly music. I've already listened to this c.d. 20 times! Others have given me helpful books, DVDs or other resources that have encouraged my grieving heart. Many have prayed on our behalf.
Thank you ever single one of you. All of these things have gone so far in getting us through this past month. Paul would be so proud to see you guys living out this passage of Scripture:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
(Ephesians 4:1-7 ESV)
Thanks again for everything!