Monthly Archives: April 2016

4/23/16 In good hands

Hey sweetie,

You’ll be happy to hear that Mil-Mil’s belly issues are getting a lot better.  She’s had something awful going on since late November.  Remember when I used to get so mad at her for going in the house, and you would give me the saddest look whenever I yelled at her.  I was so frustrated and angry-she was ruining the house!  Why couldn’t she just bark, or scratch at the door when she had to go!  Of course you didn’t see it that way, that was your Mil-Mil and it was just a rug.  Remember that time you stepped right in her poop with your bare feet-she had gone right next to the Christmas tree-and you immediately started to freak out.  I scooped you up in my arms and carried you to the bathtub.  Mommy took care of the dirty work downstairs while I had the pleasure of washing your little toes in the tub(after we had rinsed all the nastiness off).  I can still picture it, you sitting on the side of the tub, your arm around neck.  I’m so thankful that I have those little moments to hold on to.

Anyways, I’ve been much more sympathetic to Mil-Mil’s issue and I’m really glad it’s finally starting to get better.  Maybe the house will start to smell like something other that dog poop 🙂

The house…I wish I knew what to do.  I’m afraid that no matter what, I’ll make the wrong decision. Actually, I’m pretty sure that I lose either way.  I can’t simply filter out all the painful memories from the happy memories here.  Mommy and I went on a walk the other day and I noticed some scratch marks on the stop sign post where your bus stop was.  Sure enough, “Clara” was written right on the post.  It was a devastating moment for both of us.  Will it always feel that way?  I just don’t know.

I’ve been working really hard lately to target the thoughts that send me on that downward spiral everyday.  I found that there is at least one moment, every day, where I “realize” that you are not with me anymore.  That moment takes my breathe away , triggers a wave of negative thoughts and emotions and leaves me in a awful state.  How am I supposed to fight that?  I pray, but most times my prayers are simply begging for the hurt to stop.  Begging God to place his hands on me and say, “ok, that’s enough pain for today Luke“, and you know, sometimes I feel instantly comforted, but most of the time I am left to fight my own demons.  Most of the time, I lose.  I don’t believe I’m alone, and I guess losing requires some perspective.  By losing, I mean: I feel terrible, consumed by grief, overcome with sorrow, etc.  But I’m still here, and I haven’t given up.

I know the way I want to feel, but it’s much different than the way I actually feel.  I miss you, there is no getting around that, but I want to miss you like I used when I would wait for you to get off the bus.   Thinking about your smiling face, hoping there was a big hug waiting for me, eager to hear all about your day.  That is how I want to miss you, looking forward, not back.  Anxiously waiting, not painfully remembering.  This involves a tremendous amount trust.  Trust, that we are both in the very capable hands of a good and perfect father.  As an imperfect father, one that would give anything, do anything, for you, I have to accept that a perfect one knows how take care of his children.  Jesus is no doubt demonstrating his love for you in a way beyond my comprehension, and that is a comforting thing to believe in.  He’s got you, I can let go.  I don’t need to look back, I have every reason to look forward.  C.S Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity: “The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God.”  That doesn’t apply perfectly, after all, you aren’t some thing I can give, but giving is something that I think I need to process/accept in my mind to be able to move forward.  After all, isn’t this just a really sad part of a story that has a great ending?  And where would I be if I hadn’t accepted the Lord’s invitation?  I would have nothing beyond that what this world offers.  I would be lost.  Instead, I see this world for what it really is, and more importantly…what it isn’t.  Again, C.S Lewis nails it: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”

I need to have that “bus stop” mentality…I bet you’ll have some amazing stories to tell me and I can’t wait to hear all about them!

With ALL my love,

Daddy

 

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4/15/2016 Some Day

Clara,

Hey beautiful, I could really use one of those smiles right now.  One of those, I can make you smile no matter how bad things are, smiles.  Thomas Dorsey’s song “Peace in the Valley” as become a song I’ve really connected to.

by Thomas A. Dorsey

I am tired and weary but I must toil on
Till the Lord come to call me away
Where the morning is bright and the Lamb is the light
And the night is fair as the day

There’ll be peace in the valley for me some day
There’ll be peace in the valley for me
I pray no more sorrow and sadness or trouble will be
There’ll be peace in the valley for me

There the flow’rs will be blooming, the grass will be green
And the skies will be clear and serene
The sun ever shines, giving one endless beam
And the clouds there will ever be seen

There the bear will be gentle, the wolf will be tame
And the lion will lay down by the lamb
The host from the wild will be led by a Child
I’ll be changed from the creature I am

No headaches or heartaches or misunderstands
No confusion or trouble won’t be
No frowns to defile, just a big endless smile
There’ll be peace and contentment for me

The words “toil” and “some day” stand out right now.  It’s really hard work being anything other than miserable.  Despair feels like the easy path…the wide road.  I wear it well when I allow myself to be consumed with my loss.  Just yesterday I walked past a mirror and saw a white dust on the side of my face.  Tears had dried and left salt in the creases around my eyes.  I wasn’t surprised because I don’t bother to wipe them away anymore.  You’d be so disappointed to see me like this, but truth is, so am I.  Curing my sadness feels like an impossible task right now, which is why I have left it with the LORD, trusting that some day it will come.

   Unfortunately, that “some day” is not now, or any time soon.   There are times when I am distracted , like at work, and there are times when I feel uplifted, like at Church, or when I stumble across a bible verse that feels like it was written for the exact moment I was in, but those “highs” still settle back to a familiar and uncomfortable low.

  Sunday morning was cold and I had woken up much earlier than Mommy.  As I sat downstairs alone, I couldn’t help but think about how I wasn’t going to be able to smile to the sound of your bedroom floor creaking as you got out of bed.  I wan’t going to cozy you up in blankets, or fix you breakfast.  I’m forced to remember what that was like and those memories still cut deep and twist my stomach into knots.  I felt the same way yesterday after I cut the lawn for the first time this year, and for the first time without a you asking for a ride on the tractor.  I still remember the way your head felt against my shoulder as we rode though the yard.  And as if that wasn’t hard enough, I overlooked a freshly cut yard and was crushed when I thought about how there was no one here to play in it.  Everything “here” is like that.  I really  don’t know how I’m going to make it, again, I trust that to God.

  I try and control my thoughts as best as I can, but sometimes that feels like blowing on a tornado.  My thoughts and feelings are twisting around, the good with the bad, despair with hope, horrific moments with joyous ones,   grief with faith, they spin to the forefront of my mind violently and recklessly.   I beg God in prayer for help, to calm the storm, to set my mind right.  I’ll admit, I have a tough time with this one because I think about Jesus calming the storm, recorded Matthew, Mark and Luke.  I like all of them, but I really am partial to Mark’s account of it:

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41

Now, they were being threatened with a real storm, not just a metaphorical one that I’m using to describe my thoughts, but can I still apply the same message?  Can I trust in Him enough to just let the storm blow over, knowing that He loves me and won’t let me get swept away?

  “Be still”, those words came to me on Sunday afternoon.  I knew that was from a specific verse, I looked it up right away (it’s the first part of Psalm 46:10).   I already told you about my awful start to the day, but the afternoon was worse, much worse.  I believe I felt God’s presence three separate times on Sunday.  It was a really hard day for me emotionally and God knew that.  I’m hesitant to describe them because I’m afraid I’d do God a disservice in my feeble attempt to describe how I felt in those moments and what it meant for me.  I just know that he was there, and I really needed it.

  I really don’t know how to move forward.  I miss you, all day, every day.  Everything reminds me of you, and I’m beginning to think that the only way I could make through a day without crying would be to stay in bed all day and sleep.  But I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to hold Mommy’s hand, put one foot forward and trust that he knows what is best for us from here on out.

I love you always,

Daddy

4/9/2016 I miss…

Hey Beautiful,

I miss having you around so much.  I had a lot of stuff about me and my week without you to write about, but it’s going to have to wait for another day because I want to take a minute to just list out some things that I miss and love about you.

  • I miss seeing your face for the first time every morning.  It always gave me my first smile of the day
  • I miss you standing right next to me while I made your oatmeal in the morning
  • I miss you standing in the pantry, putting on your best smile and hearing you ask” I know you’re going to say no, but…can I have a special treat?”
  • I miss seeing you go through a whole pack of gum in a day.
  • I miss watching you flip through photo albums, or pictures of animals on the computer so contently
  • I love how sweet you are.  If Mommy and I ever wanted a hug, we got it.
  • I miss holding you when you were hurt or upset.  It’s a different kind of hug
  • I miss hearing you giggle, it made it impossible to hold back a laugh
  • I miss talking to you in the car
  • I miss singing with you in the car and the game we would play with each new song that came on.  I’d say: “Keep it, change it or turn it up?”  You’d usually say “Keep it and turn it up!!”
  • I miss getting you unbuckled, your little fingers still weren’t strong enough to unsnap the buckle yet.
  • I love that you always paid attention in the car and always knew when we where taking a different way.
  • I love that you were so good on long car rides
  • I miss hearing you say, “Ugh…not another red light!”
  • I miss rolling all the windows down while we were driving on a really nice day and yelling “Aaaahhhhh!!!”
  • I miss looking at you in my rear view mirror, especially when you were asleep.
  • I miss reaching my right hand back at a stop light and having you hold it.
  • I really, really, really miss holding your hand.
  • I really, really, really miss watching you swing.
  • I miss watching you run.  You really loved to run.
  • I miss you being outside with me on a nice day.
  • I miss getting fresh picked flowers
  • I miss you riding on the tractor with me
  • I miss walking home from the bus stop
  • I miss you riding on my shoulders and trying to cover my eyes as I walked
  • I miss you holding my hands, walking up my legs and flipping over 
  • I miss you asking me to carry you like a princess: I would link my hands together for you to sit on as you put your back against my chest
  • I miss you riding on the shopping cart right in front of me.  You would just lean back against my chest as I pushed.
  • I miss seeing your face as I read a good report from your teacher.
  • I miss listening to music, singing and dancing together while I cooked dinner.
  • I miss watching cartoons and animal shows
  • I miss getting notes and pictures that said ” I love mommy, daddy, sissy”
  • I miss seeing how excited you would get when I told you sissy would be here in the morning
  • I miss you running and jumping into my arms when you were happy to see me
  • I miss seeing you and mommy painting your nails 
  • I miss letting you brush my hair and put little clips in it.
  • I miss brushing your hair, and putting it up in pony tails, or watching you pick out clips to put in it. 
  • I miss seeing you hide from Mommy before she would walk in the door.  You loved to surprise her
  • I miss you helping Mommy and I empty the dishwasher
  • I miss you always wanting to help put my belt through the loops
  • I miss watching you love on Miller, she’s not the same without you either.
  • I miss seeing how excited you would get when we saw the bunny in our yard.  We had one in the back yard at both houses, sadly, we haven’t seen the bunny here since.
  • I miss you falling asleep on me 
  • I miss carrying you to bed after you had fallen asleep somewhere else
  • I miss bed time stories.  
  • I miss humming to you in bed as you drifted off to sleep
  • I miss you playing with the whiskers on my chin when you got really tired
  • I miss checking on you one last time before I went to bed
  • I miss getting up in the middle of the night to tuck you back in

Those are just a few of the things that I really miss…I could go on and on.  And then, there are things I really miss about who you are.  I believe they are eternal, and remind me of who I am going to embrace again one day.

  • I love that you are so helpful to others and so thoughtful with regard to their feelings
  • I love how brave you are. 
  • I love how giving you are, and how you loved the response you got from giving
  • I love that you trust me 
  • I love that you love me
  • I love that you make me a better person

I will see you again my love.  My time on this earth is finite, that is a truth.   Jesus Christ’s interaction with children in the gospel leads me to believe that you were welcomed into his kingdom with love, another wonderful truth.  I don’t know where I’d be with out that.  Finally, Jesus Christ has promised me an eternal life after I am done serving him here, even though I don’t deserve it, that is the greatest truth.

I miss you dearly,

Love,

Daddy

April 2, 2016 I Love Dandelions

Clara,

Hi sweetheart.  I miss you!  Spring is here and it isn’t the same without you.  I picked the first dandelion flower that bloomed in the front yard.  You would always pick them for mommy and I.  I would usually set it right by my cup holder in the car, but I’d frequently find them in the back seat as well.  I miss finding them, so much so that I rode to work with one this week.  I didn’t mind you picking them either, I was always trying to get rid of those pesky weeds anyways.  I never had much luck getting rid of them.  Probably because you were always picking and blowing the seeds too.  I can picture you out in the yard collecting yellow flowers and blowing seeds like a bubbles across the yard. There are no seeds to blow yet, but I’ll smile when I see the first one.  No weed killer on this yard, not now, not ever.

I’ve done a great deal of thinking this week, meditating might be a better description for it.  It all really started on Easter.  I thought that I had mentally prepared myself.  I wanted it to be an emotionally uplifting day and I was so disappointed that it wasn’t.  Church was great, the service was great, the message was great.  Why did I feel so discouraged, so depressed all day afterward?  There was so much anger, but no one to be angry at.  With every picture I saw of you, it was sadness followed by rage…intense, teeth clenching rage.  I got even more angry that I couldn’t find peace, of all the days since, this was supposed to be the day I felt peace just a little bit.  Once your angry, its really easy to stay angry, there are plenty of excuses, it feels natural.  Why wouldn’t I be angry?  Grief counselors, books, they all tell you that it’s normal to feel angry.  Well, I don’t like it and I prayed for God to help me with it.  I can handle being sad, and I’m OK with that sticking around for a while, but I don’t like the anger.  Monday was more of the same until Sissy and I left for Virginia that evening.  We were going to visit two colleges the next day, but we had long drive to make that night.  I enjoy spending time with Sissy in the car, sometimes she sleeps, but a lot of times we talk.  Those conversations would probably never happen at home, or on the phone.  As we got closer, my mind started to wander.  Last time I was down here, you were with me, right in the back seat.   Could I just pretend that you are there still?  Maybe I could live my whole life in that state…just pretending. You’re just outside playing, or at school, or visiting friends, or in your room sleeping.  I’ll just spend the rest of my life waiting for you to come around that corner.  No… I wish it were that simple, but that doesn’t align with where I believe you are now, and I’m not crazy.

I did feel better the next day though, walking Sissy around campus, seeing the excitement on her face.  I felt the best I have since you moved on, dare I say, happy.  It was a gorgeous day, we made it to both tours on time and things really couldn’t have gone any better.  It was a “beautiful” reminder, I can still feel something other than this terrible pain.  It is possible to feel good, and I felt good most of the day,  right up until I dropped her off and got back on the road home.  There it was again, anger and rage.  I’ll never walk you around a beautiful college campus.  I won’t get to be happy with you.  What did I do deserve this?  Was I really such a bad person?  Was this really the only way?  It had to be my fault, surely somewhere I messed up.  I was a wreck, I couldn’t keep it together.  I was having such a good day, why is this happening now?  It’s as if I was…being attacked.  The doubts, anger, reminders of what I lost.  They’re all being whispered in my ear, and I’m listening.  I thought about that the rest of the way home.  Is my mind really wondering into these dark places, is this just another “phase” in the grief process, or am I prey to a powerful adversary.  I would have thought talk like that was nonsense two months ago, I know better now.  Coincidentally, Mommy had just listened to a sermon on this topic and when I shared my thoughts with her, she told me to listen to this message.  There are no coincidences, are there my love?  Not with this.  It was just what I needed to hear, right when I needed to hear it.  Surely, you are amazed how it all works as well.  The message I got was that I am going to have to train my mind and my thinking ( SermonAudio ).   I’ve been able to keep my anger at bay since listening to that message and have been able to find some peace.  There will ALWAYS be hope, hope to the end.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ( 1 Peter 3-9 )

I love you so much Claire-bear.  Tears still fall every day, that is seemingly impossible to avoid, but in the last few days the devastating, soul-crushing sadness seems to have been lifted off my shoulders and I’ve been able to really enjoy thinking about you.  We WILL be together again.  This IS more than this.  It is so apparent once you’ve seen it, once your eyes have been opened.  The world, the universe, the galaxies…they are so spectacular.  Scientists will never run out of questions to find answers for, and I think the majority of answers are really, really awesome, but they just instill more awe in me over what God has created.  Yes, created.  I think most people would come to the same conclusion if they really thought hard about how it “all” got started, it’s a shame that most won’t accept that the answer has been given to us already.

I think of you whenever I see a beautiful sunset, blooming trees, still waters, green pastures, the list goes on and on.  Surely it is even more spectacular in heaven, and one day we’ll be amazed together.

Love,

Daddy