Monthly Archives: May 2016

05/27/2016 Seven-Zero-Zero

Hello my love,

I’ve been getting up pretty early lately.  I’ve always been an early riser, but I seem to get up much earlier now.  The other day, Mommy woke up when she heard me getting out of bed, looked at the clock and said, “I don’t like seeing 5 anything on the that clock.”  As she rolled over to go back to sleep, I smiled and went downstairs.  I smiled because I remember how you would get up early, come into our room and stand by the edge of the bed.  More often than not, Mommy would say, “ It’s too early Clara…Seven-Zero-Zero, we aren’t getting up until the clock says Seven-Zero-Zero.”  If it was really early, one of us would go tuck you back in bed, but we usually let you climb in with us.  I miss those moments so much.  Especially when we were all awake, but stayed in bed for a while.  There was something special about those moments: peaceful, safe, comfortable, free of distractions…just us.  We would always have a good laugh after you said, “Mommy!  Your breath is kickin!”  You and I would giggle while Mommy would reply, “Clara…it IS NOT!” ( We both know it was 🙂  )

I must admit, I’ve been pretty disappointed in myself lately.  I can’t shake this feeling that I failed you.  I know those thoughts aren’t productive and come from a dark, evil place in my mind.  It’s as if they’re determined to bring me down and put all my failures right in front of my face.  It would be a lot easier to dismiss them if they didn’t make any sense.  In fact, you know what makes my demons so hard to fight?  They don’t have to lie to me.  They need only show me-remind me-of my failures.  What do I do here?  Just ignore them? Try to forget?  No and No.  They won’t dare let me off that easy.  I have to do the only thing that I think I can do.  Accept them, give them to Jesus, try to learn from them and focus on the things I did right.

I pray for you often-every day actually- not always for the same thing.  I don’t even know what I can pray for.  I’m sure there are many that would say I don’t need to.  That you are with the Lord and don’t need anything.  That’s true, I believe that, but I really do enjoy praying for other people and how could I ever exclude you.  God knows what you need-I pray that God provides it…and sends my love of course.  I pray for others a lot, I think because I wish I was a better at telling people about Jesus.  Not because I feel like its my duty, or that I’m somehow obligated to do so, but because I know.  If I could only transfer every emotion, every thought, every experience I’ve had over the last four months it would be impossible for them to remain in the dark.  Well, maybe not impossible, that might be wishful thinking.  It hardly matters anyway.  I can’t transfer the pain and suffering, the despair and depression, the nonstop tears, the heart crushing memories, the comfort and consolation, the answered prayers, the feeling of humility that pours down on you when you realize that Jesus Christ is not only real, but is active in your life and working to heal you.  Why do I deserve such special attention?  I don’t.  I hardly did anything right.  Yet, He is still there.  It’s an indescribable feeling and I wish I was able to transfer it.

I’ve had one verse on my mind a lot this week.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

What an awesome verse to meditate on.  The “…peace of God,…”  Yes, it’s real, and No, I don’t understand how it’s possible.  I should be a mess.  I think about you all day, in everything I see and do.  I still cry often -daily- with every unfamiliar picture, each painful memory and all those thoughts of future moments without you.  However, Jesus has given me an incomprehensible sense of peace lately.  I don’t understand it.   I think everything inside of me actually wants to fight it.  Will I allow myself to heal? If God gives me the strength to stand, will I just say ” No, thank you.  I really don’t want to.  I’m too afraid I’ll fall down again.”.  Or will I get up and try and walk again?  I hope you can help me too.  After all, you’re part of my future and I’ll get there a lot faster if I get up.

I miss you Clara.

Love always,

Daddy

 

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5/22/2016 Thank you, again

Good morning sweetie,

When I have a dream about you, I’m always very thankful.  I always thank God, but I’d like to believe that I can thank you as well.  I don’t know if that really is you giving me a giant hug in my dream, all I know is how real it felt and how I woke right up from the euphoric rush of emotion that came over me.  It was only a few minutes later that I realized it was my birthday and the one thing I would have asked for was given without having to ask.  I could choose to believe that it was just coincidence.  No…I think the Lord is limitless and there are many spiritual things that we’ll never know or understand while we are here, and I’m incredibly thankful that the Lord was gracious enough to let you raise the spirits of your brokenhearted dad on his 35th birthday.  I love you to the moon and back!

That same day, Mommy took part in an awareness walk set up for your friend Ava.   I couldn’t do it.  I’m still hesitant to accept invitations to events and such where I know your friends will be around.  I should have gone though, it was tough for Mommy and I should have been there.  I should have been there to hear Ava tell Mommy that she misses you and to see your very best friend, Syd, who is always reminding us that she thinks about you all the time and told Mommy after the race: “Clara won because she has wings!”  I love her spirit.

Sunday morning, Me, Mommy and Aunt Bethany took part in a 5K that was set up in memory of Nate and Sarah.  I hope all three of you were together watching.  I bet you had giggle at me trying to run for the first time in months.  I thought about you the whole time I was running.   I imagined you running next to me.  I thought about running home with Mil-Mil after getting off the bus…I thought about how much you love to run and how I should do more of it.  Although, the next day reminded me why I don’t run.  My knee was killing me for the next three days.  Remember that time you hurt your knee bowling? 🙂  You jumped up in excitement and really hurt your knee when you landed.  It must have been those hard bowling shoes.  I remember carrying you out of the alley and all the way to the car.  We wrapped your knee up with an ace bandage when we got home.  I miss taking care of you…I will take some comfort in that there is no need for that where you are

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

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Monday was Mommy and Daddy’s anniversary.  No cards, gifts or elaborate plans.  Just lots of hugs. We love and miss you so very much.

Love always,

Daddy

 

 

 

5/12/2016 A Fairy Tale

Clara,

Hello my love.  Mommy and I are back home from our trip to Ireland.  “Home”, I rarely use that word anymore, “the house” seems more appropriate.  Speaking of houses, we finished the sale of our old house today.  What was supposed to be celebratory occasion was instead an event that required pleading prayers for strength prior to even walking through the door.  The “what ifs” and remorseful thoughts of my discontentment with our prior living situation has left me just as far down as I was up just a few days ago.  Let’s talk about that instead…it was a lovely trip.  Each day brought equal amounts of wonder, smiles and tears.  I don’t think most people would consider that a good vacation, but for us, it was a welcomed reprieve from the day to day routine our lives have taken on without you.   In fact, after the first day, I told Mommy, “this trip feels like a fairy tale,  eventually it’s going to end and we’re going to have to go back.”  I still feel that way, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good trip.

Our first full day in Ireland, Mommy and I went to the Aran Island, Inis Mór.  Nana stayed back at the cottage because her bag didn’t make the trip and was being delivered.  It all worked out though, Mommy and I rented bicycles on the Island so we could see everything at our own pace.  It was a gorgeous day, perfect for riding.  I’d do the sights a great injustice trying to explain how beautiful it was, so here are a few pictures:

 

Day two, we set off for the Cliffs of Moher, traveled up the coast line and back down through the Burren ( with Nana this time ).  It wasn’t the greatest day weather wise, but that didn’t make it any less majestic.

 

Day 3 was a trip to Blarney Castle to kiss the blarney stone.  Another amazing day:

Day 4 was Clara, Ireland.  Probably not a regular tourist destination, but it was a must see for us.  There is a protected Bog there called “Clara Bog”.  Mommy signed the guest book in the visitor center “In loving memory of our daughter Clara Quinn Phillips”.

Day 5 was a trip around Loophead, it was another rainy day but that didn’t keep Mommy and I from taking adventures away from the car

Day 6, Mother’s Day, the reason I wanted to take this trip.  We left for Dingle.  It was a 3 hr drive, but it was well worth it.  God’s creation is on full display here:

Day 7, our last day was just a short day trip to Limerick where we saw King John’s Castle and St.Mary’s Cathedral.

I got you dandelions from several places which I pressed and keep in my journal and Mommy collected rocks from all over to add to your collection.  We spoke about you often which often led to long hugs and steady tears.  Each day seemed filled with new highs followed by an inevitable fall back to our typical low.

I did a lot of thinking our last few days there.  I’m still taken back by all of it.  I don’t really know what to think, how to act, what to do, or if it’s possible to force myself to feel any different that how I’m feeling in any particular moment.  I just go day by day, moment by moment.  It’s really that simple, but incredibly difficult to manage.  When I think about the future, my insides start knotting up – I felt the exact same feeling looking over those cliffs with the sea crashing against the rock some 500 ft below.   In a way that makes sense, in both situations, I’m terrified.  A lifetime without you?  How can I handle that? One day at time.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:34: ” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I actually have three different takeaways from this trip that I would like to share with you.

One, ALL of God’s creation is amazing.  You, my love, are a wonderful example, but there is so much to see.  We just need to take off those clouded glasses day to day life puts on us.  I’m going to just sit back and let myself be amazed as much as possible.

Two, Mommy and I have a very different relationship now.  In life, you held our relationship together.  In passing on, you have woven and welded it.  It is unbreakable, I feel that stronger than ever and we have you to thank for that.  We are the only ones capable of understanding the depths of each others loss – what you meant to our lives then, and what you mean now and in the future.  We are different people now.  I imagine that most people that knew us before will be unaware that they will need to get to know the “new” us.  We have different values and perspectives, altered personalities.  Waiting for the old Luke and Katy to surface after some predetermined period of time would be “chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes)   I may never be as upbeat and happy as I was before, and that’s ok.  It’s also not a negative reflection of the impact Christ has had on my life since you left.  I’ll borrow another example from C.S Lewis’s Mere Christianity : ” To judge the management of a factory, you must consider not only the output but the plant. ”  Sweetheart, my plant is a disaster area…I’m amazed at the output sometimes.

Three, distractions are good.  Positive distractions can feel like little bits of light in the darkness.  The terrifying darkness seems like it will always be present in my life, this life. Sure, it was always there before, but it was different.  Much like looking into a dark room from outside the doorway is much different that being locked inside unable to find a way out.  When your looking in, you pray that God will keep you out, but when you are inside your prayers sound more like begging and you must believe that God will lead you out even though it hasn’t happened yet.  I think I have started to scratch the surface of the true power in prayer.  Mark 11:23-24 has had more impact on my life than probably any other passage:

23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

That will sound silly to most people.  To those people, I wish I could simply say “trust me, it works” and it would just click, but I think we both know it doesn’t work like that.  I wish it had clicked for me sooner and that I could have taught you that.  Back to item three…I prayed for those moments like I had in Ireland with Mommy (and Nana)   Moments of peace, joy, excitement.  So what if they are followed by moments of sadness and depression.  It’s better to have both than ONLY the latter.  Dark times will be around for awhile, I just miss you too much to believe otherwise.  But there is light, not only at the end, but shining through each day.  Some days will be darker than others, but on those days, the rays of light shining through the clouds will be more evident.  That is  what this trip was…a light filled rainbow in a sad, dark, depressing year.

This is from day one at our cottage:

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I love you princess,

Daddy