I read this at Clara’s service. It was never intended to be a Testimony, but I was told it touched people in a similar way.
I have decided. I must stay strong for Clara, my friends, my family, and especially for Britney. But…I do not know how to hide the fact that I am but a shell of the man I used to be. No words can describe the horror I felt as I witnessed what no father should. Nor, are there words to describe the emptiness left in my life with her passing.
Clara…your smile, the one that could change my “NO” to a “YES”, was contagious. That is evident by the impression you left on everyone.
I do not understand Gods plan. Most days I blame myself for not being able to prevent this tragic accident. But, I need to believe that God needed a stronger light and a more loving angel in heaven; and that is why he chose you. And I thought, if God has a plan for my sweet Clara, he must have one for me too. More than just this pain and suffering. In that moment, a moment of pure emotional pain, I got down on my knees and begged for forgiveness. I asked God to come into my heart and I prayed that he show me a light that I could follow that would fill my life with as much happiness and joy as Clara did.
This is an incredibly difficult task…there is a battle for my soul taking place, and I do not know how it ends. Right after the accident, I was ready to follow you. Truthfully, I still am.
I have since found some peace laying in your bed, surrounded by your things, hugging your clothes, grasping your animals that you used to sleep with every night. In my worst moment, overwhelmed with grief, tormented by my demons, I asked you to lay with me and tell me you are o.k. . And God as my witness, your presence by my side was undeniable…your warmth as real as the sunrise on a cold winters morning. My heart slowed, my breathing eased, and my head cleared. I mumble..”Clara, I need you so much” and I hear back “I’ll never leave you daddy”. I ask, “What am I supposed to do without you?” to which I hear “Take care of Mil-Mil (because I can be kind of mean to the dog sometimes and she hated that) , take care of Mommy…cause she is my best friend, and take care of Sissy…cause she will always need you. And get a Cat” (now, one of my worst regrets because she begged me for one and I always said no). “Clara” I say quietly. Her response, “I love you daddy” which was her typical response when she knew I really didn’t need anything. I relax, smile and am reminded of the genuine loving nature of this beautiful girl.
That is one thing I do not regret. That girl knew I loved her. I made sure she knew it everyday and never had any doubt. We never had “bad” days.
Of course this goes without saying: Love them like it’s the last time you’ll see them, and just as importantly, show them HOW to love. This can be a cruel, nasty world filled with so much hate. Clara would not have stood for it. So please, teach your kids to love one another equally, without prejudice. Help me believe she is leaving this world a better place because I truly believe she was destine to do so.
I truly believe that this little girl saved my soul. I was headed down a path spiritually that was likely to end far away from where this beautiful soul is now. I look forward to an eternity with her in heaven. Just one more reason to thankful for the 6 amazing years I had with this beautiful girl. Clara, I will love you forever.
Until we meet again,