Oh. My. To say it’s been a while is an understatement. The computer is finally fixed! Now let’s move on.
There is no way I’ll be able to catch you up in a single post. I will trickle in the info over the next few weeks. I have thought long and hard about how to approach the following life update. I’m not sure I’ll even come close to relaying all there is to say. I will try to do my best to put into words one of the most life-changing things that’s ever happened to me.
I have lost people in my life. I have lost family and friends. I have lost them in different ways. Suddenly, knowingly, harshly, gently. Until June 30, 2013 I never lost anyone that has effected me so deeply. I’m speaking of the 19 lives that were lost in the Yarnell Hill Fire. My cousin was one of them. Because this event is so well-known, and I do not wish to be the cause of any media hounding any of my family members, I will not say his name.
I will not compromise on this. If you know me personally, you know. If you don’t, please don’t pry.
When you hear news like this, it’s never easy. I think back on that night on the phone with my mom, and I can tell you truthfully, the desperation in the despair is like nothing I’ve experienced. I never cried so loud, hard, completely in my life.
Looking back I can say that as the weeks following that night crept forward like the longest and fastest days I’ve had, something inside me was changing. Family I hadn’t seen in years were surrounding each other. Tension, tears, even laughs exchanged. We were all like sleep-deprived shells walking about trying to function and comfort each other. We tried to distract ourselves from the pain, and give-in to it completely. It’s a process for sure.
Have you ever experienced this sort of grief? It is so strange. I expected his wife to be an inconsolable wreck. I’m sure she (more than any of us) had these moments, but there is a strength that people rouse in grief, right in the middle of completely falling apart. I never imagined until I saw it, that grief was so vast and complex. One moment we could all be laughing together, speaking of times past or something totally unrelated, the next someone would just go ghost-like and weep. With understanding grins we would hug, knowing the pain they felt, but not always joining in the despair. Next thing you know it’s you.
You try to rationalize it. You become very logical when you attempt to conjure up the best possible reason that death so tragic happens. You land on a certain fact, and when you’re nearly convinced, you realize its horrid and nothing you think can make it make sense.
There are no days of the week. If you thought you knew, it passed yesterday, or isn’t until tomorrow. Sleep is an abstract thought. You never feel like eating, and then realize you are starving.
There’s one thing that always stayed steady inside me through ups and downs of the first few weeks. God’s presence. I just felt him there. I saw his mercies through the acts of people in the community. I heard his calm reassurance in those moments when falling asleep tortured my with memories and thoughts of how each family member would deal with a future without their husband, father, brother, nephew, grandson, cousin, friend. God was there.
I knew he always has been, but I felt Him. He was the only thing that gave me comfort. Everything else was chaos and heartbreak. What I felt was hope. There is always hope when you’re with Jesus.
This is my new life-focus. share the hope with each member of my family. In some way or another, I have to.
“You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow”
“Life is so short”
“I never thought anything like this would happen to me”
“Tell the people you love how much they mean to you”
These mean something deeply personal to me now. Things I’ve heard said, known were true, but never acted on them until now.
I am changing so much through this. I regret deeply YEARS that I missed in my cousin’s life. I assumed there would be a next time. There wasn’t. I hate that. I have come to grips with it, but it stops now. I am trying to live more intentionally. If I mean to say, do, call, see, I am so going to do all I can to make it happen.
With the shifting of the wind nineteen families changed forever. Entire families. Hundreds or people will never be the same again. That breaks my heart. Truly broken. My prayer is that each of them find the hope that is in Jesus alone. I pray their death has meaning. A purpose in the pain. Eternal life in Christ is what I pray for. Anything less is a waste. These are strong words, but I believe them with every fiber of my being.
A heavy post for such a long absence. There was no way around it. We have a “normal” life again. We have a daily schedule, chores, work, school, fun family times, animals to tend, and ministry to run, and yes knitting. The grief remains in all these things. it has changed how I view them. As anyone that lives with grief, it doesn’t always consume you. It appears in unexpected, often inconvenient places. You truly do live with it. It’s there even if you don’t always feel it intensely. It changes often.
In my living I choose to live for Christ.
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10