Thoughts from a {still} grieving heart.


Every year I write a blog post on the anniversary of my mom and brother's death. 

I don't do it so much for anyone else, but for myself, because it's just something I need to do. I need to be able to take the time and feel it, and writing is my therapy. 

It's also incredibly healing for me to get to read back, year after year, and see how my emotions have changed and my healing as grown and progressed since the beginning-- from where I once was to where I am now. 

But I really, really struggle with this day. I go through this day waiting for it to be over so I don't have to re-live the painful memories of the events that unfolded over the next 24 hours from the 3:37 PM accident on February 15th, 2006.



It's unfair that the anniversary is the day after Valentine's Day because I can never really fully enjoy Valentine's Day as February 15th whispers to me around the corner. And not just February 15th, but February 16th as well. February 15th was when my mom died; February 16th was when we said goodbye to Chase. 

I think if anyone has ever lost anyone-- especially suddenly and unexpectedly-- the denial lasts for so long. I'm still in denial. The shock doesn't really wear off, if ever. It's been eight years since they passed away and I'm still in disbelief. I can go about my day being happy and enjoying life, not suffering from any type of depression, but that stinging pain when the realization hits me multiple times a week of what happened to them is still enough to stop me in my tracks. 

I still wrestle with feeling like it was and is so unfair. I was only 21 years old; I needed a mom. Brittany needed a mom. Taylor needed a mom. Steve needed his wife and child. My mom never got to meet her five grandchildren, never got to meet Ryan or Timothy or Taylor's first girlfriend. Chase never got to move beyond the fifth grade. WHY us?

My mom wasn't there for me when I graduated college; when I decided to become a teacher; when I met Timothy and we got married; when I got my first teaching job; When I went through difficult personal trials that I needed her for.

 Some may say, "But she was looking down on you from heaven," but that doesn't help me because she was not physically here for me. What I've been left with is her legacy, strong and sure and true. My mom's legacy has formed me into who I am and how I live my life, but at the same time she's still not here living it. Nothing can change that. 

The beauty in all of that though, is that I know my God, the God who loves us, the God of all creation who formed me and my family with a loving and perfect plan in mind, had bigger purposes for it that I know I cannot see this side of eternity. I know this, and I believe this. And I've said so many times before that where her absence in my life was and is, God has filled with so many other women to take me under their wings and mentor me and help guide me as I navigate life without my mom. 

I still drive down the road, on a weekly basis, and subconsciously reach for my phone to call my mom. Eight years later and she is the first person I want to go to for help; she is the first person I want to go to when something good happens to me or I want her to share in the joy of a life accomplishment. A proverbial wall hits me and I have to take a really, really deep breath when I remember that I can't. 




I've stopped crying as much which I think is a good thing. For years, when I would  watch home movies, find letters my mom wrote me discovered in hidden boxes, hear Mercy Me's song, "I can only imagine" or Phillips Craig and Dean's song "Praise you in this storm" when they came on the radio, I would cry and cry and cry with an awful ache of loneliness. A cry I've never cried for anyone or anything before. Those tears now have all but dried up and I'm able to look on my collection of items with thankfulness that they exist. I try to grasp on tightly to her, but year after year requires me to loosen my grip ever so slightly so that I can breathe. 

I don't think anyone or anything in this world can prepare you for sudden loss, and I know with absolute certainty that the only thing that protected me from the depths of despair, from a crippling sense of anger and depression from what happened, was God literally running to me and grabbing me tightly. THAT is what makes me cry now. God's mercy and grace towards me in what was the loneliest and most difficult year of my life kept me from getting on prescription drugs and abusing alcohol. Because I was tempted. SO tempted to numb the hurt and the overwhelming amount of inadequacy I felt going forward with my life alone as a young girl. 

I never once took a prescription drug for anxiety or depression. I know they exist for people and I know they can help people, but for me, I was tempted to use them as an escape and God knew I needed more than that. I needed to be loved and protected. He knew what I needed more than I knew myself. I never drank alcohol or got drunk as an escape either. I refused to go down that road because I knew God was bigger than my fears and perceived isolation. 

You see, while I don't know why this had to happen to us, I know that I would not be who I am today if my mom and Chase hadn't died in that accident. There's no way. 

At that point in my life, I knew God existed, but I didn't know Him. I grew up in church and private schools, I called him my Savior, and I don't think that I even knew that I didn't know Him. I think I believed that because of all the Bible verses I memorized and the Christian songs I sang growing up that I was a strong Christian because I knew what being a strong Christian looked like. But I wasn't. I was small and self-centered and Jesus was not the Lord and King of my life because it only took one mistake to spiral me down a path far away from Him until He rescued me on February 15th, 2006. 

I wouldn't say that I'm thankful that this happened because I still miss my mom and Chase every single day of my life. I've also learned that time doesn't heal all wounds. Time helps minimize the reality of that absence, but it doesn't heal. Jesus heals all wounds. What I'm thankful for is that through this trial of my life and through this loss my family has experienced, God has done exceedingly above all I could ask or think for us. God's love has shown me that if I trust Him, He will be faithful to me. 

God is the one who brought my husband into my life. God is the one who allowed me to go to an amazing Christian college, whose empathy on my circumstances allowed me to graduate later with no penalty while I healed. God is the one who has brought countless women and friends into my life that have helped to restore wholeness to who I am. God is the one who has provided financial means for my husband and I to travel, buy a home, live a good life, and be able to bless others. Every good and perfect thing I have in my life has come from God and is directly connected to my changed life after February 15th, 2006. 

February 15th, 2006 was when I lost my mom and brother, but February 15th, 2006 was the day I was saved. 





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2 comments:

  1. Beautifully said Megs. Brings tears to my eyes every year you write about your mom. I am so proud of how far you have come. I still remember the exact spot I was, 8 years ago today, when you called me with this devastating news. That phone call has never left me, but seeing you handle what happened with such grace has left an impression on me. You are such a strong woman and I admire that about you. You truly impress me every day with your strength and it is amazing to have friends who simply praise Jesus in the storm. Thank you for sharing your journey of healing for it teaches us all how to heal.

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  2. What a powerful example of God's faithfulness and presence in your life. I'm sorry for the hurt you feel, but am blessed and encouraged by your story of continued healing. Thank you for sharing with such honesty and vulnerability. I can only imagine the lives that will be impacted by your courage to share.

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