A Beautiful Day

A Beautiful Day

As usual, I got up today before the dawn and my day started off with some very unusual sights and sounds. You see, it has been raining here for what I believe to be the last fifteen days. It may have been more, but I truly lost count. But on this morning the sun had no barrier, there was no impediment, no stumbling block to keep it from it’s daily routine of bringing light into our little corner the world. You could see the rays as they began to slowly creep their way over the horizon. The beams of light began to make their way through the cracks of the blinds and immediately filled the room with light, and with that, there was hope for a beautiful day. As the sun continued its climb up the eastern sky you could hear the sounds of life from the many birds chirping in the back yard, a sound only heard over the past couple of weeks when there was a break in the dark and gloomy clouds. When the sun made it’s final push to clear the grasp of dawn and show itself in all it’s full warming and illuminated glory, I knew today was going to be a good day. 

In the life of a grieving parent, there are many days like today. You may go through days, weeks, months even years where it seems to be metaphorically raining everyday. You can wake up every morning where life’s gray and gloomy clouds are all you see on the horizon. You feel the sun is never going to shine in your life again, you are never going to feel that healing warmth, or have those illuminating rays fill your life. You make it through, day by day, wishing yesterday was your tomorrow so maybe, just maybe, you can work your way back to that day. You forget what it’s like to just sit and listen to the birds, or watch a sunset. Your world is filled with “what if’s” and “why’s”. You spend most of your time trying to figure out how to make your life normal again, when there is no normal, and the normal you create is so abnormal. You make it through the bad days hoping for just one good day. You try to change the lives of others by sharing your tragedy, in hopes of one day smiling again. We, as parents of children taken way to soon, have many bad days, but it’s that one morning, that one ray of sunshine, that single act of kindness, that one email, that one text, a simple pat on the back that makes it seem okay for that moment. For me, its when I wake up and think of Lindsay and the time we had. I think of Kelli, Jarrett and all the other many blessings I have in my life. I think of the love that covers this family from so many hearts. The prayers that come from near and far, and the lives that have been saved because a seventeen year old young lady had a dream. It is mornings like these I know, in my heart, it’s going to be a beautiful day.

Masterpiece…

Masterpiece…

First things first. I want to thank Kelli for stepping in for me last week. This blog is very important to me and I truly appreciate her sharing her thoughts.  Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I am back up and running, not very fast, but running.

 

“The colors that we use to paint the pathways of life, tell a vivid story of what was and what is yet to be. The infinite array of hue that covers our past manifests itself to an eclectic pallet of chroma to create our future. Try and let everyday be a prism of happiness.”      –Brad Benton

 
Sometimes I run across something I wrote a long time ago that means something totally  different than the day I wrote it. I guess the meaning could change daily based upon the trials and tribulations faced, or the happiness and joy we find in a moment. In it’s most basic form the passage I wrote above was for me to learn from my past, apply it to today and create a brighter future. I could write a blog about the things I have learned from my past, the joy, the pain, the decisions, good and bad, the life lessons my parents taught me that did not register until later in life.  The list could go on forever, but the one thing I have learned in the most recent past is there are still good people here on this earth, and most importantly, in our lives. I would never attempt to list all the good people that have come into my life since Lindsay passed away. One thing I have realized is most of the people were already there. They are your friends, your family, the ones that randomly send you a picture, or a message when they stop by to visit Lindsay. To sit with her and share a smile, a laugh and a tear. They are the ones that remember her birthday, remember how hard it is for me to hear the words graduation, prom, and wedding and not think of her. There are good people in this world and I am thankful to call them my friends.
If, in your mind, you have painted your future with your family in place, college degree and or a great job, married, children, your grandchildren, then you have painted the picture that every parent dreams of. The pride you would have displaying this beautiful original painting in your home. Your child or children and their many accomplishments, their battles won and their dreams full filled. Now take whatever medium you need for the paint you have used to create this wonderful painting of your future and erase it because nothing ever stays the same. Every year or two you will need to recreate this dream painting that hangs so carefully in the gallery of your mind. Everyone will get older, everyone will grow, whether tall or wide, hair colors will change, wrinkles will need to be added, spouses need to be added. Everyone and everything changes. Now imagine you are repainting and there is someone that hasn’t changed, someone who hasn’t gotten any older, grown any taller or their hair color is still the same. Someone who will never get wrinkles or ever have a spouse. That someone is a child lost. It makes no difference which one, because honestly you have no choice when it comes to losing a child so early in their life. There is no picking, one day they are there and the next they are not. It is not planned, it is not on the list of things to do, it is not a thought in your head when you are in the middle of mindfully creating this parental work of art. One does not replace the other because they are two totally different people. You love them all equally, you raise them all in the same environment, you teach them all you know. Not once did you ever think you would be leaving a blank spot on your canvas. Although the spot may not be blank it will never change, it will never grow, it will never age. This spot will forever be in the past. There is no paint, no color that will ever change this part of your painting. The only thing that can change this image, is you. You can take this horrific loss and turn it into good. Tell people the story of your lost child. Speak their name, honor their memory and always carry their heart in yours.   
Soak your brush into that vast array of color from your past, and be the artist that paints your future, one that goes far beyond the tragedy, trials and tribulations of today. You and only you can move, mix and manipulate the colors of the past to ensure a masterpiece for tomorrow, a masterpiece for you, your family and for your lost child. 
Reflection…

Reflection…

There are so many days I feel I have nothing more to write about, like I have said all I need to say. Days when I feel I have said too much, and days I feel like I have said nothing at all. This week has been filled with those days, until this morning. When I woke up at my usual early hour I stood in front of the bathroom mirror. I stood there and looked at me, I looked at this man, this son, this brother, this husband, this father in the mirror. I have told Kelli that when I look in the mirror I still see, or imagine, the guy I was in high school, I try so desperately to see myself at eighteen years old. This morning was different, this morning was the truth. You see, a mirror has no soul, no heart, it has no filter. The mirror was not brought into this world or born, with a sin nature to lie like all humans. The only lies a mirror tells are the ones we tell ourselves when we look into our own eyes. A mirror knows only one thing, and one thing only, the truth. It shows the exact reflection of what is staring into it. In most cases the mirror is used for grooming, shaving, makeup, or checking the clothes or outfit you have decided to wear for the day. How many times have you looked into a mirror and actually looked yourself in the eyes? How many times have you stood there and let the mirror tell you the truth? For me the answer was not many until Lindsay passed away. Now, today, it happens very often. I look into my own eyes and ask, “Could I have been a better father? Could I have been more supportive? Could I have been more understanding? and the hardest question of all “Why?” The answer to all of those questions, with the exception of why, is yes. With Lindsay’s passing, the student became the teacher. All the life lesson’s I tried to teach her during her short seventeen years are nothing compared to what she is teaching me each time I look into my own eyes. She is teaching me to be a better father, be a better husband, son, and brother. To be more giving and be more compassionate. She has taught me these things because we are never promised tomorrow, never promised the next hour, the next minute or even second. We never know when will be last time we see someone we dearly love. This simple accessory, this inanimate object that we hang on a wall is used mainly for our own vanity. This simple piece of silver coated glass cannot speak even the simplest of words, but more times than not it has the loudest voice of all, if you just listen with your eyes.

I look into my own eyes and I try so hard to see Lindsay, I look at my face and try to see her, but she is not there. There is nothing about my features that even remotely resemble her, or her me. For a moment that brings a sadness over my old and tired face. Then I look harder, I look deeper, I look in places most people are afraid to look, especially when they have lost a child, and that is where I find her. I look in my heart of hearts and the depths of my soul and I find her every time. For me that is where a part of her lives now, there is where I need to go to see her, to talk to her and to remember her smile. Now, every time I look into a mirror and look deep into my own eyes, the mirror goes past my face, past my features and straight to where Lindsay lives in me. It allows me to see her reflection in me.