Not My Words

Today, instead of sharing my own writing, I am sharing a post that my daughter, Katie, posted on her blog. She has been able to express so beautifully some of the things that have just been too painful for me to share. I am so very thankful for all three of my children! They are such blessings to me, especially during this time of grief and sadness. I love you Katie, Emilie and Jacob!

Heartache, Soul-Tears, and the Gospel

Posted on November 14, 2013by Kathryn1209

It’s been a little over three weeks since I lost my dad. On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday that I was walking in the door, going to give him a hug and a kiss. On the other hand, it seems like an eternity. My days go seemingly quick, as I’m busy with school, work, and friends. But the nights? Sometimes the nights are hard. Sometimes the nights are horribly, painfully hard.

In the quiet hours, that’s when the darkness seems to creep in. Flashbacks come, images burned in my brain that I just can’t seem to erase. I walk through the ICU hallway in my mind, down to that horrible room filled with machines, lights, beeping, whirring. I can still hear the sobbing, see the tears, feel the cruel heartbreak lacing the very air. I breathe it in. It consumes me, consumes all of us. My voice plays over in my mind, choking out my final words to my dying father. “I love you, Dad. You were the best I could have ever asked for. Thank you. I love you, I love you, I love you.” I hear the deafening silence following his unresponsiveness. I watch as my mom, sister, brother, grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and friends all enter that ominous hallway, taking their turns to say their last words. I lay my head against Dad’s chest, his heart beating slower and slower. I hold his hand, squeezing, desperately trying to cling to every last bit of life. I stare at my family’s faces. I see my mom, watching the love of her life take his last breaths. I see my siblings, bawling as life fades. I see my family, surrounding a son, brother, and uncle that they love. I hear the voice of a fourteen year old boy with his hand on his dad’s chest and tears in his eyes say, “Mom, his heart stopped beating.” The room goes cold. A numb ache consumes me. Just like that, life is snatched away.

Nighttime. Darkness. Scenes replay, flashbacks come. The stomach churns, a nauseous, gut-wrenching grief. A knife, stabbed deep. Salty tears burn and the wounded heart aches. Grief, pain, death- they are no respecter of persons. Yet, in a way, I welcome it. Not that I would ever choose this for myself, but this soul-searing hurt… maybe this is what it feels to be human. To know helplessness and brokenness, to desperately hope that there’s something outside of me, something bigger than myself. The pain reminds me of just how tragic sin is and death reeks of something absurdly unnatural. It tears at my very soul, screaming, “this is not the way life was intended to be! It’s not right!” And it’s not. Nothing is right about cancer or death and it certainly is not the way life was meant to be lived. Pain reminds me of that truth. Pain leads to desperation; a dark, overwhelming desperation that crushes all of humanity. Soul-wringing hurt reminds me that I and the rest of humanity are on level ground, a battle ground littered with broken hearts, crushed dreams, and desperate souls. It is only once I begin to grasp this desperation that I can truly appreciate the hope offered in the Gospel.

During Dad’s battle with cancer, whenever I would get frustrated or question why, he would always tell me, “Katie, we don’t get to choose.” He’s right, we don’t get to choose. This is the portion dealt me. I do, however, get to choose how to receive it; fists clenched tight in stubborn ingratitude, or hands open, trustingly receiving whatever the Lord gives? I choose the latter. I choose to embrace the pain, to let it cut deep, to fully hurt. I choose to cry soul-tearing sobs and to breathe in heartbreak. However, I also choose to look up, to let grace kiss my tears away, to let the soul-mender heal, and to hope again. May this be my heart’s cry: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

This is a song that the Lord has been using to truly speak to my heart and soul. Refuse to ignore the pain. Embrace it and worship God in the midst of it.

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Frank
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 08:44:52

    Wow, a very powerful account. I can relate to this, I lost my father when I was 21 in much the same way, from a stroke. Not a day goes by I dont grieve for Greg and what you all are going through. I wish i had some better words of comfort. I pray the Lord grants you peace.

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  2. Karla Lail
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 09:03:40

    The “real”ness in your family is amazing! Just want you to know that I am still praying for all of you.

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  3. Alicia Strickland
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 09:37:15

    wow, just wow, thanks so much for sharing

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  4. Faye
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 09:54:30

    When we come to the place where we have nothing left but Him, we realize he is all we need! And He alone is God. Oh, that we could live in that kind of faith, that kind of hope! Thank you, Katie, for your honest, raw, and powerful words of healing! I think all of us needed to hear what you have said.

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  5. Claudia Voigt
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 10:08:09

    Your words are penned so well Katie! You are amazing! Your dad is SO proud of you! And God is using you to teach the rest of us. I am in tears. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  6. Gina Ramsey
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 10:17:09

    Thank you Katie. Your words are very powerful.

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  7. Bethany Johnson
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 10:20:17

    Wow! That is beautiful, real, and hope-filled. You should be very proud of her (I know you are:)

    Love and continued prayers,

    Bethany Johnson Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  8. Toni Saba
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 11:50:12

    chill bumps.joy.tears.Katie, sweet girl, to God be the glory for what work only HE can do. You are wise beyond your years by His grace and His Word. This is a powerful testimony to your Dad and how he always pointed you to God. WOW!!

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  9. Amanda Kurz
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 15:19:53

    This is so powerful and beautiful. Katie, thank you for sharing your heart with do many to spur us on.

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  10. Michele Bradfield
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 15:46:01

    Beautiful. What a perspective from one so young. It is a testimony to her upbringing!

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  11. Carole
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 18:34:08

    Just amazing Katie. I pray for you all. My heart goes out. I love Greg your dear sweet dad. Stay strong as I know you will. Love you and all the family.

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  12. Cindy Merrick
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 20:08:30

    Katie,

    Keep holding on. My daddy once told me that tears cleanse the soul. I was 23 when I lost him to a massive heart attack. He was in Montreal and was at the airport about to fly home. I was 36 when I lost my mom to that horrible disease of cancer. The nights when we are alone with our grief and our God do cleanse our souls, allow us to feel pain and Holy comfort at the same time. God has reasons for everything and I believe that those who suffer cancer and other chronic diseases get a special portion of the blessing of peace that is beyond understanding if the allow God to give it to them. Thank you for sharing with us. We are praying for you all.

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  13. Diane
    Nov 16, 2013 @ 22:48:13

    Katie, you have a special gift. Thank you for using it to point others to God at such a difficult time. God will use your words for good. I know your dad would be so proud of you. I am, too. Love the song.

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  14. Elise Kilgore
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 15:44:49

    This was both heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time. I am so honored to be Katie’s friend. I learn so much from her about how to walk with Christ. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  15. Cherie Maurer
    Nov 23, 2013 @ 14:54:18

    Katie, I don’t really have words.
    Beautifully written!! The scenes are forever etched in my memory, too. Painful yet hopeful lessons for all of us. Thank you! Much love and prayers!

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  16. George Maurer
    Nov 23, 2013 @ 15:37:06

    Katie and family, their is a deposit within your hearts that is so precious. I share many tears with your loss. My Dad died when I was 13 of a stroke and I went for years without knowing how to respond. Upon reflection and reading and listening to your words and cries I know that you are in a good place as hard as it is. The Lord does mend the broken heart, sometimes with tears/pain and sorrow but joy will come in the morning!!! We love you

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