Thursday, August 30, 2007

On my mind...

As the days draw closer for school to start, it reminds me again how much I miss Teagan and it makes me wonder each year, just what she might look like, how grown up she would be as she would be anticipating a new beginning. My heart used to ache for the things I missed out on because of her unexpected death.
But this year, as I started imagining her and trying to 'fit her' into our lives based on what her age would be (she would be 10 yrs. old and about to start 5th grade!) I just couldn't. My mind just can't even wrap around my 4 year old being in middle school. As much as that makes my heart hurt and the tears burn in my eyes, it is just as much a blessing in my life. To know that I can't mentally bring her back into the picture of my real-life actually stirs my soul from sadness to one of joy and peace.
For I know that Heaven cannot begin to compare to the experiences that the rest of us go through from day to day. I know that Teagan is in Heaven, and it is a comfort to me like no other. The fact is she DID miss out on a lot of things here on earth. But none of them would be worth coming back to this world for. The things I found myself realizing the past few days is that she is only missing out on the bad, the scary, the nerve-wracking, the hurtful. School can be a wonderful time for kids- and it should be. But when I think back to that time in my life I can also recall tears that I shed over things like "friends" talking behind my back, or having my feelings crushed for whatever the reason may have been. There were times I got picked last for the team, that I forgot my locker combination or that I looked in the mirror and didn't like what I saw and it threatened my self-image and esteem for a long time. I remember the mixed emotions inside me at that time in my life. Sometimes I just wanted to be silly and innocent and free...yet I knew that life was beginning to expect more from me and there were demands and expectations that I knew existed and I just didn't want to let anyone down. Least of all, me.
What I imagine now when I look ahead to the coming days and years is that, yes, I am sad to a certain degree that Teagan isn't here to be a part of our 'memories'. Everyday I find I miss her presence and all she would add to our lives. Yet it makes my heart glad to know that she is not missing out on any goodness, love or grandeur. She is in Heaven- the place we all wish to be someday. Chip and I have laughed together and enjoyed fond memories of her... but some of our sweetest are ones that we never had to actually experience. She never dated the 'wrong guy'. She never had a broken heart. She never had to feel rejected or unloved or insecure or unimportant or uncertain. She lived a life of joy and gladness- more in her 4 short years than some will ever experience in a lifetime.
Just this past weekend it has been 6 years since we had our first memorial service for Teagan. I remember that day so vividly. Chip and I had never fathomed such a day would actually occur in our lives. We couldn't begin to imagine how we would feel, what we would do, or how we would get through such an unimaginable event. Nothing in life prepares you to say a final goodbye to the one you love- especially when just days before Teagan had been the light of our lives, the joy in our hearts and one of the main things that our whole lives centered on from morning til night. She would laugh and dance and run and play and talk and hug and kiss- almost non-stop. And suddenly that was gone.
One moment stands out in my mind as the most difficult and surreal moment of our tragedy and her death. As we prepared to head to the church for her memorial service, we were surrounded by family and friends whose hearts were broken alongside ours. We had lots of family and friends staying with us, and so we drove several vehicles to the church. I was the last to leave our house- along with my mom and dad and my aunt Dorie. I was unable to walk at that time because of the extensive nerve, muscle and tissue damage in my legs as a result of my injuries, and so I had been using a wheelchair, as well as trying to use crutches.
There were three steps to manuever down our front entry way for me to reach my wheelchair. I was deteremined to walk down them on my own- with the aid of my parents at my side. As I stood on that top step, my heart, mind and body literally froze. I could not move. My parents thought at first, that I was just in so much pain and needed to take my time.
But the fact was that I was so heartbroken that I physically couldn't take another step forward. I knew it would be admitting to myself the reality of what faced me- just moments away- the final farewell to my little Teagan and the beginning of my life without her in it. It just didn't seem possible, and I was frozen in that moment not wanting time to move ahead even one more second.
It is that same sense that I feel at times like these- as I watch my other kids grow and transition and look forward to their future in new and exciting ways. It's true, Teagan never got to do some of the things parents dream for their kids from the moment they are born. But it is me who is missing out on such dreams. Not her. She's in Heaven; and I cannot begin to wrap my mind around the beauty that graces her now.
With that, I have to share a quote by Emily Dickinson that was printed inside a card that a close friend of ours gave to us just before Teagan's service. It says,
"This world is not conclusion, a sequel stands beyond,
invisible, as music, but positive, as sound."
One day I know we will write the ending of our stories, together. For all eternity!

19 comments:

K :) Family Historian said...

Wow! As always, your words are so moving. Once again you brought me to tears with your words. You are such a smart and strong lady. I continue to find strength in what you have to tell us on your blog. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

((((HUGS))))!!!

Anne Marie said...

As a mom of a young teen who just started high school, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief that those awful middle school years are over. Now I face a totally different round of drama and heartaches as we enter her teen years and beyond. But I have to stop and wonder how different my life would be if I, in fact, had born and raised what would have been my first born son thirty years ago. Might my sweet teen daughter, 2nd son, and "surprise" midlife baby be in my life now? Trying to unravel the mysteries of God's plan is too much for this pea brain of mine. I'm so glad He has blessed his children with the gift of faith. {{{hugs to you}}}

MelissaC said...

That was about the most beautiful thing I have ever read. You are truly eloquent. My heart breaks for you, and yet, I admire so much the way you are able to find the good, to see that it is you who is missing the moments and not Teagan. Such depth and understanding. I struggle with my own faith, but I have no doubt that you will see your little girl again in a better place. Because of your faith.

Raesha D said...

What a beautiful post...and what an awesome perspective. I imagine Teagan in heaven having a grand time and just counting the seconds until you all get to be there with her.

SingerMamaMelody said...

May God continue to give you and Chip and your other children His strength and comfort as you miss your dear Teagan. Even though I didn't know her, I can almost imagine her sending you lots of hugs and kisses from Heaven, and joyfully anticipating a reunion with you all one day! Peace be with you...

Jenny said...

I wish I was there to give you a hug. It did my heart good though to see Teagan's sweet face on the top of your blog. It is amazing the pain a heart can feel. I wish I had a way to put a bandaid on it for you Jody!

lize said...

Sometimes I catch myself re-living moments in time with my brother who has passed. I miss him still and even today I want so badly for him to share in my joy of a new home so I cry with you and for you because I understand what it is you feel.

Magpie said...

Four years old is such a young age to lose a child, yet such a beautiful age to remember them being. I am happy for you when I read that you are able to concentrate on the joy and beauty Teagan gave you, instead of fixating on what you might be missing. {{{hugs}}}

jackie carl said...

Jody,
Thank you, as always, for your insightful posts. I needed to read your post yesterday.

Yesterday was a sad day for me. It was my brother's birthday. He would have been 50. He has been gone 5 years (this past June).
I really miss him. My heart ached all day. I cried all day. The lump in my throat hurt so badly and wouldn't go away. I really wanted to be able to "rib" Jerry about turning 50 ! He was such a tease to everyone and to turn the tables on him was always so much fun.

Even though the day was extra hard & I, too, find myself wishing he was here or if I could only see him, talk to him, hear his voice, see his smile, feel his touch & his hugs.....for just ONE more time...then I would feel so much better. You were a reminder to me, that he is in a better place. He isn't in pain any longer. He doesn't have to face the worldly problems. He couldn't have it any better than living eternally w/ God. Still, selfishly, I want him here. I want him to be w/ his kids; to watch them grow up; to teach them, to train them, to advise them, to do all the "Dad" things. That is not going to happen, so I have to look at all the positives & not dwell on the negatives. Your post was very helpful to me for doing that. You always have a way of turning things around to be see the ultimate "prize" of our loved ones being in Heaven.

jackie carl said...

I accidentally clicked on "publish" instead of "preview" before I was completely finished w/ my comments.

I will just end w/ again saying THANK YOU for your inspiration.

Have a great day.
Jackie Carl

sonja said...

Beautiful words beautiful lady


Sonja

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to share something from the memorial service of a friend's husband who died suddenly at the age of 37. He left a beautiful wife and three small boys behind, but our pastor insisted that, given the choice, he wouldn't choose to come back to Earth again. Heaven was too magnificant, too perfect, too eternal, for this friend to choose to leave it behind. This statement hurt some of the family members (I imagine it felt like a betrayal to them), but years later, we all recognize that it is true...heaven is our final place for a reason, because there is no better place. Someone said Teagan is counting the seconds to be with you again. I'm thinking that, to her, the time will literally feel like seconds until you are reunited. How beautiful--that if we have to be separated from our babies, they will have almost no recollection of the separation or how long it lasted.

Thanks for sharing such deep, beautiful thoughts.

Alison in TN

Anonymous said...

I have been a silent observer of your blog for a few months now and wanted to encourage you to continue to remember Teagan during the earthly milestones. I'm the oldest child of parents who lost their youngest child at the age of 2, and we'll often talk about what she would have been like at 16, or entering college. It has kept her memory alive and a part of our family. It gets easier to talk about her with smiles, but never without a tinge of sadness that she's not here with us. Praise God that He has prepared a place where we will all be reunited again! Thank you for sharing your journey and walk of faith!

Sandy said...

Jodie what beautiful words you have written about your sweet Teagan. I cannot begin to imagine everything your family has been thru but your faith is really remarkable, something I actually envy. Not that I dont' have faith but given your circumstances I could/would only hope that I could see things with such a positive outlook. I really don't know what else to say other than "I'm sorry". May God continue to Bless your family and I'm sure he's got Teagan on his lap looking down on you!

Nicole said...

I have been reading your blog for quit some time and when I first read about Teagan I cried because I have a 10 year old girl who has blue eyes and blond hair. You have such a beautiful way with words. You WILL be together with Teagan and what a comfort that is. I also love to watch all the fun things you do with your kids. Thanks for sharing your heart and soul with so many.

motherkearney said...

You are so good with your words. I am standing with you on that step, unable to move.

I'm glad you're able to move today.

Christine said...

I think the same of Eric..yes, he will miss the opportunities that may have presented themselves in the last half of his life..but, heaven holds so much more Jody. Just think of what we're missing..:)

Tina Vega said...

What a beautiful post. You express yourself with such grace. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and for the inspiration you offer so many!