Thursday, July 29, 2010

We never did get to eat pie that day.





These images are horrifying to look at and yet I am compelled to 'put them out there' today as our family marks the 9th anniversary of these days events. July 29, 2001.
We simply had plans to enjoy a family brunch at this restaurant called The Old Depot. We had never been there before but had heard that the pie was outstanding and we happened to have some extra time in our day that Sunday as Chip's boss had told him he could come into work at the golf course a bit later than usual. It was turning out to be a glorious, bright and sunny day.
But then something went horribly wrong.
Without warning the door and the wall and ceiling began crashing down in and around our family and some of the other guests at the restaurant just as we were taking our first few bites of breakfast. It was a scene unlike any other I have ever witnessed and one that will never be erased from my mind as I flew through the air, banged into things and finally landed in a pile of debris without ever losing consciousness. I had no idea what had just happened- but do remember that it felt as though a bomb had just exploded around us.
I quickly jumped to my feet and as I looked around the first person I saw was Teagan. She was laying where her chair should have been and I could see blood trickling out just beneath her head. I scooped her up and carried her out the hole where the door should have been.
That would be the last time I ever held my little girl.
* * * * *
Today I awoke and some of these images and others were on my mind. I would give anything to erase them and wish that July 29, 2001 was just another family day in which the events of that day blended into the next without much cause to remember. I never realized what a gift it was to live ordinary days that held simple joys and happiness- but once they were over they were soon forgotten because the next day held something just as easy and carefree.
But that was not to be.
Today when I woke up I felt angry. Even all these years later.
Wyndham had soaked through her pull-up and so I had to change her bedding and start some laundry... all because of her brain injury that will never fully heal from that day.
I tossed the sheets into the wash machine and felt my insides growing hot.
I thought of all the times I've had to wash her bedding from wetting or illness and wondered how many more times I will have to do it in the future- and the sting of unfairness burned stronger.
It's not fair.
We didn't even get to eat the pie we had heard so much about until nearly a year later when the Old Depot reopened its doors- having been rebuilt from the ground up.
Lives were changed in an instance that day.
Hearts were shattered; bodies torn and broken- inside and out; happiness replaced by sorrow and pain.
* * * * *
I post these photos and remember and wish it all different today, but at the same time I feel that burn and sting inside and remind myself all over again how it is a choice- sometimes a daily struggle- to live beyond the hurt, to rise above the self-pity that threatens to swallow me up if I think too long and hard about this reality, and most importantly, I am reminding myself to choose Joy again today. I want to remember the good times I had with Teagan, and to look back on all our family has overcome. It's been a long and winding path for us in 9 years, but all along the way there have been blessings beyond what I could have imagined life would hold for us through the years.
I was still feeling the ache inside when I said a quiet prayer- one I've prayed many, many times since I stood at the scene of these photos and that is this,
"Lord, I give it to you. I pray for peace, for comfort, for Joy in the midst of suffering."
It's not an easy thing to surrender and to invite God to hold the hurt for me, but I have learned and am still learning that it is the way to peace and even to forgiveness and that in turn frees me to feel happiness and Joy once again.
I know my suffering and pain pales in comparison to many of the hurts and struggles other people have lived through and continue to carry with them each day. I thank God that He has shown Himself faithful to our family in ways we never dreamed, and that He has healed us in so many ways and restored our Joy at times too.
* * * * *
The timer is just about to buzz on my oven letting me know that several loaves of zucchini bread are done baking. My swollen, pregnant belly has been slightly jerking from baby hiccups inside me the past several minutes. Crew and Brock are eating popsicles together outside and Bella and Ava are talking and laughing as they play Uno downstairs- a game they just learned how to play yesterday. Wyndham's bedding is about to be tossed into the dryer and I will start another load of laundry too.
Life today is simple and ordinary and sprinkled with bits of laughter too.
It's just the kind of day I wish July 29, 2001 had turned out to be. One not all that unlike all the other days that blend from one into the next.
The hurt is real... but I know even more than that, the Joy is far greater and definitely worth fighting and living for. If I could, I would invite you all over for coffee and fresh baked zucchini bread right now and I would tell you that although I don't know what the future holds for our family or for anyone, there is One who is in control who loves us all more than we would ever imagine and who has a plan to bring justice and glory from any pain we experience here on earth. One day because of our trust in God our sorrow will be forgotten and our tears will be wiped away and there will be only rejoicing forevermore.
I am seeking to trust in God's plans and His ability to bring forth Joy from any circumstance and trial we endure. It's not easy and I openly admit I don't even like the way He causes our path to turn at times... but there's no doubt in my heart or mind that it will be worth it all. One day!

46 comments:

Whitney said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and your family.

Jodi said...

Jody, my heart goes out to you and your family, especially today as you recall and remember that fateful day. I so admire your strength and faith. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. May God continue to heal.

Anonymous said...

Jodi- As I sit here reading what you had to go through my heart hurts and tears are pouring down my face....Praying for you and your family. brooke johnson

Lauren said...

I remember I found your blog thru Angie Smith’s blog and I haven’t stopped reading it since. I will be forever inspired by the story of your family and seeing God’s redemption in more ways than one. Your strength, courage, and you’re ability to put one foot in front of the other and take one day at a time, as I know the pain doesn’t lessen with time passing. Gets easier, yes, but doesn’t lessen, and all the while counting your blessings. Love you, girl, and thanks for sharing Teagan with us!!

alisa logue said...

The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. -Numbers 6:24. Hugs to you Jody! Praying for your day! -Alisa

angie said...

you don't know me, but i have been following your blog for a few years now. you inspire me so often with your faith and honesty. i am prayign for you and yours especially on this anniversary. i wish peace and love for you all.

Chatty Chappy said...

Thinking of you and your family today...you truly are an inspiration to all of us. I can't imagine the pain you and your family have had to endure but it is truly amazing how you have overcome. Thank you again for being so open and sharing so much of yourself with us!

Southern Gal said...

I said a prayer for your family today. Such heartache is incomprehensible. July 29 is my husband's birthday. We always celebrate that day and you have to work through feelings that a parent should never have to feel. Yet, the Savior knows. He knows full well your struggle. Trusting Him to soothe your wounds today.

Amee said...

Jodi,
Hi. I don't think I've ever commented on here, but I have read your blog from beginning to end. I"m at work right now and trying to hold the tears back as I read your post today. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for being so honest with your feelings. I truly cannot even imagine what y'all have went though.
I can't wait to hear the good news when BAbY is born! :D)
Thank you for your honesty & Faith!!! God is Good all the Time, even though at times we all do wander ever so slightly from his Word.
God Bless You & Your Family!

N, Kelly, D, E and Zoe said...

Jody, my heart is with yours today. Thank you for sharing your faith and your human emotions. God can work in our lives even when the path isn't what we'd want or expect. I know that doesn't make it easy, but it does give a comfort that only He can bring. May God continue to carry you through each day.

Carol said...

Thank you for your honesty and sharing your happiness and pain through your blog. You are an incredibly inspirational person and many times your writing puts a lot of things in my life into perspective. Thinking of Teagan today and your family.

God Bless you.

Jan said...

Jody, since I "met" you online several years ago, I've had the opportunity to read your story and your thoughts on these "anniversary" days several times. And it always blows me away. As I read, I try so hard to imagine what it must have been like - what it continues to be like. But, I just can't. You know, contrary to what you said, I don't think there are that many people who's pain and struggles pale in comparison to yours. I think what you've experienced has to be one of THE most painful things ever. To not only tragically lose a child right in front of your eyes - which is bad enough - but to live daily watching your baby grow up with pain and challenges that you never could have dreamed of for her. Unimaginable.

Your anger, hurt and pain is understandable.

What really amazes me the most is your utter determination to rise above your emotions rather than to surrender to them; to give them to God and to glorify Him in the process. I wish I could have talked to you about this when I spent those few days with you in TN, but, honestly, it overwhelms me.

I can't tell you how much your story and your honesty shake my little world. Thank you for reminding me of how much I take "the uneventful day" for granted. Thank you for reminding me how precious each day - and each person in it - really is. Thank you for allowing God to use you. It's easy to pray that quiet little prayer of yours when all is well. Or even when things are just a little hard. It's another thing to pray it in the midst of the worst horrors we can imagine.

I pray for peace and comfort - and for joy - for you and your family today as you struggle with roller-coaster emotions. I pray God will continue to strengthen you and use you to show others what real faith looks like.

Love you, Jody.

Madeline said...

I'm thinking of you all today. My heart breaks every time I think about your story, which is often. Teagan has always been my favorite name for a little girl, which is what brought me to your blog years ago.

When I read the story from the paper, I noticed that a mother of 2 young children was also killed. Do you happen to know how that family is doing today?
Big hugs from Massachusetts!

mindibz said...

Your courage to honestly reflect and move forward with joy as you do is truly amazing. Thinking of you and your family and covering you in prayer today.

bellatopia said...

Jody, there just aren't words. My heart hurts with and for you, for your family, for everyone involved in that accident. Somehow, in all of this mess of humanity, God is still good. And what He has done in and through you is good. I'm so thankful I found your blog after my son died, you helped me process so many of my emotions. I want you to know I pray for you all most days, but I'm praying for you today especially.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today.

(((Hugs)))
Sarah

sherry said...

Dearest Jody...how I wish i lived around the corner so I could hop on over and enjoy some coffee and zuchinni bread with you....and listen as you share your words, your sorrows, your joys. I know you have gone thru so much yet in the midst of all of it you have been the most amazing encourager and inspiration! I have been so drawn to you since the first time I read your blog. I have never experienced such a devestating and tragic loss as you have...I cannot imagine!!! Looking at your pictures made it so real and so raw.....what an awful thing to have endured. BUT you have and you carry on and you put God first and foremost in the midst of all of it. I will think of you and pray for you all day today......
Love & Blessings for your heart, soul and family!
XO Sherry

Kristin Stegent said...

I just can't imagine the pain. I am sorry. Jesus, please help Jody and her whole family today...please bring peace. And please continue to heal all the places that still ache and long for things to have been different. Wrap this precious family up in You.

I am sorry.

Andrea said...

I'm thinking of and praying for you today. Sharing your story stops me in my tracks and reminds me to give praise for "ordinary days" because we are not promised "ordinary", and I don't ever want to take a moment for granted. Thank you and Teagan for being an inspiration to so many.

65 Roses for Marcia said...

Thinking of you and your family today.

Anonymous said...

I think this is my first comment too! Am in awe of your honesty and openness- and the difference having Christ can make! Thanks for being real! This world needs more real christians. Blessings, Mari-beth

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being real. Thank you for your walk with the Lord in spite of the pain. May you feel the Lord holding you close today, as HE continues to piece your heart back together!

darcie said...

Thinking of you and your family today...
Wishing things were different and oh so sorry that they aren't.
May you find comfort in knowing that there are so many of us praying for you and yours.
Hugs from Minnesota.
xoxo

Andrea :) said...

Keeping you and your family tucked in my heart today. Peace, love and blessings to all of you. Thank you for being so open and honest in your blog- your pain is so clear but so is your JOY and HOPE!

patricia e said...

Jody,
I've been following your blog for about 3 years and have commented a few times, but I read your postings on a regular basis. My heart aches for you and your family. My tears are flowing. I admire you in so many ways. You have such a humble and honest heart. When everything is said and done all we can do is live in the todays, enjoy the moments we have with each other and the rest has already been set before us. Thank you for sharing all you do with us. You have a beautiful family.

Erika said...

jody, just want to let you know that your family is close to my heart and i am praying for peace for you today. i often think about teagan and wyndham, and how different things would have been for both of them (and the rest of the family, too) if that day had been another ordinary day. i am very encouraged by you, how you handle grief, and how open and honest you are. you are truly an inspiration to me, and i wish things were different...but like you, i am trusting that everything will be made whole in the end. sending you lots of love and prayers today and every day.

love,
erika

Dana said...

Jody, I know you didn't write this post so that any of us would comment but I can't imagine what you and your family feel and it is more than unfair. The flip side is that because of what you went through and the way you've handled it, you've been a testimony of God's love and grace to all of us who read your blog. Extra prayers for you and yours today.

Michelle said...

Thinking of you and your family today Jody.. and thanks for sharing your story with us all.

God bless always!
xoxo

Kristi said...

Oh Jodi - How my heart hurts for you as I read this post today. I am so proud of you for posting it. For letting people know that it is OK to be mad and angry 9 years later. I am so sorry for your memories of this day.

I have been thinking about your family lately because I have started teaching Kindergarten and I just got my Pre-Class list, and I have a Teagan in my class. Spelled exactly like your dear baby's name. It hurt my heart for you when I saw that name on my class list. I am going to give that Teagan a lot of extra love so maybe your Teagan feels it in Heaven. I am sorry for the way your heart hurts today and every day.
Kristi Sikora-Blankenship
(used to work for Cropper Hopper when you and I met)

Mary Ellen said...

When I lost my mom several years ago, someone told me that life would never be the same. I am very sympathic to your pain and really want to tell you I prayed for you today. May God give you mercy and grace and make all things clear in his time.

mim Claire said...

Sweet Jody, thanks for the invite to your home, but even more thanks for inviting us into your heart and into your pain. The picture of Teagan at the top of this post is breath taking. She's beautiful and you will see this beauty of yours again someday. I write with tears, as words cannot express the sadness I feel as I read your blog today. I pray that He will turn your mourning int Joy, and continue to give you His strength each day, as you look forward to this new little life. The Lord Bless you and your sweet family!

Anonymous said...

Jody, We have never met and I don't know you personally, but, I would have loved to have had a cup of coffee and warm zuchni bread with you today. I follow your blog daily and am touched by your faith. Yes, God is GOOD ALL the time. No day should be ordinary to us. You, Teagan, and your family are a blessing. God has used you to minister to others. God's continued blessings upon you and your dear family.

jenny said...

Praying for you and your sweet family today. Thanks for a post that reminded me to be thankful for the blessings of this moment, and to choose JOY no matter what happens because our Father CAN be trusted. What a celebration you will have one day when you and sweet Teagan and all your family are reunited. God bless.

Red Door said...

Hi Jody, just wanted you to know I am thinking of you, Chip, Teagan and all of the other little Ferlaaks today. I will never forget what happened that day and am so sorry it has impacted your family the way it has. I am so thankful you will see Teagan again in Heaven!

Jennifer said...

Thinking of your family on this day. I remember found you by your important page was in mazgaine.

That how I found your blog.

Our hearts are with your family.

Bethany said...

I prayed for your family today. I knew I wouldn't get to your blog on "the day," but I prayed. So hard. I'm sure that even 9 years later the pain and hurt is still fresh. Your writing is amazing and you always convey such emotion. You have such a beautiful family...praying for them all.

Lisa D :) said...

{{{{hugs}}}}}

I do believe that when you get to heaven, Teagan will be holding some of the most delicious pie to share with you. What a glorious moment that will be!
Praying for you and your whole family, Jody. Thank you for sharing as you do. Your strength and your faith are truly inspirational.

SAAM said...

Dear Jody follow you always, from Italy,and thanks for your words give me comfort I also lost a daughter.
Thanks to you I had the courage to have another child.
I am close.
These terrible days are long recurrence.
thanks Jody
Sabrina

Carrie said...

I am moved beyond words from this post. Praying you and your family knows only peace and joy. Sending lots of love to you.

Allie in AZ said...

Jody, I am praying for you and your family today as you mark an unfair anniversary! I agree it was unfair, and I also agree that our God is good and helps us heal :) May he be ever-present today as you mourn again the loss of your precious Teagan. You and Chip are an inspiration...an event like this so often rips a marriage and family to shreds. You refused to let that happen and you are glorifying God through your example and message. May He continue to bless you in the future as richly as he has since that awful day. Bless you Jody...

Vicky said...

Thinking of you, especially today. Each and every time you pour your heart into these posts about your family, and today about Teagan, I cry as if its the first time I am reading it. Such poignant and intimate memories you share which are painful and yet still give glory to God.

Sending love and prayers today... God Bless you all.

babyrndeb said...

just thinking of you guys...
and thanks for sharing such intimate moments and pictures.
You are beautiful and have such a gentle spirit.

Rhianne said...

Hello Jody.
I just came across your blog about an hour ago from one of the comments on Sheye Rosemeyer's blog post. You had said something about your beautiful little girl, so I clicked your name and read your words, and cried and cried. There are no words I can say to you, I have no idea what its like to lose a child. I dont even know what its like to be a mother, I'm only 14 years old. But this past hour has changed my life. Reading your words has changed my life. Shes with the angels now. God bless you all xx

Christal Miles said...

Jody, Chip...and family. I took these pictures but finally uploaded~

elizabeth said...

as I was reading your posts, i was also texting a friend of mine that went through a tragedy 1 year ago that took her sons life. She is going through a really hard time and is distancing herself from so many of her friends right now. One year later the depression has hit her. Her marriage has fallen apart and the divorce is final this week. I know you realize how blessed you are that your marriage has survived this. So many do not. You are truly blessed. I am sorry you have such tragedy, but happy you are supported my each other

Leah said...

My prayers are with your family.