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!