Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Good stuff and open roads for dreamin'.

Our family just marked another year gone by since the tragedy that claimed Teagan's life and altered us forever occurred. It has been 12 years now. I think one of the things that stood out most to me this year is just how much Teagan will always be a part of our life story~ no matter how much time goes on. The memories of that day are so vivid and clear to me, and I doubt they will ever fully fade. There was so much trauma and weeks of hospital and intense concern surrounding all of our injuries and recovery, that I am sure would take a lifetime to forget. I do know that it sometimes still feels like it all happened yesterday, and the ache of the reality that Teagan is truly gone doesn't ever diminish. The hole she left in our hearts and lives is still the same size as it was the day she was taken off of life support. We have done lots of living between then and now, but who she was and how she changed our lives for the better from the moment she was born will never change.
And for that, I am grateful, and I will always thank God for sending such a vibrant, sweet, beautiful girl into our lives.
I am glad that we didn't get stuck in that place of grief and sorrow that threatens to consume and overwhelm one's life in the days and weeks following death. There was so much pain and darkness in that pit of sorrow. I was so angry to be in it at times, knowing how amazing and pleasurable life had been before being thrown into this place unannounced. I was angry that life for our family was being defined by such an ugly event, and I was angry that our joy had been ripped from our hands without giving us a choice or chance to do anything about it. That was a hard place to be, for sure. All I wanted was out of there, and yet as our injuries and Wyndham's challenges became our new way of life, I realized we would never fully 'escape' the pain and grief.
Chip and I struggled with how to move forward through those early days. I spent many of them weeping and struggling to even catch my breath through my sobs, as my physical pain hurt and my broken heart hurt and life seemed only dark and daunting. I didn't believe we would ever be 'whole' again. I didn't believe there would ever come a day when we wouldn't feel sadness. I felt like all of life was tainted and the only thing I wanted back was a small taste of joy.
I didn't know how that could happen though, because our whole world was pain- from the  nightmares I woke up from in the night, to Brock's post traumatic stress syndrome, to Wyndham's injuries and meds and Chip's broken was all so painful. We didn't even come home from the hospital for 3 weeks. It felt like an eternity. It felt like our nightmare would never end.
In our sorrows and grief and heartache and pain, Chip and I knew we wanted something more. We wanted to be able to live again! We wanted days filled with laughter and fun and happiness. We were living in darkness and we wanted so much to believe that there was Joy for the taking somewhere in the world again. We made a vow to fight for that together. We cried together for what we had lost and for what our "new normal" looked like now. I knew I needed Chip to be by my side- but fully understood how marriages fall apart in those dark valleys of life. I am glad that as hard as some of the days and months and years have been, that after 12 years of hardship, we are still together. We have had ups. We have had lots of downs.
We have had miracles happen.
We have loved deeper and more easily.
We have looked for ways to make new happy memories.
We have fought for joy and laughter.
We have been blessed beyond measure.
We still miss Teagan everyday.
We still lean on God as our source of strength, comfort and Joy.
He is our Rock, our healer and the One who has held us together and carried us through it all.

Our family has grown in number and there have been days that have overflowed with joy and happiness in our life in the past 12 years. I never could have imagined ordinary days being able to be full of happiness again. But we have lived them, so I know they exist. The journey of grief is long and hard and I don't wish it on anybody. My heart goes out to everyone touched by loss of a loved one. Something as simple as going to Despicable Me 2 can be a simple pleasure. Having a healthy family and opportunities to watch my kids grow and learn and to make memories together as a family are the very things that make life so worthwhile. Seeing beauty in the smallest things shows just how merciful, gracious and loving God is. That He cares about all the details of our lives is amazing. It's humbling. That He would reach down and enter into our hurts and cry with us and guide us out of the valley of darkness and death into the fullness of life again is the miracle in our lives everyday.
I sometimes get lost in the place of pity and heartache much more easily than I ever did before our tragedy. I am so thankful that God doesn't allow me to sit and wallow forever.
I am so glad that He put in me- in Chip- the desire to want to live a life of joy again. Even in simple things like baking homemade chocolate chip cookies and dreaming of what lies ahead in life. I am glad that little things- like piles of laundry and noisy kids- are sometimes my biggest reminders of what I love and care most about- the special people in my life are my greatest blessings. The Hope of heaven keeps me going.
If someone had said I would have 6 kids, and be on a scrap team and blog and smile when I use a pink vacuum, and riding carts at Target would all be a part of my life at this time in 2001, I never would have believed it. But I am so glad that they way I imagined life playing out versus the reality of how it actually does look are so vastly different, that I hardly recognize the 'old life' anymore. I am holding on to the good memories as tight as I can. But I am ever grateful that my heart and hands were opened to embrace what God has placed back into our lives. It's pretty great, and I am so blessed to be able to say so!
In case you happen to like the scrap goodies you see in the pages I made here as much as I love them, you can get them for yourself starting tomorrow at Cocoa It is a truly wonderful thing to me, to be able to use my hands and create something- just for the fun and joy of it. I never thought that would happen in my life ever again. And now I do it every single month! And lots of times in between too! God is a God of miracles. I take one look at my life as it is now and I know that it is true.


Denise said...

Jody love your art and your words and most of all your heart. always thanks for sharing your thoughts.

SingerMamaMelody said...

Hi Jody,
You've been on my mind lately and now I know why. I realized that I haven't read your blog in a long time and I decided to check in today. I just read your post about Teagan. So glad to hear how God has brought you through this incredibly difficult pain and that He has given you joy in the journey. It has been a year and a half since we lost our baby girl Solveig to a cord accident and stillbirth at 33.5 weeks. There has been joy and there has been pain, and God has been with us through it all.
May He continue to give you and your beautiful family all the strength you need for each day,