Soon after we built and moved into our new home, Moise came. The challenges we had faced prior to his arrival suddenly seemed trivial as we faced the barrage of medical complexities that he brought to us. Unexpectedly, our neat and orderly life was turned upside down by one after another medical crisis. We faced the possiblity of losing Moise to life threatening illness. Together we struggled with the decision to adopt a child who would not grow and mature and learn as most children do. We sacrificed sleep for several years as we cared for our fragile son. Moise's place in our life, our family, our home has stretched us emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially.
Through all of the joys and struggles of life and marriage, Jim is my rock. He is solid and steadfast. He works hard but more importantly, he is full of compassion. Jim stands firm in what he believes and he has proven that he will make great sacrifices for the sake of love, respect and protection of myself and our children. Jim is a man like few others in his love for children whom life appears to have been unfair to. I am keenly aware that few men would be willing to sacrifice, to the extent that he has, to care for children with disabilities. Jim is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Like all of us, he has his share of faults and imperfections. Nevertheless, he is a rare gem, I know it and appreciate it.
This journey of grief that we are on together has been the most horrific and, in some strangely sad way, the most beautiful jouney of our lifetime. We have been warned by many of the effects of child death on marriage. Statistics prove that many marriages cannot withstand the gale force winds of losing a beloved child. I clearly understand this. We are tired and sad and often irritable. Life's small frustrations are somehow amplified in the face of tragedy, often causing great stress and short fuses. We sin against each other, we get angry with each other. It seems we constantly find ourselves asking for and extending forgiveness toward one another. We grieve in dramatically different ways and while we try to respect these differences, sometimes it is hurtful and frustrating.
When we remember back to the day of the accident there is all sorts of blame that could be placed. We could say to each other, "why weren't you watching her closer?" "Why did you take you eyes off of her?"
"How could you just assume that the kids had her?" But we don't. Never, not one single time have such words of blame been uttered in our home. The truth is that when we all went outside that evening after dinner, there was an unspoken understanding that we all would do our part in watching her. We would work together as a family because that is what we do. As parents and siblings of 2 special needs children, everyone plays a vital part. No one is exempt from helping out. It is knowledge of this truth that relinquishes each of us from placing blame. As we examine the situation, we each take our pointed fingers and turn them toward ourselves, wishing that we, individually, had done differently. Grant said it perfectly once when he stated that "I know that just 5 seconds of doing something different could have changed the entire course and the result of that evening." This lack of blame is a powerful gift, a gift of mercy entended not only by our Lord, but from and to each other.
I am the one who does all the writing on this blog because it is healing for me. I have found it to be a most effective means of expression. Jim does not blog but he hurts. People seem to be very aware of my aching mother heart, often forgetting or minimizing his broken father heart. While our grief and pain is different, as our parent roles are different, the intensity of the pain is essentially the same. Jim, like many men, has always had an awesome sense of resonsiblity to protect his daughters. He cherishes them as priceless treasures. Laynee brought a smile to his face on difficult days. On stressful days, her soft laughter and warm hugs helped him to keep life in perspective. The loss of his precious, littlest princess has left him with a wide gaping hole in his heart.
As we travel this painful path we draw closer and closer together. We spend our nights in each other's arms as the pain ravages our body and soul. We draw comfort and strength from each other's presence. While other family and friends are invaluable, it is Jim who holds me up when I cannot stand. We are both very weak right now, but together we are strong. We come together daily, crying out to our Savior to carry us through this valley. Our souls speak in the only way that they can, through rivers of tears. As the tears flow, they mesh, they mingle, they become ....not mine, nor his, but ours. We have weathered storms before. However, this time as I look into the face and eyes of my husband, whom I love more than life itself, I see an exact, mirror image of my own desperate pain. It hurts to know his pain is so reflective of my own. It is painful. It is beautiful.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth;
for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken