Yesterday, as I was driving home, pondering a statement that was made to this effect, I found myself trying to find words for how I would describe "the hardest part." Since Laynee's passing I have come to know, on a heart level, many who are walking this painful journey. While we all have unique and individual experiences, we are much alike in many ways. Though I cannot speak for all, I think that many would say that the "hardest part" is knowing how to go on.
"Going on" began within the first moments of those dreaded words, "time of death." Those three words signified the end of life as we knew it. They devoured the hope of seeing a miracle performed before our eyes. The words were loud, crushing and irrevocable. From that moment, 7:25 pm September 9, 2009, we have been searching for a way to "go on." That first night we had to go on by allowing our children to say one last goodbye to their baby sister. "Going on" meant walking out of the hospital with empty arms. It meant putting our heads on the pillow, knowing we did not tuck her in and kiss her good night.
We have made daily choices to "go on" in spite of the fact that we have no idea how and often lack the desire to do so. The hardest part is facing each and every day without her and ending each day, knowing I just completed another day without seeing, hearing and touching her. The hardest part is seeing little girls her age and wondering what she would be like as 3 or 3.5 or 4 year old. Everytime I see a person with Down Syndrome I must, once again, figure out how to go on without having that extra chromosome to love.
Going on means finding direction and purspose for your life when the idea of what you thought God wanted for you is devastatingly altered. It's unspeakably difficult to go to a job each day, knowing that, had the angel of death not visited your home, you would not be in this position. The hardest part is finding a desire to do anything at all when you really want to retireve the love and joy that has fluttered away like an angel's breath.
I struggle daily, even hourly, to go on in faith. In this, the hardest part is retaining the belief that our Lord is one of love, mercy and compassion when heart, mind and soul are invaded by the memories of what seems anything but merciful. It is continuing in the hope that He can and will work all things together for God when everything seems inherently wrong. I must hold fast to the belief that God does have a plan for my life, even if I cannot begin to comprehend his purpose for such great pain. The hardest part is continuing on in this life when, suddenly, heaven is your greatest desire.
This hardest part, this going on, is not present only on the first birthday or first Christmas without them. It does not magically disappear with the first angelversary. When I awoke this morning the pain was no less than it was a few weeks ago, before the one year mark. The hardest part stays with us each and every day as we remember, as the clear picture of her smiling face begins to fade from our minds, as we make the choise to go on despite the fact that we really do not know how. No one can tell us how to go on. No one.....not our parents, our pastors, nor those who have already walked this path can tell us how to go on.
We go on because the clock does not stop ticking, the earth does not stop spinning. We go on, even though we don't know how. We make choices daily. Contrary to what we wish were so, we cannot change what has happened. We cannot bring back those who are gone from us. The hardest part is going on without them in a way that honors our God. We know that we will see Jalayne Grace Holmes again and we can't wait for that day. In the meantime, the hardest part is asking and finding the answer to the question "what will I do with the time that's left?" The hardest part is going on.
For in Him we live and move and have our being