One thing is certain; we have not traveled alone. As I woke this morning, I remembered all of the horror, trauma, and pain of our great tragedy one year ago. In the midst of all of that, I also am reminded of family and friends who have been there with unfailing love and support. Early this morning some young girls, friends of Jamee and Grant, stopped by with a beautiful vase full of flowers. Along with the flowers was a card with the names of several friends and this verse: John 16:22 You may have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice and no one will take your joy from you. This group of young teen girls reminded us that our Lord does not bring trials without the resources to see us through.
In the haze of memories, I recall the love that surrounded us. There were loved ones at the hospital within moments after we arrived. Our entire community was holding us up in prayer: the churches, the schools, our friends, our family, the very old and the very young. Family stepped in to hold our children while Jim and I rushed to the hospital. Someone made it possible for our children tocome so they could hold their baby sister one last time. Arms embraced us, tears mingled with our own, some of us had to be reminded even to breathe as shock claimed us. I cannot say who all was at the hospital, but I know there were many. They were in the waiting room, in the hallway, and those closest to us in the trauma room where her body lay. I recall being granted the beautiful pleasure of handing my sweet baby, wrapped in a blanket, to those who needed just one more chance to hold her, touch her, kiss her. I recall placing her in the arms of each of my beautiful children and watching the love and agony pass across their faces as tears dripped into her hair and onto her face. I shall never forget the fierce, she-bear instinct that rose up in me as I was told that they needed to take her away, but someone was there to hold me up. Someone rubbed my back as I spoke on the phone to the coroner. As we left the hospital, we were not alone.
The single most stunningly beautiful memory of that night is that of pulling up to our driveway and seeing, in the darkness, the reflection of the tail lights of numerous cars in our driveway. I admit that at first I was a bit overwhelmed by this and not at all sure I was up to seeing that many people. As our home came into focus I could see that the garage was packed with people, those who loved us, those who would carry a part of our burden. In hindsight, I am so grateful for all of them and the fact that we did not come home to a deafeningly empty home. Again, I do not know who all was here, but there were many. My children's friends were here to hold them up when Jim and I didn't even know how to hold ourselves up. This memory, though blurry, stands as proof that our Lord, through his servants here, was carrying us from those first awful moments.
The next day, though I cannot say who all came, our home was virtually flooded with people. There were those who came bearing food. Someone organized all of the food and kept track of who brought what. Some held us up with knowledge and support as we faced those who came to investigate the accident. Others helped with planning the memorial service. Once again, our children's friends were here to help them through the day. There were some whom we'd never met, but were, nevertheless, praying and touched by the life and death of our angel baby. Perhaps the clearest memory in my mind is that of my dear friend, Laynee's "aunt" Karen, sitting on the sofa beside me. I think that maybe I clung to her as she was, aside from Jim and I and our children, the one who loved Laynee best and the one who would ache from her abscence the most. I do not recall a word that was spoken by Karen, in fact I think that maybe there were none. Words were unnecessary and grossly inadequate.
As horrific as the memories are, the fact that our God has supplied for our needs is not lost on us. There is a beautiful song that speaks so clearly of how, in our greatest need, he says "I Will Carry You. (you may need to turn off the sound of the playlist at the bottom of my blog to hear this song) I praise my God that he allowed us to carry Laynee through her short life. I praise him also that just as we will carry her, forever in our hearts, he will continue to carry us through this valley.
God is good.............all the time.