Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It'll Be Alright

"It feels like it's never going to be alright again!!" those were the vehement words of 13 year old Jade as she sat, head on her crossed arms, perched upon our kitchen bar stools. We had just returned home from Laynee's visitation, where we received the sympathy and condolences of hundreds of friends, family and co workers. There we witnessed the ache and sorrow that her death had left within the hearts of so very many people.

I don't know how Jim and I responded to her statement. I know we cried. I know we held her close.  I suspect we probably offered platitudes of how we would get through this, how we would be okay someday, how we were strong and we had each other, and blah, blah, blah. We were, after all, her parents.  It was our job to see her and her siblings through the horror that was now our life. But in truth, Jade was exactly, 100% correct.  She, being 13, didn't have to guard her words.  She didn't need to be tactful or gracious or worry about offending someone in her grief. She could be ever so real and speak the truth of whatever filled her heart and mind.

Regardless of whatever words of comfort we offered her.  I, myself, felt like "it's never going to be alright again."  I had no idea how we were going to survive.  How were we going to face the next hour, much less the rest of our life, without our baby girl?  I barely knew how to breathe and yet, somehow, Jim and I had to be okay, we had to make sure our children were okay.

As time went on, I began to wonder what being "alright" looked like.  We got out of bed each day.  We put one foot in front of another, took one breath at a time, stood against each wave of pain that came.  Did that mean we were "alright?"  Did the fact that we functioned and performed whatever menial tasks were put before us indicate being "alright?"  Or was it when we could actually make it through one day without an onslaught of fresh tears and wailing agony? Maybe "alright" came after the proverbial one year mark when most assumed the hurt would diminish. Did it mean I was "alright" when I no longer needed to visit her burial spot every single day?

Laynee's First Birthday, January 30, 2008

It wasn't okay that our Laynee had died.  I once had someone ask me, "what would it take for you to be okay with the fact that your daughter is in heaven?"  I thought long and hard before answering. "Heaven.  It'll be okay that she's in heaven when I'm in heaven too. Until then, I will carry on but that will never be okay." Today, five years later, the answer remains the same. It's not okay that Laynee is gone from this earth, but it will be someday.

And the rest of it......the living.......the going on with life in spite of the unthinkable?'s alright.  We're alright.  Being alright looks dramatically different than it did before.  There's a piece of our heart missing that will never be replaced.  Being alright doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt or that we are "over it."  It doesn't mean that the dark memories never threaten to overwhelm us or that the pain never drives us to our knees. It doesn't mean that we have ceased to ask "why? Why would God take our precious child?" It doesn't mean that we go one single day without missing her.

It means that we are stronger, our shoulders broader, our hearts softer. We are different, for sure, but it's "alright."

St. Petersburg, FL--November, 2008
We're going to see our Laynee again someday.  And because we know that.
Because we know that we know that we know that.....
It'll be alright

God is good, all the time.

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