A person very near and dear to my heart messaged these words to me yesterday morning–seems like forever….seems like yesterday. Even though that was the entire message, I knew exactly what she meant. Yesterday marked the six-month anniversary since our family was shaken and shattered to the very core. Yesterday marked the six-month anniversary since a drunk driver killed my mom, sister-in-law, and eight-year old niece. Those six months seem like forever, yet they seem like just yesterday. It’s funny how time can move at the speed of light yet magically stand still.
Before I sat down to write this, I looked back at the very first post I wrote, five weeks after the crash. I thought about changing a couple of words, the title and simply re-posting here because, even though it’s six months out, so many things are essentially the same. . .
For starters, to write about the crash STILL seems so surreal. Even though reality has hit me HARDCORE several times over the last six months, most of the time, I still struggle to wrap my head around the fact that three of the people who I loved the most in my life are gone–taken in an instant. Even though I know that their deaths are VERY REAL, it’s still too difficult to actually comprehend. The pain is as real today as it was then. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly believe that their deaths are part of our family’s story. It just doesn’t make sense.
And now, it is already six months later. I look at my family and how our story is unfolding. I am totally in awe and inspired by their collective courage and resiliency in the face of unthinkable tragedy. Although I cannot speak for everyone, I think I can safely say that we are all doing as good as can be expected given the horrific hand that we have been dealt. As I wrote then and will do so now, I know my own pain but can only imagine what everyone else’s must be like. Even though we have pulled together in the most incredible of ways, we each still have our own healing journeys to continue on. We are–as individuals and as a family–forever changed. And that, will never change.
And as I reflect, also not much different now than several months ago are the constants that I wrote about then. If anything, I believe in these more so now than I ever thought possible at the time.
- Faith, family, and friends will carry you through the darkest of days. I still can’t stress this enough, in fact, this means so much more to me now than it did then. My faith has grown deeper, as have my relationships with the ones that I love the most. I cannot help but feel completely blessed.
- The power of prayer is completely incredible and more powerful than I ever could have imagined.
- Angels are real. Not only I have felt their loving arms wrap around me in my deepest of despair, they also visit occasionally in my dreams. I am so grateful for those nights.
- Hugs heal—for real.
- You can never say I love you enough. Really, you can’t. Don’t be afraid to tell the ones that you love that you love them. Life is WAY too short not to.
- Tragic loss really does open your heart to the pain of others, more than I ever could have imagined at the time. I truly feel the pain of others much differently than I did before. I pray that in time I can use that compassion to comfort others in despair.
- My priorities have changed. All the little things that I thought mattered before– really, really don’t. The only thing that really matters is people. When it comes down to it, all we really ever have is each other. Nothing is more important that the ones you love.
- GRATITUDE! I have never, ever been so grateful in my entire life. Life is a gift. Be grateful for absolutely everything and you’ll look at your life differently. I promise, it’s worth it.
- Grief truly is a ravaging beast that absolutely will devour your soul if you don’t find JOY. Seek it, in everything that you do. Let yourself feel that joy even if being joyous seems impossible. There is joy in the simplest and most mundane of things. Look for it.
One thing I didn’t write about in the first installment–mainly because I could not possibly have foreseen it– are the gifts that are slowly emerging from the tragedy. The opportunities to find the beauty and joy in the midst of deep pain are abounding. I pray that we can grasp each chance we are given to do good and to make a difference. I pray that as our story continues to unfold, we can keep moving forward in the most positive of ways, despite our pain and loss.
There are some of you reading this that I will never be able to thank enough for all that you have done to help me through the past six months. So many people have helped in so many ways. Every conversation, card, message, gift, and prayer are deeply, deeply appreciated–more than I could ever express. Thank you for walking beside our family. I pray that you will continue that journey with us as we definitely have some tough days ahead. Despite the everyday difficulties of life after tragic loss, the man who caused the crash still has to go to court. As of now, there are 15 felony charges against him. Those days in court are looming (March 12 is the first hearing) and I know that they will be incredibly painful. Please, keep us in your prayers.
As for now, as each chapter unfolds, we will continue to walk forward in faith with hope for the future. . . shaken and shattered–but with God’s grace—slowly putting the pieces of our hearts back together again.