Saturday, November 28, 2009

God,, King of Kings

Today is Saturday, and a beautiful day it was. I love to go for a walk over at Johnson woods, and today was a perfect day to do that. God will sometimes talk to me there
or just give me an exteme peace. Diane and I are planning on going back to Forrest tomorrow for several days to see Mom and dad. How do I feel about that----well, I have very mixed feelings. I love spending time with them, and know time is probably growing short for those visits. But on the other hand, it was in their dining room where I got that fateful call that Saturday night about Taylor. Just even getting out my suitcase this afternoon to pack, a little shake went through my body, such powerful memories are attached to that room. I am not sure how I will feel walking into their house, I hope God will give me the Grace to not feel those feelings of intense shock and pain like I had that night and when we left. God has promised to give Grace where Grace is needed and I will be praying for His Grace tomorrow---and I know who ever sees this will also being praying for us. Again, you wonder if God lets the ones in Heaven look down to see their family on earth every now and then. I have thought alot over the past three months, if I could only just hug Taylor and talk with him one more time. The other night, I had a dream that I turned around and there stood Taylor----He looked so cute, with that famous smile on his face. Anyway, he walked over to me and gave me a big hug, and said "have a good time in Illinois", then I woke up.. I just layed there and thought, God why did you do that, I am not ready for that, but then I started to remember how it felt to hug him and for him to put his arms around me. It was very bittersweet. I knew I would not sleep anymore that night, I just kept seeing his smiling face and felt his body in my arms. I really do not know if I was ready for that or not, because it made me very sad, I just wanted to go back to sleep and dream it all over again. Maybe Taylor knows we are going back out to mom and dad's and this is going to be very hard for me, and he just wanted me to have a good time and not be sad ( well easier said than done), but maybe I can just remember his words and his smiling face and his big hug, or maybe it is just too sad to think about it. As you can see, I want dreams about Taylor, but they are so painful, that maybe I am better off not having them..
Today had moments of sadness. I decided since it was almost December, it was time to change summer clothes to winter clothes. I keep alot of the off season clothes in a cedar chest----As I was digging down inside to pull the clothes out, I got a handful of Taylor's clothes. I just held them in my hands and looked at them with teary eyes (no, this time I did not smell them, instead of smelling him, I just would have gotten a huge whiff of cedar). My heart just ached, it just made me want to go look at his picture---it is almost like my mind has to make sure I have not forgotten one little detail of his face. I did decide to put his pants into a bag for Goodwill, that was a step for me, but I kept everything else for now. I know this is crazy, but giving stuff away, almost seems like I am giving part of Taylor away, and that is the last thing I want to do.

God did give me Grace to get through Thanksgiving Day. The day before Thanksgiving I spent either in tears or on the verge of tears most of the day. I just felt so sad and my heart just ached to see and be with Taylor. I kept thinking how will I ever get through Thanksgiving. I did not want to be crying all day, I wanted the kids to remember the first Thanksgiving after Taylor's death as being maybe sad, but not disastrous. I prayed really hard that morning that God would give me the strength and Grace to get through the day, and actually the day could have maybe even a little bit of joy in it. But when I first got up, I felt pretty sad, and again pretty teary, i did not go to church, because I just did not think I could hold up very well, probably just be a puddle of tears. I decided to stay home and do my bible study of Beth Moore, then I went up to get dresses and while I am getting ready, it was like God said, I just want you to do down and just open the Bible up and read where I open it. So, I did just that, I opened up to Isaiah 55:8 which says" For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways. Verse 9 As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" Ok, so I thought, God said about His thoughts being higher than mine twice, so He was once again telling me Just know, My plan is perfect, I know you are sad today, and want Taylor with you, but trust Me. Then verse 11 says "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." God used Taylor's death to touch many people's hearts. It was so sudden and he was so young, God got people's attention. Mom was telling me that a friend of hers for many many years, in fact us kids grew up with her kids started to repent a couple of weeks ago. She is probably 75 or so and had went to church all her life, but never could quite surrender her heart to Jesus. Her husband even repented a year or so ago, and she still didn't. Satan had won the battle with her, by having her keep thinking she had time and tomorrow would be soon enough. Well, somebody gave her Taylor's funeral tape to listen to and when they went back to see if she listened to it yet. This friend said, yes, she listened to it twice and said "if you are going to repent now is the time" and she gave her heart to Jesus and now is on the winning side forever. Praise to Jesus, our King of Kings, Lord of Lords----His mercy is shown here--- she lived 75 years rejecting Him. so like the verse says, it will not return empty, it will accomplish what I desire. Then the verse 12 says" you will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." God will get me through this journey and bring joy again, I am not sure what the trees of the fields clapping their hands will look like :), but I will take it, it has to be better then where we are now. So, after God showing me all this, I was in a much better mood and the day went better than I thought it might. We went to Diane's then for Thanksgiving. We had some sad moments, but we did not dwell there. We talked about Taylor, in fact we did go to the cemetery for a little bit and also out to the site. I just have to keep my sights on Jesus and not look off to the right or the left. I had to think, if God would have asked Taylor would you give your life that your friends and others will finally see their sin and decided to surrender it all to Me so they can life in Heaven with Me and you forever, would you do it. I can see Taylor get that sheepish grin on his face and say "weeeellllll, I guess so.
I wish I could say that I can keep focused on Jesus and what He is constantly telling me---Trust Me, I know what I am doing, My plan is perfect, you will see one day---but I can't, I am human, and the pain of losing Taylor is with me every day, but with God's help, I pray it will not over take me. Please pray for us tomorrow and the next several days while we are out in Illinois. I know it is probably going to be some rough waters to get through, but God will not let us drown. He has promised us that. Praise be to the name of God forever and ever, wisdom and power are His.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Morning

Today is Thanksgiving. How do I feel? There is a definite sadness, but I have a choice in what i think about today. I know there are probably going to be tears, and maybe a lot of tears, but I choose to be thankful for the people God put in my life. I got some nice e-mails from people that said they were thinking and praying for us over this Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you, I will need them.
Yesterday one of Taylor's close friends stopped by. It was so nice to see her, but it was bittersweet. We talked about memories of Taylor, which made us laugh and cry. We talked about last Thanksgiving and how Taylor was a part of that. We looked at some pictures of Taylor. We seen one of Taylor sitting on Diane's couch last year. It is just so hard to believe that he will not be here this year.
I thought it might be a good thing to actually name some of the things I am thankful for. It is Thanksgiving of 2009. Our lives are changed forever and more often than not, I find myself looking at all that I have lost, instead of counting the blessings I do have. We go to Diane's every year for Thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday. No hassle of gift giving, just alot of family time and alot of good food. It has became a joke with Diane, every year she will say after we eat our big dinner, she will say OK, lets go around the room and each say what we are thankful for. We use to do it, but we found out we were saying almost the same thing every year. Diane told me today as we were cleaning our dentist office, she would not ask that question this year. I said, i actually wrote some of what I was thankful for, but said, i am sure I will not be able to read it, so thought I would just print out a copy for each. As I sat down and thought about what I was thankful for, I realized it would be so easy to get lost in the tragedy of losing Taylor. But I remembered how faithful God has been, how He has picked me up many, many times and just held me in his arms and carried me. He showed me great mercy---He had mercy on me and answered my prayers of Taylor's salvation within four hours of asking, He has answered many of my prayers within hours of asking. He is always very near, just like that verse says. "I am close to the brokenhearted." He has shown me in many ways His Amazing Grace. He showed me very clearly that is how Taylor was saved---His blood, and His Amazing Grace, in fact God had Taylor wheeled out of the Church on---Amazing Grace.
God knew before this ever happened that I needed to be in this family. He had me in the perfect family for what I was and am going through for comfort and support. He knew that each one of them would be needed in a different and special way and each of them has stepped up to what God has called them to do. I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart.
Jeff---You took charge of what had to be done in a very difficult time. You made decisions that I could not possibly have made. I was pretty much in the state of shock and when my mind would let me comprehend what had happened, I was incapable of making any kind of decisions. . You took charge and call the life insurance company and his financial people and explained what had happened and started the process of closing every thing out. I could not even say the words that Taylor was killed, let alone, try to explain to these strange people the story of his accident.
Brooke---You were my stronghold when I was losing it at times. You would help me to refocus. The time that comes to mind most often is when I kept saying over and over how much and how hard I prayed for Taylor that the angels would protect him. I had safely put him in Jesus's hands and be then at peace that he would be fine. When Jesus took Taylor, it shook me to the core of my being---you helped me to see a different picture, one I never thought about. You told me Jesus did answer your prayer, just not like you ever thought He would. He did protect Taylor---God heard every one of your prayers, He just decided to take him home that Saturday night. He had one of those angels go and get Taylor and take him to the arms of Jesus.
Spencer--You also have been strong when I was falling down. I remember that fateful night it happened at grandma's. I remember grabbing you and saying Spenc, how will we ever get through this terrible nightmare and you very calmly said, God will get us through one day at a time, Mom. When I am down and feeling really sad, you will remind me that Taylor is having the time of his life, he is not spending one day being sad, and he would hate to see us all sad and crying. You know, mom, taylor hated to see anyone sad. He would hate to see you crying.
Max--You were the rock when we were all crumbling like pebbles around you. You held us up both physically and spiritually many times. I remember that horrible Monday when we had to go into Gillman's. After we seen Taylor for the first time, I was barely hanging on to reality by a thread, I was very close to losing it all. You calmly sat on that chair and explained how God that morning or maybe it was the day before, showed you clearly that Taylor was in Heaven. That was a great comfort to hear one more time that God mercifully showed another person that Taylor was actually safely Home. You were never far away when Brooke needed a strong arm to hold her up. You also never hesitated a second that Saturday night to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to go be with Jeff at the hospital.
Diane--I am not sure where to start. You were with me every step of this journey. You were there that horrible night of that phone call, in fact you were the one that Jeff told Taylor is Gone and you had to tell the rest of us. How horrible is that, but you did it. All those horrible days, when I thought I can't take another step, I just can't do this, I am not going to make it, you would encourage me that God will get us through. Every horrible step I had to take, you were right there beside me taking it with me. You were never too busy or too tired to listen to me, or to talk with me. As I wanted or needed to go through every last detail time and time again, you would go right with me, never stopping me, but just a listening ear. You were always there to hold me up when i could not stand on my own, which was plenty often. It seems God always would bring you to me when I needed you most. I am sure I would not make it through this journey of grief without you at my side.
Matt---I feel such compassion and love from you. You do not have to say a word; it is all said in your eyes. Max made the comment after the viewing, he said some of the people going through that long line did not have to say a word, their compassion and love was all said in their eyes. That is what I see and feel from you, Matt----your eyes say it all.
Amber---I love getting your cards and letters. They mean so much to me, I read them over and over. I especially love the one you wrote in what Taylor might have said to each of us, if he would have had a chance. As we each read it, we all cried some, but we all said, it was exactly what Taylor would have said. You prayed that God would show you that Taylor was in Heaven with Him, and God answered your prayer very quickly too. It was a very special way, one I will never forget. You also got up in the middle of the night to go to the hospital to be with Jeff. I know that was very hard to see Taylor like that, but you did not let that stop you. You knew Jeff needed family and you went.
Mark--I remember on that Saturday night right after we got the news about Taylor, we were all in the state of shock, and did not know how we would ever get through the next minutes, let alone the next week. You reminded us all that at that moment very few people knew about Taylor and by morning hundreds of people would know and they would all be praying very hard for each of us and we would feel those prayers---and so right you were Mark. Those prayers carried us all through the hardest days of our lives. We needed you to remind us of that very important thought.
April---You were there that fateful night. That in itself has bonded us all very deeply. It was so comforting to have family with me at a moment in life when my life was falling apart and would be changed forever. You ran errands for me. you picked up my medication. I would have been in no condition to even drive, let alone know where I was going and what I was suppose to be getting. You were at my house every day during those nightmare of days, it was a comfort to have you here. Everybody changed their plans to be with us at a time we needed you.
Keith--You were a man of action. You knew what needed to be done, even though you had to be in shock too. You quickly started a plan of action in how to get us home. At this point, I barely knew where I was, I could not have begun to think about how to get home. You worked until you had a plan. Your family was so kind in letting us use their van, but then you had to figure out how to get our cars home. It was one less thing I had to worry about, you took charge and got it all worked out. You got us all safely home.
Autumn---You made it possible for God's name to be Glorified through this tragedy. You took the time and it had to take time to replay that phone message over and over to get what Craig said just right. You and Keith then took the time and effort to go and get it printed out and made many many copies. You put them in a place where people would see them and pick it up to read. God had to have a smile on his face with each person that pick one up and read it.
Taylor---This one is a hard one---there is so much I could say. First, I am so thankful that I could be your mom for 20 years. When you made a mistake you were always quick to apologize. You never wanted any one to be mad at you. You were quick to smile, and had a great sense of humor. You could always make me smile and lots of times just plain laugh. You wore that famous little smirk on your face so often that I can hardly think of you without it. No, you never cleaned up your messes, you never had time for such small things in life like that. I will miss you more than I can ever explain. I will always have an ache in my heart for you---I long to hug you again, talk with you, laugh with you, but know in a blink of an eye I will be with you again, until then I will hold your memories deep in my heart.
So am I thankful this year---yes, I have alot to be thankful for, even though God has taken a treasure of my heart, I had to think, God has never left me alone. I have never felt the presence of God in such powerful ways. He has given me many promises to hang onto, and i hang on to each one of them with both hands. I just know if i would let go, even for a minute, I would start down that slippery slope. God is my life boat back to recovery. God has given me a family that are all deeply spiritual and each and every one of them are helping me to keep my focus on what is really important while going through this journey---they help me remember God is in control, nothing happens without God knowing and approving of it. God's plan is always perfect, we just can't see the big picture right now, but someday we will understand it all. If this had to happen, I am thankful that we were all together either in Illinois or at the hospital. That has bonded us very deeply. Please continue to pray for us all of us as often as we come to your minds. I thank God for each one of my family, and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for being who God has called you to be. I am also thankful for each one that reads this blog and prays for us. I thank you for your comments and e-mails, they are all very encouraging. God will Bless each and every one of you. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God's Presence

In our Beth Moore study today, she told us to memorize four verses. I can memorize one, and maybe two, but four is a stretch for me, but thought I would look them up anyway. I found they are verses that have much meaning, so I started to memorize the first verse. My day was starting out not terrible, but just felt really sad, and satan always likes to bring just a little bit of doubt in with one thing or another, and Thanksgiving getting so close didn't help any. I know there are many things I am thankful for, but there is also a very big hole in my heart that I need God to fill, and He promises that He will do that in Phil. 4:13. I had to think, praising God always brings Him closer, so I started with this first verse to memorize which is Daniel 2:20 which says "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever, wisdom and power is His. As I said it over and over all the way to the rec. Center. I had it memorized plus i did feel God's nearness by the time I got there. The one thing that satan likes to torment me with is the thought---is Taylor really in Heaven. I know God has shown me many times that he is, but satan can win this battle with me and bring doubt back into my mind more often that i like to admit. I have read the book "90 minutes in Heaven" which is very good----and makes it so you can't wait to get there---the beauty and Peace of Heaven, but I also have read "23 minutes in Hell" The author made his point that is somewhere you do not want to be, not for one minute let alone for eternity. Those thoughts of Hell grab me by the throat and won't let go. It can put such fear in me, and again, satan has won the battler---fear is straight from him and he loves it when I am there. God will give me peace that Taylor is with him, but then satan will slowly work his way back into my mind and steal it away. I know God must get so tired of showing me the same thing over and over again, but He is a patient God and He very kindly showed me again today. I was working out at the Rec Center and listening to a sermon from Ron. He was talking about when Christ was going to the cross and Peter was by the fire saying he did not know who Christ was and the rooster crows on the third time. Ron said, it was early morning and the roosters should all have been crowing, but God had them all silent, except for the exact one at the exact place God picked out for this rooster to crow. It was all orchestrated by our Sovereign God. I wasn't even thinking about it at the time, but God brought the thought, or actually, He spoke Himself to me---He said just like that phone call I had Craig make to you about Taylor being a Christian----I had my Hand in that from the beginning, I orchestrated each event of that morning. Even after God spoke to me, I still wanted to say, but Taylor never proclaimed Your name to Me, why would he not do that, but before I could get that whole thought completely out, I quickly said a little prayer of satan get behind me, in Jesus's name. Just as i was saying Amen, my attention goes back to Ron in his sermon, and he is saying (again, God really speaking through Ron) that satan wants to sift us like flour. Jesus told Peter I am praying for you, Peter. Satan wants to sift your soul, which is just what satan wants to do with me. Satan comes in the way of fear and doubt and when we let that happen satan then has control, control of our thoughts, and emotions, and when that happens I will lose any testimony in praising God's Name, because I am lost in fear and discouragement. There are no accidents---God has a plan and that Plan is perfect. Jesus is praying for me just like He did for Peter. He prays for my faith to be strong, just like He did for Peter's faith. How can I lose when Jesus is praying for me----I know it is possible----satan is powerful, but Jesus is ALL powerful, so I am on the winning side even if I sometimes don't see it.

Another thought that Ron said which i hope will help me through Thanksgiving. He said when Christ was on the cross He was not focused on all the ones that flogged Him, or the ones that pounded the nails into His hands, His focus was on His Father and doing His Father's will and soon He would be sitting on the right hand of His Father. Point being, not to let myself focus on all the horrible things that has happened in the last three months, but to think on what all God has done for me----He has carried me more than I have walked in these last three months. He has provided much comfort through support Groups, friends, family. and He said he will one day turn my mourning into Gladness. One last thought in Luke 22:30, Jesus says "that we may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom ", now that will be a feast.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Roommate brings Taylor's things Home on Friday

This would have been Friday August 28. Friday's were never good days for me anyway. They were just very sad days. Those were the days Taylor was home from school and I would get to talk with him about school or what ever over lunch, then he would be here for dinner, well sometimes. Yes, sometimes I would get more time with him and sometimes, his friends were much more important and fun, so he would not be here all that much on the weekends. Anyway, I had gotten up this morning just trying to survive moment by moment. Sometimes, i would be just compelled to go look at pictures of him, which even made me more depressed. Sometimes i would just take his senior picture and sit in a chair and stare at it and let all the memories flooded back into my mind. Yes, i would shed alot of tears thinking about all the good times--they were so painful, but also then I would find myself thinking about all the time I have lost with him--gone way too young. His book bag is still sitting where he left it. I still have not gotten the strength or courage to move it or even look inside of it. I did decide to boot up his computer to update all the updates, but when it booted up, the first thing I saw was a picture of him on his four wheeler getting ready to race as his back round. I just sat there and stared at it. My heart just ached---just wishing so much, I could turn back the clock and none of this ever happened. Couldn't it just be a bad nightmare and I could wake up.
About 10:30 there was a knock on my door, thinking it was somebody coming to visit---not sure I felt up to visitors, i felt more like just sitting in a chair and weeping. It turned out worse than a visitor, it was one of his roommates from college bring all this stuff back home. I thought, i can't stand one more memory or hard thing to deal with today. I tried to pull myself together as well as I could and went out in the garage to look into his truck where all of Taylor's things were. The thing that caught my eye first was the black college size refrigerator. I remembered so clearly ten months before when we moved him down to college. I had bought this new refrigerator for his dorm room. As he was unloading it off his truck down at school, I wanted to help him, but he wanted to show off his muscles in from of his friends by lifting it out all by himself, so I let him. Well, you can about guess what happened, he did not hold the door shut and it opened up and the shelves all fell out onto the ground. One of them broke. He looked at me with a sheepish little grin and said, Oh, mom I am so sorry, I guess I should have left you help me. That memory flooded my mind--- his cute little smiling face saying how sorry he was that he already broke something on his new refrigerator. I helped his roommate unload his truck with Taylor's stuff. He had all Taylor's books in boxes, his clothes in bags. There was a box of food I had just bought Taylor, stuff he had picked out that he liked. He did not like much, but what he liked I bought a lot of it--like Mac and cheese. This was probably three weeks before the accident. None of us has touched a single piece of this food. I could not wait until this kid left, i felt myself starting to lose control. I felt this emotion of sobbing bubbling close to the surface and knew within minutes I was going to be a puddle of tears on the floor. I was not sure what this kid would have done if I took to sobbing right there in front of him---he didn't look like the type to come and hold me up, more like he would have been extremely uncomfortable and ran to his truck and left. He did finally leave and then I just went into the house and took to sobbing. I thought how will I ever be able to go through his stuff, but knew I could not let it sitting there for long, because it was right in the middle of the garage. After I got myself back under control, I found myself just compelled to go look what he had in his refrigerator----I don't know why, but I just needed to see. I guess, because it was so much him--all his personal stuff. When I opened it up, yes, it was so much Taylor----most of the stuff looked like it has been there since the first day of school. He always was a pack rat---never threw a thing away, I guess that went for food too. But the thing that made my heart stop was the bottle of pepto Bismol. Now, that was really him. That was sort a joke with him. He had allergies to some foods, but it seemed like the ones he was allergic to the most, he liked the most. Like most people, they would have stay away from those foods that would make them so sick, not taylor, he ate them anyway, so that made him and the bottle of pepto best friends. He would even take big gulps of it before he would go out, he would say "just in case I need it". I couldn't help but cry when i held that bottle in my hands, knowing this was probably the last thing he touched in his refrigerator because the rest of the things would have given him food poisoning. One bright thought in the mist of this horror, was well, Tay, you don't need to worry about taking your pepto anymore. I then went over to the boxes where his books were and looked in them. I almost lost my breath when I seen his handwriting---his little scribbles. He had done a project about how to set up a business. As I read it, tears ran down my face, it was all about him and Jeff setting up a mechanical business. Even though, i knew it would most likely never have happened, he had it set up with Jeff and him working together as partners. The kid that brought his stuff home, had let it all out in the rain, so his clothes were all wet. I washed them and hung them out on the clothes line. It was almost more than I could stand to see them blowing in the wind, but for one second or two, it made every thing seem so normal---I have washed his clothes and hung them out a million times, but now my heart ached so badly because i knew this was the last time I would ever do that for him. I don't even know why I washed them, I guess I wanted just one more small thing to feel normal---but actually it was far from normal. I knew I could not stay home, and think about this all day, so I left, even if it was for only alittle while. I spent most of this day in tears---thinking-- Taylor, why did it have to be you, could you not just have been hurt, why did you have to be killed, I don't want you dead, i want you alive and eating dinner with us tonight. I know it had to be people's prayers carrying me this day, because I could not stand on my own. I was only wanting to crumble into a heap in some corner. I knew though, that I could not leave all that stuff in the garage. It was terribly hard on me, and I knew it would be extremely hard on Jeff, but I could not force myself to clean it all up, so I just had to pray really hard to God so He would help me through this terrible big hurdle. I would clean them up tomorrow. When the kids and Jeff came home and seen all his clothes on the line, it was almost more than they could stand, so i got them in and hung up his favorite shirts and T-shirts and put them in the basement on the line. I told Spencer he could wear his other ones, but the ones in the basement, were so much Taylor, that nobody could wear them, at least not right now. The next day, I decided I could not walk by all this stuff out in the garage anymore, it was just too painful. So, I prayed really hard for God's strength, Please help me to be able to do this without sobbing my eyes out. The kids were home from school by this time, so I wanted to keep myself at least partly under control. It is really hard on them when I lose complete control, so knew with God's help I would be able to do this, or at least I hoped so. God did hear my prayer and gave me strength to clean out his refrigerator, but that was all I could do for that day. I only cried a little and that was while I taking out his pepto Bismol bottle, most of the rest of the stuff was thrown quickly away. I brought his school papers and books in the house and put them on the couch. I wanted to go through them, but not today---enough trauma for one day.

As terrible as that day was, later God gave me something to think on. Knowing God and His comfort does not take away the ache in my heart, instead it supports me in the middle of the ache. Until i get home to heaven with Taylor there is going to be an ache that won't quite. I had to think this grieving process for me is not so much trying to get rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain. As this week is going to be Thanksgiving. It is going to be the first Thanksgiving without Taylor---The beginning of the Holidays, which they say are very hard the first year. I know at times I will feel like I am drowning in my sorrow, I will feel like my emotions are raining all over the the place, and the winds of daily pressures will be beating against me, but I need to remember God will be right there with me. The verse Phil 4:13 which says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is one I will need to hang onto with both hands. God will give me his Amazing Grace to get through each day of this Holiday season. I must believe that and trust God's promises.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday after Funeral

This is the Wednesday after the funeral.

Each day getting out of bed is very hard. As soon as I wake up, I feel this terrible dread filling my heart and soul. I have a 11 x14 senior picture in the hall right outside my bedroom door, I just stand there and stare at it. I touch his face and think-- I really can not believe you are gone. I don't know how I will make it through this day, actually i think how will I make it to the next minute. Brooke is still home, she does not go back to school until Monday, which does help alittle. They get a sub to take her place for the first week. We don't like staying around the house---there are memories of Taylor everywhere, so Brooke, I, Diane, and her girls decide to go to Amish country to just get out. We go to Walnut Creek and eat there, well they eat, I just sorta sit there and try to focus on what the conversation is, but my mind wants to keep saying over and over again---Taylor is gone!!! After they are done eating we go into a store across the street that carries alot of the P. Graham Dunn stuff. I found a really neat key chain that said "Fix your eyes on Jesus". That had become another favorite verse of mine--"God will keep me in perfect peace, when my eyes stay focused on Jesus." When I said how much I liked that saying, April bought it for me. A few days later the chain broke. At first I thought I will take this back and get another one, but God had a different plan for that little key chain. Brooke said why don't you just carry the little wooden plaque with the saying on it in your pocket. The thought came to me, that is a good idea, and every time I put my hands in my pockets I will feel this plaque and remember to keep my eyes on Jesus. So, now I rarely go out of the house without this little plaque firmly planted in my pocket. It helps me to keep focus on Jesus' face when my mind wants to go everywhere but Jesus's face. We did have a nice day, well as nice as could be expected for somebody in deep grieving. When we get back home, I was looking through all the cards that had come that day, when I came to something for Gillman's. As i opened it, I just knew what it was going to be and I didn't want to look at it. It was Taylor's death certificate. I just went and sat on a chair and held it in my shaking hands with more tears running down my cheeks. It was one more thing that made reality so heart wrenching true. Even if I wanted to pretend, maybe just for a little while, that Taylor was away at college instead of being gone forever, this death certificate in my hand made reality crystal clear. I sat there reading every last detail, with tears running down my cheeks. I just stared at his name typed on top and thought how many times had I written than name on things, and how I will never be doing that again. As I read it, I seen he had died with in minutes of impact. It said he died of head injuries. It had his age 20 years old. Just way to young to die. I had to think, Taylor, if you were not in such a hurry and would have worn your helmet, would it have made a difference. I really can't go there for long, because we will never know that answer, so I just have to go back to thinking God's plan is perfect and it just was not to be. They said his neck was broken, so maybe if he would have lived he would have been paralyzed. But satan came along not too many days ago. One day last week, Brooke was in school, they had a speaker come to talk about something----anyway at lunch, this speaker guy and a few of the teacher were in the lounge eating, when this guy told a story. He said his very good friend had a terrible accident and broke his neck and was in terrible shape, They did surgery and put some kind of plate in his neck and after much recovery time, he is fine---out walking and living life normal. When she told me this story, we both looked at each other and said "Just why could that not be Taylor". There is satan again, bring his tool of discouragement and anger----I thought, we have a choice we can let him (satan) take root and dwell on that guy's friend living life and Taylor had to die, or open the door and kick him (satan) out and say, God knows what He is doing, even if we don't like it now, but someday we will understand and know God did what was best for Taylor. It all comes down to faith. Do I have the faith to believe that God always knows best. I know this sounds crazy, of course God knows best. I do have to admit (sorry to say) I do struggle with putting my other two kids totally in God's hands. Satan likes to come whispering in my ear---you prayed so hard that God would put angels around Taylor and protect him, keep him safe----and look how that prayer turned out----. One night Brooke did not come home when I thought she should have been home and I could feel the panic flooding into my soul. I was so filled with fear, actually it got so bad, all I could think about was a cop coming to our door and saying she has been in an accident and was killed. I was almost paralyzed with fear----and guess what,-- just who's tool is that---yes satan had me by the throat. So. I realize I have to choose what I am going to do to stop this fear, ---or satan will always have control of me and I will end up living in constant fear where my kids are concerned. It was said in one of my grieving books very well--Sovereign God, I choose hope, I choose faith, I choose life. Please give me an unshakable faith in You, Jesus. This is my prayer, but I know this is much easier said than done, but it is a choice I will need to make each and every day-- and truth be told, I am sure I will fail many times----I will need to make a conscience effort to place my kids back into God's hands and trust Him with their lives. Pray I can do that with all my heart, mind and soul.

Diane and I went out to the cemetery today and decided to put up a new picture of Taylor and put some new greenery on the cross that Amber made, and then we put two poinsettia out by his grave. All the while we were doing this, I had to keep reminding myself, he really is not here. He is going to be celebrating Thanksgiving with you, Jesus this year. Yes, we are going to miss him like crazy and probably cry many tears, but like somebody e-mailed me and said, you are grieving Taylor, but Taylor is rejoicing. Pray that we can keep that thought in our hearts and minds, and not let our hearts and minds go to all that we are missing. After we left there, I took Diane home and Spencer and I went out to the accident site to put a poinsettia there. Again it just amazes me how there are always new things there almost every time I go. There were some fresh flowers in a vase, a very nice note somebody had written and put in a baggie along with a key chain from Summit racing, two little figurines. These were all new since I was there a week or so ago. This is not counting the things that were already there. While we were there Mr. Rheem was going by on his tractor and stopped to talk with us. He said that in the next couple of weeks we can come out and take a little corner of his field, which is right there where it happened and move all these things up higher so they do not wash away this winter. He said we can do whatever we want with that corner. We are not sure what we will do with it yet, probably have his friends involved and see what they want to do with it. I can not believer all what Taylor's friends have done to remember him. Mr Rheem said he goes by this place several times a day, and said there are new things all the time. He said kids are stopping and putting things there all the time or maybe just sitting there visiting the site. Again, Taylor, I love you and miss you more than you will ever know, but then it seems alot of your friends are missing you more than I would ever have thought. Taylor--you touched so many lives in life, but you also touch many many lives in death. I can't wait to see you and Jesus on that day I meet you on The Far shores
of Jordan.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday after Funeral

This Monday should have been the first day of school for Spencer and Brooke, neither one of them went. Jeff did go off to work. He said what am I going to do at home. I could barely crawl out of bed on this Monday morning, but I could not stay in bed either. It seemed as soon as I would wake up, my mind went into over drive. My mind was going from the horror of the accident to trying to learn how to live with out Taylor. Like Max had said, now we need to find a "new normal", but just what did that look like. I have found my mind only lets me accept tiny bits of this "new normal" at a time, and then my mind would shut down. I think that is probably a safety device that God gave humans in times of tragedy, because if my mind could have accepted the whole concept that Taylor was gone forever, I would have crawled into bed and covered up and probably still be there today. They told us in the support class it will take 6 to 9 months for your mind to fully comprehend the loss. I truly believe that to be true. I sometimes still can not "believe" Taylor is out in the Apostolic Cemetery and not just away at school or out with his friends. We have all talked about this and each one of us have said the same thing. I finally do get up that morning, the kids are still in bed. The first thing I see are all those flowers, and a knife goes into my heart---they are beautiful, but I can't see the beauty of them as of yet all I see is death. I just walk over to where his senior picture is and just stand there and stare at it. My eyes see it, but my mind can not grasp "he is gone", but some part of my heart must get it, because I just sit in a chair and sob. I think how many tears can a person cry, I have cried so many tears in that week, I thought I could become dehydrated. I thought, I would put the clothes away that was in the laundry basket, because somebody had done the laundry while they were here at the house. I was slowly putting it away, when I just had to give out a moan. I came to Taylor's clothes that had been washed and folded up. There was his socks, underwear, T-shirts. I just sat on the bed and held them with tears running down my face. Can I truly believe I am putting them in his drawer for the last time. I have to put them away, it would be to utterly hard to pack them up already. I finally stumble off the bed and walk into his room and open his drawers and put them away---my mind had shut down for a bit---just like he would be wearing them again soon. As I am standing in his room, I seen all his work clothes and work boots that he had taken off that Saturday afternoon before he took a shower to get ready to leave. Nobody had been in that room much since the accident. Taylor was one never to be too neat, so they were all on the floor in a heap. I knew I could not leave them there----they were so much Taylor I could hardly stand to look at them, let alone touch them. i very slowly walked over to pick them up, but instead, I just stood there and stared at them and sobbed some more. I finally got the courage, or I guess I should say God gave me the strength to lean over and pick them up. I could smell "Taylor" in them which just made my heart break more, if that was even possible. I carried them to the basement and layed them in a pile where Taylor was suppose to put his dirty clothes (but of course Taylor was too much in a hurry to get out with his friends---and I was not here to remind him of that little chore, so they all were left in his room :) )When I got to the basement with them, I just leaned against the washer and thought, "this can't possible be true---this all has to be a bad nightmare, and I will wake up very soon, but a little voice kept say, but it is true. i think at this point, people's prayers were carrying me, because I was mostly just moaning and groaning when talking with God----I know the Holy Spirit was interceding for me, and for that I am very thankful. Later in the day, Spencer and I went to register him at school. He thought it might be better if he went to school and get back involved with soccer. When we got to his locker, he wanted to try the combination out to make sure he could get it opened. When he did open it, somebody had put a note in there with a bag a skittles. It almost make him cry, somebody was thinking about him. We got many more cards in the mail that day, people would stop by to give us food, just to visit or may be give me a book on grieving---which these books have been very informative. I have learned a lot from each book. Jeff came home from work and said, it was a hard day. He spends alot of time driving Rohrer's truck and has a lot of time to think. The best part of those first days was when it was time to go to bed. God usually let sleep come, which I was very thankful for---that was the only time of the day, that Taylor was not on my mind. When mornings came, it was like picking up a 110 pound bag of rocks and putting it around my neck to start the day. God was always near and He would give me comfort through out the day, either by somebody calling, giving me verses, somebody talking on WCRF, but sometimes it was just hard to heard God, I was so consumed with grief.

Now that we are a little further down the road, I am not quite in the depths of grieving, which at first was all my waking hours, it is still alot, but maybe not all my waking hours, so I can hear God a little bit clearer. Today as I was working out, God was trying to give me a little bit better picture of just how much He loves me. I always knew He loved me, but I think He wanted me to see it on a little bit different level. It was like He said I gave my Son freely, yes you lost your son, but would you have given him freely. Of course my answer is No, I love Taylor so much, how could I have given him freely. God said, I love mine too, and not only did I give Him freely, I watched Him being flogged, spit on, thorns smashed on his head, made fun of, rejected, and crucified on that Cross, but the hardest part of all was when I had to turn my back on Him while He was taking on the sins of the world----He felt so forsaken by Me, that He did not even call me Father, but My God, My God. And I would do this all for just one soul. Yes, you lost your son, but he was loved by many, he died quickly, he never was forsaken, in fact, I sent an angel to get him and bring him back to my Son, who welcomed him into the gates of Heaven. No, you had no choice, but I (God) did have a choice and I chose to do all this so you and every body that will believe on My Son would have a way of Salvation and live with Me eternally. Just ask me and I will help you through your grieving----You know my promise "Never will I leave you nor forsake you" (Heb: 13:5). I think God wanted me yet to included this verse. i was thinking of it, but didn't know for sure where to find it, and I just sorta opened the Bible and it opened right to it. Ephesians 3:18 "May you have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge" Yes, I had a very bad day yesterday, but God never lets me down very long. He always has a way to get my attention back on Him. I love Jesus with all my heart, but I still can not really truly understand that depth of love----to give Your Only Beloved Son, but am so thankful that He chose to do that. And also I want to thank you all for your extra prayers, I am sure that helped bring me closer back to Jesus.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Need An Little Extra Prayers Today, Please!!

I am struggling today. When you read this, please say a little prayer for me--thanks. Today is the 3rd month anniversary of Taylor's death. I am feeling the extreme loss and loneliness. I think we all are.It seems like it has been forever since I have seen and talked with him. I was up in his room a little while ago and was going to take some of his shirts (not the t-shirts that he wore alot, but the polo shirts) and put them over on Spencer's side. They both wore the same size shirt. When I took out a couple of them, I got a whiff of his cologne. I could not help myself, I just had to bury my face in his shirt and breathe in his "smell" for awhile, but of course I could not help by sob. Even though, it makes my heart ache unbelievably bad, I just had to sit there and hold his shirt in my face. It is almost like I am holding him. I sometimes wonder will my heart ache forever. I am sure that it will, but it can't possibly ache like it does today forever, or I am sure I will die of a broken heart. Jeff had a really bad day yesterday. He just cried most of the day. I tried to ask him what made it so sad, but he just kept saying it is a very bad day----. I was talking with Brooke yesterday afternoon and she was asking me if I ever get anxiety feelings. I asked what do you mean, like anxiety about Taylor. She said yes, like I can be thinking about him, and am going to tell him something, and all at once it hits me in my heart that he is gone and never coming back--it almost makes me start to shake. I said, i have them all the time. Just like I can walk by his pile of work clothes and work boots in the basement ten times and the eleventh time I walk by, I can almost crumble to the floor in pain with the thought he is never going to wear them again, I am not going to ever see him on earth again. Spencer says he has the same thoughts and feelings. Brooke says she feels like she could pick up anything in sight and throw it as hard as she could and break as many things as possible. She is probably more in the stage of anger----. I really don't feel anger, well most of the time I don't, but I feel extreme sadness and loneliness. I think we all are getting a little anxious about the holidays fast approaching. One day, I was thinking how are we ever going to make it through the holidays, especially Christmas and as I was thinking this, on WCRF they were talking about God's Grace. They said don't think ahead and wonder how am I going to get through that day, because God has not given you the Grace for that day yet and when that day comes, God will be there to give the Grace you will need to make it. I try to hang onto that thought---God will give me the Grace to make it through the holidays without Taylor being with us.
I guess the best way to explain how I feel today is this. Imagine being outside in a strange place, a place I have never been and I am by yourself, well just me and God. Not only am I in a strange place, but it is pitch dark, can't even see my hand six inches in front of my face. I have my eyes open, but can not see a single thing. I realize I am going to need some light to see my way home, which I know is the most safe place to be. I find a match in my pocket and light the candle that is in my hand. The light is Jesus. The matches are Jesus promises to me. Now, all I can see are two and sometimes only one step in front of me. I hear a bunch of strange noises off to right side of me, but it is so dark I can't see for sure if it is danger, but know it probably is (frustration, discouragement, loneliness) so I try really hard to just look straight at where the light is shining (Jesus) and take one small step at at time. Pretty soon a breeze comes along and blows out the candle (satan), now it is again pitch dark. I have lost focus and am not prepared, can't find the matches stumbling off path (fear). I stumble over a branch (anger, discouragement), but finally get the matches back out and light the candle (Jesus) again. I climb back onto the path and now I am more cautious that my flame does not go out (guarding my heart against satan's fiery darts). But of course I am not always ready for which way the wind is going to be blowing (satan) and it comes unexpectedly from a different direction and takes me off guard so I am in the dark again. This happens over and over, but the most important thing for me to remember is to have my matches ready as quickly as possible (God's memorized verses, His promises) so I can get my candle burning again and see the light (Jesus) and follow it. God will bring day light after the dark night and I will see much more clearly (the valley of grief is lessening) and I will continue on to the safety of home (heaven). I just have to remember that in Exodus 14:14--God says, "The Lord will fight for me, I need only to be still"
When this first happened and we were in the mist of horror, Spencer's friend, Kayla, was with him alot. She came those day and sat with him, Sometimes they would be talking quietly with each other, sometimes she would just sit quietly by him. She was a great comfort to him. He felt her support in the misted of this tragedy. She even went to the funeral home with him and supported him on that horrible Tuesday. I thought to myself, she is being a good friend, because what 15 year old kid would want to be in the middle of so many tears, and horror, most would have ran or just wanted to talk on the phone or even just tex each other. She stuck close to him through it all, and even now she talks to him often. She told him the other day, that she had a dream that she, Brooke and Spencer were together and then Brooke, Spencer were over talking with someone else and she was just standing by herself and when she turns around, there stood Taylor. He smiled at her and started to walk over to give her a hug, but she was confused and said to him, "what are you doing here," but then she decided to walk over and hug him, but he moved out of her reach,and said instead with a smile "Thanks for being so good to him (Spencer)", she started to cry and when she looked again, Taylor just disappeared. I asked Spencer did that make you want to cry and he said yes, then we started to talk, do you think Taylor can see certain things here on earth. We didn't know, but then I put some more thought into it. Like it says in Luke 15:10 "I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents". It does not speak of rejoicing by the angels but in the presence of the angels. So, do you think is it God and the saints doing the rejoicing. So, maybe God does let the saints look down and see the good things people do. I am so thankful for all the good things people have done for us. There has been and hopefully will continue to be many many prayers for us. I am just amazed at the compassion of God's servants. We continue to get cards every week, many are from people who already have sent at least one card. They just want us to know they care, and are thinking and praying for us daily. We have people still bring us dinner, at least once a week. That is very much appreciated, because I am not that much into cooking anyway, but now, I could care less, but for some reason they all seem to get hungry around here anyway :). Taylor's friends amaze me also. Even though, it has been three months and their lives have gone one---what young person wants to dwell on death very long, but they have not gotten Taylor out of their minds and hearts not even a little bit. Every time I go out to his grave, there is almost always something new they left there. Somebody left an IH belt buckle and an IH tractor both which Taylor would have loved---Some have gotten tattoo's in the memory of Taylor. Some have gotten crosses, or maybe his racing number, or just in loving memory of Taylor Gasser tattooed on their bodies. They plan never to forget Taylor. This all touches my heart deeply. One of Spencer's friends sends him each month a gift card to one of his favorite places to eat, like McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway. We don't know who some of you are, but whether we know you or not, we want to thank each and every one of you who have been so compassionate and kind. You will never know what it means and feels like for us to know others are right here with us, holding us up even when we feel like we can barely stand. Also I want to thank all who take the time and effort to make comments on this blog or e-mail, it is a real encouragement to me. I was going to write about that first week after the funeral, but I am already too sad and this is so long already, I will next time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sunday After Funeral

Today is a beautiful fall day, but I have realized when it comes to grieving it really does not matter if it is raining or sunny. Grieving is a something I never would have understood. I would have thought each day, I would have moved along the path of grieving step by step a little further, but instead it is more like I can be walking along and pretty soon something knocks me down and when I get up, I can feel like I am at square one in the grieving process again. Every memory is so painful, that I can hardly stand to look or think of any of them. Sometimes, I don't even know what triggers it, I can just get up in the morning and feel like I am at the bottom of the grieving process and feel like it just all happened yesterday. Just like yesterday, I got up and yes it was a beautiful day, but I could hardly notice, because my heart was so sad and all I could think about was Taylor. I would have one memory after another coming into my mind all day, making me sadder and sadder. Even though I know this is God's perfect plan, I miss and ache for Taylor's presence terribly. God does give me Grace to get through the day, and i am usually very glad when i can lay my head on the pillow and the day is over, because God usually does not let me have more than one day like that at a time. In fact, as i am writing this now, I am downloading the Bluffton tapes onto my i-pod. I usually shut off the music while I am doing it, but it does just come on by itself sometimes. On two different sermons that I was downloading the music came on and guess what song it was both times. Yes, Amazing Grace---if you remember God has gotten me through this terrible experience more than one on this song. God is picking me up and holding me today. Just like God says in the Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves me who is crushed in spirit----that is exactly how some days I feel---crushed in spirit, but I know God is close to me. Like yesterday, I was listening to another sermon from Bluffton and they were singing "Just over the River", as I was listening to the words they touched my heart. Just in part of this song---"I am told this is the city of God: Its gates are of pearl and its streets are of gold---Jesus my Saviour has gone to that city to prepare mansions of many. In that city are loved ones awaiting my coming. Expectant they stand on that shore, where the streets are paved with pure gold. I can imagine Taylor standing there on those shores with streets of pure gold, when I get there to meet me and that is a great thought. That is where my mind need to be fixed, and alot of the time it is, but humanly I find my heart aching for all loses of Taylor. I miss his smirky smiling face, his funny personality--he could make anybody laugh,even when I was in a bad mood, he could make me smile and even all the messes he made that I use to complain about---i would gladly clean them up. I heard this which I thought was interesting. They said for believers this life here on earth will be the closest they ever come to Hell and for the unbelievers this life on earth is the closes they will ever come to Heaven. What a thought---if I thought this is the closes I was going to get to heaven, I would be in the depths of depression and never come out of it, but in all reality that statement is so scary, but so true.

The Sunday after the funeral, I could not decide if i wanted to go to church or not, but staying home sounded terrible also. I did not know what if anything sounded good. So, we did decide to go. We went late, because i did not feel like talking to lot of people. As we were pulling up to the front doors, I could feel myself thinking this is probably not a good idea. As I was getting out of the car, I felt like I could break down into a puddle of tears and when I opened those front doors, all I could see in my mind was Taylor laying there in his casket and people all over the place, and us getting ready to close the lid. I was fighting to keep some kind of control. Diane was right inside the door and so was Ricki which helped and most everybody else was already in church. i fought the whole day not to fall into a puddle of tears. Diane, Ricki, Martha Lou all pretty much just stayed in a group. I really did not talk to very many people, which for that Sunday was good, because I could not talk about any of it without just sobbing. Right after church, I left and came home feeling like I was whipped and just wanted to go to bed. We did go to Max's for supper that night, in fact we go there almost every Sunday night and spend time with them and their kids. That is a great support and comfort because i think we were all there and experience this tragedy one way or another from the very first moment it happened. That has bonded us very deeply as a family and for that I am very thankful. We spent alot of the evening just talking about all our emotions, thoughts and feelings. We even at one point got out Diane's photo album and looked at pictures of Taylor. I am not sure we were ready for that, or if I was ready for that----it made my heart even ache more. He looked so live and happy in them, and all I could think about was, that is all I have left are pictures, well of course memories too--- but how very sad.
Diane, Max and some of their kids decided to go out to the accident site on that Sunday afternoon. I was not ready to deal with that yet---i knew that would be an emotional time and I was not even handling the emotions I was having very well. Diane said, it was a surreal experience. It was peaceful place, a little stream--water going between a couple of rocks. She said she was thinking this is the place that Taylor took his last breath here on earth, then she said to her kids, just think an angel, or an heavenly beam came to this very spot, it didn't touch the ground, but came very close and picked Taylor's soul up. Probably said, Ok Taylor it is time for you to come with me-----Did Taylor know he died---probably---he probably thought, Oh, no, mom was right when she said this was dangerous and I could get killed on it, she will be so sad. Did his spirit hoover above his body and see all that was happening at least for a little bit----it is possible, but of course we will never know. Amber when out to the site very soon after it happened and put a very nice cross that said--Taylor Gasser on one T and We love and miss you on the other on. Thank you Amber---it is marked where Taylor died. Some of his friends went out also and put mulch and another cross with flowers all around it. In Brooke's tribute she said how Taylor loved tractors, so somebody put two little red tractor's out there by the cross. They put a picture of Taylor and a couple of his friends out there too. Again, I have to say, Taylor touched alot of hearts. We are all grieving for this kid that always had a smile on his face and never wanted anyone to be sad, but we are looking forward to seeing him one day, and it may be sooner than we think!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

First Days After Funeral

It was 12 weeks last Saturday since Taylor's accident. Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in time and other times I can not believe it has been 12 weeks. At first, we had all bad days with a few good moments mixed in, but after 12 weeks we still have alot of bad days, but more good moments are starting to mix in. I was out at the accident site on Saturday. It was a beautiful day. I just sat there by the little stream that goes through the rocks, the water was making a little bubbling sound, almost peaceful. Taylor's friends are still putting flowers out there, sometimes there are flowers on the rock where he hit his head. I just sat there and thought about all that had happened that night. I was thinking, I am sure Taylor that Saturday night was all happy, it was a warm summer evening the kids were having a bon fire. It must have been muddy from previous rains, because Sara was telling me how right before this happened, he was spinning his tires on his 4-wheeler in some mud and was spraying Sara with mud. When Sara said, look Taylor what you have done, he just gives that little smirky smile and says, Oh I am so sorry. He said it almost like he meant it :). They were always playing little jokes on each other. Then Sara jumps on another 4wheeler with another kid and speeds off, and Taylor left soon after wards--he never wanted anyone to be ahead of him, because he always thought he had the fastest 4wheeler----I will explain the accident later and how it happened.

When I get up on that Friday after the funeral, I felt like I was in the mist of a terrible illness. I was feeling extremely tired, weak and just wanted to stay in bed, but knew I couldn't do that. When I walked down stairs the first thing that I saw was all those flowers sitting in my livingroom. It just brought reality right back into focus, not that it really ever blurs out of focus. None of us has really went back into Taylor's room except for me to get out clothes for Spencer to wear. It is just too painful to see all his stuff, but then there are reminders everywhere. His book bag and laptop are sitting pretty much where he left them when he came home from school. I could not even touch it, i could barely look at it. We slowly got dressed and then went over to Max's. That was where mom, dad, Warren, Dawn and Bill and all her kids were. We were all exhausted and just sat around. It was a beautiful day, so we did go out for a walk. Warren, Jeff, Spencer, Bill and Brooke decided they wanted to go see where the accident happened. I said I am not ready to see that now. I knew that some day I will want to see it, but right now is not the time, in fact I still can not even believe it happened. Dad is still doing really well. We all knew it is only by the Grace of God that he is doing so well. We do have a nice time together, but all too soon the day is over and it is time for us to go home again and I know tomorrow is the day they are all leaving to go home. It is hard to sleep. If my mind is not on all the horror of the last week, it is on all the things I am going to miss with Taylor, or one memory after another is flooding my mind. I am just praying I do not have dreams about Taylor, that would be soooo hard. It would be like watching home videos----he would be so alive and happy. Please God not yet.
The next morning, I am to pick Dawn and Bill up at Luann's---that was where they stayed and take them into Wooster to the motel where mom, dad and Warren were staying. Getting up is a struggle on any given day, it just means another day to deal with reality, but today is even worse because they are all leaving. I pick up Dawn and Bill and we go to the motel. We visit a little bit then mom, dad, Dawn and Bill leave. As I am hugging them all good bye, I wonder when I will see them again. I know in my heart, dad will probably not be out again, and thinking about us going back to mom and dad, is almost more than I can stand---those memories were so terrible getting the phone call that night at their place. So, I am feeling really sad, knowing it will be a long time until I see them again. They leave telling me they will pray continuously for me, my heart is breaking---I am so tired of saying Good bye. After they leave, Warren and I go back into the motel to the pool area and just sit and talk about all that has happened. Many times, i just sit there and think I really can't believe my Taylor is gone, I will never touch him again, never talk with him---that thought is so overpowering, my body takes to shaking. Warren says, there will be many hard days----I am thinking these days are so hard now, just how many hard days will I be able to endure. I realize I will not be able to endure many if any more by myself, God is going to have to be my Strength. Warren says, I don't know what I would do if it was one of mine----it would be so hard. I thought it is hard, but I did not have a choice, God chose Taylor. I just knew I have to stay in God's hands, and He will carry me. After an hour or so, it was time to hug him good bye also. It was sad to see him drive away, because I knew it would be a long time until I seen him again , and also it is just comforting to have my family close by. I get into my car and drive home---I cry most of the way, knowing my life is forever changed and I feel lost in all the pain. I get home and it is two days before school starts. Brooke and I decided we can not sit around the house, to empty and lonely. Max's and all their kids and us have been together for a week straight almost every waking hour, now we are by ourselves--and don't like it much. Brooke and I go into Wooster again to get some of her school supplies, but when we get there we realize we are really just walking around in a daze, putting one foot in front of the other. I actually feel like my body is walking, but my mind and heart are completely somewhere else, just trying to hold on to sanity. I know God is suppose to be near the broken hearted, but I think by this time, i am mostly numb, even though, I don't feel God I know in my heart He is near. I know that the horror of the tragedy is over---the phone call, viewing, funeral, and now the reality is going to set in. I know, or at least I hope it comes in little steps because i know it is going to be overwhelming and very painful. As we are walking around Staples, Brooke gets a little tap on her shoulder and God must have thought you sad little people need some encouraging right now. It was the guy that made that phone about Taylor's salvation--Craig and his wife. We stood and talked to them for a least an hour and yes when we left we did feel alittle bit better. We came back home and pretty much did nothing. The next day is Sunday, do we go to church, stay home in bed. Can I really go back to church where just three days before was Taylor's funeral---I don't know---God, what should I do. The best part of the day then was going to bed. Even though I had trouble getting to sleep, once asleep, it was a break from my heart achy continually. I knew that people's prayers were carrying me, because I still could only pray, Thank you God for helping me through another day.
I know this road of grieving is going to be long and alot of the time very difficult, but God says in Jer. 31:13 He will turn my mourning into gladness; He will give me comfort and joy instead of sorrow. That is another promise, so I must believe that someday, we will see joy and gladness again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Funeral Day (part 2)

We drive slowly right behind Gillman's to the cemetery. I remember when we are driving up that long drive to the cemetery, I am thinking how can this be true, how can we actually be doing this---Tay is going for his final ride--he is way too young. I was thinking, he has never been back to this cemetery in life, his first time back is in death. It is all too much for my mind, it starts to shut down . As we stop by the tent, the pallbears are starting to carry Taylor's casket over to the burial site. Keith told us later, he was thinking, Oh, Tay, we should be playing in the waves in ocean at Nags Head like we use to do, not me carrying your casket. We slowly get out of the car and head over to the tent. The sun was out and warm--a day Taylor would have loved. He loved summer and being outside, and being with his friends. Even though Taylor didn't know it, he had all three. His friends were all there. As i looked around alittle, I noticed that every lane in the cemetery was filled up with cars and the line of cars was going out the cemetery and down the lane. The choir sang a song, then Gary had a prayer and now it was time to say our final good-bye---just how could we possibly be able to do that. As we seen, it was not easy for anyone. Gillman starts to pull carnations from the spray and giving us each one. Then he goes over to the pall bears---which was truly a sight to see---they all stood perfectly straight in a line with sober faces and tears in their eyes and gave each of them one. Spencer, Brooke and I went up and knelt over Taylor's casket. I think God must have been carrying me again, and sorta shut my mind off because I just knelt there with no tears left. Spencer took this very hard, he was sobbing leaning over Tay' casket. Jeff noticed that nobody was leaving and thought they were perhaps waiting for us to leave first, so he thought maybe we should get back into the car. So, Spencer, Brooke and I get up to leave, but I notice that Spencer looked like he was not ready to leave yet. I asked him, do you want to go back by Taylor again, and he quickly said yes. I and Spencer went back to Taylor and just knelt there with our faces in our hands over the casket. I felt I had no heart left---it had been completely ripped out. After several more minutes, Spencer had said his final good-bye's and started to get up. I noticed that there were still people everywhere---I was thinking, I thought every body left after the prayer, I wonder why they are all still here. I am glad that somebody noticed what was happening, because we were so wrapped up in grief, we did not catch what was happening. Ricki came up to Jeff and says, i think the kids would like to also say good bye to Taylor. Jeff then says, if any of you kids want to come up closer and say good bye you are welcome to. That was something to see---the guys and girls come up to the casket, they got on their knees and knelt by the casket with their arms on it. There was not enough room for them all, so some just knelt behind the ones closes to the casket. Oh, if only Taylor could have seen all his friends on their knees---I can only pray, Taylor, you left a big enough mark on their lives that they will want Jesus in their lives. They all seen how quickly Taylor went from having fun riding his 4 wheeler to eternity. This was very emotional to see all these kids on their knees. They get up after a few minutes, but still no body leaves. Some waited until they could go up by themselves to mourn Taylor. I seen Jed up by himself, maybe I should have just left him by himself, but, my heart was breaking for him too. I just went up and put my arm around him and just quietly knelt by his side. He was sobbing, but then who wasn't at this point. Kirk came up and knelt by the casket and was softly crying---he had just lost one of his best friends. Their hearts were all breaking too. All those big muscular guys were crying without shame. Everybody was seeing that death is so final and this was the last time we would be this physically close to Taylor. How are we going to ever be able to continue on---that is our human thought, and the answer is, we can't and we won't. It is only in God's mercy that I will be able to get up tomorrow after this funeral. Kelly Gillman does come over to me---this is the first time I ever seen any compassion from her since this all happened. She does give me a hug and I think she might even be crying alittle. She said I have never seen anything quite like this. This is really hard. We slowly get back into our cars and everybody does start to leave this time. We go back to the church for lunch. I thought all I want to do is go home and pull the covers over my head and not think. After lunch, alot of the Illinois people that came are starting to leave. i truly appreciated all of those that put the effort and time into coming. Mom and Dad were still doing pretty well, they were tired, but feeling well, and for that we were thankful. Mom and dad, Warren, Ron all go to Diane's. Us, Max's and Max's kids have to now go back to the fellowship hall and clean up and take care of the flowers. As we are driving back to the fellowship hall, all I can think is I really really do not want to go back here. As I walk in the doors all the memories and emotions comes flooding back from the day before. I turn the corner and there are all the flowers still sitting and then the empty place where the casket was. I just stood there and stared, again reality has hit, it really is true. I told everybody to take whatever they wanted of the flowers and plants. We carried the flowers out to our cars, but in my heart even though those flowers were beautiful they just reminded me of such horror, I could hardly look at them. We did take some to the nursing home which they all just loved. I did take some home. It was sorta bittersweet, yes the flowers remind me of horror, but when it came time to throw them out, it almost felt like I was throwing out part of Taylor. I got a big plaque of "Be Still and Know I Am God" that I just love---it is one of my favorite verses. Jeff and Max swept the fellowship hall and finally it is time to leave and go home. We come home and Jeff gets the mail, we get another 50 cards. Jeff loves cards, he is still reading everyone of them word for word. I am not in the mood to read more mournful cards. For right now, it is also such a reminder of this terrible horror that has struck our lives. My heart is so broken and shredded that probably the only one that is going to be any comfort is God. But don't get me wrong, I later read the cards and we end up getting somewhere around 570 cards. We got bunches the first week or two, but the ones that meant the most to me were the ones we got after that. That was probably because the horror had lessen a bit and I could actually read them and feel what the person was trying to say. We still get cards almost every day, of course not nearly as many, but those mean alot, because we know that we are still in their hearts, and prayers. They have to be thinking about us, to go get a card, write in it and then send it. I learned alot through all of this---what to say, what not to say, when to send a card. We also will get two, three and sometimes four cards from the same person---now we know or sure those people are really praying for us---Thank you all who pray for us. After we change our clothes and carry our flowers in the house, we go over to Diane's. My whole family is over there, so it is really nice to be with all of them----this happens so rarely. Karen and Luann are our "maids"s for the evening and they go a great job. They serve us dinner---I am not sure if anybody was hungry or not, but we at least pretended to eat, or maybe that was just me that had to pretend to be hungry. We really did not talk too much about the funeral. We did have a few laughs. I think our bodies were so tired, we just wanted to relax. But of course there was a constant thought, which has taken a permanent place in my mind----Taylor is gone, I can not see, touch or talk with him ever again---every once in a while my body will just shake from that thought. As we sat there and visited a terrible storm came up and it rained really hard. Of course my mind went to Taylor out there all by himself---I know a crazy thought, he really is not there, but it still kept running through my mind. Somebody make the comment that we all cried many tears this day, and now God is crying His tears. That thought touched my heart---Jesus probably did cry with us many times and still does on hard days. Carol did not go to the funeral, but was not feeling too badly. Her face did have some rug burns on it, but not too bad. We did find out later that Carol ended up with two small breaks in her wrist and had to have alot of physical therapy, which helped alot. Well, it was time to say good bye to Ron and Carol, they were flying back very early the next morning. I was very sad to see them leave, but Ron has kept in contact with me and has been a great support. More than once he called and I was in tears and he would help me refocus back on Jesus and not myself. Anyway, one last word of advice he told Jeff and myself before he left is-- He said never go down the street of "why". He said when he got wounded in Vietnam and had to have his leg amputated he felt he had the right to ask God "why" He left that happen---and God was silent. Ron said satan took that silence and took him down a road he barely made it back. I can not say I have never asked "why"----it is so easy to ask that question, and I will go into that later, but after hearing this story of Ron's, which he told me in more detail, I knew i probably would not make it back, so i try to refocus when my mind goes there----which is exactly where satan wants me to go. I have found that to be a slippery slope. We say our good bye's to Ron's and go home. It is a quiet ride home, each in our own thoughts. When we get home, we all walked into the house. Spencer said I can't sleep in that room, so he doesn't. I just go into Taylor and Spencer's room and stand there by Tay's bed and stare at his bed. My mind just kept saying over and over, you should be in your bed, not in the cemetery. Pretty soon I found myself sobbing again, so I quietly shut off the light and go out of his room. The last five days have been the worst days of my life---some have told me, you have been though the worse thing that can possibly happen to you---sometimes I think that must be true, but then I am sure there are worst things---what if your child was kidnapped and you did not know where or who had them. That would be worse. I have to say, Max, Diane and her kids were huge support in this terrible time. Each and every one of them were a support in a different way and at a different time.
They all are still great support to us----I don't know what I would have done with out any of them---God put me in very good hands. Max and Diane went through every step with us, and at many moments they actually held us up physically, they helped us make decision when I could not even hardly breath, let alone make any type of decisions. Like Diane has said, they were mourning Taylor but they also had to watch us mourn the extremely deep lose of a child, which was almost as hard as mourning Taylor. Diane did comment that in those five days, she has never felt closer to God. It was almost like God had a hold of her hand. She said as she looks back and some of the things that she did for us, she said it had to be God working through her, because on her own, she said I would have also been crumpled on the floor. Once again, God gives Grace where it is needed. Prayers of the people were carrying every last one of us---all I ask is please continue to pray for us, Max's, and Taylor's friends. I can't explain how thankful I am for a praying group of friends. Thank you all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just Some Thoughts

We started our Bible Study yesterday. We do Beth Moore studies and have decided to do the one on Daniel. This is our third study with this group of women. Diane and I were talking later,we were saying just think how much has changed in those three years. One was diagnose with breast cancer, one is waiting for a kidney transplant, one lost a sibling, one was diagnose with glaucoma, and I lost a son. We pray for each other, and lift each other up to the Throne of God, but we still each have to fight the demons in the middle of the night by ourselves---well that is not true, God is always right there beside us. Isn't it night time that satan likes to come and play in our minds. Doesn't he like to take all the blessings and triumphs that God has given us throughout the day and plant seeds of doubts and discouragements. I woke up last night in the middle of the night and found myself thinking once again about all the things that I will not see Taylor do. One that really stuck was what will it be like when I see Taylor's friends getting married and having kids. Grandkids i will never hold. I just had to pray over and over, Please Jesus please fill this whole that I have in my heart with You. Today, God brought this verse to my mind Romans 8:28 which says" We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose." I just sat back and tried to think on it. It did not say, SOMETIMES God brings good to those who love Him, but in ALL things. I wanted to say --I think there has been a mistake here, I don't see anything good in this tragedy----our hearts are all broken in a thousand pieces. But then God does not lie, so it has to be true. So, I must believe that God will bring good out of this tragedy. I do pray, God, if You decide to show me while I am still here on earth, help me to see it, or maybe I will never know what it is until I meet Jesus at Heaven's Gates. I just don't want to be lost in grief somewhere and miss it all. I do know --that verse is a promise, and God never breaks a promise. Right now, though, it is hard for me to feel or see it being good, but that is what is called faith----believing without seeing. Faith really is not knowing how God will bring His will into being---faith is knowing that God will bring His will into being. No, i did not think of that on my own, I got it out of my grief book---but I thought it said it all.
Brooke is now driving Taylor's truck. She has not yet gotten a vehicle after she her accident. She had been borrowing a kind hearted teacher's car, but he needed it back. So what was it going to be like with Taylor's truck parked in the garage very night, so every time I go out into the garage I see it. I must admit it does give me a pain in my heart, but it is something how your mind get "use" to that image. I do try not to look as she is driving down the lane in it---that is more than I can stand for right now.
Even though, we are going down this journey of grief, every once in a while we do find ourselves laughing. Last night after dinner, Brooke and I were still sitting at the table and Jeff and Spencer were going to do dishes. Spencer did not think he should have to do dishes and was being sarcastic, I had two little baby carrots on my plate, so I very carefully picked them up and threw them at this head, and bingo, both hit him in the head. Well, knowing Spencer he had to get revenge, he comes over and picks me right up off my feet and carrys me around, can you see this picture---big tall Spenc is holding me and I am kicking my legs in every direction trying to get down. We did all end up laughing pretty hard. It felt good to once again to just laugh.