Friday, November 18, 2011

Brooke's wedding day

Brooke's wedding was July 30th. I prayed so hard that God would be so present on this day...also, who wants to enter marriage without God being the most important Guest there, but also, I knew it was going to be an emotional day. A day where family is suppose to be all together to celebrate a very happy occasion, but Tay was not going to be there. God answered my prayers, God was there and very present and I do think He brought a little of Taylor with him. It was suppose to be a stormy and rainy weekend, but guess what God gave us instead..ya sunny skies. We had a lot of people that were going to be traveling from many different states....all arrived and got back home safely. The only mishap was BJ's mom gave her sister her car keys for safe keeping, and forgot to get them back from her sister before the sister left and flew back to CA. So, BJ's mom was stuck in Seville with her keys in CA, but God worked it all out in a day or so.
Spencer and Mark were ushers..and if I say so  myself, they both looked rather handsome, but I could not keep myself from thinking, Tay should be there ushering with Spenc. My mind went back 6 years ago when one of Warren's daughter's got married and she asked Taylor to usher. He was so excited to look so important all dressed up in a tux, he did not care he did not have a clue how to usher..that people actually do have specific places to be seated. In fact, when the church was getting full, and he did not know where to put the later comers, he forgot and put them where grandma and grandpa were suppose to sit.
I prayed that in some way, maybe God would just let me feel Taylor's presence ...I sometimes wonder does God ever let the ones that are so much a part of us, look down on happy occasions---I believe He does.... God did plant little things into our hearts and minds that we could do to "bring" Taylor into the wedding with us. This was not a memorial for Taylor, but a celebration of two hearts that God had brought together 5 years ago. We put a picture of Taylor along side a burning yellow candle up on the alter. It burned off to the side of the unity candle. As I sat on that front bench watching Brooke and BJ's repeating their vows, I could also see Taylor's face smiling back at just made it feel like he was present in spirit with us. Brooke had decided to carry a single sunflower tucked into her wedding bouquet in memory of Taylor...that was his favorite flower. She also picked the sunflower to give to the mothers. When she came over and hugged me and handed me the sunflower....a few tears could not help but run down my cheeks. As I watched Spenc and others "decorate" their vehicle, I again thought how Taylor would have loved that...He was always one filled with ideas to play tricks on others.  Yes, there were moments when my mind and heart could not help but feel his loss, but I must say with a grateful heart...God blessed the day and there were many, many happy moments and memories. Brooke's husband is a deeply spiritual man, and for that I am very thankful...don't we all pray that our kids will marry a guy/girl that loves the Lord with all of their hearts. The one thing I didn't pray for was that he would be in the navy. That sounded like they would not be living in Ohio...since there is not much water close by...if they would have said a rainy state...ohio would have been in the top  that was going to mean they will either be on the west coast or east. God would give me time to adjust to that thought, since BJ is in training in Chicago and Brooke is living at home working and finishing her masters program, but then what?? I must admit I have had a really hard time with this. I kept wanting to pray that God would in some way take BJ out of this program, which is a very dangerous one. I kept thinking can Brooke, or for that matter any of us take the stress of always wondering where he is, is he ok..will he come back in one piece or even will his personality be the same or will it  be totally different..will they have taught him to completely emotionally detach from any situation. I kept thinking..God just what are you trying to teach fact I wanted to whine alittle and just say...didn't we learn enough hard lessons with losing Taylor, but I found that when I would try to pray my "will" God would very quietly whisperd in my ear..."Don't you trust Me to know what is best." I stressed many days, looking at once again all that could possibly be taken away. Brooke could be living 1,000's of miles away, grandkids that I could possibly only see once a year, but God just kept whispering in my ear.."Trust Me." I was pretty much like Moses, I could come up with a hundred excuses why I really did not think this is the best place for BJ and Brooke, it all looked so stressful and hard, would any of us be able to get through another death, so please God can you help me out here. All God kept saying was "Trust Me".  I knew if I was ever going to have that indescribable peace in my heart about this, that was exactly what I was going to have to do...surrender it all to God. So, I did what Jeremiah 29:13-14 says.." You will seek and find Me when you will seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, Declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity." That was when I could finally say..God I know You will do what is best for each of us..Yes, I trust You. No, I don't know what the next step is for them, but God is in our tomorrow and He does. I have found over and over happiness and joy have not much in common. Happiness is fleeing, it goes and comes with circumstances, joy can be long lasting and has nothing to do with circumstances, it is all within the heart where God is found.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Passing more Landmarks

It has been a long time since I have visited this blog it because it brings back so many terrible memories, or have I healed enough that I don't feel the need to journal as much? I would probably have to answer that question with yes to both options. We have gone through several more landmarks since I have blogged last. I have heard some say the second year is even harder than the first, but I am happy to say I do not feel this way. That first year and all the landmarks that went with it was heart wrenching and very painful, not saying this second year is easy, but I seem to have more good days than bad...or maybe I should say the pain went from acute to an intense longing. I long for the day to be reunited with Taylor, and of course that means, I will also be in the presence with our Great Master and King.
We pasted the second anniversary of Tay's death..Aug 16th. This is such a different feeling than celebrating his birthday. They are both hard, but in different ways...his birthday, I find myself thinking about the day he was born, and his life, all the things he enjoyed, his personality, his smile, what he would have been like today, would he soon be getting married, but his death date is all about that terrible week. I find myself thinking about what the week before was like, all the conversations I had with him, the things I did with him and then what I was doing that happy we were at Dawn's wedding, just being all together, then came the call that changed my life forever. That was all bad enough, but then the next week is engraved in my mind forever. I must also say, yes the memories of that week are filled with horror memories, but also, it was a time in my life that I have never felt God so close...I could almost feel His arms physically around me holding me up. I have often thought, where would I have been today if I did not know Jesus. would I have just became a shell walking around, would I have become addicted to pills, pills to get up, pills to go to sleep. I am not saying it is easy by any means, but God provides just enough Grace for each day...some days I need alot to get through and others not as much.
I guess, I sorta thought that his friends would maybe.. not forget.., but move on and this would all be a terrible memory, but several came to see me around the anniversary date, and we just talked about Taylor, some were funny memories, some were really sad memories. Some wrote memories on his facebook page, which i find myself really liking...I find out things about his personality that I never seen as clearly as his friends did . Us and Max's family went out to the cemetery to spend some time remembering. Max had a prayer that touched each of our hearts. We let off balloons, we all just watched them drifting off to heaven, some went really fast..straight up and out of sight quickly, others just drifted slowly upward. I had to think that is sorta the way we are, some have a direct focus..all we want to do is get there as quickly as possible, others have the same focus, want to get to heaven, but if it takes alittle more time that is fine too. A few of his friends came out to the cemetery too, we really did not give a special invitation to anyone, but some of his friends just drifted out there on this terrible day, just to remember the friend they had lost two years ago. It did make me feel really good that they came out to remember tay...he isn't forgotten in the hearts of his friends, but lives on. This year was different from last year besides it being the second year instead of the first...his tombstone was up. It just made it all so very real....this is our reality..his smiling face looking back at us...his name and birthday engraved in stone, then under that, the date of his death. Almost every time I read the poem we found to put on the back of his stone, it brings tears to my soon as we seen this poem, we knew this was the one to put fits so perfectly, almost like it was written for his tragedy. On this anniversary, I did get several cards that said they were thinking and praying for always brings a smile to my heart when somebody tells me they are praying for us...because I know that is the one things that will absolutely carry me through the bad days and also bring the sun out on the good days. I even had the courage to go back and open up and read some of cards that were sent to us during those very hard days. Was it encouraging....I don't know for sure, the one thing I do know is it brought tears and a lot of memories back...but it also brought the thought hundreds and hundreds of people were praying for us and I do have to say God did speak very clearly through some of the messages I guess it did bring some type of encouragement.
Another event that we passed for the second time was the fair. Fair time is very bittersweet for me. Taylor loved the fair, he could hardly wait for it to come each year and when it did, he spent every spare moment there. His most favorite part was on Monday afternoons when they had the county tractor pull. He would invite all his friends to come and watch..whether they liked the pull or just wanted to support Tay, alot of them would show up and sit in the grandstand...when Tay would get up to the starting line they would all yell, scream, and whistle as loud as they could. The funny part was, it did not matter if Tay did well or not, they acted like he won the race. I can see him as clear as if it was yesterday, sitting there in line on his tractor with his favorite white cap on, trying not to look nervous waiting in line for his name to be called. I have videos of his pulls, but as of yet, I have not found the strength or courage to watch them...maybe some day. I have found it is just much easier not to go to the fair on those Mondays....I have never watched another pull, but just hearing them call out the names and the length of the pulls is just too much of a reminder what I have lost, so I pick a different day for the fair.
There was one more very big occasion where Tay's absent was very acutely felt and that was on July 30, Brooke's wedding day. I will make that another post.
Would I say that time heals wounds? I would say more that time puts a scab over the wound, but it never completely heals, there are occasions and moments where that scab gets ripped open some, and it bleeds...the time when it will be completely healed with not even a scar will be the day I meet him on heaven's shores.
I will end with a couple of quotes that I thought had a lot of meat to them, if you take a few minutes to think on it

"Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a course of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead"

The one that really touched my heart is this one "Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into His Glory

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Birthday--2011--22nd birthday

Once again the change of seasons are upon us----what does that mean, well, it means it is once again Taylor's birthday. He would have been 22-I had to think, just what would he have been doing, where would he have been working, what changes would I have seen in him as he was maturing from a boy into a young man. We didn't know quite what to do this year for his birthday, but just knew we wanted something much quieter than last year. We decided to just get balloons and ask Max's family to meet us at the cemetery to let them off and just do some reflecting on the past year. We all said happy birthday, Taylor, as we each let our balloon go off towards heaven, then later went over to Max's. Max's all left as us four just stood there around Taylor's grave all lost in our own thoughts. My thought first went to that hot, humid afternoon as some stood, while others knelt around his casket for the last time, feeling like our hearts had just been ripped out of our chest and all that was left was a big empty hole- and feeling like would we even make it until the next moment. It has been 20 months since that afternoon, but it was amazing how I could feel every emotion as intensely as if it was that very day. As I stood there looking at his picture, I had to think, just what are you doing today, Taylor? Birthdays mean nothing to you now, time is of no essence-one day is as beautiful as the next, no more sorrow, pain, tears, but instead spending time with Jesus!!! My mind slipped back to what Ron said at Taylor's funeral,--the death of Taylor is like an amputation--as I though more on this, I realized just how true this is. One day earlier that week I was listening on WCRF to a couple who lost their only son, who was five in an accident--and a friend said to him, don't let any one tell you that you will get over this in time, because you won't, but you will learn to live a new normal, then he used the same analogy as Ron, this is like an amputation. It is so true, I will never get over this-like I would never get "over" if my leg was amputated. I would be reminded in every step I took, that something was missing-my leg. Yes, I can lived a fairly normal life with only one leg, but I will never run and jump again. I am trying to learn to live with the "amputation" but must say some days all I can think about is how would it feel to have my "leg" back again. Maybe it is harder right now, because of his birthday and also we have picked out his tombstone. Going picking it out, was once again reality slapping me in the face. When I was standing there looking at these tombstones and trying to imagine what Taylor's name written big across the top and his smiling face etched in stone would actually look like. The thought would keep running through my mind--this can't be true, can't this be a nightmare that I can soon wake up from. The guy just called me today, to say that the drawing is finished and we can come view it before they etch it in the stone---I had to think this is the very last thing we will ever buy for Taylor, my heart just aches thinking about that--but again, I am feeling sorry for my losses, Taylor is safely home. It just has been a hard several weeks. Jeff was out in the garage cleaning up one of the fourwheelers the boys had several years earlier. He had me come out to see how great it looked after he took the time to wash it and paint it up to get ready to sell. As I stood there looking at it, so many memories ran through my mind--like when spencer and taylor would ride this one around the yard, laughing and chasing each other. I even got brave enough to ride on the back of it with them sometimes. They had so much fun trying to scare me to death going over jumps and around curves really fast---i have to admit, it worked it did scare me, but the more, I would squeeze my arms around their waist and scream in their ears to slow down, they would only go faster, laughing all the way. At times like these, I just want to scream ---I don't want this to be true, I want my old normal back, I don't like this new normal that I am forced to live in, but I realize I can only visit this place I can not stay here, or satan will have me right where he wants me--beaten up and destroyed. I realize that satan likes nothing more than to knock me completely flat and I must admit some days he does just that, but Jesus will always come along and pick me up, brush me off, bind up the wounds that satan has caused. I love the thought that satan can not do anything to me unless he goes ask Jesus permission. Jesus will not grant satan permission to do anything that can't be used for God's Glory and me good---but of course that last part I have a choice in---"get better or get bitter".

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life is Full of Changes

Winter soon will be drawing to a close and spring will be bring new life once again. As much as I like spring, it also brings Taylor's birthday. Not that I don't like his birthday, it can bring alot of great memories, but also some really sad ones. I can hardly believe he would have been 22, but actually in my mind he will be forever 20. He will always have that young face, with that famous grin on it. I often wonder just what would he have been doing by now--he would have graduated college, but then I remind myself, he does not have to worry about any of that, his days are filled with pure perfection in everywhere he goes and everything he does. I had a dream about Taylor the other night and I was not sure what it meant, if anything. It just kept sticking in my mind, was it satan trying to play games with my mind and heart, which is what it felt like. I also know playing any games with satan, I will most certainly lose-I can only be on the winning side with Jesus as my shield. I know my best defense is prayer, so that is exactly what I did. I am a person of signs....i often pray that God will direct me through "signs". I don't usually pray for specific signs, just something clear that I know without a doubt that He is talking to me. I was praying He would give me a peace about this dream if it was just satan's plan to pull me down into the "pits". I had nothing in mind, but knew He would speak something in someway, but didn't know when or how. As we were standing in church singing the praise songs before the service, they finish with the last song--Amazing Grace--(I am sure this was no accident) At first all I could focus on was all the memories of the funeral and Taylor being wheeled down the aisle at church for the last time on this song, but about half way through the song, God whispers in my ear, " this is the answer to your prayer, remember how I have spoken to you through this song from the very beginning, always letting you know I am right beside you- and this time is no different, I am right here and yes, it was just a dream, ---Don't let satan win the battle in getting grips on your peace." By this time tears were streaming down my cheeks, the song brought back so many memories, but the one I like to hold on to the most is that God has spoken so clearly through this song of His presence and comfort. How true is this--To have God on our side doesn't mean sailing on a boat without any storms--it means having a boat no storm can sink.

Life is full of changes---some are small which will make very little difference, and then there are some that are life changing. Brooke and BJ announced their engagement a few days after Christmas. They plan to get married this summer. Yes, I am happy for her, but I would be lying if I said I am not also some what sad. We were always close, but since Taylor's accident, we have tried to make every minute count, because like we so quickly found out--you can be here one minute and gone the next....sometimes no time to even say good-bye. BJ right now is in the navy and by this fall his four year tour will be up, but he is deciding if he is going to re-enlist into the special forces, which would make it another six years and they will be either stationed on the east coast (Virginia) or west coast (CA). My first gut reaction is, God, no-no--You can't take her away, not that far---that is going to make another big hole in the family--no, nothing comparable to Taylor, but still a very sizable whole-- just how often will we get to see her, if they are in CA. I have often prayed that God would provide deeply spiritual spouses for my kids, and He did answer that prayer, but not quite like I thought, but isn't that just God---I have found that God seldom if ever answers my prayers like I expect, or alot of times would have liked, but have found that in the end, it was a much better way---so again, I am praying this is the case. I lean very heavily on the verses Prov. 3:5-6 which says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." When they first got engaged, I didn't do so well, I found myself often thinking what is this going to be like, with her 3,000 miles away, and my prayer became self-centered--I found myself praying--please God just make it so they can live around here, maybe like he will flunk all the test to get into the special forces. Then one night as i was praying, God quietly whispered in my ear, let Me handle this, just put it all in My hands---surrender your will to Me---so that is exactly what I did, well, lets say i am trying to do just that. Not only will I miss her terribly, but if he makes it into the special forces, it will extremely dangerous, and my thoughts often drift to how Brooke knows all about death and how devastating it is---how would she ever survive another one that was that close to her. I could feel myself starting to let satan use his most favorite tools, fear, worry and anxiety. I knew I could nothing to change all the "what if's", and so like the many times before where did I find peace----surrendering it all into God's hands. Whether God allows him to be in the forces or whether he flunks the tests---I know God will do what is best for each of us, and yes, there may be some hard times, but God promises to be with us and take care of all our needs---I hang onto each and every one of God's promises. I heard this somewhere and thought how true it is--God closes doors no man can open & God can open doors no man can close. Like God has told us, don't worry about tomorrow, it has enough worries all of its' own,---but also God told us He is already in our tomorrows just like the verse Det.31:81 says "The Lord himself goes before me and will be with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." I am so thankful that we all rest in the palms of Jesus's hands, because if I was to do this all on my own, I would be consumed by everything but peace.