Dear God this is hard....
This has been the worst week of my life. I'm moving as though through Jell-O, yet I see myself doing the things that need to be done -- writing the obituary and the memorial for her in the church program; scanning in photographs of her for the memorial slideshow (embedded below); selecting music and a photograph for the program; burning discs to take to the church so they can test everything today; picking up family at the airport; greeting family and friends showing up at the door; feeding people; washing clothes; cleaning; feeding the animals...How am I doing all of this?
I have some very good friends who are pouring their love out on us and a very powerful God who won't let me just curl up in the bed and die myself. Stephanie asked me bluntly one time - which was her manner - "What would you do if I died?" I said, after recovering from the shock, "I would die, too." But I haven't. God knows my journey isn't finished here. In some ways, it is just beginning. Right now there isn't much that matters to me. I'm holding it together, sure, but I feel simply hollowed out and tired. My soul aches. My heart fights to keep beating. My brain won't stop replaying everything, looking for a loophole that would let her live again, let me turn back the clock and change things. I know exactly when I would go back to. I would go back to the day when I thought about making the decision to move us all to Seattle for a year so that we could be together while I was working (before that I was traveling heavily). I thought it would be best; I missed the kids, missed my husband. It was in Seattle that my innocent girl was attacked and raped. The course of her life changed. We saw the light change in her eyes, and though we tried everything to get to the root of the change, she didn't let the secret go for 5 years.
Oh, how we mourned. We tried so hard, so hard. Nothing worked. Nothing made a difference. I only hope that the little girl who lived deep inside her knew - how very, very much we loved her and wanted to save her.
A friend sent me this poem, which is beautiful. I wanted to share it with you.
Tis like a homing dove.
How could I long for a place unseen
and feel His endless love?
Homesick and worn,
I strive each day,
A broken soul to love.
But my broken heart aches to join
My Savior up above.
How long must I fight the battles,
On tearstained fields for Thee?
"Until your task is finished here,"
He firmly says to me.
"I've covered your scars with my blood.
I've washed your hands and feet.
I've taken the sins of your soul,
To the mercy seat."
What love I feel in His voice,
His hands outstretched to me.
I'll serve until that moment,
His loving face I'll see.
- Anita Corinne Donihue