Sunday, August 28, 2011

Painful realities

Tomorrow marks an entire month since my 16yo. son fulfilled his purpose here on earth and died an earthly death. Yet he lives in heaven and is with God, alive and worshiping the Almighty for ever and ever.

For me and my Dh, it is still unreal, though we have hope of eternity. It is still gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and daily accompanied with tears. The waves of grief are incessant in their rhythm and, though constant, they are erratic.

Tonight was a rare night where I made dinner. It was in preparing dinner, that the waves of grief came rolling in. I realized then why meal times are so difficult. It's because that's when Matt's absence, for me, is most obvious. It's not only the empty spot at the table, but more so when I count the plates, 9, the silverware, 9, the cups, 9. It was always nine. And now it's eight. Crash of the waves, tide incoming.

If it wasn't for the assurance, comfort, and truth of God's word, the support of family and friends, and the ministering of worship music, I surely would have been pulled under the rip current and drowned.

Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

I know that God is with me, my husband, and my children. I know that He carries me. He is my shield, my fortress, my deliverer, my rock in whom I take refuge. (Ps. 18:2)  I know that under the shadow of His wings, there is a place of safety. (Ps. 36:7) I know that He loves me. And it is this reminder that carries me through the waters and puts me safely upon the shore once more.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grief in a box

I thought I had grief all figured out. That is, before I had ever truly experienced it in this capacity. I have suffered the loss of two very dear friends, and the loss of my father when I was 12yo. But the loss of my very own child, my first born, my teenager, my 16yo. is a whole different story.

I wanted to wrap grief up in a box, have it all figured out, contained neatly in a square container. You see, I'm a "just suck it up and do it" type of gal. I want to just get things done with and move on. If there's a job to be done by Friday, then I'm the gal that has is done on Monday.

But I'm quickly realizing that grief doesn't work that way. And neither does God. And honestly, it sucks. I hate it. How's that for real? I don't like surprises. I never have. I hate the way grief jumps on you when you least expect it. Grief doesn't respect boundaries. It has no limits or social graces. Grief lunges out at you at the grocery store in the cereal aisle when you realize you'll never buy your son's favorite cereal ever again. It mocks you as you walk by the men's clothing section and you realize you won't be buying those sizes anymore either. Grief is quick to remind you that, while you're happy for your friends' big moments, you realize your son will never have an 18th birthday party. Neither will you meet your son's girlfriend or future wife, attend his graduation, his wedding, or know what it's like to gaze at his newborn baby.

Grief doesn't give you answers. It only leaves you empty, broken, without strength, and powerless. I have never felt so weak, yet I am so overwhelmed at the generosity of friends and family. They are holding us up through prayers, meals, and hugs. It is a comforting and powerful thing to simply hug and say nothing. It is a comfort to not have to cook or think about meals or meal planning. It is all I can do to make sure the bills are still getting paid and the laundry washed. Our friends and family are our "hands." Exodus 17:10 tells the story of Moses in battle, growing weary and unable to continue, but with the help of his friends, the battle is won.

"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up-- one on one side, one on the other-- so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword."

God, whose name is Jehovah Jirah (the LORD will provide), has provided for me and my family and continues to be gracious to us. He is gentle and tender, because grief is not. The LORD is my strength. 2Corinthians 12:9  'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.'

So while I can't put grief in a box, I know, and am daily reminded, that my family and friends are holding up our arms for us and helping to carry this burden.

Monday, August 22, 2011

When the shock wears off

the pain hits. This was one of the most painful days since the first three. I remember when I was about age 9 and had broken my leg. At first, I didn't feel much, just an angry tingling. However, after a few minutes, I remember looking down at my left leg and seeing the bone through the unbroken skin. THAT'S when the pain hit. It felt much like that today.

There has been a fierce battle raging in my mind all day. I have no strength to cling to the Lord, so I rest in knowing that HE holds me. I am comforted in knowing that nothing can separate me from His love, no, not even death. (Romans 8:38-39) I can not be snatched out of His hand. (John 10:29) What a comfort that brings to my weary, wounded heart.

Dh and I are looking into attending a grief support group called Griefshare. We both signed up for their daily emails and have found them to be helpful. I am also looking into a grief camp for the kids. Someone gave us a brochure for Hearts of Hope camp that I think would be beneficial.

Today was our first day of school, too. It went as well as can be expected under these circumstances. I did update the blog photo albums a few days ago, too. Off to a warm bath and then bed. Praying for peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A poem

(I wrote this about a year ago.)

Grief is as the Ocean

Grief is as the ocean, wide and deep
pouring over like a tempest, fierce and broad.
Then sun breaks through to shine as God.
Grief is as the tide, swift and sure,
coming and going, coming and going.
Then peace falls like gentle rain.
Grief is as the sea, fathomless and still,
storing treasures, lying languid.
Then glory reigns, unsurpassable.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grief lessons

There are a few things I've learned about grief these past two and a half weeks. First, grief is exhausting. Unbelievably exhausting. Especially if you have younger children to deal with. The first week of the death of a loved one is incredibly busy. Yeah, busy. Who knew? It's busy with the onslaught of visiting relatives and decision making, the details of funeral planning and trips to the cemetery to pick out a plot, and the well-meaning, but ever-revolving door of friends dropping by with meals. The doorbell and the telephone ringing are relentless. Can we say "Grand Central!"?

Secondly, grief slaps you out of nowhere, with no warning. It hits like waves on the ocean, slamming into you and dragging you against your will, back out to sea. I've learned not to fight it. To just give in and let it have it's way. The more you fight, the worse it is, but if you let it happen, you soon find out that the tide rolls back and the waves recede. Then you get your bearings under your legs a lot quicker and you find yourself swimming back to shore. We have seen God work in huge ways, however, in the midst of our grief. One of these days I will have enough energy to post those! For now, I have learned:
  • Sleep, especially the first few days after a loss, will be non-existent! Take advantage of your doctor and get some sleeping pills. I don't recommend using them normally, but the first week, coupled with lack of sleep, is one of those times it's okay to use the system. After that, you can try some natural methods like warm baths with lavender essential oil.

  • People want to do something, anything to help. LET THEM. It doesn't matter what it is, let them. They are grieving with you and, while there's nothing they can do to lessen your loss, it makes them feel better and it's one less thing for you to deal with. (As long as it doesn't require you to make decisions!)

  • Have someone delegated to take care of the well-meaning ways people/friends want to help out. (For example: meals, childcare, etc.) You don't need more on your plate to do. Grief is enough to handle all by itself, thank you.

  • The best answer to "How are you doing?" or "How are the kids doing?" is "As well as can be expected." 

  • I absolutely MUST NOT focus/think/imagine the scene or details of the accident. That is a definite NO-NO! There is positively no good thing accomplished in doing that and serves no purpose other than to drag you back out to sea, drowning in grief.

  • Listening to worship music is very soothing. It keeps me remembering who God is, what He has done, and how faithful He is.

  • To remind myself that my precious son is alive. He is alive in Heaven and one day I will see him again. 1 Thess. 4:13 says that "we do not those who have no hope." This is probably the greatest thing that has been the most helpful; to remind myself that my son is not dead. He is alive with Christ.

Finally, I know that the grief process takes time. I must give myself, and others, grace. Our pastor gave us very wise words, indeed, that day on the ride home from the hospital. He said to keep our schedules and daily routines as much as we could, to allow the kids' activities to continue, and to realize that grief and the "stuff" of life will co-exist. It is so true. Experiencing grief happens while life swirls on around you. Pastor Dave said it best in the following poem that he wrote the day after learning of Matt's death:

July 29, 2011

The day began like every day
The busyness, the hurry, the need to get things done
The norm of life was in full flow
Then the world stood still

The norm was shattered with the unexpected
In a moment the unwanted imposed itself
Everything came to a stop with a crash
Then the world stood still

All the busyness of life didn’t matter at that moment
All that we think is so important faded from view
Our world became focused on one tragic point
We were frozen in time

The hours ahead were filled with pain
Unanswered questions flew in and out of our minds
We cried, we embraced, we sat in uneasy silence
Our world stood still

The time came to start the clock again
We didn’t want to, but we had no choice
Slowly, painfully we moved
We moved back into the flow of time

I drove home alone and watched the world rush by
Don’t they know, don’t they care
I felt the terror of a life cut short
I felt myself being swept back into the relentless flow

One day the world will stand still
And time will be no more
Good-bye will become a forgotten word
When we stand on that eternal shore

Monday, August 15, 2011

Paying for grief

I remember how shocked I was at the bill from the mortuary the day we met to plan our oldest son's memorial. (And it was only half the bill!) I thought how ironic it was that not only do we have to grieve, but that we have to pay for it! The mortuary has a fee, the cemetery has a fee, and the monument company has a fee. I remember, too, being surprised at finding money in the condolence cards. I was ignorant of that fact until now.

Grief is not only complicated, it's a learning experience. Maybe if our society wasn't so "separated" from death, it wouldn't be such a shock. Death, in our society, is kept so separate. No longer do dying loved ones live with us. They are closed away in nursing homes, and not only that, but in separate, closed-off sections of the "home"! The dying lay in hospital beds, again, in separate corridors from the living.

It rather angers me that we've done that as a society. This society that values so much instead the "fountain of youth", the never-ending search to stay young. It's such an earthly perspective. Earthly vs. eternal. Quite a difference.

This morning I was thinking of the fact that we have these "deathly" fees to pay, and I thought of Christ. Of the price He paid. Romans 6:23 says: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus paid for our sins. It cost him. It cost him his life. He understands full well what Dh and I are going through and the cost involved. 

I take comfort, however, in that verse above because in the same sentence, you see that death exacts a price, but eternal life is free. What a contradiction! God gives us LIFE and it's FREE.  Jesus speaking in John 10:10  also says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." I need to remember that my son is alive! He is alive in Christ, alive in heaven, for all eternity. And some day, because I have believed and trusted in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I, too, will join him. I will see my beloved son again. And what joy that will be.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A balm to my soul...

Music. A balm to my soul, as much as the Word of God right now.

Heard this on the way home this evening after having met the two men who arrived on the scene right after the accident and took charge until the ambulance came. They are my heroes, both named Jason. One of the Jason's is younger, and he is the one who stayed with Matt, talked to him, though he was unconscious, and held his hand the entire time until the paramedics arrived. The LORD used both of these men to fill in the missing answers to the questions we'd been asking, or had been afraid to ask. We now know Matt was not alone and he was not conscious. It just helps to know my precious baby was not alone. There was someone who cared, someone who was compassionate. God is and has been so very gentle with us in this season of grief.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Two weeks ago, my son

Genesis 22:2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Today has been a difficult day. I feel like I've been bungee jumping, left bouncing up and down after the jump, waiting for the springing action to come to a stop. The only thing that keeps me from feeling as if I'm drowning is to keep turning to the Word.

God's word says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."(Isaiah 43:2) Several times in the past few days I have thought of Abraham and have been comforted. God acknowledged to Abraham that it was his son, his only son, the son he loved. As I meditate upon that verse, surely God knows my love, my son, and my pain. 

Grief is just so amazingly complicated. I find it rather ironic that my favorite flowers are daisies, and the reason I love them is because they are so simple. I am struck countless times throughout the day with reminders of Matt everywhere. I still expect to look downstairs and see him sitting in the middle of the couch, with his laptop on his lap. I vacuumed the downstairs and found a pair of his dirty socks. I turn the faucet on the kitchen sink and realize the cup he always had sitting there, isn't. I pick up my keys for the van and realize I no longer have a key for the other van, which then leads to thoughts of why I no longer have a key. And then there are the constant reminders in the mail, the cards, the insurance forms, the clinic. It is no wonder some people remain in their grief, never moving on. 

Yet the LORD has been so good to us, so gentle to us through this. He is there. I had a miscarriage once, between Matt and Abby, and I found Psalm 13 to be comforting then, and I find it comforting now.

Psalm 13
1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

I pray I would not focus on what I have lost, but "fix (my) eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of (my) faith." (Heb.12:2) It is only through Christ that I can do all things...yes, even survive the loss of my child. (Phil.4:13) He knows, He sees, He is sovereign. Blessed be the name of the LORD.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A grief that knows no end of depth

(*This post was written over the course of several days.)

I see that my last post was dated Thursday, July 28. Little did we know that less than 24hrs. later, on Friday, July 29, my greatest fear would come true. The death of a child. My child. My firstborn. It has now been 9 days since learning of Matthew's death. He was on his way to work at Pioneer after having dropped off his dad at work, sharing the silver van as they had done for the past several days.

I received a call from Ginny at Pioneer asking if I knew where Matt was. I said no, he should be there as he just dropped his dad off at work at 7:30am. Ginny then told me that she knew there had been an accident on Hwy 22. I asked her if there was a van involved. She said yes. I asked what color. She said gray/silver.
I knew. Deep in my heart, I knew that it was Matt involved, but I had no idea that he was no longer with us. The phone conversation with Ginny was just before 9am, I think. I called Tim at work and told him what I knew and he was going to call the hospital. Then I called my mom and my best friend Jodi and told them and asked them to pray.

Shortly after that, two State Trooper cars pulled into our driveway. I flew to the door and flung it open. I think they were surprised to see me at the door already. Before they had a chance to say anything I asked, "It's Matt, isn't it?" They asked if I was his mother. I said yes and then they proceeded to tell me that he had wandered into the wrong lane and was in a head-on collision with a semi and that he had been airlifted to St. Mary's in Rochester. They didn't know if he was alive or not. Or if they did, they weren't saying. They suggested my husband and I get someone to drive us to St. Mary's.

I called Tim at work and told him. He had no vehicle, obviously, so one of the troopers graciously offered to go pick him up at work. I numbly started to walk across the yard to head to a neighbors thinking silently that I hoped our neighbor Dick would be available to drive us. At just that moment, as I stepped onto the road, Bonnie, Dick's wife, drove by. I told her what I knew and she immediately went to get Dick. Dick came right away and Tim and I got in the back seat of his car. Jodi arrived to watch the children, and off we went.

From the second that I learned Matt was involved in the accident, I felt nauseous. I kept wondering when and if the nauseated feeling would go away. Just before 11am, we entered Waseca. I realized a few minutes prior to that that my stomach was growling and asked Dick if we could stop at the Kwik Trip there in Waseca. He pulled in and I got out to purchase a doughnut and Dr. Pepper. As I got back in the car, Dick suggested we call ahead to the hospital and see if we could get any information. Dh called. He was sitting in the front seat at that time, having moved while I had gone into the store. I don't recall hearing him ask about Matt, but I do vividly remember hearing him scream, "NO!" at the top of his lungs. And then breathing heavy and scrambling to get out of the vehicle, tossing the phone to Dick.

I numbly got out of the back seat and followed my husband to the grass. He slammed his fist into the metal pole, crying, and then fell prostrate to the ground. I don't think my brain registered anything. I just remember thinking, "My son is dead? Is this what it feels like to hear that kind of news?" My feeling of nausea remained.

We held each other and Dick joined us. Since then I have looked at the time on my Kwik Trip receipt and noted that my purchase in the store was at 10:58a.m. We climbed back into the back seat of the car and drove the rest of the way alternately crying and comforting one another.

Once we arrived at the hospital, we were ushered into a family waiting room. Several people joined us. I remember the hospital Chaplain, a dear elderly woman who simply held me. I vaguely remember several nurses and then the E.R. doctor coming in telling us how sorry he was and that they had done everything they could. Then they proceeded to ask us if we would like to see him, and did we want to donate his organs, and did we want pictures, or his hand prints, or a lock of his hair.

I just kept thinking, "I shouldn't have to make decisions like this!" Tim decided he wanted to go back and see Matthew. I couldn't. Tim didn't want any regrets, and I was glad later that he over-rode my negative decision about hand prints and a lock of hair and we received those before we left the hospital.

After a while, I decided that yes, I didn't want to regret not seeing him either, yet I didn't want that memory of Matt lying there forever stuck in my head, having to push it aside the rest of my life. It did help, however, when they said that he looked good, like he was merely sleeping. It's quite unbelievable, really, and a blessing the Lord gave us, that there was a body to view. Matt had been wearing his seat belt, but had been thrown from the vehicle. He had a scrape on his neck from the seat belt, but that was all we saw. We also discovered later that he had never been conscious and had died shortly after the life flight had taken off.

Tim and I and the nurses slowly walked back to the room where Matt was lying. I got to the entrance of the room and only managed to peek around the curtain, glance quickly at my precious son, and then collapsed. They brought me a wheel chair and wheeled me back to the family waiting room. I think it's rather funny, because I always pictured myself as being really strong if something like this happened. We made it back to the family waiting room and then I began to shake uncontrollably, my limbs weak and trembling, my teeth chattering. They brought me a glass of orange juice and wrapped me in some hot blankets and provided a pillow so that I could lie on the couch there in the room.

After a short while, Tim and I took a restroom break and when we returned., our Pastor was there. Dave prayed with us and graciously volunteered to drive us home. We accepted and they wheeled me out to Dave's car. We climbed in and made the long drive home. Again, we alternately cried and comforted one another. As we drove, I remember thinking that I will never look at a corn field the same again without thinking of my precious son.

That Friday was to be the 10th day straight of his working at Pioneer. It was incredibly hard work and long hours, but he stuck it out. We were very proud of him. He definitely wasn't used to work like that! Prior to the Pioneer job, he spent hours and hours on the couch downstairs with his laptop in his lap, a sight that we often, as parents, had contention over. Matt took his lunch in a cooler every day and we heard from his co-workers later at the memorial that he would lie down in the corn field during lunch break because his feet hurt so bad. He had just purchased some shoe inserts for his tennis shoes the day before and I noted the receipt when we got home that afternoon.

Pastor Dave gave us wonderful advice on the way home in regards to grieving and what to expect. He came into the house with us to help us prepare the children for the awful news. Unfortunately, when we arrived home, we discovered that the oldest two girls had just left for a friends house. I called the girls' friend's mother and asked that they come back immediately. It was rather strange, I thought, that when we arrived home, Jodi met us, coming out of the front door, and said, "I'm sorry." I remember thinking, "She doesn't know anything. How could she know? We haven't told anyone the news yet."

Little did we know, I think, that the LORD was preparing Jodi for the news, as when she arrived with her boys to watch our children, her 3yo. Ben didn't say anything about Matt the rest of the day after she simply stated that Matt had a really bad owie and that we needed to pray for him. Just 15min. before we arrived back at our house, Ben looked up at our family photo in the living room and uttered just two words to Jodi: "Matt's dead."

The girls arrived home and we sat all the children down and told them the news. Aaron immediately started crying heavily, Megan cried silently, tears rolling down her face, Abby cried quietly, and Tabitha didn't do anything. The little boys, of course, were too young to comprehend what the news meant.

I don't remember much of anything the rest of the evening. I just know that phone calls were being made, and in the space of time from Friday evening until Monday evening, I got a total of about 9hrs. of sleep. Thankfully, a dear friend gave me a few Ambien on Monday and I was finally able to sleep about 6hrs. straight. Each time we wake up, however, both Dh and I are hit with the reality once again that our son is gone. It is a fresh grief every morning.

The children didn't want to sleep in their own beds that night after hearing the news. Seth slept on an air mattress in our room for several days. The other children camped out on the floor in the living room. Thursday, the 4th, was also Abby's 13th birthday. She, Megan, and Aaron were scheduled for FCA camp in Waseca. This was to be Abby's 5th and final year. Matt had also gone for 5yrs. to FCA. It was one of Pastor Dave's recommendations, too, that we keep our routines and scheduled activities. It was good advice, but hard. I got a friend to drive the kids on Wed. and Thurs. Obviously, they missed Tuesday due to the Homegoing service for Matt.

We also decided to rearrange some bedrooms for the sake of the children. Though neither Tim nor I were ready AT ALL to take Matt's bed and stuff down, we knew we had to do what was best for the rest of the children. They needed to get back in their own beds and find a new "normal." Tim's brother Dave helped take down Matt's loft bed and rearrange the bedrooms. We put Abby upstairs by herself and moved the remaining three boys to the bedroom downstairs. Jonathan also learned how to climb out of his crib the day of the accident, so we knew we'd have to do something about that, also. Thankfully, my niece Sarah had an extra CARS toddler bed she gave us this past week. He has adjusted quite well to it.

Abby had a wonderful birthday on Thursday and was quite spoiled with more than the usual gifts since most of our relatives were here! It was so very hard to celebrate and grieve at the same time. It's no wonder Tim and I are exhausted. I called my doctor last week, too, and got some sleeping pills. I used them for about a week, but knowing that I eventually have to learn to do without them, I stopped taking them. I did not do our tradition of a homemade birthday cake this time, either. Abby had really wanted a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, so my mom and I ordered that. It was very delicious and had a gray kitten on the top. She also had a sleepover with three of her friends the next evening.

I'm not sure how all this is going to play out, but I needed to write. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever write again. I look back over the past 12 days and so much of it is a blur. I keep asking Dh if "so and so" was at the visitation or the Homegoing service because I don't remember seeing anyone. I can't believe we even made it through either. The visitation was overwhelming. Simply overwhelming. Neither Tim or I expected that many people. I've been told there were around 400 and the line went out the door with an hour and a half wait. The people at the Mankato Mortuary are truly amazing. I can't say enough about them, especially Shanna. At one point, unfortunately, we were told we needed to speed things up. I'm so sorry I didn't get to see everyone. I feel bad about that, but I know that their thoughts and prayers and hearts are with us.

We chose Matt's uncles and youth pastor to be pallbearers. The Homegoing service was beautiful, but I don't recall seeing anyone. Funny, isn't it? Because you think you're going to remember every single second. I did not look around at all. We heard that the overflow room was full and even had people lined along the walls. We chose three songs for the service that were especially memorable to us: Matt Redman's "You Never Let Go", "It is well with my Soul" by Horatio Spafford, and "Down in the River to Pray" by Alison Krauss. I do remember once they came to take the casket out, I began to cry again. Once outside, I had to turn away. I couldn't bear to see his uncles put him in the hearse. We chose Mt. Olivet for Matt's earthly body to rest. It's just a few blocks down the road from church and we drive by it regularly. The service at the cemetery was short and closed with the song "Amazing Grace".

We went back to the church for lunch where we ate Matt's favorite: Goulash. With plain cake and powdered sugar on top for dessert. I still didn't get much time to visit with others, but it was comforting to see the entire overflow room filled with family and friends.

I know without a doubt that if it weren't for the LORD and His provision, grace, and strength, we would not get through this. It's also been evident through our neighbors, friends, and family as they grieve with us. They are, and have been, the hands and feet of Christ. I refuse to believe that this will always be painful, because if I believe that, then I also have to believe that God does not heal. Yet, He is faithful, and He is who He says He is. He continues to prove that to me over and over. As I sunk to the hospital floor that day, I repeated aloud Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him." I pray with all my heart that in the coming days and months, as the constant barrage of reminders of Matt's absence hits us, that we would be faithful. That God would be glorified. Little did I know the afternoon before the accident, as I spoke with a friend, my words to her "He (God) is my all in all", would be tested beyond anything I'd ever have imagined in this lifetime. But God is faithful. Amen and Amen.