It wasn’t until recently that I truly recognized “triggers” in my daily life…..things, events, words, smells , songs, memories….that initiate feelings and reactions in me. These triggers are without warning and virtually impossible to predict or control.
Last week while talking to a stranger about Christmas and the money strains on so many of us at this time of year; without even thinking I responded with “oh I know I buy gifts for 4 kids…money is definitely tight.” It took a few seconds for it to hit me and to realize no, I don’t have 4 kids that I buy for anymore…and from there the chain reaction started. Memories and thoughts flooded over me and my walls went up. I feel sorry for anyone that is around me when these triggers occur because containing my emotions and often times my frustration and anger is virtually impossible. I sat there thinking….and just like that my world stopped. I started to retreat into myself and could feel my heart racing. Images from the previous year filled my head and all I could think about was the morning of November 4, 2012. I thought about the calls I had to make…..to Skylar’s dad…..having to tell him on the phone that our baby was gone….to Sky’s boyfriend, who I know couldn’t even comprehend what I was telling him so early on a Sunday morning….to my precious Lexy, trying not to lose my mind while I told her that her sister, her best friend and her surrogate “big sis” were all gone…..and to my precious baby Ashton…telling a 9 year old that his sister is now with Jesus. (not to leave Caden out, he unfortunately heard all of this from the top step, as he heard the knock at the door that fateful morning) All from this one trigger…..the emotions were drowning me….my own sorrow suffocating me.
I am certain that many of you reading this have triggers of your own…..and for that my heart breaks for you. More times than not, I am so overwhelmed with this excruciating never-ending pain that I truly become discouraged. Any pain or heart-break that I have ever experienced in life has had a light at the end of the tunnel…even if it was a small and weak light…it was there and I could count on it to become brighter and brighter and for the pain to become less and less. When faced with the death of a child there is no ending….until death for me itself; some days that is a hard pill to swallow. 20 years could pass and many of you may think the pain lessons for us…..I feel like each day I actually miss her more and more, as if that is even possible. I pray this holiday season that God holds all of us grieving mothers (and fathers, grandparents, siblings etc) just a little tighter and brings a peace over us that is unfathomable to our broken hearts.
The picture above is from the other evening on my way home…..it nearly took my breath away when I looked up and saw the parting in the clouds. I told Ashton to grab my phone and take a picture and I said to him ” I bet that’s how the sky looked when God took the girls home…..”
I’ll leave you with a story that was shared with me the other day and I posted it to my FB (sorry for the redundancy). It has nothing to do with triggers but everything to do with forgiveness.
I love you Skylar and I’m working hard to make you proud…… love mommy.
In the aftermath of apartheid’s collapse in South Africa, in 1994, the new government under Nelson Mandela established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose task it was to investigate specific acts of brutality committed in the name of apartheid and to seek some measure of resolution that would enable the country to move forward.
At one meeting early in their work, the Commission gathered to reach a verdict on a particularly painful case involving an elderly South African woman. At the hearing, a group of white police officers, led by a Mr. Van de Broek admitted their personal responsibility in the death of her 18-year-old son. They acknowledged shooting the young man at point blank range, setting his body on fire, and then partying around the fire until the body had been reduced to little more than ashes.
Eight years later, Van de Broek and his fellow officers had again intersected with the woman’s life, this time to take her husband into captivity. And then, some time later, Van de Broek had come knocking at her door once more. Rousing her from bed in the dead of night, he brought the woman to an isolated setting by a river where her husband lay tied to a pile of wood. As she watched, he and the officers doused the man with gasoline and then ignited a fire. The last words her husband spoke to her, in the midst of the blazing pyre, were, “Forgive them.”
Now at long last the time had come for justice to be served. Those involved had confessed their guilt, and the Commission turned to the woman for a final statement regarding her desire for an appropriate punishment.
“I want three things,” the woman said calmly. “I want Mr. Van de Broek to take me to the place where they burned my husband’s body. I would like to gather up the dust and give him a decent burial.
“Second, Mr. Van de Broek took all my family away from me, so I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the slums and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him.”
“Third, I would like Mr. Van de Broek to know that he is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him, too. And, I would like someone to come and lead me by the hand to where Mr. Van de Broek is so that I can embrace him and he can know my forgiveness is real.”
As the elderly woman made her way across the silent courtroom, Van de Broek reportedly fainted, overcome by emotion. And then the silence was broken when someone began singing, “Amazing Grace.” Others soon picked up the words of the familiar hymn, so that finally the entire audience in the courtroom was joined in song….