This week is the anniversary of mom and dad’s death. It’s been three years. It feels like yesterday. And it feels like forever.
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I haven’t been writing much. I get so exhausted with writing depressing stuff. And that seems to be all I can think or write about lately. I’ve felt like I’ve been doing really well the past six months, and then May rolls around and I realize it’s getting close to June. When June arrives it knocks the breath out of me.
So this post might be a little depressing. I’m not sorry though, because I hate living behind the lie of everything being all wonderful and rainbows and butterflies. Yes, Jesus is on the throne and I praise Him for His love and faithfulness. But as a friend recently said, this is major suckness.
One of my favorite singers is Steven Curtis Chapman. When I became a believer in college he was the first Christian artist I started listening to. You may know that his precious daughter was killed tragically in 2008. The album Beauty Will Rise came out in 2009 and many of the songs were inspired by his daughter. I’ve been listening to those songs a lot lately. One in particular is See.
Right now all I can taste are bitter tears
And right now all I can see are clouds of sorrow
We have so many good memories of time spent with Mom and Dad. And I know I should be focusing on those memories and the blessing of the years we had together. But as hard as I try, all I can see are the painful memories. The memories of that week in June.
The night of Monday, June 11 as my sister and I started to worry, just a little, that something might be wrong.
The day of June 12. The phone calls. Pacing back and forth in the kitchen. Their boat being located and for the first time knowing that something was terribly wrong. Driving to Platte. Running down to the dock, seeing the police tape. The sheriff telling us Mom and Dad were gone. Sitting on the rocks along the Missouri River, waiting for the police to get Mom and Dad off the boat.
Waking up June 13 and realizing it hadn’t been a dream. Having to tell Jim and Leana over the phone as they waited for a plane in Chicago.
Learning that Mom and Dad had died on June 9 and lay in the boat for three days, while we went on with our life, oblivious to the fact that our parents were dead. On June 10 we had a picnic in the park with our friends.
But right now, all I can say is “Lord, how long
Before you come and take away this aching?”
This night of weeping seems to have no end.
I want to look back and see the joy. But all I see are the lasts.
The last time I saw Mom. It was at Ruby Tuesday in Mitchell a week before they died. The kids had spent a few days with them at the river, and we met half way so I didn’t have to drive all the way to Chamberlain to get the kids. She ordered the salmon dinner and saved half of it to take home to dad.
The last time I talked to Dad. It was Friday, June 8. I called to asking him some questions about the garden.
The last time we were together as a family, the end of April at Cherry Berry. I hate Cherry Berry.
I think of my kids and it makes me sad that they have a mom who is so sad. I want to see. I want to see the joy. And I’m trying. I’m crying out to God to help me see Him through this grief and through whatever the days to come might bring.
That’s the heart of this song. It’s Maria Chapman in heaven saying, “See, Mom and Dad. It’s so much better than you said it would be.”
Even though most days lately I can only see the grief and sorrow and pain, there is one thing I can see that brings me joy. I can see Mom and Dad in heaven too, saying the same thing. “See Missy, Nellie, Jim, Leana, Tracy, Patricia, Angel, Caleb and Cleo. It’s so much better than we said it would be.”
And I’m counting down the days until I see
It’s everything He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And I’m counting down the days ’til He says, “Come with me.”
And finally, we’ll see. We will see.
I couldn’t find a video on youtube with the song See. I decided to make one and it is a little long. But the more and more I watch it, the more and more I see. Love. Joy. God’s faithfulness. God’s presence.
Thank you Jesus, for helping me see.