Archive | May 2012

I Will Be There For You

As the boys and I were preparing to eat lunch today, Garrison took a tumble. I had made a stop in the bathroom before getting lunch ready and the next thing I knew, a loud thump, followed by screaming, came from my bedroom. The cries quickly made their way to the bathroom door. When I opened the door, all I saw was blood … bloody arms, hands, legs, face, wall, hardwood floor and carpet. I knew that the source was Garrison’s face and since we all know that your face bleeds more than other parts of your body, I tried to stay somewhat calm. I called for Oliver to bring me the phone so I could call someone, anyone, to come help me. Rodger and my mom were quickly summoned and on their way.

I am still not supposed to drive or lift anything over 20 pounds, but at this moment, I didn’t care. I swooped Garrison up and took him into my bathroom. Oliver helped to get wet washcloths and clean clothes for Garrison. After a quick assessment, I was able to determine that he cut open his cheek, right below his eye. I put him in the bathtub to clean him up and wait for someone to arrive. Rodger and my mom arrived just minutes apart and we all agreed that Garrison would need stitches. Since his pediatrician does not do sutures in the office, we took him to the ER at a local children’s hospital.

After about two hours in the emergency room, we were on our way home with 3 stitches, lots of sidewalk chalk, some bubbles and an orange popsicle.

I was exhausted. It was three-thirty in the afternoon and I had not had lunch yet. I was tired, hungry and on emotional overload. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay in the room while the stitches were put in. I told Rodger I would probably step out. I knew Garrison would be upset and that, combined with my dislike of blood and all things medical, was sounding like too much. When the doctor came in to begin the procedure, it hit me. This was my boy. He needed me. I wasn’t going to turn my back just because I don’t like blood or needles or hospitals. I had enough of all that six weeks ago, the least I could do for my son is stay in the room while they helped him. So I did. I stood at the top of his head and watched as the doctor put three stitches in his skin. I teared up a few times, but quickly composed myself, as I didn’t want my tears to upset Garrison even more.

Fast forward a few hours. Garrison and I were sitting outside on our porch swing watching Rodger mow the yard. Garrison had just woken up from his nap and was curled up in my lap. We sat like that for probably twenty minutes or more. It was the longest he has sat in my lap for weeks. To be honest, he hasn’t wanted much to do with me since I got home from the hospital. He knows I can’t pick him up and he is in a “Daddy’s boy” stage anyway. As we sat together, we hardly talked. He just needed to be held and I just needed to hold him. I savored every minute, no every second, of our time together.

My boys need me. They need me to be the best mom I can be to them. Losing Kyleigh has changed all of us. It has changed who I am as a Mom, for the better. For that, I thank Kyleigh and praise God for bringing her into our lives. She has left a void in our lives, a hole in our hearts. But I will not leave a void in my sons’ lives. I will raise them with all of my heart. I will rise every day and do everything I can to show them that I am there for them.

This entry was posted on May 15, 2012. 2 Comments

Mother’s Day Letter

Written on Monday, May 14, 2012 …

Dear Kyleigh,

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, but you already knew that. It was a day full of mixed emotions. Happy one minute and sad the next. Your Daddy took me to the cemetery so I could visit you. I had been looking forward to going all week, not so much for me, but for you. I wanted you to know that I was there for you on Mother’s Day. You see, Mommy’s are always supposed to be there for their children. Going to the cemetery was the only way I knew how to be there for you yesterday. I will be there for you every Mother’s Day until I am next to you in heaven.

Oliver asked to go see you tonight, so we did. It makes my heart smile when he wants to go to the cemetery. How sad is that? Garrison doesn’t understand yet that you are in heaven, so when we go to the cemetery he thinks he actually gets to see you. They both like to walk around and are doing a very good job of being respectful when we do. Our rules are no running, quiet voices and no stepping on headstones. At one point tonight, Garrison was saying to himself “No stepping on headstones” over and over again. He understands and it breaks my heart. What two year old knows how to act in a cemetery? Unfortunately, your brother does. Both of them do.

I am glad that they want to come see you. It makes me happy in a strange kind of way. One reason is that I know we are teaching them that it’s okay to go to a cemetery and visit their loved ones. They are going to grow up with an understanding of death that most children do not have. It also warms my heart because I know that if they want to visit you now, they will want to visit you five, ten, thirty years from now. They will come visit you after I am with you and then they will get to visit us both. I hate that these visits will become routine for them, but at the same time, it is teaching them to honor and remember their loved ones who have gone on before them. That is a lesson that most children do not receive anymore and if they do, it’s once a year on Memorial Day, if that.

As we walk around the cemetery, I see names I recognize. Not too many people that I knew personally, but people your Grammy and Pa knew, friends of friends or familiar names from my childhood. One thing that is so sad to me is how many other children are buried throughout the cemetery, from babies to teenagers. That’s not the way it is supposed to be. I wonder what their stories are. I grieve for their families. I want to buy flowers for each one of them, especially the ones who don’t already have some.

I told Oliver last week that we would bring bubbles the next time we visited you. We forgot tonight. Oliver was upset about it. On the way home, Daddy suggested we buy bubbles to keep in both of our cars so we will always have them for when we visit you. Oliver liked that idea. So do I. We will bring bubbles for you next time, I promise.

I love you Kyleigh, my sweet baby girl.

Love, Mommy

**********************************************************************

Written on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 …

We now have plenty of bubbles. Your brother fell off a bed today and split open his cheek. He had to get 3 stitches. On our way out, the nurse gave us lots and lots of bubbles and sidewalk chalk. I’ll make sure some of those bubbles make it into the car for you. Love you!

This entry was posted on May 15, 2012. 1 Comment

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap

Several years ago I was privileged to travel to India for work. It took almost 24 hours to fly there, which is a long flight that was made more bearable as I was treated to business class due to company policy.  It’s nice to be able to see a country like that on someone else’s dime. I spent the week traveling to and from the job site and the hotel with a close friend of mind who is a native of the country. India is a remarkable place. It must be one of the most populous countries per capita, although I won’t bother to check the facts on that. The colors, scents, faces, animals and food…oh the food…I pray everyone has the opportunity to travel to such a place, particularly those of us in Western culture. We silo ourselves into thinking that what we see around us is as the world must be even though we know better simply by watching the evening news. Often times we have to be intentional about thinking beyond ourselves and experiencing something as life altering as an international trip where our eyes can be opened to the wonder of creation. Seeing nature is one thing, but people, seeing the people, every child knit together in the womb and made in the image of God, that’s a whole other experience.

We had been there a few days and my friends laptop broke. Thankfully there was a company technology center in another part of the city, so we spent one late afternoon and evening working from another site while his laptop was repaired. When it was time to leave, I got to experience something for the first time that I only thought I knew about here in the States. Traffic. The best word I can think of here is stagnant. Nobody moved, ever. We had a driver dedicated to us for the week, and we all just sat in the car hoping for the guy in front of us to move. It seemed like he never would, but when he did, we moved inches. It was hardly worth celebrating.

After we sat there for a few minutes, there came a crowd of people walking the isles in the streets created by the lines of cars each waiting their turn to move. These were folks that I hadn’t yet seen as if they had been hidden from view. People that stay on the sidelines or out of the way as to not interfere with life. They stopped at every car, asked for something, anything, and then moved on to the next car after being rejected. I saw her coming; a young woman who I thought must be the mother of someone. I saw her approach the car as she came down the aisle; she wore dirty clothes and she never smiled.

I sat in the back of the car behind the driver. She found our car, stared me in the eyes and tapped on the window while motioning for food. I knew that I had to help. She felt pain and I could alleviate some of that pain. I was cautioned by my friend as to the amount, but I opened my wallet and gave her some of what I had, a 100 dollar bill. That converts to about $2, so in our terms it was insignificant, but to her, it was extravagant. And that turned out to seemingly be the mistake.

She rushed away with the money but no sooner had she gone then a swarm of people, mostly children, returned in her place. There was no need for them to walk through the rows of cars; they knew right where to go. The closest I had ever seen to anything like this was throwing food into a school of trout at the hatchery at Roaring River and watching them swarm. It was like that, but it was people. Each of whom is infinity more valuable than any fish. We were surrounded, and that’s when it started.

Tap, tap, tap, tap. A boy was standing outside my window holding his sister in his arms with one hand and tapping on the window with the other. I looked at him and saw his deep brown eyes, and I looked at her with longing to help but I felt powerless, empty as if there was nothing else that I could do. He tapped forever as the cars never moved. The tapping turned to banging which made the driver madder than a hornet. He got out and ran them off only to have them return once he got back in the car. The tapping was incessant, like nails in my heart and it never stopped until the traffic somehow cleared and we were able to drive away. I didn’t dare open the window. I tried to express my sympathy through it but to no avail. I tell myself today that there was nothing else I could have done. Over the years I think I had almost convinced myself that I had given all the money that I had to the woman, but I don’t think that is true either. I’m sure that I had at least another 500 ($10) on me, but giving that to them would perhaps have caused more of a rush. Or would it, and what if it did? For fear of my personal safety, I demonstrated the type of person that I least wanted to be, and it would haunt me still if I didn’t know that I was forgiven.

Praise be to God that there is another way. At home or abroad, there’s a better way, perhaps the only way, to truly help someone at the point of their affliction. It shouldn’t matter why a person is hurting, what only matters is that they are hurting and it’s our responsibility, no privilege, to step into their world and hurt along with them. To refuse to allow them to shoulder their grief on their own; ours is a shared ministry that forces the darkness to flee at the mention of the Light.

Today we had a visitor that brought us dinner. She was a kind soul, someone that has known Oliver for the past year yet someone that we had not met. She entered our home and immediately noticed the pictures of Kyleigh that we have on the mantel. She didn’t avoid talking about her, in-fact, she told us how beautiful she is and how deeply she felt for our family when she heard the news. Her words were genuine, her compassion sincere, and I believe that our grief is somehow lessened by folks like her that care enough to get beyond their own insecurities and grieve with our family. It does no good to come to our house to check-in with us yet not talk about her.  Sure, we’ll most likely cry. We’ll remember again that she’s home and that we have a Kyleigh shaped hole in our heart that pours out at the mention of her name.  But no matter how sharp that sting might be, we would rather have that then an hour or two sitting around chatting about the weather, or the news, or whatever else as if all of this is some kind of terrible dream from which we expect to awaken. I’m watching the grass grow on her grave; she’ll not wake and we’re comforted when people recognize her, acknowledge our grief and share in our healing.

This is what God does for all of His children that are in pain. If we profess this faith, then it’s our opportunity to use His actions as a model for which we can emulate. We’ll not always be successful, that’s a guarantee, but we must remember that we’re not called to be successful; we’re called to be faithful.  For the love of God, get out and help. If not us, then find someone that is hurting and enter into their world far enough to share a measure of their burden. I wish I would have done that for those children in India. The next time I go, you can bet I won’t be sitting here four years later wondering what would have happened if I would have cared enough to get out of that car and reach out to them knowing that little girl is someone else’s sweet Kyleigh.

Enough of this superficial behavior!  Let us love our neighbor and help each other. It truly doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve done, or what their pain is. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)  At the end of the day, either you believe this stuff or you don’t. And if you believe, then you’re not at liberty to apply certain passages of the Scripture and not others simply because of the way they make you feel. Yes, you might feel uncomfortable. Yes, you’ll be misunderstood as people will question your motives.  And yes, you might just make a fool of yourself. Others will scoff, and at some point, you’ll probably feel as if the world is after you. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)

All honor and glory and power to Him that is worthy, now and forever. Amen.

~Rodg

A Most Unusual Response

We were given another precious gift yesterday to further help us remember the events surrounding the celebration of life that we had for Kyleigh. Our family photographer, who’s both so kind and very talented, was able to set aside her own grief to help us capture the emotions of those days. She did an exceptional job and now we have several images that will stay with us until we’re reunited. Pray the Lord decides to come back soon. He said so you know, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Rev 22:20) The writer of the Revelation John responds, “Amen [let it be so]. Come, Lord Jesus.”

I always felt before that there was work that needed to be done before He would return. As if He held off His return until I, Rodger, or the Church universal was finished with whatever tasks He had prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Eph 2:10). I don’t think that’s what the writers of the New Testament had in mind. Many of them were persecuted, imprisoned, and most were executed. Yet when they spoke of Christ’s return, there’s something imminent about it – as if they expected it to happen at any moment. I think now I know why they felt that way.

It’s different now of-course. I long to be set free from the pains of this world not only to be reunited with my Jesus and my daughter, but to live eternally with those that have gone on before. To meet with my grandfather again, a wonderful man who is more of an example to me now that I think he was then. To see the forefathers of our country or of the faith…to know and to be known. To sit in the Light of the Son and to only be able to vaguely remember the darkness.  I suspect that the pain we feel today will be such a distant memory then. I like Paul here, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Rom 8:22-23) Creation, that which was pronounced to be “very good” now groans for redemption. It’s a stark contrast. I ache for the freedom of redemption yet that’s only half of what I feel. It’s like two seemingly incompatible liquids standing in the same clear glass container. Oil and water, a black-and-tan if you will. They co-exist to form the whole, but they don’t mix. And if the aches and groans are a minority part of the complex whole, what’s the other part? That, I think, is our most unusual response.

Joy. A simple little emotion that can be so elusive particularly when we’re consumed by darkness. I’ve studied the book of James several times in groups and individually, and while there are many verses that can be hard to apply, the second verse is one of them. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” Sure – whatever James. I’m to consider it a joy when I’m neck deep in a trial whose purpose is to test my faith as to produce endurance. Now to be clear, God didn’t originally design a world in which any of us should perish (in fact He say’s so in 2 Peter 3:9) as death wasn’t part of the original plan. Death is a consequence of the actions taken by our ancestors, actions that I would have undoubtedly taken had I been there and not Adam. But the tests that we encounter are permitted under His sovereign hand and they do serve a purpose. That purpose is to move us along the continuum towards spiritual perfection. That term needs some developing, but that’s for another post. Simply put, God is love (1 John 4:8), and the further that we move along that line the more that we can say that we too, are love. Not that we love, or that we have loved, but that we exude love, we express love, we are love. As we progress on this journey however, we’re guaranteed to suffer, which is one reason that I shutter when I hear someone say that they cannot reflect upon a time in their lives when they have not experienced Holy wrath. I pray they are prepared when that day comes. David was prepared and he too, had a most unusual response.

King David was a man, a great man. A man of prominence, position, wealth, stature and he loved God. But being that he was just a man, he fell – and he fell hard. His falling is recorded for us in 2 Samuel 11 (easy to remember because it’s the bankruptcy chapter – same of his son Solomon in 1 Kings 11). Picking up the story in 2 Samuel 12:13 and following, God strikes his child with sickness who only came about because of the sin that David committed against God. God called that child home for reasons that are known to us, but not so for all the children that He has called home through the ages; early by our estimation yet perfect in His timing. When he heard that his son had died, David’s response was highly unusual. He got up, cleaned himself off, worshiped God, and ate some food.  The contrast he showed between when he mourned for his child before death and the behaviors that he demonstrated after his death astonished his contemporaries. He is confident that he will see his child again, and spend eternity with him, but he also knows that his child, every child, belongs to the One that commands every heart to start beating in the womb.  I often wonder how he was able to do that in the days following his son’s death. While we’re not given the amount of time that elapsed, I suspect days, not months or years. I’m convinced that Scripture gives us that answer as well.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:4) Folks that allow themselves to mourn, to open their hearts and express the pain that they feel are comforted by God. Blessed – or to be made happy – it’s an interesting idea in the midst of tragedy. Perhaps James was onto something. Friends recently pointed us back to Psalm 126:5. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.”  I’m hardly prepared to throw a party and invite all our friends to our house to celebrate the abundant life that God promises in John 10:10, but I know that my tears provide the pathway through which true joy will once again return to our lips. I can see it today. I hear it in the questions from a 4 year old and the giggles from our 2 year old. I feel it when I hear how Kyleigh’s life and story is prompting people to seek reconciliation…be it with family members, friendships or between the most important of all relationships, our individual response to God’s grace.  I see it every night when I settle in with the same woman who I was united with almost 12 years ago. I’m starting to see my own unusual response and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The darkness is a temptress, and I can see how some people would allow themselves to be consumed by it. Allowing my daughter to move from this life to the next was hardly my choice, but how I permit this trial to change me clearly is. Today I choose grace. I pray tomorrow I do the same. I love you Kyleigh. Thank you for helping me see this.

~Rodg

This entry was posted on May 10, 2012. 1 Comment

I Smell Chocolate

I believe it was mid morning on Saturday, April 7. I had been awake for a few hours and was not allowed to eat or drink anything. I was patiently waiting for someone to come get me and take me to radiology for a test. Once the test was over, I could finally eat some breakfast. Anything was sounding good at that point, even if it was hospital food. A kind soul finally showed up to take me across the hospital and my nurse came in to help get me from my bed to the wheelchair. Once she helped me sit up, she bent over to lift me up out of bed. She wasn’t talking, as she was concentrating on helping me get from point A to point B.

“I smell chocolate,” were the words out of my mouth.

Rodger started laughing. My nurse looked at me, wide-eyed with surprise. She knew she had been caught! Turns out she had just had a chocolate banana protein shake and was quite surprised that I could smell the chocolate on her breath. After apologizing, I assured her that it smelled good, not bad. Then she felt bad for having chocolate when she knew I couldn’t eat anything.

She brought me chocolate candy later in the day and made sure I had a piece of chocolate cake for dinner that night.

Her name is Laurie and she is not only one of the best nurses in town, but she is now my friend.

I was privileged to have Laurie as my day nurse for four days in a row, from the day after Kyleigh died until the day we went home. She was my primary care giver for over 48 hours. While she worked a 12 hour shift, she stayed late every night to ensure that my night nurse was on track with what was going on, as well as to give me the extra care that I needed. We were not discharged from the hospital until 9:00 p.m. on the day we went home and Laurie was still there. Her shift ended at 6:00 p.m. To say that Laurie is a dedicated nurse is an understatement. She not only cared for me unconditionally, but she cared for my family. She went above and beyond to make sure Rodger had what he needed. She interacted with our boys, parents, my sister and our friends. Laurie blessed us with unconditional compassion, love and care during the most horrible hours of our lives. She sat at our bedside more then once, talking and listening as we shared our faith, grief and pain.

I now consider Laurie a friend. We have talked more then once since I have been home from the hospital. She asks my doctor how I am doing. She came to Kyleigh’s Celebration of Life. She gave me a gift that honors Kyleigh. We connected on a level that I don’t think most nurses/patients do. I will forever be grateful to Laurie, not only for the excellent care she gave us, but for her friendship as well.

There were many other nurses who did amazing things while we were in the hospital. They know who they are and what they did. We love them all and are forever grateful for the love they have shown our family, especially the love they have for Kyleigh.

This week is Nurses Week. Take a minute to say ‘thank-you’ to someone you know who is a nurse. Take a minute to think of the nurses in your life who have been there for you in a time of need and thank God for them.

**I stated earlier that Laurie is one of the best nurses in town. The best nurse in town is my sister, Amber. While she has never been my nurse in a professional manner, she has been my nurse in a personal manner many times. I know that she shows her patients a level of care and compassion that exceeds expectations. She was named employee of the year a few years ago at a major Kansas City hospital. You don’t earn that title by just doing your job. You earn that title by being the best at your job. Thank you Amber for the love and care that you give Rodger, Oliver, Garrison, Kyleigh and myself. We love you! Happy Nurses Week!

 

This entry was posted on May 10, 2012. 1 Comment

Connected

Grief has a way of connecting people to eachother. And I’m not talking about an “I’m sorry your dog died” kind of connection. I’m talking about an “I hurt because you hurt” kind of connection. We all know someone who has died. It’s life. But not everyone has experienced the kind of grief that cuts to the core and rips your heart out. For those of us who have, there is a connection. There is empathy beyond any understanding. You feel nothing but hurt and pain for those who have lost someone so dear to them. Even when the circumstances surrounding your losses are different, you understand. You have been there.

A lot of people have grieved with us and for us these past five weeks. Many understand. Many do not. One who does understand is a childhood friend of mine. After attending a few years of grade school together and being in the same Brownie troop, this friend moved and changed schools. We ended up going to the same high school, but in a graduating class of over 600, it’s hard to connect. We reconnected through Facebook awhile back, but only on a surface level, as with most Facebook friends. I now have a much deeper connection with this friend. An “I hurt because you hurt” connection.

Thank you friend for your words, love and prayers. These words have sustained me over the past few days, for she says it so much better then I can … take a moment to read them here The Mommy Earth.

This entry was posted on May 8, 2012. 1 Comment

Letter from Daddy

Precious daughter,

I’m having a hard time thinking about work today.  Fact is, I’m struggling to think about anything that that I’m supposed to be doing. Trying to concentrate on the program that I should be writing is like trying to catch the wind.  There’s always a lot going on, stuff that we get swept up in as we run about in our ordinary lives and today’s no different.  Yet it is different. It’s all so terribly wrong. I’m just so sad, and it’s impossible to focus. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Eccl 1:2 – NIV) So say’s Solomon. I know how he feels.

So much of what I’m supposed to be doing takes up so much time yet now I can’t help be wonder about it all. I build software that makes pipelines safer, big deal. I tell myself that customers use my tools to make their networks safer. People in proximity to those lines are safer because of the work that guys like me do and I’m glad for that. But right now, in this moment, I feel so helpless.

I feel the emotion swelling up inside of me again. I’ve learned that in the next few minutes or hours that it will boil over and that once again I’ll find myself sobbing because you’re not with me. I hate this. On the one hand I wish I could move past it, but on the other, I’d rather not…at least, not yet. God knows I miss you so much. There are these songs on the radio that used to drive me nuts because they were stupid, so corny, or just lame. Now when I hear them I rush to turn it off. I don’t want to hear about some other dad and the time that he spends (or doesn’t spend) with his daughter. I don’t get that chance and it’s killing me inside…there goes those tears.

I breathe heavily and I hold my face and close my eyes and there you are. I see you in my arms just moments after they have brought you to me in the hospital. I know you’re lifeless and that you’ve gone home to Jesus, but I cling to you. I open my eyes and realize that I should have held you longer because now you’re gone and my arms are empty. This is such a horrible pain and just because I’m the dad, I’m not the one that people think to console. I’m supposed to be the rock. Right now, I don’t feel like a rock.

I cling to my faith because it alone offers hope. I hold onto your momma and your brothers because they are the reason I’m still here. Not the work that I do or the money that God provides through my profession, but they alone give me reason to carry on. The weight is so heavy right now and it presses on me from all sides. “Curse God and die” suggest some (Job 2:9). I’ll not give them the pleasure. There’s a race to run and I choose today to die to self and live for God.

See you soon sweet Kyleigh. I love you,

~Daddy

This entry was posted on May 7, 2012. 2 Comments

One Month

Dear Kyleigh,

It has been one month since you left us to be with Jesus. It has been the fastest month of our lives, as well as the slowest. The days drag on and on, but as a whole, the past month has flown by. Much like the way it does when someone has a baby and gets to bring them home from the hospital. I don’t remember much from the first month of Oliver or Garrison’s lives, as I was in a fog from lack of sleep and being overwhelmed by motherhood. I don’t remember much about your first month in heaven, as I am in a fog from being overwhelmed by my new title “a mother who has lost a child.”

We brought you flowers today and are doing what we can to enjoy the day at home with your brothers. We love you and we miss you. Happy One Month Birthday, my sweet baby girl!!

Love,

Mommy

This entry was posted on May 5, 2012. 2 Comments

The Shortest Verse

All this week I’ve been intrigued by the shortest verse in the Bible. It’s just two words – “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

Let me begin with a quick note to my brothers and sisters in the faith. I cannot tell you how valuable it has been for me to recall various passages from Scripture at different times as I’m learning to cope over these past few weeks. Please take a few seconds to memorize this verse. If you’re not good at memorizing Scripture, or you just don’t know where to start, this is a pretty easy one. There are only two words, and the meaning is extremely clear. Jesus wept.

So let’s consider him weeping. The rub of-course is that when we meet a man today, especially one whom we consider to be particularly masculine, we would never expect him to weep. It makes us uncomfortable to see a grown man weeping, whatever the reason. Regardless how deep his pain, or how difficult his experiences or situation may be, there’s no excuse to see him weeping. At least, that’s what our world would have us believe.

So what about Jesus? The Bible teaches in John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 that Jesus, the Son of God, was the person of the Trinity that actually spoke creation into existence. If you’ve read the Chronicles of Narnia, I think C. S. Lewis did a fabulous job of describing this in the first book in that series, The Magicians Nephew, although it pales in comparison to the creation account in Scripture…provided you let the words mean what they say. He created everything for Himself, and it’s by Him that all things are held together….He sustains everything. Our hopes, dreams, aspirations, relationships, professions, educations, families, churches…all for Him.

Jesus is described physically in Isaiah 53, saying that He would have “no appearance that we should be attracted to Him” and that He would be a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” His appearance changes at the time of His second coming, described in Revelation 1. At that time His glory shall be fully revealed, but in the mean time, the time in which we inhabit today, this little verse in the Gospel of John helps to reveal His heart.

Jesus wept because He saw the pain that His friends were experiencing. He saw Mary, paused long enough to listen to her and shared in her grief even though He knew full well that He was on His way to alleviate the very source of her grief. His heart hurt because her heart hurt and as a result, He wept. There’s nothing unmanly about that. He demonstrated how we are to respond as people created in His image and renewed by His blood. He shows us what it means to have the “new heart” that was promised in Ezekiel 36:26 and to let ourselves be vulnerable to the point where we can share in the grief of our fellow man. It allows us to come alongside someone in pain and tell them, I’m here for you. Whenever you need, and for as long as you need. I hurt with you and I hurt for you. I weep.

As with so many things, I thought I knew this passage before Kyleigh departed this world one month ago to the day. Now sure, I understood that Jesus wept because His friends hurt, but I didn’t know what that felt like. I do now.

I learned today of the tragic loss of another infant child. A child who lived the appointed days that were ordained for him (Ps 139:16) yet it’s too soft to say that my heart breaks for his family. I hurt. I feel it physically in my gut, as if stabbed all over again in the very spot I felt it when I knew that Kyleigh was gone. I hurt not just because it causes me to think about her yet again (as if she’s ever too far from my thoughts), but I hurt because of the grief that this child’s parents must feel at this moment. I wish I could go to them. I wish I could sit with them. I wish I could weep with them. Yet, what I cannot do in their presence, I can do in His presence and I can rest assured that He is likewise doing for them. Jesus weeps.

~Rodg

Giving In Life and In Death

Not long after we woke up on the morning of April 6, the phone in our hospital room rang. It was early, 7:30 a.m. or so, and it had barely been 12 hours since Kyleigh had passed away. I was still very heavily drugged and did not know a lot of the details of what had happened the day before. Rodger answered the phone and I could tell it was not only someone that we did not know, but was someone with a lot of questions and needing answers. He talked for several minutes and then hung up. What he said to me next was something I didn’t have to think twice about … “There are two babies who need heart valves. Do we want to donate Kyleigh’s valves?”

My immediate response was, “How could we not?” There was no discussion, for we both felt the same. We could not stand the thought of another family going through what we were experiencing. We had to donate Kyleigh’s heart valves.

After more conversations and answering a lot of questions by phone, we gave the Midwest Transplant Network permission to harvest Kyleigh’s heart valves.

We learned today that the process of tissue donation is much different then organ donation. We do not know the results of Kyleigh’s tissue donation. All we know now is that they were able to harvest at least one heart valve. It could be several months before we know if her valves were actually usable and if there was a successful match. We pray that Kyleigh will be able to give the gift of life to another child.

Throughout the five days that I was in the hospital, I learned more about what happened to not only Kyleigh, but also to myself. One thing I learned is that Kyleigh and I both received blood. Everything imaginable was done to try to get Kyleigh to respond, even a blood transfusion. Nothing worked. Kyleigh was not meant to live here on Earth, only in Heaven. During my surgery, I received one unit of blood. It is a miracle that I did not need more, based on what was going on inside my body.

At some point in time, two or more people gave blood. Their blood was used to try to save Kyleigh’s life and to heal my body. I will never know who those people are. I am forever grateful and blessed by their selflessness.

I am an organ donor. It is marked on my driver’s license, but more importantly, my family knows my wishes.

I have never given blood. I don’t like needles and the sight of blood is not one I care to see. I think I can suck it up a few times a year to give someone else the gift of life. I will give blood and everytime I do, I will think of my sweet baby girl.

What will you do to give the gift of life?

Midwest Transplant Network

Donate Life

Community Blood Center – Greater Kansas City

 

This entry was posted on May 2, 2012. 2 Comments