Today I will have lived without Meredith for a decade. It’s been ten years since I have held that fair skinned, pretty in pink, happy girl. I’ve spent the day in bed watching videos of her. She was a delight--happy, smiley, and developing normally. Those were glorious moments watching her grow and change. I had so many hopes for her future- dreams that every mom has for her child.
Remembering Mer hurts, but I know I must take this time to walk through the memories and give myself time to grieve. The thought of forgetting her is unbearable. Remembering the past leads to heartache-- thinking about all the pain, all the questions, all the tough decisions that had to be made. Sometimes, I just want to forget it all because I cannot remember Meredith without also feeling pain and despair. My heart is as broken as it was all those years ago. You NEVER get over losing a child- EVER.
As this day has been approaching, I’ve been begging God for a word. I do this each year on Mer’s birthday and deathiversary. “God, give me something that brings clarity and focus to my life. Help me to not be floating along forgetting what is most important. Give me a vision for how to merge my past and my present!” Some themes have been emerging from my quiet times with the Lord...
I believe God wants me to remember the past so that I can be more grateful for His present gifts. While thinking of Meredith grieves me it also generates gratefulness- most of all, that I had her in the first place. And now, a decade later God has given me so much... not in place of Mer but adding to the gift of Mer. What a joy it has been to see God bless me with so much more than I could imagine- a gentle, patient and loving husband; two teenage stepsons, a ten year old passionate and risk taking Tyler and a fun loving, imaginative and sweet five year old, Sadie Grace. Not to mention, the most loving, committed and faithful immediate family. As I look at this broken world, I am reminded of the gift of my family. In these past ten years, I have much to be grateful for. Not only has God reminded me of the gift of my family, but of my friends. At every twist and turn, I have felt unconditionally loved and continuously cared for by my friends. I cannot believe the faithfulness of each of them. Good grief, what a gift I have in having this amazing inner and outer circle of friends. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). Let me never forget the power of community.
Courage can be more infectious than fear. Do I live this way? Not really. I am often paralyzed by fear and anxiety, which manifests in me trying to prevent crisis by attempting to control my circumstances. I’ve been like this forever and even talk about this in my book! I have fallen into my old ways of trying to fix things or fretting about the future. How can it be that I have so little faith in God for I have seen the works and power of God in my life? During Mer’s life and death, I experienced God’s strength and power every second. I saw His faithfulness in meeting my every physical and spiritual need in the midst of a chaotic storm. I heard His voice as He promised me Meredith would be free of suffering on this very day ten years ago. Yet, I question Him on such basic levels these days. So, a decade after Mer’s death, God is saying, remember to be courageous-just as you were in the past. Joshua 1:19 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” There’s so much strength and courage in surrender.
After losing Mer, the “why?” haunted me. I knew God had answered my prayers that Meredith be healed, but He did not use the method that I had hoped and prayed for. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now you see only a poor reflection as in a mirror, but then you will see face to Face.” This verse has been helpful to me because I have contemplated the why of Meredith’s death for many years. I came up with some really good stuff, like, she saved my life or many people came to faith because of her story or she died so that I would be able to help others through hard times. But, as I ponder these “explanations” none of them fill the void I feel without Mer by my side. My conclusion to the “why” after a decade, is even if the answer was written in the pages of scripture, it would still not satisfy my heart’s cry. Which leads me back to 1 Corinthians 13:12. Some things that happen on this earth I will never understand or comprehend. Some pain we have to just endure and live with until our dying day. It’s okay to ask why, even to be disappointed or angry at God. These feelings often cause me to lean in closer to God which gives me peace in the end.
I know that carrying Meredith’s memory with me and sharing it with others has been my life’s mission. There have been times when life has carried me away from her memory, but my heart always draws back to Mer. My heart will forever yearn to keep her memory alive. When I am speaking, writing or thinking on Meredith I feel truly alive. It doesn’t mean that all other things I do don’t have value, it just means that God gave me the gift and the calling to share her with the world until I get to see her again. One day when I reunite with my precious babe, the two of us will stand face to face and I will finally understand. Oh, what a celebration that will be!