I went to town on Friday to get groceries, houeshold supplies, and to shop for Ivy's birthday and party.
I had just a few stops planned in order to execute my well-ordered list.
As I made my way toward Target, I looked across the divided highway and observed a small accident, a "fender-bender" with out injury (that's how it looked to me, anyway).
Suddenly, I was overcome with memories of a life-changing accident in October and how it has affected me.
I remembered getting the call.
I remembered calling my friend.
I remembered seeing Claire's precious little body in that ICU hospital bed.
I remembered the tears, the heartache, and the way that family and friends were still able to smile and enjoy being together, whether that was in the family room at the hospital or in their house after her death.
I remembered the beautiful music that was sung over Claire, the heart-wrenching prayers of God-following men and women who prayed for mercy for this family.
I remembered her funeral and the sobbing and the grief and the broken-hearted mother who walked in behind her daughter's casket, clinging to one of her grown sons. This son whom I used to babysit, now all grown up and looking so dashing in his Marine's uniform.
I remembered this family's testimony of God's faithfulness in their grief.
I remembered these and so many other things while watching the road through my tears, pulling in to the Target parking lot and sitting for several minutes there in my car, sobbing and trying to collect myself enough to go in to the store.
Because here I was, shopping for my little girl's birthday and being vividly aware that my friend didn't get to do that for her baby girl's birthday just a few weeks ago. Her "little" girl was in heaven while mine was at home watching a Max and Ruby video.
I'm sure you've heard someone say, or perhaps even said it yourself, "I just can't imagine going through something like that."
I think, though, that if we're really honest with ourselves, we can. We can imagine, we just don't want to.
We don't want to imagine what it's like to have that empty seat at the table.
We don't want to imagine what it's like to list off your kids in the manner that has become second-nature to you and suddenly have to leave out one name.
We don't want to imagine what it's like to wash and fold the laundry in the following days and see her clothes...to see her shoes still by the door...to clean her room and give away her books and go through her trinkets and treasures.
We don't want to imagine what it's like to stumble over a phrase like, "since s/he d-d-d-died." and instead, come up with other ways to say the same thing, like "since she moved to heaven" or "since the accident".
We don't want to imagine the visceral, physical, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching pain of burying a child.
So we say we "can't imagine."
But we can.
I think to myself how, if this is me four months after her death, how much more for her mom! And her brothers and sisters!
I pray for peace to flood their hearts, for sweet memories to comfort them, for the assurance of Claire's eternal life with her Savior to give them hope (click HERE if you are unsure).
I want them to know that she is not forgotten. That they are not forgotten.
Even though it seems like life has gone on for everyone else.
Even though everyone else's life seems so "normal" when theirs has been so changed.
Even though the bills still need to be paid, the groceries still need to be bought, and the laundry still needs to be done.
Even though they still have to put one foot in front of another, while a wound still gapes in their hearts.
The blessing in all of this is that this family still knows, believes, and proclaims that God is faithful--even when things hurt so bad.
I drove home that day after my errands determined to remember that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.
I want to be a more intentional, loving, and present parent.
I want to be a more intentional, loving, and present wife.
And I know, believe, and will proclaim that God is faithful.