I blog quite often about the death of my daughter, Melissa.
I can't help it. It is THE defining moment in my life. I often say, there are two Amys. There's the Amy before June 1st, 2005 - the day she died. And there is the Amy after that day.
Melissa's death changed me completely. It made me who I am today. It changed my perspective on life, and it strengthened my relationship with God. Her death made me realize what's truly important in life. It made me realize that a "bad day" is not spilling coffee on your outfit, running late for a meeting or getting stuck in traffic.
In church Sunday, we were singing a song and as we sang our music minister challenged us to think of a time when God had saved us from despair or pain and how he had turned it around.
I immediately thought of Melissa and I can't even put into words what I felt inside of me. I thought of how He saved us after she died.
Let me be honest with you. When my daughter died, I felt a pain like I had never felt before. The best way I know to describe it is just this giant, empty void. One of my friends came to see me after she died and she told me later that I just looked dead inside. My eyes were completely lifeless. I felt as if my joy had been stolen. I remember actually thinking that I didn't know if I would ever smile or laugh again. I remember laying in bed and wondering how in the world I was going to put one foot in front of the other. It was absolutely gut-wrenching.
I often think of the song "Held" by Natalie Grant. The beginning of the song is about a child dying and it is so hard for me to hear sometimes. But, the song goes on to say,
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held
I love that part that says "and you survive." I did survive the worst thing that could ever happen to a mother. Some people go through the death of a child and don't "survive." By survive, I don't mean live. Yes, they may continue to live. But they have no joy. Their marriage fails and they lose friendships because they can't come out of their grief. I am so grateful that Chris and I "survived."
I didn't survive it because Amy is this wonderful person with such a strong faith. Believe me, there were days when literally getting out of bed was all I could do.
I survived it - Chris and I survived it - because of God. We survived because he wrapped his loving arms around us and held us. That song is right. The promise is, "When everything fell we'd be held."
Chris and I were held. We were held by a God who had a plan for our lives. He allowed our daughter's life and death to bring glory to him. He carried us every step of the way. On the days when I cried out to him, on the days when I told him it didn't make any sense to me, on the days when I begged him to just make it stop hurting, he held us.
I thought of that as we sang Sunday. I am so thankful for a loving God who holds us - during the good times and the bad. I am so thankful for a God who never leaves us. And I am grateful that through this journey, he has allowed me and Chris to realize his love and his grace.