Makenzie,
The eighth anniversary is here and I wonder what to say to you. I’ve not made an entry into our journal in several years and it no longer seems familiar to me. I awoke to a different song this morning when my alarm sounded; only this time as I lay in bed, I paid attention to the words. I have never heard them before. The lyrics resonated well with my soul.

My Godwink? ( here are just a few of the lyrics):

Song for Someone -U2

You’ve got a face not spoiled by beauty
I have some scars from where I’ve been
You’ve got eyes that can see right through me
You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen

How these cuts heal but in you I found a rhyme
If there is a light you can’t always see
And there is a world we can’t always be
If there is a dark that we shouldn’t doubt
And there is a light don’t let it go outI

The lyrics resonated with my soul because they reminded  me that it was my love for you and my faith that has carried me these eight very long years.

So I remember so many  tears  shed when I first started journaling, but it was a way to talk to you, scream at you, plead with you, long for you and have this knowing that you were listening. Back then my beautiful daughter, I was so mad that you just walked out on us, on me! How could you? What a significant void you left in our lives, in this world, in MY life! On that January day I lost my identity as your mom in the only way that I knew it. The world changed the day that you left. There were days that I blamed myself and days that  I had the audacity to question God. There were times that I blamed you for heading to that great light. I remember in the beginning fooling myself into thinking it was just a terrible dream. That if I closed my eyes and prayed hard enough God would move that mountain and wake me up to my ordinary life as your mom.

I was re-reading our journal and paused to re-read one of my earliest enties:

March 4, 2010

I keep asking myself “WHY” this happened; such a unique accident, as everything lined up to take you. Why Kenz? You had so many important things left unfinished. You were such a good girl, admired by all of your  peers. We found your journal from camp and in it were your two favorite Bible verses in your handwriting.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and James 1:12. The second one seemed to be written for this time in our lives.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him”. James 1:12

Each day is a challenge for me. Small things just trigger the sadness. The other day I saw the Valentine cup that I had given to you a couple of years back. When I walk outside, it always gets to me to see your empty parking space, no beautiful red car there. When I walk out back I notice where Bob had written our three names in a cement slab poured in front of our outdoor wood boiler. In the cellar written on the wall is where your dad had measured yours and your brother’s heighth each year as he noted it.

It is interesting for me to re-read this Kenzie as the emotions are still real but have since changed in me. From gripping despair to now,  I guess you could say, bittersweet.

I do remember those afternoon days that I would watch out the window for you, expecting you to pull in in your beloved little red car. For months after I swear that I saw you riding around town, just one car ahead of me or passing by in the other direction. But I could never catch up to you and believe me I tried. Among so many other things, that vacancy left in your empty parking place in our driveway was too much to handle. I even found myself one day lying down in your parking place there in the snow staring up at the blue sky talking to you, asking you what you were doing up there in heaven. I think it was on that day that you inspired me to first make the snow angel. Thank you Kenzie, maybe that was the first small step in the direction of healing.

So much has changed and changed me! I realize that I am not telling you anything new as you have been right here with me, shoulder to shoulder, arms wrapped around me, rocking me gently, lifting me up, cheering me on, and now holding my hand up. Triumphantly??? Is that what this is? Triumph ? Have I made it through all the many stages of grief? Did I pass the tests? Have I NOT lost my mind (after all)? Have I earned a badge? Perhaps for courage or perseverance? And you, Kenz, my daughter in heaven, how is it for you knowing your mom has survived ? (There were days that I wasn’t sure that I would) . You have been cheering me on never allowing me to give up and with Christ who has been and is my saving grace.

So now what? Is this when I take my candle of sadness and transfer the flame to a burning torch of intention? I will reach down and give a hand up to the others who are climbing up their own hill of Calvary. I will share with them what I know to be true. I will remind them to pray, to cling to their faith, to keep watch for the Godwinks, and mostly to never give up!  And I will remind them over and over that their quest is to figure out what their purpose is in all of this, their loss. With my heart I will share with them of the importance and the beauty of a good ending; in allowing their loss to become Heaven’s gain. It is a precious journey that each of us has been given and if traveled well we will wind up in the place where we started and truly never departed; in the arms of Jesus.

I look forward to holding you Kenzie, and laughing again with you. I know that you are there but also still HERE and like me looking forward to  this reunion. What I have most learned is that my love for you has only grown. I have learned that you truly never left and that with Christ by my side and living through me, I have experienced a dimension of love that I might not have ever realized. Thank God you said yes to Jesus, Kenzie, and that I have too,

So this summer, when I was up at the Pines, I found a little sign in the gift shop that I had to have. It is hanging in your room, (now my office), next to your picture. I thought how perfect that I was reminded of this yesterday at church when we sang the final song. The lyrics are so perfect and befitting for where I am emotionally these days.

It Is Well with My Soul
Audrey Assad
LYRICS

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Songwriters: P P. Bliss / Gloria Roe
It Is Well with My Soul lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

LOVE NEVER ENDS