Saturday, July 27, 2013

"I Will Rise"

As I wrote last time, on Thursday we took our van back to where we purchased it.  It was a three hour trip, one way,  so I decided to drive the van one last time and my husband took the car. He was listening to an audio book and I purposely took 3 of Amy's favorite CD's to listen to.  The soundtracks to "Spirit" and "Tarzan" and her favorite Chris Tomlin CD. I cried most of the way there; some tears in sorrow and some in joy. I listened to "Spirit" first and cried when I remembered what my daughter had posted about Amy in her blog.
Then I listened to Chris Tomlin. Some of you know Amy's whole story, but for those who only know of her through this blog I will relate another time that Amy and I "sang" at church together.
We had already sung twice before this time. I don't know why I got the idea of taking Amy onstage with me when I sang, even with the steps and the difficulty of getting her heavy wheelchair up there, but I knew that she should be beside me. As "Her Story" above tells of the first time we sang "Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone" I told about Rett Syndrome; the next time  we sang "Victory in Jesus" I told about her salvation. I thought that would be the last time she would sing with me, but Amy had other ideas.
I was humming a tune one day when I was caring for her and she kept blinking, trying to tell me something. I asked her if she liked the song? "Yes." I couldn't even remember the name of it. It was  just a tune stuck in my head. I asked her if she would like me to sing the words? "Yes" So I got on the computer and did a little trial and error. I knew it had to be Chris Tomlin since she liked his songs. I was able to realize that I had been humming "I Will Rise." I wasn't even familiar with the song that much so I printed out the words and along with "You Tube" music I sang the song to Amy. She loved it and continued to  blink so much. "I asked her if she was trying to tell me something? "Yes" Did she want me to sing this for church? She just stared at me and then it came to me--Do YOU want to sing this for church? Many blinks--"Yes."  So I was on the schedule to sing in a few months and this is what we practiced. When the time came, it happened to be the week of her 30th birthday and I had laryngitis, so our Assistant Pastor agreed to sing it for me, with Amy's approval. She approved! I knelt down beside her while he sang, so I could hold her hand. She looked at the audience and was so "into" the song that she even closed her eyes for a time. It really was as if she were singing the words. 
I will never forget that day. It was only about a year before she died. I wonder if she knew. If the Lord had told her that her life would be short on this earth and that she soon would be falling on her knees before the Lord and hearing the angels sing. I won't know until I can talk to her in heaven. I won't have to rely on the questions and the blinks of her beautiful eyes. We will be able to talk. I wonder what her voice will sound like? I can't wait to hear her sing this song for herself in praise to the Lord!

Well, more tears on the trip, but good tears. I continued on the journey and last listened to "Tarzan." One of the favorites that I would sing to her was "You'll Be in my Heart."

Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand
Hold it tight
I will protect you
From all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry
For one so small,
You seem so strong
My arms will hold you
Keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be here in my heart, always

I finally got the van to and I was able to let it go. My husband and I decided to drive back through the country instead of the busy turnpike and we enjoyed a nice drive and were able to talk. Our youngest daughter and a friend were visiting Gettysburg that day and we actually ran into them on the way home and ate together at a nice restaurant. A good ending to the day. I felt God wrapping His arms around me and I was at peace.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Our van

Tomorrow we take the van back to the place we bought it so we can sell it. I'm going to drive it one last time and then we will never see it again. I cleaned it really good this week and shed quite a few tears doing it. 
 I'm getting used to our new car, but I will miss all the space in the van and the little girl who always was sitting right behind me wherever we went.One more piece of Amy that we will be saying goodbye to. She loved that van. She loved going places and being able to see out the windows. Her last trip in the van was home from the hospital only a few miles away. We didn't want her to come home in the ambulance. I'll never forget how she looked around at the spring fields and mountains and all of the emerging beauty and in my heart knowing that she was dying. 
"Oh, God, sometimes it hurts so much to have her gone. Fill my soul tonight with peace and help me sleep. Help the tears to stop and comfort me. I know you are the God of all comfort and that you are bottling these tears that are running down my face. Hold me right now like you are holding Amy.  Tell her Mommy misses her so much."

Amy in her van.

Our new "used" car and Amy's van. One last picture.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Birthday

It has been a roller coaster of emotions the last few days.

Wednesday I went to my doctor (Dr. L) that I haven't seen for 6 months. She didn't know about Amy and I gave her a pamphlet with Amy's Story and told her that she had passed away and the details. I was not able to do this without many tears. Dr. L. is a wonderful doctor and took time with me and also told me that she had a cousin when she was growing up that had CP and SB and how she enjoyed playing with her. This girl passed away in her twenties. Dr. L. said her aunt and uncle said the same thing that I did; time went by so quickly and they weren't ready to let her go yet.  It sounds like this girl needed about as much care as Amy did and her aunt had devoted her life to caring for her daughter. Dr. L told me that it has made her much more compassionate in her life for those that are disabled and have special needs. She was very kind to go beyond her specialty and see if I had support and also if I needed an anti-depressant. She was able to order an MRI on my knee and the results came back that I have a torn meniscus, a Bakers Cyst and fluid in my knee. So I will be seeing an orthopedist and I would imagine surgery, since I have been taking therapy for 2 1/2 months already. 

Thursday I saw my eye doctor and he is another caring doctor. We have gone to him for about 15-20 years, so he also was Amy's eye doctor. He asked how we were doing and more tears came. He has the same faith as I do and he assured me that Amy is happy and with the Lord. That always seems easy to say and I have said it many times also, but it is not so easy to always live that way and not feel the pain of her being gone. 

Friday I was able to work a little bit more in preparing Amy's room for painting. I also got an early birthday present in the mail from my dearest friend in the whole world. She lives four states away now and so I haven't seen her in over a year. I haven't been able to talk to her yet since Amy died, because I will just cry. She knows me so well. She sent me a heart necklace that has "It is well with my soul" engraved on it. Also a little charm with an A. I plan on putting the charm on the necklace with the charm of Amy's fingerprint that my dear sister was able to make with the help of the funeral director.  She also sent me a birdhouse that says Redeemed with this tag:
Life is a patchwork of the wonderful things we keep with us--memories, moments, and connections that serve as daily reminders of where we've come from and who our loving Heavenly Father says we are in  Jesus.  The Redeemed collection celebrates the way God, in His generous grace, sews together every beautiful bit of our lives to form one masterpiece creation after another.   "In all things God works for the good of those who live Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28
More tears. Tears of joy for such a dear friend who understands what I am going through. 
That evening my daughters and I went to a baby shower for a dear friend who is having a little girl that I wrote about in Amy's Friends Although it was a joyous evening it was also hard for me, remembering my own sweet baby that is in heaven. We stopped at the cemetery on the way home and I was able to cry and let out some of the grief that I had been feeling that day.

So Saturday was the day I turned 55 years old! I told my kids I didn't want any big deal made of it and not even a family gathering. So everyone did something separate for me, which was real sweet as I wasn't expecting even that. I have a wonderful family that loves me very much. I am so blessed by them!

The story behind "It is Well With My Soul."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Amy's bed

I laughed today. A real laugh of delight. I was outside watering the flowers and our dog wanted a drink and a refreshing spray-down. She drinks from the hose and then I shower her with the cool water. She then proceeded to shake it all over me! I laughed! It felt good and I realized that it had been a long time since I really laughed over something real. Not a movie or video, but real life. I smiled for a while after that, just because of our silly dog.

Then we drained Amy's waterbed. It was very easy to do and actually drained pretty fast. It was not easy emotionally. We won't be putting it upstairs, because of the weight and the inconsistency of heating it for just a guest room.  I knew it would be hard, but the thought of never being able to slip into the bed and rock back and forth gently on the water and pretend that she is beside me really hurts. Hurts like you can't believe. 

But I must move on with life. 

I know that I am not alone or forgotten. Jesus is with me each step of this process called grief.
He will turn my sorrow into joy. 

And I know that it will come in quiet sweet times, like the dog spraying me with water!
Thank you Lord.

Tipps in her younger years.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Amy's smiles and laughter

Amy's room is almost all cleaned out. I'm going to be taking her bed apart this week. We are going to paint all the bright yellow walls a light tan and accent with blue and then move our bed downstairs. We'll fix the room upstairs into "Amy's room", with some of her stuff from her room, a bed and the baby crib for future grandchildren and guests. Amy would like knowing that her future nieces and nephews will enjoy her butterflies, fairies and Veggie Tales. I'm going to add some of that bright yellow paint somewhere, too. I just don't know where yet, until I get her stuff up there. 

After a tearful and truthful night out with my daughters I realized that I can't keep living in the past. No matter how much I want to be with Amy in heaven, I am still here. They need me. And I need to think about the needs of my family that is still here on earth. I decided every morning before I get out of bed, I will recite Psalm 118: 24  "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."  And everyday I will try to do something for someone else. I am starting slow, but I am trying. 

I also decided to get away from reading 'fluff." That's ok for once in a while, but I need to read stories of people who have gone through trials and still praise God. 
I started reading  " Evidence Not Seen " A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II. It is really interesting  and reminds me that others have been through horrible trials and God has been with them. 

Something else that touched me this past week was Ann's Blog: APrayer for the Broken Hearted 
She says "The secret way to heal a broken heart is to let love leak out like an ocean through all the cracks."  
"The best way to tend to your open wounds is to open your arms."

I went to the cemetery and talked to Amy. I know she's not there, but it is a good place to pray and talk to her in heaven. I told her that I needed to start thinking of others.  She showed Jesus' love while here in this world and I need to start doing the same. 
That's what it was always about with Amy. 

Jesus' love.
I felt her smiles and I knew that this is what she wants me to do. I could hear her laughter in the breeze and I know that she is happy.

August 2011 in Maine

Monday, July 8, 2013


Three months ago at this time I was holding Amy in my arms, knowing soon she would be in the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Healed of all sickness, dancing and singing and praising God with a beautiful smile on her face. 

It seems as if it was just yesterday. I remember all the details so perfectly. It was beautiful, but yet it was horrible. To lose someone you love so very much and to wait for their last breath is a horrible thing. 

Will I ever get over my grief? Will I ever have days when I don't cry? 

We went out for a drive and to eat a few days ago in our "new" car. I thought it would be nice. I ended up crying most of the way home. We took a ride on the four wheeler. I still had such sadness. 
Will I ever be happy again? Will I ever be able to laugh and smile and not have it feel fake?
This past week we celebrated Independence Day with a picnic and fireworks at my son and daughter-in-laws home. How Amy loved to go there! We have not been there since Amy died. There were a lot of people invited and I dreaded going. I was such a jumble of nerves and I just didn't want to go, but I knew my family would want me to go and I knew Amy would want me to go.  So I braved it and pasted a smile on my face and did a lot of pretending.  It was hard, so very hard. A dear friend gave me a hug when I first got there and asked how I was doing. That nearly brought out the tears but I hung on. No Amy to push in her chair, to get her food and feed her first before me. No Amy to enjoy the surprise shower and the beautiful rainbow in the sky. No Amy to laugh at the fire works when the loud noise scared her! Or to help her hold a sparkler and watch it as it died away. 
Death. I can't handle that word anymore. Life has taken on a whole new meaning for me and people just expect me to be the same as I was before.  I have never been a people-person. I have always been content to stay at home with Amy and be a homemaker and just take care of her. But now people want me to visit, have lunch with them, invitations for both my husband and I to visit. Sometimes it is so hard for me to understand. They never invited us AND Amy before, so why now?  I know her wheelchair made it difficult, but we could have worked that out. I know people want to share their sympathy and do something for us, but it is difficult for me to go out without Amy. I didn't even go to church yesterday, because I couldn't face another time of going into the church without Amy. She was by my side in everything I did. She was a part of me. I said before that it was like an amputation. Well, I haven't learned to walk yet and there is no prosthesis for me. 
Except God. 
He is my prosthesis and He will help me learn to walk again. I just need to let Him help me and He is telling me to take my time, to gain strength first and then We will walk together. 

He gave me a sign on the 4th. Even though I didn't understand it at the time, I thought it was beautiful, but I was still sad. 

He gave me the rainbow. 
I know it is a symbol of His promises. 

And God keeps His promises. 

He will give me joy again.  

My oldest daughter took this picture of the rainbow at our picnic on the 4th.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I'll praise You

Yesterday started off good. I went to physical therapy. If it wasn't for therapy I would become a hermit but it is my one priority right now so I go whether I feel like it or not. My last post said that I just don't have much interest in anything.  Well yesterday after therapy I told myself to go find what I needed or I would end up killing my back. So I decided to check out a huge resale store in our area. I was looking for one specific thing, which was a small desk to put my computer on. After wandering around the store and avoiding looking at anything that would remind me of Amy, I found a small table for $20.00. Perfect, just needs a coat of paint.
So I headed home. I had K Love on and this Casting Crowns song "I'll Praise You in This Storm" came on. I used to love this song so I knew most of the words. That was when the biggest storms in my life were my knee pain, or the my weight, not having any grandchildren to love on yet, or just being too busy to enjoy life. You know what I mean. Oh what storms I thought I had!

So I'm singing along with this song, completely feeling like praising God, when I come to the line....

And as Your mercy falls 
I raise my hands
And praise 
the God who gives 
and takes away

And.   Takes.   Away

I just started crying so hard, I could barely drive. 
I can't praise God yet for taking away Amy.

As the song continued  I lifted my eyes to our mountains and asked God where He was. I went to the cemetery and just laid down in front of Amy's grave and sobbed and sobbed. I couldn't seem to calm myself down and I didn't want to leave. I thought I would just stay there even though it was misting rain and I knew more was to come, I didn't care. 
God sent me an angel in the form of my oldest daughter. She had been at my house weeding  (bless her!) and decided to stop by the cemetery on her way home. She was able to comfort me and give me some of the strength I needed. I went home and spent a quiet afternoon, reading my Bible and doing some Kakuro puzzles.

This song has new meaning for me now. I will praise God for the life of my dear Amy. I cannot yet praise Him for her death. I'm not there yet. My heart is not just torn, it is shredded. 
I have the faith that I will be able to praise Him someday.

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, Amen and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, "I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry, You raised me up again
But my strength is almost gone
How can I carry on if I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, "I'm with you"
And as You mercy falls I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
by Casting Crowns

Monday, July 1, 2013

Missing Amy

I haven't felt like writing lately. I haven't felt like doing much really. I do the things I have to do, but  don't seem to have much interest in anything. I've been watching a lot of TV and movies and reading fiction stories. I guess I just don't really want to be in my story right now and would rather fill my head with other stories. 
My husband and I bought a used car this week. Normally, I would be extremely excited, but everything is different with my sweet Amy gone. We had to have another vehicle so we can take our van down to the place we got it so they can sell it for us. I would much rather have Amy here and keep the van than to have a new vehicle. It is very nice and just right for two people. 
Two People. That's it. Just us. 
I know most parents go through the empty nest when all the kids leave home, but we never thought we would have an empty nest.
I've just been missing Amy a lot. 
I'm trying to move on, slowly. I'm letting God give me rest right now and at some point I know I will care about life again, my house, my garden and  doing something for the church.
A friend at church yesterday told me that today's society expects you to grieve but move on with life quickly. 
There is no black wreath on my door, no black armbands or black dresses to be worn for a year like it used to be. We are to bury our grief deep inside and put on a smile.
I try. But I also tell people that I'm having a bad day, or I just don't answer the phone or go to the door. 
I'm telling myself that it's okay to grieve.
My sweet Amy I miss you so much.