December 24, 2009
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
I am very grateful for the comments, support, prayers, encouragement, and friendships I have found over the last twelve months. I have learned so much…
I still try to live this life to the best of my ability every single day, making the most of what we have been given now. We work nonstop on tolerating the new ‘normal’; while our shock has worn down over time, our disbelief is quite persistent. Some days are better than others… This voyage through the valley of shadows and sorrow is slow; two steps forward, three steps back, two steps forward again, and on it goes… Faith, forgiveness, family, friends and above all else, love have been essential to our survival to date, as they will be for the rest of this life’s journey…
My hopes in writing about our life after losing Brian remain exactly the same: I hope that the telling of our tale will allow you a glimpse into the valley, without burdening you with too much of our pain. I hope that in our story you can find something to encourage you, help you, to give you strength to face whatever challenge is before you at this moment. My greatest wish, however, is that you are reminded that life is very precious, and that there are no guarantees…so be sure that the people you love know it, just in case….on some ordinary day…the unthinkable happens to you.
This year, I would like to ask a special favor: if you know someone who has lost a child, a parent, a spouse, or someone close to them, please take a few minutes to let them know you remember their lost loved one too. That’s it. Please say ‘I remember’. An email, phone call, postcard, any method of your choosing is fine… I know it is such a busy time. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow; anytime in the next few weeks would be wonderful. The empty place at the table is always painful, but during this time of the year, it is excruciating, haunting… You will never know how much it means to one of us to hear those two simple words…
Wishing you blessings and hope…tg
Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays. -- Jen, site administrator
If you care to read it, here is the original post from December 25, 2008:
Today I would like to pause for a moment in sharing our story to thank each of you for your comments, support and encouragement, and to offer a brief explanation as to why I am trying to do this…
If I have learned anything since June 12, 2008, it is to try and make the most of every opportunity that I am given in this life. This can be as simple as opening the door for someone else, allowing a car into traffic, or singing along with the radio. While I fail to do it more often than not, the lesson is something I try to live by.
On that ordinary summer day, without warning, our family was suddenly, irrevocably shattered. Our son, Brian, died in a three car accident around lunchtime in Pineville.
You never think that something like this can happen to you. Not to your family. This is something that happens to someone else, some stranger. You feel sorry for them, for their loss; maybe you say a prayer, maybe even two-one for their family, another for the blessed safety of your own. In this way, we are very much like our teenagers: ignore the possibilities; our family is invincible, nothing bad can happen to us. Bad things can and do happen; I am living out every mother’s greatest fear and worst nightmare. The fact that I am not the only one to join this tragic fellowship this summer is of no comfort to me; my heart aches on their behalf, for we are kindred spirits, forged through a common, unwanted bond of pain.
I feel compelled to share our journey for many different reasons. Others have been down this road before us; without a doubt, more will come after. The walk through this valley of shadows and sorrow is different for each of us, and yet it is the same. John is withdrawn; he is preoccupied with punishing himself for what he did not prevent and for what he is now helpless to change. Beth’s silent fury at the unfairness of our situation endures; she is questioning why him and not her, and furthermore why her brother, her family? Grace keeps running away from the truth; she refuses to accept that Brian won’t be home later, and keeps waiting, desperate to prove to the world that this was all a big misunderstanding. I keep dancing around the jagged edges of what remains, changing to suit the greatest need of the moment, clinging to my faith and hope, praying for strength to endure for a little while longer. The fact of the matter is this: grief is grief, no matter the circumstances. It is hard; it hurts, and it overwhelms us without warning. It is a unique, individual experience. There are different stages in the process, and there is no universal guidebook, roadmap or owner’s manual. The only way through it, is simply that-through it.
Many people have said to me “I simply cannot imagine what you are going through”. My response is always the same: please, don’t even try. I hope that the telling of our tale will allow you a glimpse into the valley, without burdening you with too much of our pain. I hope that in our story you can find something to encourage you, help you, to give you strength to face whatever challenge is before you at this moment. My greatest wish, however, is that you are reminded that life is very precious, and that there are no guarantees…so be sure that the people you love know it, just in case….on some ordinary day…the unthinkable happens to you.