“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. At least it was suppose to be. Yet there I was, struggling to face each day. This is my Christmas story:
December 18, 2008 –
It was a crisp, snowy Thursday morning. I got my tired, 7-month pregnant body in the shower to get ready for work. My husband just happened to be home that day because he wasn’t feeling well, (normally he would have been gone for 14 hours and out of cell phone reception). My phone rang and he answered it. There was an accident….
It was my dad. He crashed in the canyon.
“Wait, what? Is he okay?”
They didn’t know but he was at the hospital. I reasoned with myself…
“He’s been in a lot of accidents and always been okay. I’m sure he’s fine and they are just checking him… Maybe some broken bones and brusies and some bleeding.”
An hour passed by. I called my workplace to say I might not make it in today, unsure of what the day would hold. Driving down our small-town boulevard, the phone finally rang.
“Whew, now I can find out if I should go to the hospital to see him or go ahead and go to work today. It’s almost Christmas afterall and we need the extra money.”
My husband answered the brief call then hung up. “He didn’t make it”, he said.
Silence. Processing. Confusion. Disbelief.
“No. NO!!!” I screamed as I pounded my fist on the gear stick. “That’s not true. He can’t die. He’s my dad……. He can’t be gone….. Noooo.”
My words trailed off and uncontrollable tears began to fall from my face onto my petite pregnant frame.
The following hours were consumed with hiding my pain from my younger siblings (ages 10 and 7) until my mother came back home to tell them that their dad was gone forever.
I mindlessly cleaned their home.
Waiting. Crying. Denying.
I picked up his shirt from the bathroom.
“He’s never going to wear this again”.
I washed their dirty dishes.
“He’s never going to eat here again or drink his coffee or…. He’s gone.”
The baby inside of me moved around.
“He’s never going to meet his first grandbaby. He’s never going to meet any of my children and they will never know the greatness of their Poppa. My dad”.
The day moved on as slow as any day could pass. Night time fell and my husband was getting sicker by the hour. We decided it would be best for him to see a doctor.
His dad picked us up, as neither of us could safely navigate the Kern Canyon.
Less than 12 hours after his death, I traveled the same road where he crashed. The pain was almost unbearable.
“Was this where it happened? Maybe it was this corner? Is that glass on the side of the road?…..”
I had cried so much, I couldn’t feel the tears on my face anymore.
I soon found out that it is possible to cry until you have no more tears.
Driving down that windy canyon road the chorus to “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” rang in my heart.
“… You give and take away, You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name …” I sing it in my head and then abruptly stop and seethe with anger.
“How could You!?! I thought You loved me. I have always been faithful to You. To Your Word. I have always followed You and loved You and You took him from me, from all of us. And for what?!?! You don’t need him up there. WE NEED HIM!!! WE NEED HIM DOWN HERE!! How could You?”
“I have no father now. I am fatherless.”
The grief was overwhelming.
And the whisper came.
“I am your Father. I have always been your Father.”
I wish I could say my faith was strong, but it weakened daily until my breaking point years later.
The following months and years were filled with more grief, pain and trials than I can share at one time. There were days the grief was so intense I thought that my chest was going to cave in from sheer pain.
At times there was a heaviness on me that caused labored breathing and chest pains.
Giving away his already wrapped Christmas presents, hearing all of the Christmas carols everywhere I went (I thought I would never sing another Christmas song in my life), church services without the drummer…. The list went on….
Now that you know some of the painful parts, can I share some GOOD news with you?
The tragedy I endured that day and the days that followed… It wasn’t the end.
It wasn’t the end of me (though I will never be the same) and it wasn’t the end of my story.
My story is still being WRITTEN…
AND YOURS IS TOO!!!
The road to becoming the person I am now has been filled with pain, suffering, anger, frustration, mistakes and so much more.
However, every tragedy and trial I have faced has, indeed, made me stronger. The old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is truth, but ONLY if you allow it to be truth in your life.
It is your choice.
The trials you face could bring about the biggest blessings… or the deepest regrets. It’s up to you.
Make the choice to bring your best self. Seek help and guidance if needed. Know that you are loved and your trial, my friend, is NOT THE END. ❤️💋