Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Painful Sort of Memories

This is not my usual sort of post. But I need to share it. These are my memories and I want my kids to have them some day.

Noah David, I love and miss you more than I have words to express.


Middle of the night phone ringing
fumbling for a phone I can not find
ringing stops
I can’t sleep so I walk
up the stairs to rooms filled with lights
but empty of people
no message light flashes
maybe it was a butt dial
caller id says Muonios
not a cell phone
stomach clenches into hard knots
frantic phone calls home
busy signal...busy signal...busy signal...busy signal
dread fills my heart
suddenly the red message light flashes
my heart skips a beat
I press the button
Mom’s voice, quiet and terrible...
“...if you get this call home right away.”
The last of my hope that it was nothing shatters
Who?  What?  
Lord help me to bear what’s next.
I call again and again
busy signal...busy signal...busy signal

And then noise on the stairs
Her voice has never sounded like that
and she never looks like that
shaky, wide-eyed, terror stricken
What is happening?
And then the words that tear my heart out
She can barely speak them
I can hardly bear to hear them
“Ab, mom called me.  She said that a car hit Noah.  
She said that the car hit him and he died.  
That’s what she told me on the phone.
Ab, what is going on?  What is happening?”
And all I can do is try to hold her together with a hug

Eyes unfocused in a blank stare.
No tears yet.
Hardly able to breathe
And then
shaking that starts somewhere deep inside
when your heart gets ripped apart
it must be hard for your body to hold it together
What in the world is happening?

No.  He was supposed to be safe in Ohio
We weren’t supposed to lose another brother
What is going on?

And then down the hall, another sister
All I can do is beckon her to our hug
I open my mouth to try to tell her
But all that it says is, “It’s bad.  Oh, it’s so, so bad.”
My little sister has to say the words again
I should be her big sister and say them for her
It doesn’t feel real
It can’t be real.
WAKE UP!  Oh, please wake up!

Back down the stairs to my bedroom
He is awake and worried
I try to tell him and manage to say the words
Weeping on my bed
He tries to hug me
cries with me
and bravely takes on the task of telling
the girl whose biggest fear
was not ever seeing her uncle again
How did she know?

The phone rings
“Mom?  Oh, Mama...I’m so sorry.”
And she speaks bravely
in that terrible, quiet, grief-filled voice
“Noah was killed tonight.  
A car hit him as he was riding his bike to his shift...
How many pieces of my heart can get torn out
while it keeps on beating?”
I don’t have an answer
What can I say?
I’m sorry, Mama
I’m so sorry
I don’t understand
What is happening?

My weeping daughter
clutching her Noah bear
joins us on the couches
as we sit
mostly in silence
punctuated with sobs
and kleenexes
holding on to each other

We pray
for strength
and understanding
why?  Oh Lord, WHY?
and forgiveness for our lack of faith
to feel His presence
that he would hold us up
that he would not abandon us
even when we can not see him
And the sister who has been quiet
quietly quotes through misty eyes
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.”