One summer while I was in middle school, I was in an ATV wreck that left me with terrible road rash all over my right leg and arm. At the time, the accident and injuries were incredibly painful…I felt like it would impact my life forever. How was I going to prove my manliness with scars that told a story about a kid from Texas who couldn’t properly drive an ATV?!? This is an important and respected skill growing up in Texas. I ended up following my doctor’s orders to prevent scaring – I soaked and scrubbed the wounds/scabs every night until they were gone. (Sorry for the gross mental picture) The wounds healed, and I only think about the accident when I want to tell a cool story about how a kid from Texas endured pain to keep his “Man Card” and maintain his unblemished skin for the ladies. The event didn’t materially change my life, and I don’t remember the date.
Since losing Brooklyn, we have experienced a weird phenomenon. The calendar carries a particular weight it didn’t have in the past. Holidays, Birthdays, and certain dates will never be the same…especially Nov. 14th & March 13th. Corrie spoke to this in a previous post. My friend, Matt Mooney, and his family experienced one of these crappy dates on the calendar last Sunday. October 27, 2013 marked 7 years since their first son, Eliot, passed away.
Corrie and I have been scared that our memories of Brooklyn will diminish over time. Will we forget what it felt like to hold her, what her cute noises sounded like, how hard she fought? We don’t want to forget these and so many other memories…ever! Matt wrote on his blog last week as they approached 10/27/2013 and directly spoke to those of us who are early grievers. He boldly stated – “It does not get better with time.” Wait…what? Matt isn’t some random voice on the internet, I trust this guy. This sucked to hear. I’ve heard various people over the last 7 1/2 months tell me that “it” gets better. At the time, I always wanted to believe this because it was better than the alternative. If I’m honest, for some odd reason I couldn’t genuinely believe them and believe it was possible. Another friend, Shelley, who lost her 13 year old daughter almost 4 years ago to leukemia told me that her and her husband have gotten “used” to it. Surprisingly, this resonated with me more and provided me with hope. I could see myself getting “used” to living with our new normal rather than getting “better”.
In his post, Matt elaborated and likened the situation to someone who has lost an arm vs. a mere flesh wound. The more I have thought about it over the past couple days, I’m OK with “losing an arm”. I’m OK with it because, like Matt points out, the reality of the loss will remain indefinitely, but we will adapt to living every day with it. This reality looks like joy, sadness, longing, pain, frustration, failure, celebration, and all of the overwhelming emotions we have experienced. I’m grateful for this reality because it provides me hope that Brooklyn’s memory and impact won’t disappear like a cut or wound. This isn’t some type of defeated pessimistic view of our future. It’s hope in the reality that Jesus has written our story in such a way to continue to point us back to Him. When I think about Brooklyn, miss holding her, get angry that I’ll never get to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, encounter awkward questions about if we have kids, etc. I have another opportunity to ask Jesus for strength, peace, and courage. Regardless of the joy and pain in our unique individual stories, we all have the opportunity to engage The Lord to receive what He has for us in that moment. I definitely don’t do this every time. Thankfully, when this happens, I typically realize that whatever I’m doing to alleviate or avoid the pain isn’t sustainable. I need Jesus. He is enough.
Today, I’m thankful for Brooklyn, I’m thankful for Corrie, and I’m thankful for the people in the club we are in…especially Matt, Ginny, and Eliot Mooney.
The wounds from my ATV accident healed, and the pain is gone. Unlike that incident, my life was radically impacted by Brooklyn. I’m thankful that “things don’t get better” after Brooklyn passed. This pain and suffering aren’t being wasted. Our story isn’t complete, and we have a lot of unknown territory in front of us. I can’t and won’t forget Brooklyn. I need Corrie, these friends, and Jesus.
Matt’s full blog post I referenced: http://theatypicallife.com/blog/uncategorized/7-cussing-the-calendar/
You can read more about how we got introduced to the Mooneys and their story in our previous post: 99 Days!