Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Sundress with Flowers Blue-As-the-Sky

The Sundress with Flowers Blue-As-the-Sky

I ran across your dress today—the one . . .
The one you wore to your graduation luncheon
The church threw for your class of 2005,
The sundress with flowers, white-and-bright-blue.

. . . Such a sweet function—why’d my heart nose-dive?

Then we took pictures of the fam’ and you;
When Daddy took the shots, I thought to myself,
“Don’t you know you should be in them—
they might
Be the last pics of our fam’ly” to put on the shelf. . . .

“Where’d that thought come from?”
I noted with fright.

I ran across your dress today—the one . . .
The one you loved. . . found next to your body. . .

I hold the dress next to my heart

clutch it and cry;
Tire tracks . . . now run across . . .
those flowers blue-as-the-sky.

The dress brings me comfort—I don’t know why;
Perhaps it lets me hold you on the day you had to die. . . .

I ran across your dress today—the one—
The sundress with flowers blue-as-the-sky;
I’ve never seen you in a prettier one . . .

Though now you wear the Son's dress to fly through His-blue-sky!

Written 3/19/09 - The Sundress with Flowers Blue-As-the-Sky - Angie Bennett Prince

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tsunami of Grief - When Will the Grief Ever Stop?

Tsunami of Grief - When Will the Grief Ever Stop?

written May 4, 2008 by Angie Bennett Prince, 21 months after Merry Katherine's death

Just as sudden displacements such as earthquakes and landslides produce high energy waves of short duration that can devastate coastal regions, so my child's death has caused a landslide in this mother's heart, soul, and spirit of seismic proportions, spawning tidal waves that come crashing down on me, sometimes at tsunami force, causing near-devastation.  

Once her tumultuous journey as an acting-out teen "experimenting" with drugs hit my life like a boulder being thrown into a once-placid pond, causing ripples and waves of differing proportions, oft-times disconcerting, other times painful, and many times terrorizing.  

But Merry Katherine's Death has been tantamount to causing a virtual earthquake or landslide in the grounds of my heart, provoking seismic waves of tsunami proportions to come coursing down upon my being, effectively wiping out any semblance of life as I once knew it.

Yes, now I am in a period of "recovery," yet still I am devastated.  I am not sure how much "life" is left in the topography of my soul--that remains to be seen.  And I realize that what "life" does survive may cause my life to take on a whole different form. 

Just as Indonesia is still Indonesia after the recent tsunami, its topography changed completely with many aspects of its former "life" being snuffed out--sometimes temporarily, other times completely.  The same concept applies to me, the Grief-struck.  Just as Indonesia is still Indonesia after the tsunami hit, though life there may look very different now, so too "I" am still "I" and yet "I" have changed.  Not "if" I have changed is to be determined, but "how" I have changed remains the unanswered question.  

But body searches are still being conducted in my heart, soul and spirit to see what life has survived and can remain.   It leaves me questioning who I am now, what I am capable of doing with the amount of damage I have sustained, and what does God want to do with all of this ravaged soul?  At times I wonder, can anything be done with such a ravaged soul?  But mostly, I believe that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us," yet I have no idea what form my life will take at this point.  

So I ask, "When will my Grief stop?"  
At this point, it looks like I am healing some under God's wing (with lots of quiet and alone time with Him), as God faithfully continues to work in my body, soul and spirit as I open my heart up to Him.  Don't get me wrong; healing is almost a full-time-job, a daily (if not minute-by-minute) process, often painful and grueling, but God meets me there and touches my pain in a way that comforts me deeply; His comfort often leaves me sobbing and praising Him at the same time!  
But the Grief?  I think the Grief remains until I reach the soothing, still waters of Heaven's shores where my Heavenly Father Himself will embrace me and will wipe all tears from my eyes.

35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love?  Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation?  Or calamity and distress?  Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?  36 Even as it is written, "For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter."  37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.  38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, 39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  
                                             Romans 8:35-39 (Amplified)  

3 Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, "See!  The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.  
4 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, 
for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.  
Revelation 21:3-4 (Amplified)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Merry Katherine's Valentines Day Present for Me, 2009

Continued from my 2/24/09 Post:  Today I found the song to play for you of Merry Katherine's gift from Heaven to comfort her mommy's grief -- she knows my heart; she knows my fears.  I found this c.d. on 2/10/09 that she had made for herself which included this song:  "Only Hope" by Caedmon's Call; its words reassured this mommy's heart that she knew and reveled in the saving grace of our Lord for herself.  I think she wanted me to find it just in time for Valentines Day!  Thank You, God for Your tender mercies!  Thank You for showing me her trust was firmly planted in You.  Thank You that she is now safe in her Savior's arms.  

I miss you, Merry Katherine, and I love you with all my heart.  Thank you for this precious Valentines Day Present!  Hug Jesus for me; thank Him for me for saving your precious soul, for holding you, and for hugging you for me!  And Happy Valentines Day to you too, my precious baby girl!

"Only Hope"
Caedmon's Call
Found on 2/10/09 on a c.d. she had made for herself!

Depth of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can, my god, Your wrath forbear--
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

It's my only hope,
You're my only hope!
It's my only hope of Heaven--
At the cross forgiven!

I have long withstood Your grace,
Long provoked you to Your face,
Would not hearken to Your calls,
Grieved You by a thousand falls,

It's my only hope,
You're my only hope!
It's my only hope of Heaven--
At the cross forgiven!

There for me the Savior stands, 
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands,
Face to face before the Son, 
And like Isaiah, I'm undone . . . 

Depth of mercy vast and free,
So much deeper than the sea,
God of love, You heard my cry,
Now into Your open arms I fly!

It's my only hope,
You're my only hope!
It's my only hope of Heaven--
At the cross forgiven!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Minefield of Grief Bombs and "Functional Grievers"

Merry Katherine Prince

(By Tommy Prince)

2/26/09, Thursday, 2 a.m.

We're in Athens, Georgia (Angie's hometown, staying with my in-laws) helping my handicapped brother-in-law Rick who is in the Intensive Care Unit trying to recover from Aspiration Pneumonia; the family is each taking shifts so someone can be with him 24/7; Angie and I have the midnight till 5 a.m. shifts.

I got out a little today to go by Rick's business and talk to (our nephew) Curt and observe the goings on.  While I was there (Curt's wife) Michelle brought their daughter (our six-year-old grand-niece) Meredith by to visit her daddy.  

When she came in, she walked over and gave me a hug and put her arms around my neck.  I came close to losing it right there in front of everyone.  I quickly suppressed the urge to cry.  I quickly turned the conversation back to the business . . . .

Last night during my nap before going to the hospital (at midnight), I dreamed about Merry Katherine and that she was little, and (that) Nathan had hurt her in the Bennetts' basement. 
She came running to me and I grabbed her up and held her.  She said she was okay, kissed me on my eye, which smudged my glasses, told me she loved me and ran off to play.  When I woke up at 10 p.m.,
I sat on the edge of the bed and had a prolonged gut-busting cry that gave me a whomping headache.

As I mentioned earlier, (my 6-year-old grand-niece) Meredith had come up and hugged me (today); that (hug) set off my emotional insides that took me totally by surprise.  Every time I dream about Merry Katherine, I have always been hugging her and don't want to let go.  

When that little Meredith hugged me, she was the first little girl to do that in over 2 1/2 years.  I found myself wanting to grab her up and hold her forever just like in my dreams of Merry Katherine, which always mess with me for several days.  

I found myself immediately taking my hands off her as though she was on fire and I was going to get badly burned.  I used all my energy to suppress the intense hurt that was boiling inside me.

The lava flow of pain surfaced after the nap and dream.  The rest of the night and today, I have felt out-of-it.

March 6, Friday, 6:30 a.m. (back home in Tennessee)

I didn't sleep as much today as yesterday but feel pretty rested.  (We'll see.)  

I am astounded at how much deep hurt and intense sorrow I carry around inside of me.  

I don't have an awareness of it until something like what happened in GA suddenly throws me into an uncontrollable, deep, long, crying spell.  

(Having intense grief inside) is something like being an epileptic; you don't really know when the next debilitating episode will hit.  Like an epileptic, you do have some awareness of what kinds of things or situations might trigger an episode that will resemble a "throw-down" in wrestling.  These are the very things and situations you stay away from.

As a "functional griever,"* over time I have learned some of what to avoid.  

Tragically, I will always be tiptoeing through a minefield of grief bombs.  -->     

Now I'm beginning to see why fatigue and exhaustion (have) become such a prevalent aspect of daily life.-->        
These external minefields can easily set off the internal hurt and sorrow.  -->        

This (struggle to avoid emotional minefields) in turn requires tension.-->
This (tension) itself is tiring enough; -->     
Add the internal turmoil of dealing with losing your baby girl, -->    
And you have one wasted son-of-a-gun. 

*(Functional griever" is a term Angie and I have given ourselves that describes our life--yes, we can get up every day and somewhat function, but most of our energies have to be dedicated to processing our manifold grief, so we just call ourselves "functional grievers.")

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Was Lost, in Darkness Found

What was lost, in darkness found.
(By Nathan Prince)
The worst of all realities had come: I no longer had my dear companion by my side. My closest friend, one who had helped shape me into the man that I am, was gone. Our lives now utterly and completely separated, Merry Katherine, the sister I knew would always be there, had died. The many roles she had in my heart that used to be so precious to me had now formed gaping holes. I lost the baby sister I cherished; the young woman I lovingly watched over; the sidekick in whom I delighted; the soul I had dearly bonded with; I would never know any of them again.

As you can probably gather, we were close, and pretty inseparable growing up. We actually referred to each other as our other half most of the time. Her death had indeed left me with a feeling of incompletion. I had to suddenly accept that of all the people in this world, it would be her presence that my life would now be missing. I do not know what it would be like to lose the mother who had given me life and love. Or my father who had inspired me to be courageous and a humble servant of the Lord. Or my brother who had brought me constant laughter and camaraderie. No, of all people, this was the single most capable person that “got me.” Merry and I shared a lifelong commitment of intimacy and partnership.

I think (the) majority of the pain was the timing of it all. Both of us being in college, we had regained our solidarity. This was the time in our lives when we most needed each other and we could really appreciate having the other to count on. Her troubled romantic life and my lack of a romantic life gave us the solace in knowing the other would be there for us. Through thick and thin, we trusted it. In depression or elation, we relied on it. In quarrels or harmony, we understood it. Both of us knew deep down that neither of us would ever leave the other’s side.

Neither of us would lose the hope we shared when we were little: “You’ll always be my best friend no matter what.” It was a pact that we were confident nothing in this world could break…but we never considered it could be broken without either of us deciding it to…or so suddenly.

As much grief that I experienced in the next 2 years would provide me with a lingering feeling of betrayal that I had no say in losing my best friend. I had zero say in the matter. Oddly, I did not blame God for it. I did not really blame Satan (as much as he is the root of all deaths). It felt kind of like the feeling when you lose the one object you hold most precious to your heart. Whatever that thing is, you greatly value it in your heart. When it goes missing you feel almost incomplete without it, and losing it devastates you to the core. Depending on what that thing is, the amount of sorrow that follows varies from situation to situation, but we have all had it happen. You don’t have anything else to do but accept that it’s gone. You don’t look at God to blame that it went missing, it just did. No matter who is to blame for losing it, it just hurts, and that’s all that matters to you.

. . . This was how it was after her death, when I had to start from scratch in my perspective on life itself. I began to view life in an eternal sense, simply because I had to. Peace only came when looking at things eternally. Temporarily, her death was certainly tragic, but eternally it was majestic. My sister was now in the presence of the King. How could I stay in a state of sorrow when the one I looked out for the most was now in the loving arms of her Creator? The one that loved her the most had welcomed her home, and I accepted my new life out of the trust that she now had a new, perfect life.

When we both were at Lee (University), I used to cry when we would worship in the same room because I knew that she was rekindling her relationship with the One who wanted her most. I felt at peace knowing she and I were worshiping the God that had blessed us with each other and that we were sharing in the joy that comes from being in His presence. The world would assume that it would only logically follow that with her absence, my worshiping God without her would feel incomplete or lacking. Illogically, the next time I worshiped the Lord, it was even more emotional. I was worshiping the One she was now with, and I felt her with me more than ever before in the presence of our Father. It was as if there was now an overflow of joy like never before knowing that she now worships as a way of life as I do it with a conscious effort. More tears had never fallen out of my eyes when one day, during worship in chapel, I was standing, hands raised toward heaven, singing along with all the angels, and I could feel her hand in mine as we truly worshiped God in awe of Him in all His glory.

I now see (from) her death. . . a gift from a loving God. Do I think (God) caused (her death) to happen? I don’t believe so. Did He just let it happen? I think He has more control than that. . . . He mourned with me over it . . . . I had never felt the Lord like I did when I was at the depths of suffering in, (grappling) with the loss of my truest friend I had in this world. That is when God came down to me; He took that hole that she left, and not only filled it, but replaced it with a perfect friendship with Himself.

I understand my heavenly Father as love. I felt His love more powerfully at 21 than many people ever get to. . . . I miss (Merry Katherine) and the closeness we had with all my heart. But it was with losing her that God was able to make Himself all in all in my life when I had to start from scratch. On August 2nd, 2006, I lost my best friend, but I gained a Savior I had never known before. I had known a lot about who He is, but I had not known Him as He is. He is not a God that loves us from atop the clouds, but a God that stoops down low, comes into our deepest places, lifts our eyes, picks us up, wipes away our tears, and holds us…as long as we’d like, and covers us all over with the comfort and peace that surpasses understanding. That my friends, is the love that I could never have known before she left . . . and it’s a priceless gift that I would wish (for) all of you. Let God bring you out of tragedy and into His arms. He loves you, and He waits for you.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. ----Romans 15:13 (KJV)

I love each and every one of you. . . . (A)s much as we need love, I pray for all of you to find it in the only Person that can love you infinitely and unconditionally.

(Written by Nathan Prince for Facebook Friends, highlights mine)
Yesterday at 7:26am (Feb. 27, 2009)