Monday, December 21, 2009

The Father's Hands

My Father's hands are nail-scarred from hanging on the cross. His cross was in the middle between thieves. The repented and one didn't. They had accept or deny. Will I accept or deny my thief? How do I accept grief and allow myself to experience redemption. This process is uncharted because it is different for everyone. Jesus accepted the thief at heaven's gate and he entered into never-ending joy. Can my grief experience never-ending joy when it is redeemed? Tonight Kira is holding onto those nail scarred hands - redeemed. Here I am floundering around in unredeemed grief...unable to give it all to my Father even though I know in my heart that is where I find redemption. Redemption because of nail scarred hands. I give it...I take it back...I give it...I take it back. The best part of all is that I know my Father. My Father is patient, understanding of grief and it's process, and as much as I hate it - He is holding my little girl on Christmas. Tonight I picture Kira with her head on those nail-scarred hands. The same head that last year was on her earthly father's hands.

I was looking at this picture again today and thought the rest of you might enjoy it too. I don't know what inspired her to do this more then her genuine love for her daddy.

We all miss Kira so much these days. Marlea wanted to buy her a present and bury it on top of her casket, so it could be closer to Kira. That broke my heart. It's extremely difficult for me to have serious conversations with Marlea about Kira right now because of the pain associated with Christmas. Please pray that I would be able to remain open about my feelings with her. It would be so much easier right now to shut down but that has damaging results for all of us.

Merry Christmas! Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Thief

I am always aware of a thief I have. It's with me all the time these days. It constantly reminds me that Christmas for us this year brings pain. It steals my joy of buying gifts - I wish to buy gifts for one more person. It steals my joy of making cookies - I wish I had one more person helping me. It steals my joy of planning a surprise for Daddy - I wish I had one more person planning it with me. I even feel it stealing my longing to go to Ken's Joys (a store with hundreds of things that make little people happy.) I love to go there and buy simple things that bring big smiles and hours of entertainment. It comes beside me and mars the joy that comes from children planning surprises for each other. It takes over and wipes me out. I give up and give in to it again. My thief is grief. I am learning that this thief and the joy of Christmas are on opposite ends of the spectrum of my feeling. To experience them both at the same time feels very confusing. But really, Christmas isn't about giving presents and family time - although they are good things. Christmas is about Jesus - His ultimate gift of His very own Son to be my Saviour. The Saviour who died for me - the Saviour who can take control of my Christmas thief if I let Him.

Last year after I was at Ken's Joys, Merlin took the girls into another room separately and let them help wrap the presents they were giving to their sisters. It was quite the ordeal and I observed with amusement the one that wasn't wrapping and trying to see and hear underneath the door. I can still see Kira there - her ear as close to the opening between the door and the rug as possible, just hoping to get an idea of what Marlea and Daddy were wrapping inside.

My writing portrays my pain. All of us feel it. Marlea was talking about it tonight also, so I know she is thinking about it too. The struggle to stay present and be real is so difficult these days. Pray that we would exercise the grace and courage to embrace the reality we're experiencing.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Haunted Memories

Memories are unavoidable. They are a part of my life - a part of who I am - a part of who I am becoming. Memories are etched in my mind, even in my body, and also in my heart. They won't leave; no matter if they are good or bad. Some of my memories seem to haunt me. I would like to erase them, to pretend they never happened, push them out to drown in the sea. They seem to chase me sometimes, reminding me that I will never be the same; and that is true. Circumstances that mimic the last hours of Kira's life in our home seem to make me freeze. This past weekend, Anna had her first experience with the flu. Merlin was gone for the weekend, so I was alone with my fears and memories. As I lay beside Anna in bed, the darkness and memories overwhelmed me. Hours before Kira took her last breath, I had laid beside her in bed also. I thought she would be there beside me the next day too, but she wasn't. I was at her bedside at Hershey Medical Center. I looked over at sweet little Anna and wondered - will she be here tomorrow? My mind raced, flooded with memories I wish weren't there. They are not nice ones; ones a mother isn't supposed to have. The darkness threatened to crush me...I cried out to God in despair. I felt my hands clinging to the foot of the cross as Jesus reminded me that yes, these burdens, these haunted memories - I died for them also. They are not too big for Me - My grace is sufficient for you. I went to sleep, my arms still around the cross. The memories aren't gone - they will never leave me. But, God again used the situation to help me face the pain entrenched alongside the memories. A few days ago I heard Marlea singing "My Jesus has broad shoulders, his breath is stronger than mine." The song is actually worded "His back is stronger than mine." I doubled over laughing at that thought because her breath is strong sometimes, and the thought of Jesus' breath being stronger than hers was too much! Later I thought of it again and it also suddenly made sense; yes, Jesus' breath is stronger than mine. He could run many miles and still wouldn't be out of breath.

Kira was a Hershey kiss lover. In our back stairway we keep the cleaning cart for the inn. Kira would sneak up there and eat hershey kisses from the cart. The only mistake she made was in leaving a trail of wrappers around the cart and down the steps. And of course, a chocolate ring around her mouth. A wrapper is still one wants to move it. How I wish I could find her up there again. Sometimes I eat one, just trying to be like her.

The days seem long right now and I find myself not caring whether or not Christmas comes this year. It seems horrid to celebrate. I also dread the thought of memories being a year old soon; it seems if Christmas comes, soon the anniversary of Kira's death will also be here quickly.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna