It breaks my heart. I forgot your birthday. In my mind, I always have grand ideas to celebrate your day. I desperately want something special to make you a part of our lives. I wanted my kids to write you letters we would attach to balloons and send off into the heavens in hopes of them reaching you. It never happened. I forgot. I am typing this at 1a.m., the day after your birthday, crying because I forgot. I'm sorry.
Tonight I was struck by this thought: On the day we should have been celebrating your birth and giving you gifts, you and God have lavished me with so many gifts. I was just a typical 19 year old girl trying to make her way in the world the day you left. Your death made me rethink everything I thought was important. My soul was crushed, my spirit broken and I was completely lost. Your death shaped me and for a long while hardened me.
So vividly I recall being absolutely positive I would only feel pain never feel joy again and so certain I would only live in fear with peace just a distant memory. I remember vowing never to marry or especially have any children. I couldn't stand the thought that I may once again have to walk this road. I was wounded and walled off. I remember wanting to die along with you.
Thank God for His faithfulness.
The number one gift you left me is joy. Yes, I said joy. That sounds so crazy to say but through the tear stained years I spent feeling so desperate and confused, God slowly healed my heart. It was so gradual and all the while I thought I would never smile a genuine smile again it was almost there. I thought I would never know the feeling that swells up in your heart and comes out as sparkles in your eyes. But it happened. That feeling goes with me everywhere now. It is more intense than I can describe. I hold tightly to that joy God has placed in my heart. There are seasons in which it has been dimmed. However, it is stronger than I thought possible.
The gift of vulnerability. I didn't want this gift. I desperately fought to protect myself but again God's love softened my heart slowly over time. I have that husband I vowed never to have and those children I swore off at 19. I remember finally praying to God to bless me with a baby but on these terms: healthy baby with a lifetime guarantee. That baby never came. My prayer changed to no matter what I have to endure with this child, God, PLEASE never leave my side. You see I came to realize that sometimes it's more painful to stop living, to hide, to be filled with fear than it ever possibly could be to be vulnerable and open to all the emotions that go along with really experiencing life. It has made me more compassionate, more passionate, more patience. I'm not perfect and this life is not perfect but I'm out there loving this life I've been given.
You gave me the gift of legacy living. I am so very aware that we are not promised tomorrow. It makes me love my kids, teach my kids, interact with my kids so very differently. As a family we try new things, we aren't afraid to be different, to make our own way. We explore, we play, we encourage each other. We are a team. I am so much more gentle, tender and graceful than I could have ever hoped to be without this gift. I want them to know deep down in their souls, in their bones that they are loved, cherished, and fought for by their momma! To see themselves if even
just a glimpse as God sees them. To know their worth and to believe it. And in wanting that so badly for them I have had to learn it and start to believe it for myself. It has helped me find my voice and lead me to my many passions. It's been a really fun way to live and I'm so very grateful!
Daddy, your death broke me and God changed me. It made me see myself finally through the eyes of God.
It took years for me to accept your death. My goodness, it took almost 20 years to realize that you left me with gifts that are being passed down to my children every day, not just on your birthday. Happy birthday a day late. I forgot. Through forgetting I remembered the gifts from you and God.