It is hard to grasp how much can change in a year, but today the reality definitely hit home. Here are photos of Kelsey with Alexa on Mother’s Day last year (which was on May 11th). Two months later, Kelsey would be in heaven. Mother’s Day today looked different for sure. Alexa got to spend time this weekend with a few of her favorite people: Mimi, Pop, Aunt Holly, Uncle Mark, Rylen and Layton. I know the reality of what this day means hasn’t sunk in with her and she had a great time playing with her cousins.
I had some sort of nasty crud this weekend, so didn’t get to head up to hang out with family until this afternoon. I had a sore throat of the variety where I felt like screaming with every swallow (if it wouldn’t have made my throat hurt even worse). It isn’t strep, but knowing that fact still didn’t help when it was really hurting! All that to say, I did have some time to reflect on things over the past couple days and wanted to share a few of those thoughts here. I had a chance to go visit Kelsey’s grave (which is a weird thing to say, because I know that she isn’t really buried there, just her body) this morning. It certainly pays testament to the amount of water we have received over a very short period of time here in Oklahoma!
The picture quality isn’t perfect – I was using the wrong lens (and I didn’t think about taking a picture with my phone until I was already driving off, or think about taking a broom or brush to wipe off the headstone). The mud and leaf debris certainly demonstrate the type of weather we have had. Hail and LOTS of rain. Kelsey always loved storms. She said they were a wonderful display of God’s power. She would get almost giddy in the midst of a hailstorm or rainstorm and she loved the sound of thunder. We have certainly had our share of all of that over the past few weeks. I did think it was fairly ironic that I took flowers to the graveside. Kelsey liked flowers, but she told me she would appreciate me spending the money on getting her some “empty calories” (read as La Baguette caramel fudge cake or a double doozie from American Cookie Company) or taking her somewhere to eat.
Here is a photo of this Mother’s Day. A noticeable absence in this picture. I had a chance to journal after I visited the graveside and as I reflected back on my years of life and thought of how grateful I am to have a mother who continues to be there for me, my heart aches for my dear daughter. I don’t know when the reality of what this day means will sink in for her, but it will someday. As I wrote in my journal, “Today is certainly a sobering day. Thinking of all my mom has meant to me makes my heart ache for Alexa – she only had four short years to spend with her mother and the rest of her life to live without her.”
I know it has been forever since I last posted (seems like about a two month gap between posts – I won’t promise I will do better, but I will try). Thank you all for your ongoing prayers – I know many of you have reached out to me to let me know you you would be praying for Alexa and me very specifically today. A lot has happened since then. Alexa celebrated her fifth birthday (with five parties, of course). I hope to write a post about her birthday celebrations. We got to go visit my sister’s family in Maryland (and see some good friends while we were out there as well). The builders have broken ground on our new house (and then we have subsequently been hit by monsoon season, so not much more progress than that). I finished another year of Bible Study Fellowship. Work continues to go well, I feel like my brain gets a bit less foggy each day.
For the first time, at the ten month mark since Kelsey made it “safely home”, the day was different. There was a lot of sadness (which is not different), but mixed with the sadness was a sense of God’s incredible faithfulness. Ten months later, I am still alive, the house is still standing, and Alexa has not run away from home. We both have clean clothes, I still have my job (and people tell me I am doing well at it), and we eat every day (generally three times a day). Alexa is thriving at school and has grown and matured so much. All of that overwhelmed me with God’s faithfulness. Had you asked me what life would like like 10 months after Kelsey died the afternoon of her death, I would have had no clue – I was not even sure I could make it through the next moment. The future is no longer as dark or bleak as it has been.
This post is getting incredibly long. I wanted to leave you with a few specific prayer requests:
-- Pray for wisdom to find a great nanny for Alexa for next school year. Have a fantastic gal for the summer, who both Alexa and I are totally excited about. She has been blessed with Jenny in her life this year and I look forward to seeing who God will bring along for next year.
-- Pray for special times with Alexa this summer. I hope for some great spiritual discussions. She is starting to ask more questions, I want to encourage that and help her to clearly understand how much she needs a Savior!
-- Pray for motivation to get some things done around the house. Piles need to be picked up and gone through, I still need to update the will, I need to finish sorting through photos and put together an album I want to give to Alexa and the list goes on.
-- Pray for a continually greater grasp of God’s faithfulness. Pray I can pass it along to others.
I leave you with this – a video of Alexa performing at the Mother’s Day Tea at her preschool (Gingerbread). Mimi and Aunt Holly got to go and they filmed this. You certainly don’t have to watch the whole show, but you’ll get a flavor of her flair for drama (she definitely takes after her mom) in the first few minutes of the video.