So, the day has arrived. Another milestone for my family. 365 days, the 1st anniversary since Elizabeth, Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes left us and met my Lord. I remember, Lauren calling me…..she was hysterical and I couldn’t understand a word she was trying to tell me…..she kept saying “they are gone Mom! They are gone!”. And with those words a parent’s worst nightmare began. My wonderful boss, Lisa Lerma, drove me to Salado. I told her we needed to stop in Round Rock at the bank where Jennifer worked. I needed to get word to her. She wasn’t there, she was in school, so Lisa Lerma took me on to Salado and Jennifer’s step mom, Lisa Herro would go back and tell her the news. I remember, the car ride from Austin to Salado was silent. Lisa in her compassion and not knowing what to do broke the silence at one point and told me that she didn’t know what to say. My response to her was that no words were necessary. And let me pause here and say….if you have a friend or family member that is grieving, no words are necessary. Just sit and be with them. Cry with them. Hug them. I remember during that car ride, I just kept staring out the window of the car, hoping there was some terrible mistake. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. For the first 3 months, I was in “Mom” mode and was worried about everyone else. Then October came and I knew I needed to focus on my own healing. I became part of a parent bereavement group through Hospice Austin. They were instrumental in getting me through the upcoming holidays. Then in January, I decided it was time to start my individual counseling. I returned to the Hyde Park Counseling Center that is associated with Hyde Park Baptist Church. For me, I needed my counseling to encompass my faith. They are the same folks I turned 15 years earlier when I was in crisis when I was going through my divorce. And through this journey, the best healing has come from Jesus himself! As I have stated in earlier posts, I have never felt closer to God in my faith life than this time……EVER! I have also learned more about what it means to worship over this past year.
As a Mom, this experience has broken my heart, and as Cathie Laurie stated about the loss of her son……it’s as if God has broken our hearts so he can do something bigger! That is my continued prayer. Let this not be the end of Lizz’s story. May people find Christ, may families raise their children in grace based homes. It always does my heart good to hear how this event has impacted people and families in a positive way…..and I am always praying that God will use me.
So, to honor this day that Elizabeth and the boys went to live with Jesus, I will visit these places to remember……..
Elizabeth’s burial site. The place that stands as a testimony to their life and physical existence here on earth. Dietz memorial made some markers that I will place there today. Once her headstone is placed, John and I will take the markers and place them in our backyard. I will then place the memorial wreaths that I made for her and the boys. John and I will weep because we miss them……not because we are sad because of where they are……but because we just really miss their physical presence with us. We will pray and sing “10,000 Reasons” and “I Still Believe” to affirm our faith in the one that tells us if we are absent from the body we are present in the Lord….and we will give him glory in all things.
We will then go to the accident site where Jesus and the angels came down and scooped Elizabeth and the boys’ in their arms. This will be the first time I will have gone to the accident site, but feel the need to do so…..many have asked why….and why today…….and my heart says I want to stand where the last place they were…..and stand where Jesus took their hands and transported them “home”. I want to see the crosses that someone’s act of kindness crafted to honor Lizz and the boys. I will also testify to the enemy that he did NOT win……he did not destroy my family or me……and that my Lord and my God is the God of angel armies and he that is within me is greater than he who is in the world! I will lay some flowers……..
I will then visit the Tea Embassy down on Rio Grande and have a cup of tea. Lizz and I loved that place. Lizz surprised me one Mother’s Day for a Mother’s Day tea there! What a special memory! The Tea Embassy was the last place Lizz and I went together before she left for Alaska, just the two of us. So, there I will sit, sip tea and remember. After we left there, Lizz wanted to eat at Top Notch. Another favorite of ours…..Cheeseburger and Onion Rings……just like me! So, John and I will have lunch at Top Notch to remember……cheeseburger and onion rings!
I will wear Lizz’s sandals today, her scarf and will wear her favorite perfume……Miss Dior Cherie. Every time I smell that scent, it reminds me of Lizz……and today, I will want to do that.
I have tried over the last 365 days to grieve pro-actively. I stated early on that if I had to go through this I was convicted that I was going to let God and I face the headwinds of this event together and “lean in”. I have tried to not be afraid of the pain or the suffering but take it all in…..and honor the one that suffered for all of us……my precious, precious Jesus. I hope Lizz and Christ are pleased and honored.
To my Elizabeth: I miss you…… we all do. I miss that we won’t experience Fischer going to kindergarten next year. Ben playing soccer, Fischer playing baseball. Holding and kissing Hayes. You finally getting to go to the Aveda institute and open your spa in downtown Salado. Your laugh, your smile, your morning phone calls when I was driving to work. Of course, I know that heaven is way better than anything down here on earth……but, still, I grieve for those missed events that will not happen. I grieve because I love. I hope you are asking Jesus to send us special strength and peace today. I will look for godwinks from you and the boys…….and I will look forward to when our family will be rejoined for eternity. Until that day, I will store the memories in my heart and close my eyes and remember……always, remember.
To my Beloved John: I know this is not what we expected when we said “I do” over 5 years ago…..but I am so blessed that you loved Elizabeth and those boys. Thank you for walking this path with me, never critical, always supportive. And today, I will share this day with you.
To my amazing daughters Jennifer and Lauren that walk this journey: I love you to the moon and back, you are both amazing women and so very special to your momma! Remember, this is not the end. The cross tells us that. You will spend eternity with your sister and your precious nephews.
To Jeff: God blessed us with an amazing gift. We had no idea we would only get to enjoy it this side of heaven for 25 years.
I got this willow tree figure to commemorate this milestone in my journey. It is called “Always”. Loss does not take away love. We love always. We remember always……and I will hold you in my heart “always”.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18