A big sister’s thoughts on the 1st anniversary of July 30th…….

Jen and LizzToday’s blog post is from my oldest daughter Jennifer.  I have been so honored and blessed to see how both of my daughters have handled this journey with strength and grace.  As Jennifer states, everyone’s journey is different, and my hope and prayer is that we provide the grace to allow everyone that individual grief journey experience.  Please read on as Jennifer shares her thoughts and reflections on the anniversary of Elizabeth and the boys’ home going.
Julie
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Aftermath
It’s no secret that our family was rocked in what will be the 1 year anniversary tomorrow.  I will never forget that day.  It started out like every other.  Went to work, then went to school in the middle of the day.  When I got back to work – I noticed my step mom Lisa walking out of the bank, with a couple of my closest co-workers in tow.  I thought immediately of my dad – but she had different news.  Then began the journey of grief…
Shock
I cried alot.  The day after the accident, my pastor, Joe Champion called me.  I remember talking with him about purpose.  The one thing that  all Christians live for, I was suddenly struggling to understand.  What was God’s purpose in this?  I remember asking him, was her purpose to be a good mom, and a hard worker?  He helped me to understand that it is not what you do, it is WHO you live for – that is your purpose.  Lizz lived for God.  She raised her family to live with purpose.Then the numbness took over.  I remember only bits and pieces of the funeral.  I remember the caskets.  I remember the pearl details.  Pretty and ornate – just like Lizz.  I remember the church overflowing with friends, family, and co-workers.  I remember the worshipping the One that had already welcomed Lizz and the boys all into their heavenly home.  I remember my parents’ speeches.  I remember the photos that Lauren put together of a family that would never be the same…and the sting of loss knowing that Lauren and I wouldn’t be able to be a threesome on this earth anymore.
Healing

I threw myself into school, work, and grief counseling.  I remember my first day in counseling that I had to say OUT LOUD what brought me to counseling.  I never said it out loud like that.  Since that day, I haven’t repeated it.  I learned how to deal with the car accident, and grieve in a way that was right for me.
Out of the Ashes
Grief is a hard thing to do.  You have to face alot of painful things.  Grief is different for everyone.  If my counseling has taught me anything – it is how to handle your grief, “your way” – and to allow others to grieve “their way”.  Its not wrong, its just different.  That still doesn’t mean that it’s not hard to go down a path as a family unit still.

One year later, I look back at not only my journey, but that of my family’s.  I’m married, buying a new home, and keeping busy at work.  Lauren has since become an IRONMAN!  Ava has graduated kindergarten.  The Mom’s and Dad’s are still finding their new normal with their daughter gone, but they are moving forward.  We all are.

I have been listening to Christian music most of my life.  A song that has really seen a lot of play on my iPod alot lately is “Aftermath” by Hillsong United.

“Now all I have I count it all as loss

But to know You, and to carry the Cross

Knowing I’m found

In the light of the aftermath”

Click to listen:  Aftermath

My family is still rising out of the ashes – the aftermath of my sisters death.  I think we will be rising out of the ashes for some time to come.  Regardless – we are still standing.  We are firm.  We are faithful.

To the significant others in our lives – Keith, Dan, Lisa, and John…You lost just as much as we did.  But thank you for still allowing us to cry on your shoulders and handle our bad grief days with grace and love.

Jennifer Herro Pascar

7 thoughts on “A big sister’s thoughts on the 1st anniversary of July 30th…….

  1. Beautiful Jennifer. I miss her each and everyday but what a beautiful thought knowing she is with her God and watching over all of us. Keep your memories flowing . Janet

  2. I am so amazed and inspired by the strength and grace of this family in the wake of such a tragedy. Although I never met Liz, I know, (from Jen) that I shall never look at a sunflower in the same way ever again. I heard this in a movie the other day and knew I had to share it with you. So Jen this is for you, Liz & your family. I hope it
    makes you smile a little!

    (From the movie Calender Girls)
    “Which makes it ironic my favourite flower isn’t even indigenous to the British Isles, let alone Yorkshire. I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”

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  3. Jennifer, beautifully written. Thank you for sharing some of your most intimate thoughts as the 1 year anniversary approaches. I think of Lizz so often at the most random moments every day. I still get overwhelmed with sadness sometimes, but not sadness for Lizz and the boys, but rather for us, those left behind. I can’t help but smile when I think that they are standing in the very presence of Jesus Christ! Wow! Right there in the kingdom of God where there are no tears, no worries, just joy and laughter and peace. One day we’ll all be reunited in that heavenly place, and what a reunion that will be! I love you.
    Katie gould

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience so sweetly and honestly. Your love of The Lord is nicely interwoven with your love for your family; all wrapped together as it should be. Without a relationship with The Lord, times such as these would be unbelievably unbearable. I believe your family has been blessed to know The Lord first, and so strengthened in that relationship, you continue to blossom, even with your sister, Lizz, and the boys’ departure into another realm; a realm we here can only imagine. Even though I have never met you, and only know LIzz through a few hours spent with her about 3 years ago, I will never forget any of you, and look forward to meeting again; whether in mortality of after. Again thank you so much ❤

  5. Such beautiful thoughts Jennifer. I have thought of your family often this past year. I can not imagine all the pain you have felt but your family has been under the guidance of 4 amazing angels this past year. The Lord will continue to watch over you and guide you. Keep your faith.

  6. Jen….
    I have to agree with everything that has been written here tonight. You and your family are an inspiration to us all. Truly GOD is first and foremost in this family. May he continue to bless and keep you.

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