While getting ready to take my boys to baseball practice, I loaded the four kids in the car and then quickly ran back into the house to feed the dog and grab my purse. Gone less than a minute, I came back out to the car to find this.
She had gotten into a container of sugar and was making designs in the pile of shiny white granules while licking her fingers. She then looked at me and politely asked if she could throw the dog out the window. What had just happened, I wasn’t sure!
While taking it all in, another child was sobbing because he couldn’t find his baseball mitt and little guy was in the back screaming “melmo, melmo” repeatedly, begging to watch Elmo on the movie player. My little red-head then let out an ear pinching squeal. I looked back just in time to see his soda overflowing all over the backseat and onto the floor, leaving a sticky trail. After retrieving a towel, I cleaned up the mess, got in my seat, took a deep breath and told myself, “The only thing to do is to laugh.” Yes, with difficulty, I successfully contained my anger.
If this was any indication how the rest of the day would go, I didn’t know if I had it in me, as it had already been a long day.
Well, I am pleased to say the day didn’t get any worse. However, for some the darkest days had just arrived, as this past couple of weeks triggered a forefront of emotions for me. Hearing of devastating losses in my old community as well as in the Midwest, it was a strong reminder about how fragile life is. My heart just broke, knowing that dark, empty, hopeless pain these newly grieving families are experiencing. Such a lonely feeling.
Parents mourning the loss of their children due to sudden and traumatic ways, brought back vivid memories to me, knowing the helpless feeling all too well. There are no words for the unimaginable. Never in a million years would I have dreamed this would have happened to my daughter or my family, forever changing our lives. No one would ever be the same.
It made me think back to those early days after losing Lydia and what helped me through. Who did God place in my life at the right time? Six years ago, it never even occurred to me that I could lose a child. I mean, I always knew about life and death, but such accidents and tragedies didn’t happen to people like me, or people I know. It just didn’t happen. Well, news flash. It DOES happen and we never know when, where, and sometimes why . There is no way to prepare for the heartbreak and devastation. In hindsight, I clearly see God’s workers; angels that were placed in my life at the right moments. One being a special nurse who was by my side at the hospital that life changing day.
A few months after the accident, I returned to work. Waiting for me in my mailbox, was a pretty baby blue envelope addressed to me. I opened it and read a few of her words…”I am so sorry for your loss. My heart broke for you that day and I will never forget you and the pain you and your family are going thru. That day changed my life, my nursing approach and my realization that life is not fair.“
It was from one of the ER nurses that were with me. Although I do not remember who she was, she was there. She treated my injuries, listened to my horrible screams when I received the news, and cared enough to send that card.
Immediately, the tears of sorrow began. For the next few months, I would open it up first thing when I arrived at work and read those words which would resonate within me the entire day.
This letter I kept in my purse for five years, yes, five years, reading it at just the right moments. It was those times where I wanted to give up but needed some encouragement and hear that someone else’s life was impacted by my loss. Now, having been working on writing my memoir, it came to me a few months ago.
I need to write to this woman to thank her for her compassion and simple words that meant so much and kept me going when I struggled to continue.
Not speaking to her or seeing her since that horrific day, I knew I must contact her to let her know how much that card had meant and still means to me to this day.
So I wrote a letter to her, thanking her for her compassion and told her of the immense impact her thoughtfulness and kind words had on me.
I didn’t know if she still lived at return address that was on the envelope, after all five years is a long time. Well, after about six weeks, I received an email from her. She had gotten my letter, however, it was not an easy journey. She had moved a couple of years earlier and due to the kindness of the others, the letter was forwarded to her at her new residence.
She was so happy to hear from me and stated that she often wondered how I was doing. Her life was different now, but she was doing well. She was pleased to hear of the amazing blessings that have come into my life since then, which showed her the power a little hope can bring.
Maybe we will meet again one day, but for now, we will exchange kind words, holiday cards and life stories. I am so thankful that she will be contributing to my memoir by sharing her experience with me that devastating day. After reading her recent email which illustrated my daughter’s death from her point of view, a nurse tending to a mother’s tragedy, pierced my heart and was difficult to read, yet filled my soul with God’s love. Here’s a brief excerpt of her words
“I will NEVER forget the horrifying sound of Daphne crying over the loss of her daughter Lydia. Still to this day, I cry when I think of it. It broke my heart! I still remember her wheeling out to go home from the ED and her head was down and I felt such pain and sorrow for her. I mailed Daphne a card shortly after. I had never done that before to a patient. Maybe it is because I had never been so moved emotionally before like I was with Daphne. I was a newer mom with a 1 year old. I had fertility issues and wanted my child so badly and went thru a lot to have her. I kept thinking that I could never live with the pain I somehow felt she was living with, by the loss of her daughter. “
While we may never realize, it’s pretty incredible how our experiences impact others. Hearing her side put everything into perspective. It wasn’t only about me.
I cannot emphasize the incredible importance of people like her. Please pray for those who are the first responders, the officers at the scene, paramedics, firemen, emergency room workers, and chaplains and more. For these are truly God’s workers who serve others with all their heart. The situations they face day after day, is no small feat. Heroes they are, so deserving of our gratitude.
Consider the power and impact that a few words can make in someone’s life. Take the time to send that card, email, or quick note. It could be the difference they have been waiting for and forever change the course of their life.