Monday, May 24, 2010

Thursday and Friday were two of the most difficult days that I have ever had to endure as a wife, mother, sister, daughter and cousin. The depth of my family's pain was completely tangible.

I took my time Thursday night before approaching my cousin Kristi. There was such a steady stream of people coming to express their condolences, that I didn't think she noticed at all. I was however mistaken. When I finally resolved that not much more could be said than "I'm sorry," I went to speak with her and she turned to me and immediately started crying more stating, "I'm not avoiding you, sometimes it's just more difficult with people who care for you." I tried to convey just how much she is loved, how much her daughters were loved and my hope that she could be comforted by our prayers.

I didn't try too hard to find the "perfect words," but I did attempt to say something with weight based on numerous conversations through the years and of course, the last few days with my Mom regarding Philip's funeral. My Mom has always quoted the best words of sympathy and some of the worst. Although, to her credit, she has blocked the identities of the mis-guided sympathizers. It seems unfathomable that at a funeral or visitation that someone's pain could be deepened, but it's true and I did not want to be a cause!

Isaac was just a few months old at Abbi's service and I remember how difficult it was to witness, as a cousin and new Mom. Abbi's passing however was one of steady progression and it was easy to take comfort in the knowledge that while we mourned her life on earth coming to an end that in truth, during that very time we were assembled her body was whole in Heaven. With Sarah, the speed of her death produced new despair. To view pictures just taken 3 weeks prior of a happy and giggling Sarah was heart wrenching.

The service Friday morning was amazing. I could barely bring myself to sing the first song, "Jesus Love Me." I could also hear my Mom fall apart, as that was a song she spent hours singing to Philip. The single most difficult and poignant moment of the service for me occurred during the singing of the second song "How Great is Our God" which is a song of praise. I came to pieces watching as Kristi and Rob both stood to honor God with strength that humbled me. I was floored and moved in a way I didn't realize I could be. It was just so inspiring and challenged me to my core.

My cousin Josh read a letter prepared by Kristi and Rob and he did exceptionally well. Josh chose to sandwich the letter with his own beginning and end and just blew everyone away. As a doctor with 4 children Josh doesn't make it to a lot of family functions, especially since his wife's family is on the East coast. He began by stating this matter of fact and that he knew he wasn't chosen because of his closeness to Sarah, but maybe for the very opposite fact. He showcased Kristi and Rob's love for their daughters and implored everyone to love with the same ferocity.

Throughout the whole service a bubble machine was operated, as bubbles were Sarah's favorite activity. Isaac would have loved them, but with 7 months separation between Sarah and Isaac I did not want to cause anyone pain in seeing a robust toddler wandering around just as Sarah should have been.

The pastor's message was painfully truthful and yet strangely comforting. To hear a man of God admit that Sarah's death in conjunction with Abbi's has caused him to question his faith is quite disconcerting. You just don't hear someone audible their confusion that often, let alone someone who is supposed to have all of the answers. His solution was simple though, if their deaths caused a loss of faith then the outcome was resigning Abbi and Sarah to death. There is no comfort in that.

Thursday and Friday were absolutely terrible and beautiful to witness. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to uplift them.


L.C.T. said...

Truly find this inspiring. Thank you for having the courage to share such an obviously painful and yet poignant and awe-inspiring message.

d.a.r. said...

I cannot even fathom the depth of their pain and, also, the strength and courage of their faith.

I'm praying for you all.

Meredith said...

What a powerful image to think of this family standing to sing How Great Is Our God after the death of two of their children.

I am not sure that I would be able to do that in that moment, but it is such a powerful testament.

Lisa said...

Oh Leah... I'll be honest, I haven't given these updates of yours their due attention because quite frankly, my heart can't handle it. With a barely 4 month old at home, the mere thought of a parent dealing with the loss of a child brings me to my knees. I have no words but I will be thinking of and praying for their family.

Leah said...

This tragedy continues to touch me beyond words. My prayers have been and will continue to be with your family.

Julia Goolia said...

This is really the saddest thing ever, and I'm with Lisa...it's almost too hard to read. Still praying for your whole family...


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