"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Yesterday was a day of remembering. After school, for some reason or another, a teacher friend and I started talking about some of the very things that have brought much sadness to our lives. I don't dwell in sadness but this conversation began merely because it's almost the one year anniversary of the deaths of two special children that we once knew. I listenend as she talked about one of the children and almost immediately, somewhere within, I began remembering my own sister Heather. Yes, remembering. I don't talk much on this blog about my family's loss of my sister, my parent's daughter. February 27, 1995 and the days, weeks, and months after were very difficult for my family (even some days now). Those were some of the darkest days that I have ever experienced. It was hard seeing my parents, my oldest sister, and my grandmother react to her tragic loss. So sometimes I just don't want to remember the very moment when my dad told my twin sister and I that "Heather didn't make it".  It's not that I don't want to talk about her here but the passing away of a loved one in general, especially so young, is hard to talk about never mind writing about. No one wants to be reminded that their loved one is no longer on this side of Heaven. No one.

So as my friend continued to talk and share I begin thinking about our precious Heather and how it's almost been 17 years since I've seen her, talked to her, or told her that I loved her. She's been with Jesus longer than I knew her. I often think of her and wonder many many many questions as I know my sisters and parents do.
I wonder:
Why did our beautiful and talented sister have to leave us at the very young age of 20? She was in college studying to be a special education teacher and had her whole life ahead of her. She was going to make a difference and be a difference to others.
Wonder what she'd be doing now? Would she be married? Would she have children? If so, how many? She did have a boyfriend whom she'd dated for several years until her passing. (He is now married).
Where would she be living? I have so many more just like these. So many more.
I also ponder thoughts such as these and when I do I become really sad:
I will never hear Caroline ask if she could spend the night with Aunt Heather.
I will never hear Caroline ask if Aunt Heather is coming to her birthday parties.
I'm sad that my child will never know or see the sister that I once had. I can only talk to Caroline about Heather through pictures. I hope that I can somehow paint for Caroline such a picture of her that she will know her like her mommy, aunts, and grandparents. I want her to know that she loved children, had a heart for those young and old, never met a stranger, and had a laugh that was very contagious. She was a happy girl! After having a child and understanding the depth of love one could possibly have for another, it saddens me more for my parents. I'm sure they have gone through more with her passing then us girls will ever know (I can't even begin to fathom). They seemed so strong for us that night 17 years ago.

Up until age 14 I thought I was immune to "bad" things happening. I hadn't heard much of anyone losing a sibling or a close loved one so young. I learned so soon that tragic things do happen to families. From then on (well high school and college) I always guarded my actions. I tried to think about my parents before I did anything. I made sure that I made good choices for me for them (I'm quite sure that I went way overboard with this way of thinking). I respected them deeply so I did put "what would momma or daddy think" kind of thinking first. I was always fearful of something happening because "what if" I made a bad choice. I never wanted my parents or my sisters to endure such heartache again. Once was already too much. Being an adult, I now know that God doesn't want me to live my life in constant fear or worry. I am not to walk this earth in some bubble because of thinking about the inevitable. I can't also go through life thinking that I have immunity to other disheartening things happening either. God doesn't promise that troubles won't come our way. He promises us that He will walk with us through those times. He wants us to know that He is all we need. I am to have faith and trust and believe in His word. Jesus didn't die on the cross for me so that I could live each day in fear of what might or could happen (sometimes I still need this reminder). He is toally in control of all things.
I was never angry at God for what happened to Heather. I knew that God loved me and my family and that He knew our sadness, heartache, and grief.
God is ever present in my daily life. I love Him. I am thankful for the 14 years that I spent with my sister and for the 20 that he gave to my parents. 
We'll never forget our Heather Marie. I am quite sure that she is having the best time in Heaven dancing at Jesus's feet with my grandparents while they wait for all of us to meet again someday. I don't want that day, for any of us, to be anytime soon, so I'm rejoicing in the fact that today has been given to me and I'm going to praise Him and count my blessings big and small.


Heather and Travis said...

Sweet Melissa, this was such a beautiful post. I literally have tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing your feelings with all of us. Your sister would be so proud of you and the wife, mommy and friend you are!!! I love you so much!

Anonymous said...

So, I too, have tears in my eyes. I never comment on anything, but I do feel as though I needed to on this one. I am sad that I don't remember her, but rejoice in the fact that she did indeed get to be an aunt on this earth (and I feel certain she was a marvelous one!). And while it truly, truly saddens me that she was never able to meet the other 4 precious little (and big) ones we now have, I rejoice that she is still an aunt...but now she is one 5 times over! I often forget that she too was studying special-ed, and to think that I'm doing the same thing-it humbles me beyond belief that I was the only neice/nephew she met and it humbles me that we share a major. I hope to make her proud. -C

Raven said...

I am literally moved beyond words because I remember Heather and all the things that she did for us as little girls! She was the one who picked me up and dropped you off during our many slumber parties. She watched over us countless weekends when a teenager would otherwise want to be elsewhere! I have fond memories of her and I am so greatful that I got to be part of your family at such a young age. As long as we have been friends (and it has been forever) I can count only a few times at most that you have shared your feelings so deeply about your sister. I have no doubt in my mind that she is proud of the wonderful person that you are

Anonymous said...

Loved this Melissa! Thank you for sharing. You don't know how much I needed to hear what you said about how Jesus didn't die on the cross for us so that we would go on living in fear... and the beautiful things you said about your sister, Heather, she sounds like such an amazing person. Blessings to you and your family. love you Julie

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet friend. Just read your post...I know that ache all too well. It will be 6 years in April since we lost Lauren. Our boys talk about her all the time and love to see her pictures. It seems at times though, that they do know her. Precious.
Jen Clary