a heavy heart & their damn presents

i’ve been going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth trying to decide if i should post on friday’s horrific tragedy. but all weekend my heart has been cloaked in sadness, each beat a reminder of those little lives lost. each hug, kiss, giggle from my little guys a reminder of the parents that will no longer get to experience these simple joys with their children in this lifetime.

i need to post this. to get it off my heart. to lift the veil of sadness that’s enveloped me this weekend. blogging is kind of like my therapy. i can lay everything out, all my unprocessed thoughts and leave feeling a little better. whether or not you read this, i hope you have your own way of coping.

i feel guilty writing, “that i will walk away feeling better, that my sadness will lift a bit after writing this.” guilty because i know the families, the parents, the siblings, the friends of those precious babes and heroes will be deeply saturated in an unbearable grief that will not be leaving them anytime soon…and perhaps, never.

i don’t even know how to write this out.

as a mother, one of the most horrible things that i can imagine is for one of our children to die before us…but then for them to die so carelessly, so violently, so needlessly is unfathomable. it’s nothing anyone should have to experience. and yet, here we are. processing exactly that. with each piece of information i received on friday, my throat would tighten, my teeth clench, my tears ebb to the corners of my eyes, it was all i could do to stop them, to not race to turbo’s school and pull him out simply so i could hug him.

that night, lover had the news on and all i could do was watch, tears streaming down my face at the autrocity of it all. i finally had to cut myself off from the news entirely because i needed to be present for my own family. to love them wholeheartedly with my entire being. and that’s what i did with a sorrowful shadow of knowledge following me around throughout the weekend. i kept imagining if it had been my child. how, outside of the horror of it all, the little, seemingly insignificant details of their once vibrant life would be what tore me apart. how seeing his latest school work on the counter would bring me to tears. how his dirty clothes on the floor would taunt me with the fact that they would not be worn again. how toys left out would no longer be played with. i would not hear the rowdy noise of brothers wrestling their daddy or kisses being given to sweet pea. and these thoughts, they break. me. they break me because the sadness i feel welling up inside me, the tears i have to choke back are a reality for 20 sets of parents, 40+ people experiencing this real, undescribealbe grief. this unimaginable pain that must be searing through them is something i pray no one else ever has to know.

and in all these thoughts swirling around in my head, i keep coming back to their damn Christmas presents. presents so carefully selected for their children. beautifully wrapped under the tree in anticipation for a joyful Christmas morning that will never come.

never. come.

can you even begin to IMAGINE that? those presents staring up at you? with no one to open them? no one to play with them? to squeal with excitement over them? for some reason, their damn presents are haunting me.

and the siblings. oh, the siblings. can you imagine having to tell their siblings they will never see their brother/sister again? oh, my heart hurts for them. younger siblings that cannot even grasp what has happened. older siblings hurt, angry, confused. bless their hearts.

i/we have never met these children, these heroes. we do not know them. and yet my grief, and the nation’s, is real and palpable and painful. and i just keep thinking, if it’s that real and that painful and that sickening to all of us outsiders, bystanders, i just can’t even fathom the pain, the agony, the physical ache the loved ones that are left on this earth must be feeling. and i am at a loss.

i’m at a loss, so i pray. because that is the one and only thing i can do. we can do. just pray. pray now, pray days from now, pray on Christmas day when those damn presents won’t leave the grieving alone and the memories of their loved ones are still painfully fresh in their minds. the healing road ahead is long, and steep, and i’m certain it looks unsurmountable. but with your prayers and the love of our sovereign God, the painful process can begin. we can only hope it will be filled with the love and support and the compassion and comfort that they will need to continue on for the days, the months, and the years to come.

*  *  *  *  *

i pray that they know their babies are wrapped safely in the arms of God in heaven.

{*let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these* matthew 19:4}

i pray that they find comfort in our loving God.

{*blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.* matthew 5:4}

that they cast all their cares and their worries and their fears up to Him.

{*give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.* 1 peter 5:7}

i pray they know they will/can see their precious babes again one day in heaven. and if they don’t know? i pray someone has told them.

{*Jesus said to them, ‘i am the way, the truth and the life. no one comes to the Father but through Me.’* john 14:6}

i pray that they find the peace that they deserve,

{*peace i leave with you; my peace i give you. i do not give to you as the world gives. do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid* john 14:27}

the love and strength that they need,

{*God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.* psalm 46:1}

and the courage to carry on.

{*be strong and courageous. do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.* joshua 1:9}

 *  *  *  *  *

with a heavy heart, i leave you tonight with words i’m sure you’ve heard and clung to in the past few days.

hug your babies, your husbands, or wives, your loved ones. do not take their lives for granted. make sure they know they are loved, tell them, because our lives on earth are fleeting, literally but a breath. there is no such thing as too many hugs or kisses or i love you’s. it is impossible to spoil them with love, so let love reign. cherish the days we are given. don’t think only about the present, think too about the future, about eternity, and what you want for yourselves and the one’s you love and move towards God now and always.

much love  *

Lyndee - These words you have written are amazing. I, too, am having a hard time thinking about those presents. When I walk by our tree, every single time, I glance at our presents, the ones that are ‘perfect’ for my children, and think to myself that those families were robbed of that and are changed forever because of one terrible act.
I have had constant tears in my eyes and a tightening of my throat since the news started breaking on Friday. I’m in fear for my Country because I know that this is not the worst we will face. So many people have turned their backs on God and have allowed evil to take over them and it’s sad to me, not only because people will continue to do evil things like this, but because so many people are lost and will not know (or listen to) the promises that God has made to us.
I hope that this tragedy is enough to bring some people to the Lord, I hope that because of what happened people will fall to their knees and trust in God that He is the only answer in this crazy world we’re living in.
I also hope that somehow, someway, the families that lost one of those prescious babies can FEEL my prayers and can somehow find comfort and feel a little less pain. Like you say, if *I* am feeling this much pain, I cannot imagine what any of them are going through. And it’s so senseless. And so tragic and so terrible.
I’ve been hugging my kiddos like crazy these past few days but it’s just not enough. I can’t get enough hugs nad kisses in that would possibly hold me over should I lose them….
Thank you for your words and your honesty.

Bekah - Stace,
So beautifully, authentically, compassionately written. My heart beats right alongside yours in praying for the families, the siblings, the grandparents and friends. May we cling daily to the gift of our children, our spouses, our community. May we thank God for every day and not waste a moment! Love your heart!! Thank you for sharing it with the world!

Jill - Thank you for expressing so beautifully what we all are feeling right now.

Tamara Weets - Stacey,

Your post is heartwrenchingly beautiful.

Stacey - What an amazing blog entry…all I have been thinking, feeling and more. Thanks for putting it out there for us to read and think and pray about. I will hug mine a little bit tigher, kiss them a few extra times more, and tell them I love them every chance I get than…my heart is still breaking…I can’t even imagine…xoxo

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