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Did I miss something?

(Journal entry 1/20/2015)

So I stay up late through the night

Doing dishes in the dark

So I can hear him breathing

Not sure who to fight

Guarding every part of my heart.

I don't want to miss him slip away.

So where should I go for help?

Who will see me ... my heart as it cries for peace?

Not a person on this earth can relate.

Not a friend can understand the depth.

Who will stand in the gap and not judge?

Who do I know?

How do I not become a cry baby before each friend and each child?

How do I plan a wedding and watch a child regress at the same time?

Where are you, oh God?

Can you be a resting place for me today?

Can you see the flood of tears?

Show me how to shield my kids and yet let them be a part.

Be who you say you are ... strong tower, mighty, comforter,

prince of peace, my refuge.

Can you put skin on that for me today?

In You I trust, oh my God.

It had been a beautiful, happy holiday season as 2014 ended. We were all rejoicing over the New Year’s Eve engagement of our second daughter, Eliotte Nicole, to our soon-to-be son-in-law, Ryan. The wedding planning had begun, and I put on as many smiles as possible to hide the pain and reality of life inside our home with my youngest son.

Robert was not doing well. The number of his daily seizures were increasing too fast for our medical team to control. His in-home supply of oxygen tanks emptied more quickly now because his oxygen levels dropped off and on, all day, requiring a constant flow oxygen from his tanks to his face mask, and then into his lungs. His thin, eighteen-year-old, six-foot frame was still just as soft as baby’s skin because he was rarely in the sun. He was not able to regulate heat very well either, so we were very careful when we ventured out for a wheelchair walk.

His muscle tone was very poor, and other things were happening. He had begun to retain fluid, indicated by the swelling in his arms, hands and feet. I never really understood that swelling. I asked what it meant, but I was too afraid to hear the doctors’ answers. Now I know this was a sign that he was leaving us sooner than I had realized.

Did I miss something in my education about the hard things? Was I not paying attention in class? Looking back over my journal entry above, a little more than two weeks prior to Robert’s death, it seems that I was surprised by this reality — the reality of the hard things and harshness of life.

I definitely gave my full attention that January morning in our tiny Bible study group when my girlfriend asked me to repeat my prayer request, and I replied with calmness and deliberation,

“I am just praying that I will not be planning a funeral at the same time I am planning a wedding.”

That was my reality. I was so afraid Robert would slip away from this life during the night that I saved tasks to do late at night just so I could hear every sound he made from his bedroom. I knew it was coming — Robert’s decline and the planning of our daughter’s wedding. I knew I wasn’t strong enough on my own. I knew I needed some friends to pray for me. I didn’t know how to pray in those moments. I was fully engaged in this new life “classroom,” but I didn’t understand the curriculum or the homework assignments. Shoot! I didn’t even know I had enrolled in that class!

Who signed me up? I think I was enrolled when I said yes to living. When I dared to believe I was called to raise up this amazing child, I wrote my name on the sign-in sheet. I took my seat, brought my notepad, and wrote down every piece of wisdom I could handle.

Now I know I haven’t missed anything. I was right where I was supposed to be. I was in this “reality” classroom seated beside others who dared to take this class and even agreed to do the extra credit assignments. It was a Pass/Fail class. If I just showed up to class and did the work, I would pass.

I have passed this grueling class. The cost was unimaginable, but I passed it. I didn’t miss anything. The knowledge I gained is priceless. The classmates who studied alongside me are eternal friends. I grew over those 18 years, and I hope even more in these years following in ways that I would never have known, had it not been for Robert. I know now there are many who can relate.

So where should I go for help?

Who will see me ... my heart as it cries for peace?

My God saw my need for peace. He saw me. I pray you will know and sense that He sees you when the assignments get too hard. Don’t skip class. You will get through this. You can pass the test, too.

Listening Library: Peace-Acoustic (Anna Golden)

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV)


I found peace in the river I found peace by quiet streams And I found peace on the mountain I found peace in fields of green

And I found peace in the desert I found peace in raging waves And I found peace in the valley I found peace in what you said

Oh, and I can finally breathe again I can finally breathe again

And I found peace in the chaos I found peace in suffering And I found peace in confusion I found peace inside of me

Oh, and I can finally breathe again I can finally breathe again I can finally breathe again

And I can finally breathe again I, I can finally breathe again I can finally breathe again

'Cause I found You in the river I found You in suffering And I found You on the mountain You were always around me

Songwriter: Anna Golden

Peace lyrics © Capitol CMG Paragon

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