A couple of years back my dad got diagnosed with cancer. I remember sitting listening to the news and feeling completely helpless. I had recently moved to Oregon and all I wanted to do was hug him and tell him I loved him face to face. My dad was going to have surgery to remove the cancer and our prayer was that it hadn’t metastasized or was worse than we thought. Fortunately they were able to remove all of it and he has been cancer free ever since.
Through this time my dad was so positive. Yes, I’m sure he had his moments and was scared, but outwardly he was positive. I asked him how he was doing during one of our phone conversations and I will never forget his response. He said that he couldn’t change the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer. Being sad, angry or even wishing it wasn’t true wasn’t going to change what was happening to him but he could control how he responded to this diagnosis. He could choose to have a positive attitude and look to the future instead of thinking his life was over. My dad choose to be positive…he choose joy.
My dad is so wise.
I have thought of my dad’s response often these past 2 months. I cannot change what happened to my girls and a game of “what if” will never bring them back. I can though choose how I respond to my girls being Heaven. I can celebrate them, I can share pictures, I can sit in their rooms and quietly grieve a life too short, I can go to their schools and spend time with their friends, I can sit and look through hundreds of pictures and videos and remember all of the amazing times I shared with them, I can live a life that honors God and I can listen, really listen and go where he leads me. I can choose a joyful life that honors my girls and shares their story, a love-drenched life!
Last night a group (a big group) of Anna and Abigail’s friends and their parents stood outside of my house with candles flickering and sang Christmas carols. We then walked around our neighborhood singing to Old Town while Anna’s little friends held my hands. There was so much love and joy, I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face. My husband belted out songs as though he was preforming in front of a stadium of people. It made my heart so warm to see him surrounded by this love and to hear his beautiful voice. He was definitely singing to the Heavens.
At one point we were all standing in the alley next to our house figuring out where we were going to go next. This was the same spot I stood in the night of the accident. Over the last 2 months being outside at night has been very difficult for both of us. I’ve avoided the alley and generally made any time outside at night very brief. We are both struggling with images of that night and the triggers are countless…being in the alley I felt would definitely be a trigger.
As I stood there, in the exact spot I stood that night, I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I looked around at all of these people that love us and our girls so much. There was so much Joy! I can say at that moment I felt the images of fire trucks, policemen and my little girl covered with a white sheet vanish. I now have a new image to hold onto that is so beautiful! It’s the image of friends singing, beautiful faces laughing and my two little angels sitting in their tree smiling at their parents having joy.
I am so grateful for God’s Love being poured on us by our community.
I am grateful for a Dad who taught me, through his example, to be positive even when life is tough. We don’t always get to choose what happens to us but we can choose how we respond to it. My girls LOVE their Papa with all their heart and he loves them with all of his.