Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I glanced down the grocery aisle and saw them.   Their backs were to me, but they looked like an ordinary couple in the baby aisle. Heads bent together, comparing bottles, glancing at their watches - in a hurry.  I was too.

Bethany and CW
Our carts nearly collided as our eyes met and I knew her, an old friend.  Our kids used to play together as we spent time at each other's homes.  She was always great at pinching pennies and just a great practical mom.  Sadness rested in her eyes, though a smile was on her lips.  I wanted to give her a hug and hold her, because I knew her  and her story, though not because it was in the news. Sadness rested on my heart as her familiar greeting reached my ears "Hey Lynnet!  Good to see you!" peppered with a thick Indiana accent.

We talked a while about their toddler grandson  and some of his struggles to gain weight and find the right foods and taking him for GI test at ARCH. I didn't want to say the wrong thing and bring her more pain. I asked about her college age son, who is just a year older than Oldest.  They were playmates in the church nursery and even went to HS together - friends on FB.  She said he was doing okay and thinking of changing his major to law.  That should not have been a surprise.

I push my cart to the middle of the aisle, out of the way of the floor cleaner, and settle in for a long chat.  Hurrying home seems so trivial now, but yet our conversation made me want to rush home and hug my kids. Even now as I write, it is difficult - remembering, my heart breaks. The hurt was still raw. Remembering, makes the gifts more precious...

September 18, 2010  
Today is a day that we should be celebrating Youngest's 12th birthday.  A day to celebrate the miracle that God performed yet 9 months before he was born, forming that beating heart.  Celebrating the amazing hand of God as He worked through the surgeons, Life Flight helicopter attendants, nurses, and family and friends as we prayed...

How is it possible that, while we should be celebrating, we were actually mourning the loss of a young lady, her family still numb from the tragic and horrifying events. The car-lined streets and parking lot of the church made navigating difficult. We ontered the small packed church, scanning for seats near friends.  The TV station was already setting up discreetly at back of the church, ignored by most. Whispered conversations floated through the hushed worship center.  My eyes wandered to the table up front where her family had displayed pictures of her short life, a video replays, her favorite country songs cut through the air.  We laugh at some of her choices and toes tap.  The mood lightens momentarily, until their minister step to the front.

One by one, memory by memory, photo after photo, salty tears pool and fall.  None are hidden. Grief, and sorrow blend, there is no division of race or stature. Peace and answers elude us.  Emotions crash likes waves on a reef. Sharp, cutting the soul.  I fight to keep my grief from escaping my throat. 

Her momma, Bethany, makes her way to the front, following the memories from her two remaining children. It all seems unreal.  Funny memories are recalled, laughter titters, her momma seems in a fog, memories cloud over the pain, but her smile doesn't quite make it to her eyes.  She looks at
no one, but rather at a place in her heart - a swing sets, silly songs, dress-ups, sweet baby smells, siblings silliness, teenage life.  It all meshes together in one moment in time - a memorial service for her murdered daughter, Briana

My phone vibrates and I turn back to my forgotten cart.  It's Only wanting to know when I'm coming home.  I cannot believe I've been standing there talking with them for over an hour. Our carts clank as we attempt to turn them,  Bethany and I hug - holding tight.  We have lived day to day, laughed, played in the snow, slept comfortably in our beds, dreamed, When you stop to think about it, our lives have gone on. But they have not.  They live each day and night listening still for Briana - out of habit. Their lives are on hold as they go to counseling, work their jobs, learn to live, and endure a long wait for justice.

"Some people say really dumb and hurtful things.  It's only been 6 months and it will take us years to heal. We'll forgive, but we can't just forget."  It's a different hurt and loss from a miscarriage or losing a parent, which she has both experienced.

You really never think it will happen to someone you really know.  It will always be someone else right?

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Raine said...

Today I have finally been able to access your blog. I have tried several times through out the week without success. My silly work system, server, overload. whatever it maybe. Last minute before I go home I try and "wha-la". I'm taken back by your story. I remember talking to you on the phone about the wrongful death of this young girl. My heart is saddened for the family for their loss. Thank you for your post, reflecting back, showing honor to the family by kindly reminding us how their lives are still at a standstill while they continue to wait for an answer. I can not imagine the loss, the huge hole they must feel. Thank you for being their friend & letting God place you at the right place & at the right time.


Thanks so much, Lynnet, for writing this post. We need to learn how to be with people in so much pain. I think we want to say the right thing and not cause further pain. I am sad for your friends.


Jodi said...

OH my...this touched my heart so. Holding back the tears, and praying for this family, as I can't imagine their loss...their grief. You are an amazing writer, Lynette. I truly felt your emotion in this post. Thanks for sharing Lynnet.