July 9, 2020
The World Keeps Spinning When the Lights Are Out
One of the most difficult things for me wasn't when "time" stood still for me... but that "time" moved on. During our wreck, as we were spinning after the initial hit from the other car, everything seemed to be in slow motion. I couldn't stop it, I tried to reach for Ray and my kids. It was as if I was stuck in a very bad movie in very slow motion.
Then my world stood still... for the next few hours I did not know what to do. I went from room-to-room at the ER. Finally, Dr. Steve Donald told us that he had done everything he could do. Andrew was gone. They allowed me to go back in that ER room and be with him for a few minutes, then I had to get in the ambulance with Ray and head to Mobile for a very long night.
I remember the ambulance driver allowed me to ride up front with him. And as we were near Mobile, I saw the State Examiner's car with Andrew's body. And when it turned, I told the ambulance driver, "There goes my little boy." He was visibly upset and told me how sorry he was. I was in shock; but I do remember telling him it was okay. I was going to be fine.
22 revolutions around the sun later and over 8030 rotations of the earth... here I am thinking about all the events that kept coming and I've missed them all with Andrew. 22 Birthdays; 22 Christmases; 22 Easters; 22 Valentines; 22 Thanksgivings; and so on...
I missed his 6th grade graduation; his first date; his drivers license; his prom; his graduation; moving into a college dorm or apartment; buying his first car; his engagement; his wedding; his first child... Yes, the world kept spinning, but without the fulfillment of the dreams I had for my little boy.
Tough... right? Yes, very difficult to swallow. That choking in my throat is there even as I pen these words today. I know how hard these days are. And if you have lost a child, I know that you know them too. Not everyone understands your pain through them. They won't understand your uneasiness. They may not understand your grief. So, I smile and try to appear as if everything is okay.
I did attend the graduation of Andrew's senior class, but Ray could not bring himself to go. They awarded me with a plaque... I have it, but to be honest I haven't looked at it in years. I just didn't want to go there in my mind. His classmates have moved forward... but here I am stuck in time. Remembering him as a 9 year old... that's as far as I can get.
Andrew's birthdays have come and gone for years now... 22 more to be exact... He would be 32 in a few days. But that doesn't seem right to me. I can't picture how he would look today. Would he still look like his daddy? Would he have a beard like his brother? Would he have children? Would he still be the rock-loving geologist he was at 9? Who knows? I know I sure don't.
Mom... Dad... I know how difficult this is, at least from my loss of Andrew. I pray for you today. Few people truly understand the depth of this loss. It is an experience that can only be completely felt by having lived through it. I pray for God to help you as the world continues to spin without your child in it. I pray that you are able to hold your head up towards the heavens tonight and declare the wonders of God even in the middle of your intense loss and pain.
I want to share a few things I have learned as the world keeps spinning.
1. Even though moments have been lost that I had planned for Andrew and me to share, I still have many moments to share with Gideon. So share your moments with those loved ones you do have present. This does not diminish the pain of those lost moments, but it does allow you the pleasure of other moments you need to keep.
I was able to actually experience the birth of 2 of my grandchildren, and I will tell you... I was not prepared for the joy that I would feel. Such cleansing joy. I'm glad the world kept spinning for me.
2. The world is going to spin whether we are happy or sad. (And from my science perspective, I don't want it to slow down one bit.) Every 24 hours or so, we are going to have a new day. It is up to you how you feel during that day. You may not be in control of circumstances, but you are in control of your feelings about those circumstances.
I don't like the sad me. I don't like the depressed me. I try to keep her locked away. I prefer my sunny side. I think others prefer my sunny side. Oh I know I have a serious side, and I often get told I am too serious (Amanda Greene), but I do have a fun side. You just have to be extra special to get to see that side. But I encourage you to evaluate all the sides of you. Bring the better ones forward; force the others to comply. Be happy again! Smile again! Love again!
3. Spin with the world. Spin around in the world. Enjoy yourself. Run in the rain. Howl with your grandkids in the night. (Yes... I might have done this. All the dogs in Copeland might have responded.) See the mountains with your family (Not my favorite experience; but a favorite experience with my grands). Go to a movie with a friend and laugh and cry and eat overpriced popcorn (Connie Brown).
I have mourned for the last 22 years; but I have lived, loved, and laughed during the past 22 years as well. I do not apologize. Andrew, I am quite sure, has laughed from Heaven on more than one occasion. The Bible tells us that we are compassed about with a great crowd of witnesses, and I just think God allows Andrew glimpses of his family in their most happy moments on earth. I could be wrong, but that's okay too. It comforts me to imagine it. Allow me a little latitude.
Yes the world keeps spinning!
Learn to spin again with it!
Yes the events keep happening!
Learn to embrace the events you can experience!
And if you are really brave... see how high you can jump up and catch the moon with your family and friends!
Much love to you all today!
To Be Continued!