Friday, April 5, 2013

Bittersweet Friendship

Facebook Post From November 14, 2012

Today I am thankful for another bittersweet moment and a new bittersweet friendship that came into my life. As I concluded a “new normal” weekend on Sunday I had just sat down to hear a knock at my door. Being home alone with Haleigh Raye I reluctantly opened it and found a stranger at my door. As I looked at her through my screen door I saw that she noticed my hesitancy and she tried to put me at ease by telling me she was Angela O'Bryan Anderson from Missouri and had been to the UT/MO game this weekend (which explained her cute yellow nails.) I haphazardly congratulated her on her state’s win and silently wondered if she had ended up on my door step for a congratulations from a lifelong true blue Tennessee fan or was there something else she wanted to share. The latter parts of my thoughts were correct and her next words left me frozen and confused. “I lost two kids in the lake…on July 4.” I thought for a moment and vaguely remember being told about her story. There was two siblings who died the very same way Noah did the very same day just two hours prior. But those days were such a fog, the family was so far away and I was dealing with so much here I couldn't really absorb the story and the full effects of a mom losing two children not that I didn't have sympathy for her I was just dealing with the loss of my one and it was about to overtake me. The cause of Noah’s death is one that is rarely heard of and for it to happen to four kids in one day is uncanny but it did happen and the mother of the other two children, who was just a stranger moments ago, is now standing in front of me. Once I took a minute to put all this together and realize what a connection we had I immediately ushered her in, offered her a seat and we talked and talked and talked. We talked for 3 hours while her sweet friend waited in the car for her (Now, don’t worry I displayed southern hospitality to both of these Missouri fans and invited her in as well but she politely declined). Angela and I laughed, we cried, we exchanged stories and we eventually talked about what took our children from us. She was there that day with her kids and I was not and I had many questions about Noah and what quite possibly he dealt with that medical examiners were only able to answer in medical terms that didn't make much sense to me. I wanted to know if Noah suffered…did Noah know what happened to him. Those thoughts stay with me daily and nightly. Of course, she could only share with me her own story and even asked if she could before she went into details. I won’t really know answers about Noah until I get to heaven and may not even be allowed to know them then. But for now I battle the flesh and still live with those questions and wonder why didn't God intervene that day with Noah. Why didn't he have someone put the precautions in place so that Noah wouldn't have went through this. I don’t think that God caused the circumstances around Noah’s death but I can’t help but wonder why. Why did it happen? Why was it Noah? Why didn't someone somewhere know what they were doing. I'm angry but doesn't mean I’m angry at God. Doesn't mean I don't have faith in God. It means I’m human and I want answers surrounding everything that happened that day and the time prior that led up to this death. But with all those questions about God I do know he is God and he is faithful and that he did intercede in my life when he brought this new friend into my life. A new friend that I wish I had never heard of and I wish she never would have heard of me and I wish we didn't have a story to share…but we do. He knew my heart and knew I needed someone with similar circumstances who understood what I was going through and the questions I face and the thoughts that haunt me. So, Angela, I thank you for staying up all Friday night in your hotel in Knoxville and researching us and our story. I thank you for answering the call that was on your heart to come find this grieving mother who needed someone as much as you did. If you haven't read about Angela and her story, I encourage you to do so and add her to your prayers. I know she, her husband and especially their son Garrett, who is discovering what is it like to go from middle child to only child, will be on mine for the rest of my life...probably several times a day.

This is an update on Angela and another hurdle they just crossed and I am trying to cross myself. One thing I personally have learned about grief is that everyone handles it differently and everyone handles the "have to's" that come with it differently...A headstone is not a want or a's a have to. 

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