One of the many reasons I started blogging was that I found such an outlet in writing out my thoughts and feelings about the grief and pain I was experiencing. July 4, 2012 impacted so many people for a variety of reasons. It certainly affected our community because not just one child's life was lost that day but two young boys from the same town, the same school and even the same church. This also meant two families were dealing, grieving, coping and the ripple effects from the tragedy were felt in many circles. The multitude of people that were reaching out to us genuinely cared. So my writing not only was a release for me but also a way to communicate with the outpouring of people who had been there since the first hour this horrible ordeal unfolded.
I began by just writing down emotions I was going through and somehow trying to communicate them and making them make sense. Most of my life I have been very self conscious of how I write or act publically for fear of failure, rejection or negative feedback. But when a thought came to my mind that I truly felt was from God I not only felt the urgency in writing about it I also felt God allowing me the freedom to express through social media what I was going through. I started to feel indifferent about how people would respond. I just knew I had to get them out even if it was just on Facebook.
When I started writing, or rather posting on Facebook, about the aftermath of the tragedy I never ever expected to get so many "likes" and responses such as, "you are such an inspiration" and "your strength amazes me" or "I can't imagine how you deal." Not one time, even now, have I felt like an inspiration or have I felt strong. I feel like I am a mother coping, a mother dealing, a mother grieving but more than anything I finally realized I was a mother with a surviving child. A child who needed to feel important. A child who had lost her 18 month younger brother. A child who needed to see that as much as her mom wanted to die the day Noah died there was more willpower in her mom to survive and live...really live if for nothing else but for her. And that is what I've made a conscious effort to do. Some days I feel like I just want to hide from the world and take refuge and immerse myself with Noah's pictures, Noah's toys and Noah's clothes. Other times I can't stand the sight of them and I want them as far away as I can possibly get them. Sometimes there really is no in between stage, no happy medium. Grief is just a roller coaster of emotions and that is where writing and the responses I get from readers, along with my faith and the determination to not let Noah Dean be forgotten, helps me to remember to keep on keeping on.
But something unexpected happened as I was sharing my personal journey with so many people and some of whom were complete strangers. I started receiving texts, emails and messages from those who had read my posts and then told me what an impact it had made in their own lives, in their relationships with their children and most importantly, in their relationship with God. I slowly felt like I had a calling not only to Haleigh Raye but God could allow me to use my situation, Noah's testimony and God's faithfulness for His purpose and Noah and his life, as short as it was, could still have long term effects .
So I decided to go back and go through some of my old Facebook postings and put them up on my blog. They can be found under the label of Facebook Posts or you can click the links below. Many people have probably already read them and may have even commented on them and if you did I thank you for that. YOUR words have inspired, strengthened and encouraged me. I hope for anyone new reading them they can have some sort of impact of if nothing else remind us that even in a world that is constantly changing, a world where truth is hard to see, there is one thing that hasn't changed and one truth that never will change and that is God. God is the same God. His words are the same yesterday as they are today and they will be the same tomorrow. I have to admit it is hard for me to go back and see those early thoughts and emotions I had. It brings back so much of the initial pain I felt and the disbelief I carried with me. But if it can change one life and if it can help bring one more person closer to God, if it lengthens the impact of Noah's testimony then it will be worth it. And, as for me, I will keep on sharing and keep on keeping until God quietens me or Noah and I are together again...but this time for eternity.
"Living without faith is like driving in a fog." September 2012
"Bittersweet Friendship" November 2012
"Faith That Can Move a Mountain" January 2013