Friday, April 17, 2009

KRISTEN and RACHEL ~ A Memorial

Ten years ago today, April 17, 1999, it felt like the world literally stopped rotating.

It felt like our hearts stopped beating.

I remember not being able to breathe, I couldn't even think, I was literally not able to even move my limbs.

Honestly, at that moment, I couldn't even pray. (God understood, by the way).

Kristen..... seven-year-old Kristen....... had died.

But while we, here on earth, were stunned, immobile, paralyzed, heart-broken, crying, weeping, wailing, questioning, wondering, grieving, aching........ there was a group of people waiting on the side of the Beautiful River of Life to welcome a dear little soul into Gloryland.

Along with some grandparents and great grandparents who had gone on before, Baby Rachel waited with great anticipation to greet her dear sister and take her to the arms of Jesus.

Ten years ago today, Kristen went to live with Jesus.

Ten years ago today, I saw the heart of this girl's mother, my dearest childhood friend, get ripped from her body.

This is dear Kristen:

And this is me with Kristen's dear momma, my dearest friend, Taimi:

This is a photo of Taimi with her son, Nathan, as well as her husband, Scott:

I don't want to get into the details of Kristen's death because, frankly, I don't understand it all, and I don't want to quote something that is inaccurate. I know it had something to do with Kristen's blood, and because of a blood clot, blood and oxygen were prevented from getting to her brain. She died in hospital a couple of days after losing consciousness at her kitchen table at home.

Yesterday, I went to her grave, as I've tried to do every year since her death, and placed a pretty bouquet of bright flowers at her head. I also took some to her sister, Rachel, who died about 15 months prior to Kristen's birth. Rachel is Taimi's first daughter, who died suddenly in Taimi's womb at the same time I was pregnant for Blake.

Since Kristen's death, I have never sang the following song without thinking of her. It's hard to keep your wits about you when performing it in front of people. I even have a friend who sings it and I provide backup vocals for him; man oh man, it's hard to get through it sometimes. But I appreciate the opportunity to sing it because it reminds me of Taimi's girls.

And the joy and peace that this song promises provides me with the hope that we will indeed one day see our loved ones and spend eternity with more tears, no more crying, no more broken hearts..........

Take a few minutes and listen to Selah's medley of "In My Life / If We Never Meet Again". The video is not mine, but the pictures of the flowers reminded me of Kristen's pretty dresses that she always wore.....always covered in big bright flowers.

Well, that song was for Kristen & Rachel.

And this is for their Mom, Taimi, and for their brother, Nathan, and also for the girls' grandparents, Vel & Carolyn. It's Nicol from Selah singing a medley of "Be Still My Soul / What a Friend We Have In Jesus". (If you haven't already, you'd better grab some tissues...... I LOVE this one).

There are TONS of Scripture references that I could include with this post. TONS. But I'll just leave a few that you can draw some hope and strength from.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making His home with men and women! They're His people, He's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good --- tears gone, crying gone, pain gone --- all the first order of things gone." (Revelation 21:3-4)

What promises! What hope we have! And our hope is found in Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Taimi, Nathan, Vel & Carolyn: We lift you up in our prayers today. May God's peace surround and comfort you today as you remember these sweet girls, not just today, but every day.

......until we meet again on that Beautiful Shore.


VictoriaD said...

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making His home with men and women! They're His people, He's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good --- tears gone, crying gone, pain gone --- all the first order of things gone." (Revelation 21:3-4)

AMEN! Thank you Michelle for posting this. Kristen was a sweet, dear little girl and I while I wish she was still here, I know she is happy where she is. Amy remembers Kristen and how "nice she was". Taimi, if you're reading this, my thoughts and prayers are with you all today, but especially you. Love you chickie †

Janna said...

I never knew Kristen and I knew very little about her passing - I always cared, but didn't want to open old wounds or appear insensitive/gossipy by asking.
Thank you for sharing this, Michelle. I do not know why some people seem to have to go through so much more pain compared to others. God bless and comfort Taimi, Nathan, Vel and Carolyn today.
You know I blogged about losing my dad recently and as I read this post, I remembered how he would often say, "Life isn't fair, but God is good."

Taimi said...

Thank you for your prayers. These prayers are what keeps me going.

There have been many days that I have wanted to shut down and give up on the struggle to go on, but I know that is not an option. I know that God has a reason for everything. Someone once told me,
'Life goes on and that's the hard part.' How true.

It's so hard to believe that 10 years have passed since Kristen's death. The pain of the loss is still unbearable some days. Little things might trigger a memory and so I cry.

Most of the time I realize how blessed and proud I am to have raised and known my sweet little Kristen. She was certainly as cute as a button and she was an amazing big sister. She was immensely patient with Nathan. She could nag him better than anybody I knew and managed to get him to do things that rarely anyone else could. She loved God and felt it was her job to help everyone get along and be cheerful. She handed out 'I love you's' several times a day. She was always smiling.

I admit that loosing my two little girls has changed me a lot. I know that I have a hard time socializing now. I find going to church an emotional rollercoaster (I cry through most of it). The songs trigger the tears. Change is hard. I don't like it.

I saw the flowers today Michelle. They were beautiful. Thank you. I went to the gravesite this afternoon. I washed the stones and took some spring-like bright coloured flowers too. Kristen loved to dress in flowery dresses. She picked out most of the fabric herself for the smocks I would sew her.

Nathan has been a wonderful distraction for me over the years. He certainly brings me a lot of joy and I am proud of how he has coped with his own pain and how amazing he is now as a 16 year old. He certainly can be wise beyond his years at times as he has had to deal with some tough issues as a young child. He never misses a day to tell me that he loves me. I am truly blessed to have him. I love him.

Thank you for the songs and the scripture. They touched me deeply.

With love,
Rachel, Kristen and Nathan's mom,