For a long time, I blamed myself for Amanda’s death. I was supposed to be there with her walking the race. In my mind, if I would have been there she would not have been running, she would have been walking with me therefore she would have been okay. We would have laughed at how long it took this old woman to walk a half-marathon. She would have pushed me to finish and we would have talked along the way. She would not have died.
Somewhere along the way of me training for the half-marathon, I ended up with a stress fracture in my foot. The doctor told me I could still try to walk the race but everyone (including Amanda) kept telling me no. I asked Amanda to not run the race. I even prayed for rain. I didn’t have a good feeling about her trying to run. Not sure why, but I did.
So, the first few weeks it kept running through my mind – if I would have just been there, she would still be here. If I would have been there, she would be poking fun at me. If I would have been there, we could have talked for the four hours it would have taken me to finish it. Or, if I would have been there, and it still happened- she collapsed, she died, I could have held her. If I would have been there, I could have told her I love her one more time. I could have told her it was going to be okay.
We had a long walk a few weeks before she died. It was a day I will always remember. We talked about so many things. The future, family, dress codes, Church, God, her friends and the gym. She wanted me to start at the gym. I told her I thought it was a place she and her husband could use by themselves. It was a great thing for them to do together. All couples need some outside hobby they enjoy together. When I talked about “dress codes”, I got the old – “you are so negative” speech. I explained to her- I am not trying to be negative – I am trying to give you a warning. So, we talked about raising four girls in a world that looks at outside appearance. How I felt like she was falling into the trap of worrying about weight, strength and what she was eating to the point of getting her priorities in the wrong place. Sending the wrong message to the children. Life is not about the outside, it’s about our relationships – with God and others. If we spend so much time looking at the outside and improving the outside, the inside suffers, relationships suffer. Even family meals had taken on a “what can you eat” mentality.
Well, the conversation gave me something else to blame myself for. If I would have been more persuasive, maybe she would have chosen to go to her niece’s ballgame over the race. Normally, or shall I say the “old Amanda” would have been at the ball park. She would not have been concerned about running a race. She would have been concerned about spending time with her family.
Which leads me to the next thing I blamed, the Gym. Really, that’s how my mind was working. I mean Amanda died surely there was something or someone to blame. Silly thoughts, huh? The gym and all it entailed was something that caused her death. It caused her to start all of this concentration on self. It caused her to want to run these races. The gym caused it. Nope, but it was an easy target.
So, here I was trying to figure out someone to blame. Surely, there was someone or something to blame. Then it dawned on me. God caused this. God took my baby. God why? Why would you do this? Do you not know, she has children, a husband, nieces, brother/sister in law, mother, father, family and friends who need her? God, what are you thinking? God, You took my baby! God, look around at all of the murderers, and “bad” people in the world. Why not them? She was living for You! Why her? God was to blame. I mean after all He controls all. God numbers our days. God spoke back to me.
There is a purpose. He is still in control. He still loves her children, her husband, her nieces, her brother/sister in law, mother, father, family and friends. Of course, the answers are found in His Word: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB) All of this will work together for good, for His purpose. I may not see all of the “purpose” on this side of eternity. I have seen some of it already though. I have seen people saved through her testimony. I have seen people return to God through her testimony. I have seen her love for The LORD reported through-out the world. Yes, the world.
The other thing I realized was thank God she was ready. I know she is in heaven with her Father, Jesus Christ. All of these other people that I think deserve it would have been condemned to hell. What a horrible thought. Better for someone ready to meet The Lord than someone who has not accepted Him as Lord and Savior. Maybe, just maybe she died so you can read this and realize, you are not ready to meet Him. God sent His one and only Son to earth, to be born of a virgin, live life as a human, He was tempted as we are every day, lived a perfect life, died on a cross for our sins (we can’t be good enough), rose from the grave, walked on earth to show us He defeated death, ascended to Heaven so that He could send the Holy Spirit to walk within us every day. The Holy Spirit testifies within us we are saved, gives us guidance and comforts us in this life.
I am now writing this blog, keeping up with a web-site, and a Facebook page because God has given me a purpose of comforting others who have lost a child. To give a voice to those of us who are living A Parent’s Worst Nightmare. I can’t imagine going through this without the Lord to lead and comfort me. Writing this is not easy. It is hard to say the least to write honestly about my most guarded thoughts. It’s heart-wrenching at times. But, I know He has called me to help give others hope. To let others know, you are not alone. He is with us, and there are other people all over the world who have been through what you are going through. We do not need to be silent, we need to speak openly and honestly – to give someone else hope and comfort. We also need to seek professional help when we need it. Please, do not live with depression – seek help. It is not a weakness to need professional guidance, it’s a source He has given us! The American Psychological Association can help you find a Psychologist. The American Psychiatric Association can help you find a Psychiatrist. PLEASE, never hesitate to seek professional help.
Yes, I still play the blame game from time to time. One thing I know at this point in the journey, it’s like nothing else I have ever lived through. It’s like being on a path where at times you can’t help but take a wrong turn, go down that old same cul-de-sac . The main thing is to realize it is a wrong turn and return to the straight path. Return to the right thoughts, actions and emotions. Don’t give up as you travel. Don’t give into the thoughts of what could have been. Think on the things above, things that last beyond this life. ““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB) God is at work around us, we must join Him. We must see how we can help others. We must love our neighbors as ourselves and continue on in the right direction.
Love to all of you. I pray today will be a good day for you!