Thursday, September 26, 2013

Empty Place

 Me, Terry and John

A friend of mine who just lost a family member put it well when she said:  "We are just beginning to feel that empty place in our family that you have lived with for the last 15 years."

If you've known me at all, you know my brother Terry was killed.  When he was murdered it was devastating to our family.  My dad passed away less than a year later.  Today would have been my dad's 64th birthday.   So from the end of August until the beginning of October is a very emotional time for me that kinda comes to a head toward the end of that period.  A empty place exposed...

  My dad, Terry, John and me on Easter Sunday 

A few years ago I wrote this:

"I've had a burning in my chest for a few days anxiousness, an irritability, a depressing grief. 12 years ago we lost my brother, Terry Lee. It's been 12 years since that horrible phone call that rushed us out the door and home for the worst days of my life. Memories flood this time of year. Just like real flood waters they cannot be kept at bay no matter how hard we try to ignore them. Some years it creeps up faster than others, some years it can be kept back longer but inevitably it comes under the doors and up to the windows."

This sums up how I feel as the anniversary approaches...

There are things I can't remember from my past, like I have blank spots, but I'll never forget those first few days.  I'm sad to say that is what goes through my brain during this season.  Reliving those moments and feeling like you are watching everything around you happen, but it's not really you.  Feeling the weight of grief so heavy on your chest that it just might crush you at any moment. 

The weight is still there but it's different now.  It's like realizing you can deal with a certain type of pain.  It's like the first time I had a c-section and  I felt like if I moved the wrong way I would just kill over and die--it hurt that bad.  The next time, I knew what to expect and it was still painful, but I knew I could make it through the pain.  

Every year I mark this anniversary by writing something that usually brings me to tears, but is in some way healing for me.  It's like I can't feel that grief lifted until I do this. 
Some Personal Thoughts,  12 Years..., When the Tears Fall Like Rain,
13 Years and An Eternity, 14 

I thank the Lord that He allows those feelings to come earlier than they used to, because as I've said before He gave me a reason to celebrate next week as well.  My daughter turns 13 next week, she is more than words can express to me.  So, I will celebrate my brother's namesake, Tera Leigh and that empty place will still be there, but not center stage like it is today. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;  
Isaiah 43:2-3a


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