I remember this moment so well. It was Ella's first day of kindergarten. In her hand you can see her mom's phone, and we were playing songs and singing before she took that first step out the door on her new adventure.
I remember her excitement. I remember countless hugs. I remember how nervous she was. And I remember this moment...vividly.
Just as all those years seem to have passed us by so quickly, another summer has come and gone. Tomorrow will be another new adventure as the kids all start back to school. Each of them will face new challenges, new experiences and new lessons. As a family, we face our first day "back to school" without our Ella.
Tonight, as we were saying prayers and tucking kids in bed, we sang. We sang the songs we have sung to our kids all these years. We sang harmonies and goofy lines. We kissed and tickled, high-fived and exchanged secret handshakes. But, we all knew something was missing. Someone.....is missing.
It became overwhelming as our 7 year old broke down. My voice broke and the songs began to lose their energy. Many of these songs are special because we wrote them specifically for our kids. Tonight, they just sounded different.
For those who grieve a loved one, the hardest part is not the initial loss. Instead, it's losing them over and over everyday. Death has taken holidays with her away. Death had stolen birthdays. Death has changed our vacations and our family gatherings. Yet the cruelest of all is that death robs you of the laughs, the hugs, and the quiet little smiles.
She would be starting middle school tomorrow; an adventure we will never have the chance to watch her begin. We miss her so much. As tears stream down each face in our home tonight I sit here helpless to change any of it.
My girls are crying themselves to sleep tonight because their sister is gone. The God I know and serve has allowed our hearts to be shattered. Yet, He sustains us. So, we will continue to pick up each fractured piece and offer it back to Him. As He puts the pieces back together, we know it will never be the same. We realize that our songs will forever be incomplete. Our hope is not of this world and comfort is not found in earthly things. Yet we press on, knowing that the day we hear her voice once again join ours in song, we will finally be home.
Forever means forever. And the day I hold her again in my arms will be the day forever begins.