Sunday, April 11, 2010

Elyse's Last Picture

Since we've been back from vacation, I've actually been working full days in the office, which has contributed to the demise of this blog. Eventually I'll try to figure out how to keep this up and keep my paycheck coming in. So keep coming back. I promise more to come.

Last night I was browsing through pictures on the computer. I do this every once in awhile to keep her memories in the front of my mind. This one would stop me in my tracks.
February 14, 2010 - 6:23pm

That evening, April had prepared the most amazing Valentine's Day dinner for Peter and me. She even brought out the fine china. Because she and her sister have a cooking blog, she had been taking lots of pictures of the meals she had been preparing lately, so the camera was always on the kitchen counter, ready to catch whatever was her latest creation.

We've browsed our pictures a hundred times since we lost Elyse, but hadn't discovered her in the background of this one. This is the last recorded memory we have of her... maybe 8-9 hours before she went to be with our Lord.

I'm holding her in the way that I most often did, sitting on my arm, upright, looking around and taking everything in. She always wanted to be apart of what was going on around her. This picture is even more special because many times I'd bring Elyse down from upstairs and we'd walk around that corner and see Peter and Mommy. She'd usually get a huge smile on her face when she saw them. In this case, we were just waiting for dinner: a couple minutes away from sitting down and sharing a normal evening together at home.

Oh how the next several hours would change our lives forever.

In my heart, I still hold my little girl like this. I always will. Tomorrow is 8 weeks. For some reason, the time just continues to pass. I've been finding, in this past week, some of the deepest pain I've felt since her Memorial Service. I suppose that God's answering my prayer and keeping her close to my heart. Perhaps I'm starting to process more and more of the whole thing. I just know that it continues to be a deep hurt. A day doesn't go by without some moment of intense grief.

So I continue to cling to our Lord, proclaim those things I know to be true about His love, sovereignty and faithfulness; and I move forward, knowing that I have a son who needs a Dad and a wife who needs a husband. Elyse is safely in her heavenly Father's arms, taking in everything in her new home. She has no pain. She has no hurts. She has no worries.

I sure can't wait to see that girl again.


Jennifer Turner said...

What an amazingly precious image to have. Love you guys. I'm still praying.

Kara said...

Thanks for continuing to share, Cliff. I've often used fill light on a photo edit program to show the background of dark pictures better. I'm so glad you found this last pic of Elyse.

Arroyo Robles Vineyard & Winery said...

Still here, still reading, still praying...every day and every new post is a new step down the long road of healing... You are so brave to share it with the world...
"You are strong when you feel weak, In your brokeness, complete..."
Take care buddy.


Unknown said...

Thank you Cliff. We continue to relish each bittersweet post, and will check back often to catch those moments you have occasion to write.
Love, prayers, tears,

Paco and Jessie

Sara and Brad Auch said...

I had recently done the same thing and found a picture of our michael that i took about 1-2 hours before he passed, it wrenches my heart seeing it. I also have just started back into work, not full days yet, but yesterday was my first successful half shift since, so i just want you to remember we are here and are going through the same grief step by step. If you ever need anyone to talk to or even just rant about anything you both are more than welcome to come talk to me. god bless you two

Donell Trostrud said...

Cliff, If you're interested, I would love to have you send me a copy of the original file of that photo so I can use my editing software and try to bring Elyse out of the shadows. I'm not sure if you have a program that would do that, so I'm just offering. I'm glad you found this photo, although I'm sure it re-surfaces the pain. You'll cherish this.