So how are we? That depends on what moment it is and what thoughts and memories are coming to mind.
In the big picture of everything, we are doing OK. God is so good and so faithful and continues to carry us as we can't carry ourselves. I spoke with a mentor the other day who told me (as a professional psychologist looking from the outside in) that we're doing pretty well, all things considered. Others have echoed the same sentiment, almost in amazement. Some have been inspired by our endurance, others by our overwhelming sense of peace in the trial. Some have told us that, through the rumor mill, they've heard that we're doing just fine.
To be truthful, we're not fine. We may have peace, and we may understand God's love and faithfulness in a whole new way, but we're not fine. We hurt, and hurt deeply. It's the feeling of almost always having a lump at the bottom of your throat. It's the feeling in the deepest depth that you have been completely emptied, and not emptied slowly, but having something in the deepest depth completely ripped out of you. It's brokenness, and it hurts.
I just came down stairs from standing over Elyse's crib in tears. I picture her there and I just miss her so much. I can't be in her room more than a minute without breaking down. Everywhere we go we're haunted by the desire to have her there with us. And we frequently return to the question, "What could we have done differently?" No, we're not fine.
But alas, we are forced to return to the truth. The truth is that we serve an almighty God that loves and cares for us deeply. He is good. He is faithful. He is sovereign. And He is Lord. His mercies are new every morning. We cling to these truths, and repeat them often. In the midst of despair, we are learning to sing praises, quote scripture, and remind each other of the truth that we know in our minds, even when we don't believe it in our emotions.
So how do we want you to respond to us? Many people are obviously nervous in approaching us, and uncomfortable at best in making conversation. We get that. We want you to know that we understand. This is strange territory for all of us. But please know that we love to talk about our little girl. We miss her so very much, but we love to talk about her and remember her. This is healthy. As I've said before, we don't have any desire to "move on" but know we are to "move forward." As we do that, we cling to the most amazing memories that we have of Elyse; and we treasure it when others share their memories of her. Sometimes we're brought to tears, sometimes laughter, but we love the memories.
For those of you not in our daily world, I can't even begin to tell you how much your prayers, cards, scripture, calls and so much more have meant to us. Please don't forget. Please don't forget to pray for the three of us, as well as our extended family and friends. Please don't forget to drop us a note every once in awhile reminding us of truth. Please don't forget our little girl. We aren't going to... ever.