When The Unthinkable Happens

1angel1 It’s quiet here in the parlor.

The dogs are happily snoozing on top of the couch cushions, Russ and Charlotte are sleeping in upstairs, I’ve had one cup of coffee and I’m getting ready to go fix another one. I can hear the occasional car go by. I can see the red berries of my holly tree right outside of the window. I’m grateful for those thick velvet curtains that frame my wavy-glass, not-very-well-insulated old windows, but I’m still going to tuck this fuzzy throw around my legs– it’s a gray, cold day here in the Buckle.

I’m feeling kind of cold and gray inside, too. Today Russ and I will drive in to Franklin and attend the funeral of a friend’s 24 year old daughter who was killed in a car accident during the recent ice storm in Alabama. I never met the young woman who is being buried today, but I know her father, and so many of their friends and church family. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of pain they are experiencing right now. What is your morning like on the day you are going to put your child in the ground? My prayer is that they still are in the lingering shock stage of this shattering experience, at least enough to get them through today.

I have several friends who have buried children. The circumstances were all different, but all equally senseless and tragic and forever life-altering. It is the number one fear of every person who has ever loved another person, that they will be irrevocably taken from you– but in the case of your own child, it just seems so WRONG on some global, universal scale. Even though I absolutely believe in life after death, and that our souls are immortal, somehow that seems like cold comfort when you are saying goodbye to the precious, mortal body that housed the spirit of your child. And for some reason– probably because my own Madi Rose is close to the same age– it feels even more bizarre that the young woman that lost her life was in her early 20’s. She had survived the vulnerable toddler/small child years, when there are SO many different ways they can be hurt or worse. She made it through the tempestuous teen years, when some people I know have lost children to drugs or suicide. She had graduated from college, moved a couple of states away from her family and was starting her life and career. As a parent I would kind of had a tendency to think, “OK, we’ve successfully raised and ‘launched’ her,  she’s on her way– whew, I can relax a little now!” But you never really can, can you?

One of the things that struck me when my Mom died last year was that I had just lost the one person on this earth that I KNEW prayed for me every single day. A selfish thought, maybe, but it was kind of sobering. I knew that as long as Mama was alive and in her right mind, she was ‘lifting up ‘ her children and grandchilden to God daily. She was saying our names out loud, asking for protection and blessing and for God to be real to us and work in our lives. And part of the enormous loss of that amazingly feisty little spirit was the loss of that certainty, of that covering of prayer, straight from a mother’s heart to her/our Father’s heart. I don’t really feel less protected or blessed since she’s not here on earth to pray for me any more. But I do feel a little less, well, loved.

The Yake family needs your prayers today, and for lots of days to come. The only way through this is to just go through this, I guess. But knowing that there are people all over the world who are asking God for grace, peace and mercy on your behalf in your time of grief might help a little. I hope so, because for the life of me I can’t think of anything else that might. I have to keep reminding myself that God knows what it feels like to lose a child, too.

And maybe you can say their beloved child’s name out loud– it’s Emily. 





6 Responses

  1. kidpyramid

    As a mother who has lost a baby, I can only imagine a fraction of their pain after losing a child they have known and loved for 24 years.

    They will be in my prayers.

  2. VA-Cathy

    You worded this beautifully. While raising our children we seem to always feel like, if we can just get thru the current stage, the next will be easier, we won’t worry as much, etc. My oldest will be 25 next month, my youngest is 20, married and still in college. Some days it’s not much easier. I cannot imagine what these parents are going thru, and I hope I never have to experience it. There is nothing we can say to make them feel better. Your, and everyone else’s presence there will help strengthen them. I pray God’s peace and strength for the days to come. They will be rough, only possible to bear with God’s help.

  3. auburn60

    I’ve been praying for Emily since I first heard about the accident. I don’t even remember how I first heard about it; maybe because my youngest is in Alabama and I was paying special attention to the weather there the past few weeks. Maybe from Facebook. I know the route she was driving very well. Both my oldest and youngest have driven it regularly. And when you have kids close to that age (26, 25 and 18) news like that brings up all those fears you usually can bury deeply enough to function day-to-day. I hope the Christians in Alabama ministered to the parents at the hospital and the law enforcement folks helped as much as they could. I hope the prayers of all of us surround them as they go through this tragedy.
    And Tori, I’m gonna start praying for you every day by name. I know it’s not the same but I’ve always had the theory that when you can’t fill the big needs in the world you can fill some of the small ones. :) Just so you know you are loved.

  4. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Amen, Alyson, Amen….to your prayerful wishes…and to Tori being loved.

    I can’t begin to imagine how it would be losing a child of any age. Ibelieve our gracious Lord helps us get through it, but I don’t believe you ever get over it. My prayers are with Emily’s family during these extremely painful days.

  5. LindaB

    When I first heard about the accident on FB, I couldn’t get that family out of my mind…..and that young girl lying in the hospital as her family, hindered by terrible weather conditions, were trying desperately to reach her side. I just had to think how I would feel in the same circumstance. It’s just beyond words…..beyond sorrow. I have been praying for this family since I heard, as so many have.

    And dear sweet Tori, I believe you are loved and prayed for more than you know!

  6. » (I Promise My Next Post Will Be Full Of Funny Stories, Heartwarming Tales Of Small Town Life and Possibly A Few Fart Jokes.) | babybloomr

    […] **Still filled with sadness and compassion for the Yake family who lost their Emily in a car accident last month. […]

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