Updated: Jul 27
Have you ever had one of those days? The kind of day where you remember e.v.e.r.y. single detail of a given experience. What you were wearing. Listening to on the radio. Watching on television. What you ate. Drank. Any-and-every detail imaginable surrounding the event? And everything else is a blur?
One that is unforgotten… I do. And it happened exactly two years ago today.
On a very cold winter’s morning…
I was pregnant. Very pregnant. With little Baby Nugget. My husband took Miss Observant and Monkey to my parents’ house so that I could venture off to what I imagined would be my last appointment before her arrival.
It was around 9:30 in the morning. As I was preparing to run up to the restroom one last time, my attention was immediately caught by our local news. With full coverage unfolding of a crime spree on an adjacent side of town. That had left several injured. Robbed. Assaulted. And, with a broken heart as I write these words…a life lost. It had unfolded over the last two hours. The police had not yet found those responsible. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and began to head out the door, when the phone rang. With the phone call I would never, ever, ever forget.
9:34 A.M. It was my mom. Beginning with the tearful words, “The girls are okay. I just want to let you know that the girls are okay. But your dad has been shot.”
She managed to tell me that my husband was coming to get the girls. And I managed to fumble off of the phone with her and cancel my OB appointment, through a lot of deep breaths, one reassuring nurse and a magnitude of tears. I cannot even express the out-of-body experience that occurred that day. Watching a tragic string of crimes unfold in front of my very eyes, only to have my own father, my daughters’ grandpa, as the last victim. And my girls witness to the aftermath. A h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e. feeling. And that doesn’t even do it justice.
As for my mom, I can’t even imagine what she felt.
Thankfully, despite the attempts of the teenagers to come back after my dad, following their initial shots, he survived. The father and husband who was the victim immediately before him, did not. And this is a day that we can offer prayers to God for him, his soul and his family. This is a day that we can offer thanksgiving. For God’s grace. For his protection. For watching over the life of someone who was not yet meant to leave us. Who, just four days later, was to meet his newest granddaughter.
Life is unpredictable. And that is plain-and-simply an understatement. For someone like me, unpredictability is extremely difficult. Because I have a serious need and desire for control in my life and the lives of those around me. And to be frank, my greatest anxiety comes from worrying about things happening to those who I love the most, that are out of my control. Something occurring that I just can’t prevent. The scariest feeling in the world.
Our journey is not meant to be predicted. If we knew the events that would unfold within our lives, many of us would change the way we lived. In anticipation. Worry. Fear. Sometimes, unthinkable things happen to amazing people. And in my mind, I still c.a.n.n.o.t. comprehend what happened to my dad. How the timing had to be just so precise that those responsible made it to a random road, 30-40 minutes away from where it all started, to pull up next to my dad at the exact moment they did. Incomprehensible. But truly, it’s not my job to try and figure it all out. Right now, the focus needs to be on prayers. Of thanksgiving. Of praise. And of concern over another family. Who, today, is very much experiencing feeling of missing presence in their lives.
This post was not written to draw pity. Or sadness. This was written to remind others that no matter what happens in life, our existence and all that encompasses it, is in the Hands of the One Who knows best. Who has things planned for us that we could never even imagine. And that our job, our responsibility, is to simply pray for His hand to hold, and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. And to forgive. The hardest, yet most important, act in the world.
My hope? That one day I can walk up to those individuals and explain to them just how much of a destructive impact they created; made. To look them in the eye and offer forgiveness. To prompt them to do better with their lives. Because they are so young. But you see, this is easier for me to do, because my father, our daughters’ grandpa, is still here. I really am not sure how I would react otherwise…
Don’t ever forget to say “I love you.” To never walk away upset. Don’t forget to tell someone how very much you care. How much you look up to them. With admiration. For the way they live their life. And never forget to pray. To thank God for all that He has bestowed upon you day-in-and-day-out, with His magnificent blessings. To offer words in honor of those who no longer can.
Because life is far too short. And too precious…