Excited Again

April 17, 2010 at 2:05 PM 1 comment

When Hailey died, I could have died right along with her. In fact, part of me longed to die after we lost her because I didn’t want to live a life without her, suffering under the immense pain and sorrow of her loss. And many people who experience the death of a love one, allow a part of themselves to die too. Grief can be like that.

Well, I didn’t allow myself to do that. My faith didn’t allow me to do that. My God didn’t allow me to do that. I am so thankful to have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is faithful to me. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through losing Hailey if I didn’t have my relationship with my Savior. But even though I had that relationship and that faith, as you all know if you’ve read my blog before, it doesn’t make life perfect and my faith has been shaken and I have questioned.

For awhile I did feel that my future was hopeless. I feared I would never experience full happiness or contentment again. I feared I would never have anything to look forward to or be excited about again. For awhile, I really felt like my life was over. From the moment we learned that Hailey was going to die, I struggled in vain to have a picture of my future in my mind and the only thing I ever saw was black. It was black. It was empty. There was nothing there. And those moments made up my low points in this grieving process. Even as I began to experience God’s healing and feel my mourning turn into dancing, my future still was black – like I was blindfolded and couldn’t see. I didn’t know, couldn’t imagine, what God planned for my life after Hailey.

I honestly never thought I could be excited about something again. I don’t think there is anything more exciting in life than when you bring a new life into this world. The excitement in preparing for Hailey, feeling her and seeing her growing in my belly, preparing to deliver her and bring her into this world was indescribable. Nothing can compare to the excitement in having such an intimate part in God’s creation of life.

But for me, I experienced that heightened, ultimately intense excitement destroyed before I even knew what happened. So in my future, when I thought about if I would ever be excited again… one, I never thought there would be anything that would happen that could bring me excitement again because nothing compares …and two, after having that excitement turned into tragedy, would I ever allow myself to feel or be capable of feeling excited again – would it stay or be destroyed too?

But for the first time, this past week, I have felt excited again. It was a truly unexpected gift from God. I am excited to be excited again. To go from a place where it feels impossible and incomprehensible to be excited and look forward to something, to suddenly find yourself there… is… AMAZING.

So what have I been excited about?

Well for one, as I’m sure you could have guessed… Hailey’s Hope is bringing me such excitement. I am seeing God doing amazing things and it’s only been a week! I am so excited to be doing something in memory of her that will share her life with others. And more importantly, I am so excited to be able to give and bless others who really need it. To provide someone who has a baby in a NICU with a source of comfort, support, encouragement, and HOPE…. is going to be AMAZING. I am so looking forward to seeing what will be accomplished through Hailey’s Hope. Not to mention, I am so excited about some of the donations I have lined about by simply reaching out and asking – following God’s nudge and asking complete strangers and seeing the blessings abound in that – AMAZING.

And yesterday. Yesterday was probably the most exciting day of my life since we lost Hailey. I keep telling Josh I had such an AMAZING time yesterday and had so much fun…but I’m not sure he really understands what yesterday meant to me.

Yesterday was Family Day. You see, for those of you who don’t know, my husband is a pilot in the Army. In college he was in ROTC, he received his degree in Aviation, and he is a fixed winged pilot (private, commercial, all that jazz). But I never really saw him fly. One day he called me and told me he was flying over our apartment and I went out on to our balcony and saw a plane. But that is the only time I’ve ever seen him fly. And now that he is in Flight School training to become a helicopter pilot (of what specific aircraft we don’t know yet), he flies helicopters every day…but I’ve never seen him fly. Until yesterday.

At Family Day the Army invites all of the flight students’ families to come watch them fly. I was so exited in my anticipation of this day…and excited that it was finally here. The day was gorgeous. Blue skies. Mid 80s. Nice breeze. We drove out to the airfield where we received a safety brief – which basically told is to stay off the landing strips and that is was going to be loud so we might want to use ear plugs. Josh called and told me what his aircraft number was “zero seven delta.” And then the families waited for their loved ones to come flying in.

Then we saw the first helicopter come into view. As it started descending, I searched for the number… and to my delight it was Josh’s helicopter! 07D. My husband was the first one to fly in! And then he did some hovering and other maneuvers right in front of the crowd of families. That was my husband! For the next hour and a half, I had the pleasure of watching my husband taking off, flying, hovering, landing, etc. I could have watched him flying all day. Finally I was able to see what he could do, what he worked hard at, what he was talented at, what he could do that not many others could do. I have always been proud of his decision to become an officer in the Army, but yesterday I was more proud of him than I had ever been before.

When his turn was over, he landed and joined us for lunch. He showed us around the stationary helicopter there. We took lots of pictures… when I say lots… I mean hundreds…no joke. I made him take tons of pictures with me, with his helmet on, me with his helmet on, outside of the helicopter, inside of the helicopter, and so on. To say I had fun would be an understatement. I felt like a little kid at a carnival or something. I had a really good time. I had an AMAZING time.

And while I was there having an amazing time, I kept thinking about the things I wrote in this post – how I never thought I’d feel excitement again but there I was excited to the core. And it was AMAZING.

And of course there were ample opportunities to be sad yesterday. It was family day and our family is incomplete. I was childless surrounded by wives with their children. I watched a dad place his helmet on his 3 year old little girl and take pictures with her. That sight would have destroyed me a few months ago. And it could have destroyed me yesterday. The thoughts crept into my mind… “Hailey should be here. Josh should be taking pictures with Hailey and me. I should be pointing up at the sky telling Hailey that that’s her dad flying up there.” But they did not make me sad… Why?

Because I knew that if God wanted her to, Hailey was watching Josh fly too. Heck, she probably watched him fly since his first flight here.

I am so thankful that I have the hope and the knowledge and full confidence that Hailey is in Heaven. Because if I didn’t, yesterday, and every other single day, would be the worst day of my life.

Josh and I watched the movie Love Happens last night… a movie that has grief at its core. In the movie there is a father who is struggling with the death of his child, his son. At one point he yells in angry, frustrated grief that he doesn’t have his son…his son is in a box. Ugh. That thought hits me to the core and makes me feel breathless, like the wind is knocked out of me. And in response I thought, that’s us, that’s me. I do not have my daughter… she is in a box in the ground. Wham. The wind is knocked out of me again.

Could there be any worse thought to think than that? …

But you know what, I catch my breath quickly and have a wave of relief overcome me after that. Why? Because that’s not it. That’s not the end…not for her…not for us. Hailey’s body is in a box yes. But Hailey… my Hailey that I knew…is not in that box. My Hailey is full and complete and living the life God designed her to live with him in Heaven. That truth, is why I was able to have a good day yesterday.

And lastly, just one more thing I have to share. I was listening to a Christian radio station on the way home from exercising this week. The host was discussing his best friend’s wife dying from cancer. The friend, the host, described his best friend’s wife’s funeral…

My friend stood up, tears streaming down his face. And I just thought …. what are you doing? You are devastated. Stop playing strong Christian and sit down. No one expects you to stand up and say anything. But there he was standing… He [the husband] said, “Today is the happiest day of my life.” And here I am thinking have you lost your mind?! Your wife is dead and tears are streaming down your face. This is not the happiest day of your life. Stop trying to fake it. But my friend continued, “My wife is buried in her wedding dress, and I want to tell you why. Before she died we discussed it and this is what she wanted. She wanted to be buried her in her wedding dress because the happiest moment in our lives together was during our wedding dance, and today she is Jesus’ bride and she is dancing the wedding dance with him in Heaven. There is no tragedy in losing my wife. The only tragedy is if you leave today not knowing that same Jesus who my wife is dancing with in Heaven.

Wow. Powerful. Of course as I heard that I began crying. Why? Because I can relate to that man…and I know not many others can understand it… and that is the tragedy. I felt the same way at Hailey’s memorial service. I felt strong and remembered thinking that people probably thought there was something wrong with me for not being crumpled in heap weeping the entire time. I wanted to rejoice in her life and share her life and God’s love for her, for us, at her service. Her death was not a tragedy as one might think… yes it has the potential to be a tragic, devastating event… but God changes it. He gives us love….and HOPE. And the only tragedy…is if you don’t know his love…and his hope.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Melissa  |  April 17, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    ~Kristin, what a beautiful and amazing post. I am sitting here feeling every word as you express it. I share your views on the after life, and although I miss Nimkee with everything in me, I feel joy and peace in knowing where he is, and how healthy and happy he is. (((BIG HUGS)))

    I love that pic! I am very happy for you, that you are experiencing the excitement that we should all feel in this brief time we have here on Earth. Embrace each moment and hold it, and each other……tight.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. God bless! Melissa


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"God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." ~Job 1:21

In Loving Memory of Hailey Marie

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