Monday, March 12, 2012

The Power to Comfort Part II: Messages of Love

I appreciate everyone’s response to the last blog post "The Power to Comfort". It has been exciting to hear from all of you. It is really hard to share some of my personal experiences, but I know writing about them is helping me. So thank you for reading and listening to me as I share about my experience with Lindsey. Some days are just harder than others and I do have happy days, they are not all so sad.

However, like the last blog post, there are some experiences that are profound. I try to reach beyond my own need for privacy and pride and share what I have experienced, only to honor the presence of God in my life. It is when I see His hand, even His tender mercies, that I can move into greater acceptance that Lindsey has been called home.

It is in these tender moments that I can begin to make sense of all that has happened. When I see that He is aware of my grief, and He is offering comfort in the many ways that He has, I feel remembered, buoyed up, and I can feel His arms around me. I can hear Him whisper, reassuring me that she is okay and that there was some purpose in all the suffering that we witnessed. In some of my deepest grief, I have felt Lindsey’s presence with me.

I think the hardest thing is that she and I can’t talk, giggle or laugh together like we used to. My heart aches and I just want to hear her, touch her hand or be close to her and it is so hard to try to hear her voice through the silence of separation. I can only hear it every once in awhile now.

I have to reach beyond my capabilities to connect to her soul. Sometimes in my reaching and in my straining I connect to nothingness. Oh, cherish the times you have with your loved ones. Make your time with them count. Make sure you create meaningful memories, because when they are gone, all that you have left is the strain of your heart reaching out to hear their voice through the silence of the grave.

Lindsey left me many messages of love. As I am sorting through her things, I am finding old birthday cards from her to me and her handwriting brings tears to my eyes. We have pictures and photographs, certificates, and her diploma from BYU. There is her blanket, her clothes, her make-up, the dried flowers from her funeral, and her wedding dress. All these things remind me of her and send messages of love to me as I remember the essence of who she was here.

But, believe me, all these things are not my Lindsey. I do try to be at peace with her story and God’s plan that I know we all agreed to, but my heart just wants to hold my daughter again. I think in my mind just holding her one more time would help, and then I would be okay. And then I remember back to her sick body and how miserable she was and I think to myself "How can I be so selfish?" Surely she needed to be released. And then I move to some place inside me that is trying to accept that she couldn’t stay here anymore, which is in direct conflict with the emptiness in my heart that can never be filled. . .

When I am gone I want to leave something behind so that those who love me will not have to strain to remember my voice or feel my love for them. I want to leave as many messages of love as I can. One way I want to do this is by compiling stories of the "Power to Comfort". It will bring many voices together; we will all leave a strong message of love that stands as a witness of God and His power to comfort in small and simple things, even through the faith of mothers and daughters.

We can unite in telling our stories that God lives. In spite of our burdens, or sacrifices and hardships, we can bear witness that He is among us, that He has not forgotten or forsaken us, and that He has the power to comfort, even beyond the separation caused by death, through the power of sisterhood.

I am reaching out and encouraging you to record or write down an experience you have had either offering comfort to someone or having someone else offer comfort to you. If you are thinking about submitting a story please do it! I really believe it could bless the lives of many women. As you are considering what you might contribute, please know that the process of writing it down gives you an opportunity to heal and be reminded of the feelings of love and comfort you had during that experience. These books will then serve as an invitation to the rising generation to become a source of inspiration and comfort.

I plan to eventually compile three books. The first will include contemporary stories from mothers and grandmothers presently living. The second book will be our mothers’ and grandmothers’ stories that have been passed down to us. These stories will be what we remember as well as what we can gather from our family about their lives. And the third book will include the stories of our daughters and what life is like for them. I would like each book to have 30 – 50 stories.

Suggestions for stories:

The stories could be a short essay or vignette between 500 – 1500 words or a whole chapter. My blog length is 600 to approximately 1000 words. You can submit more than one story. You can decide if you would like to use your name, or another name.

June 1 will be the deadline to submit your stories for the first book. These are the stories from your own lives. This will be a project we can all be proud of. A portion of the proceeds will be used to reimburse the publishing costs and a portion donated towards scholarships - offering processes and emotional health education for women and children.

Retelling our stories gives us an opportunity to glean even greater treasures from our experiences and share those treasures with other sisters. Maybe in sharing our stories we can illuminate the future for the young girls coming after us. Maybe we will remind them about the value and virtue of womanhood and the importance of listening to intuition and the guidance we receive from God. This collection of women’s stories will be in celebration of the partnership between women and God and what can be created when we come together through "The Power to Comfort."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pam! I was done for the day today (and I still need to give something to eat to the kids and put them to bed), I was taking a break while reading your latest posts, this one and the last one gave me strength to keep on going...Thank you, Thank you for sharing this valuable treasure. I will go make dinner and bedtime a pleasant and memorable experience.