Thursday, September 4, 2008

Words We Won't Soon Forget

Yesterday I was thinking about some of the things people have said to us in the past few months since we lost Lukey. The power of words is incredible, and we have certainly found great and lasting comfort in what many, many people have communicated to us. As meaningful as words have been, I can't overemphasize the deep and heartfelt way that non-verbal "words" have touched us... a gentle touch, a caring hug, a compassionate look... or someone simply sitting beside us, saying and doing nothing... just being there. Presence is oftentimes as powerful as words and quite possibly more so.

You can keep checking this post every now and then if you find it interesting or maybe even helpful. I'll continue to update it as Nicol and I are reminded of some of the conversations, comments, emails, cards, etc. that have meant so much to us, and I'll also add new ones that stand out too. I'm including first names and a brief description of the context of each statement... hopefully that will add a little more meaning for you.

A tongue that brings healing is a tree of life... (Proverbs 15:4)
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)
The tongue has the power of life and death... (Proverbs 18:21)

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Lukey go? (Summer, shortly after she had woken up, at about 7:00am on Wednesday, May 28, the morning after Luke died)
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Don't let this tear your marriage apart. Hold onto your wife and don't let her go. (James, the morning after, I called him that day to let him know about our crisis; ironically, we had talked just a few days earlier and he had to get off the phone very abruptly because he was "in the midst of a crisis")
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I've been praying for you. (Aaron, my cousin, in a very meaningful conversation just days after Luke's death)
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That's pretty disgusting. (Jeff, my longtime friend, the same day Aaron called; he just couldn't believe this had happened) ==========
I'm praying for you brother. Call me anytime and if you need me to fly down there you let me know and I'll be there. Anything you and Nicol need. I'm here for you. (DC, our wonderful friend from Washington, DC, a day or two into this dreadful ordeal)
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Hold him!!! (Summer, at the church in a private viewing room the day of the funeral; it was the first time she saw Luke since the evening he died, and yes, she wanted his pacey!)
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If Jesus himself walked into this room and explained why Luke died, it would not take away your questions and it would not ease the pain that you and Nicol are experiencing. (Clayton, my mentor and our friend, as he spoke at the funeral)
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You can't blame yourself. It was his time. The Father called him home. Don't try to make sense of it. Don't try to understand it. We can't understand this. (Meeca, Nicol's amazing doctor and our wonderful friend, during a conversation in which Nicol was sharing her overwhelming sadness and guilty feelings)
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I'm so sorry I never had the chance to hold him. (Gram, the first time I talked to her after Luke's death)
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There are only two things I know to be true right now... the Cross and the Resurrection. (Al, our counselor and friend, during our first session together)
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My experiences tell me that you're going to walk with a limp. You'll be okay and you're going to make it. But you'll walk with a limp. (Al, during our second session)
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This is the saddest thing I've ever witnessed. (Meeca, during a call she made to check up on us)
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I've always said that if anyone deserves extra grace it's everyone who faces what y'all are going through. (Phil, our friend and colleague, after church one Sunday evening, about 4-5 weeks after Luke died)
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You will heal. The pain will lessen. The loss will always haunt, always remind, never go away. But it will lessen it's grip. Time and His great mercy will eventually overtake the pain where you see more mercy than pain. It will take a long time. Between now and then, the only things you can do is, "do the next thing," and cling to Him by faith. (Michael, our friend, in a very kind and compassionate email on August 8)
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The only process you need to be into right now is the grieving process. (Clayton, after some well-intended but ill-advised words from someone who hoped we were "well and in the healing process now")
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We just need to help each other make it to heaven. (Nell, our friend from Chicago, sharing her own heartbreak)
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You know this; lead me through it. (Al, quoting The Royal Hunt of the Sun, affirming the fact that God is familiar with suffering and He can and will lead us thru the valleys)
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Sink into the pain. (Jan, speaker and friend over lunch one day, encouraging us to not ignore or gloss over the intensity of the pain we are facing)
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I just received news of your loss. My heart grieves and borders on anger for your loss. I have a rationale mind that finds it very difficult to find peace and rest knowing mysteries like Luke's death exist and good people endure the most tragic of circumstances.

Why?

Why!

Tears form even now as I type ...

May God grant you an un-explainable peace in the depth of your soul and mind ... as un-explainable as the mystery of your loss.

(Troy, our friend from San Diego, in an email on June 2, 6 days after Luke's passing)
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18 comments:

Your Wife said...

Thanks for sharing,sowe canpray for your family, I cried for your son like it was mine,I have a 2 month old son now, he is a little man like yours, his head full of hair since he was born.
So every time I look at him I pray for you and Nicole, a brother and sister in Christ, praying for God to let me share your burden, so we can keep looking forward to the day we can see our Savior and also Luke your son, and The Lord will wipe away our tears.
With so much love in Christ.( Sorry if the spelling is bad, I am from Ecuador South America :)
Maggy

daniella said...

Greg, I read your every post and a couple of times even left a comment (fully knowing that my words...no words for that matter... will ever be enough or make the pain go away). I have to tell you, this post seeped into the deepest part of my heart in a long time. I don't know why, maybe it's the power of words...TRUE words, maybe God is telling me something, I don't know. I guess this comment, really, is to thank you for letting us in on the journey of your healing. Some of us are healing - for other reasons - along with you. This is YOU helping me get to heaven. No one could have said it better than your counselor: "Two things are true - the Cross and Ressurection". God bless you friend, and may He carry you, Nicol and Summer through another day.

Kate said...

Greg and Nicol- I have never met you face to face but have followed your blog for a while now. I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you. I can not imagine what your loss must be like. I pray that God will walk with your family as the time goes on. May God bless you and keep you close. I will continue to pray for your family. Katie

Candie said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, as hard as it is, with us. It's amazing to see what the Lord is doing in your lives through this. The main truth in all of this is that the God we serve has been there and He grieves with you. He watched His one and only son die a horrible death, so He knows what you and Nicol are going through. He won't let you walk down this road alone. You are now on the journey to reunion with your precious Lukey.

Anonymous said...

I cannot pretend to fully understand the emotions you and your family are dealing with right now. What I can tell you is that after reading your last post I will turn off the computer, turn off the television and sit down on the floor to play with my own two small children where I will kiss them both and thank God for allowing me to have this day with them. Thank you for your courage and strength and for reminding me that we need to cherish every moment we have with our children because they are only with us until our God decides to call them home. I will continue to pray for your family and your son and the be reminded of the powerful lessons your family has taught me. ERIN

georgia tarheel said...

Greg,
Thank you for sharing those thoughts. I have often heard that just being there for someone in the midst of their grief is so much better than trying to find the "right" words (and usually blowing it!)! I haven't been through a major loss like you two are walking through right now, but I have walked several friends through loss that was similar. The one thing they all have said to me is that so many people say the wrong thing and say it really poorly!

I was actually feeding Summer and her cousins on the day of Luke's memorial service and Molly and Angie came in and were talking about this topic. I shared this story with them and I am going to share it with you now. Not to be insensitive, but in hopes that it might make you smile a little during this tough time.

My best friend lost her sister last year to a long battle with cancer. Her sister was her best friend and she was absolutely devastated. I drove up to TN for the funeral and watched her as she was simply inconsolable in the receiving line. She really never stopped crying. Except when one lady came through the line. She grabbed my friend's hand and looked really serious. Then she said, "It is so sad that Stephanie is gone. She was always so pretty. The most beautiful one of the family, really. I guess now, you can be the pretty sister since Stephanie is no longer here."!!!!!!

I am praying that more people are encouraging you rather than trying to give you ill-suited advice. I cannot know the depth of your pain. I only know the depth of my Saviour's love and I am praying that He pours it into that wound daily. I won't stop praying. Please don't stop writing.

So Blessed said...

Those are some precious words that people have shared with you in your grief journey. My pastor calls it "grief work" because it takes such effort to get through each day after suffering such a loss. After losing her young adult son, my sister told me that some days the most she could do was "breathe". This grief journey is a painful road...but, you are not alone. There is One who is beside you every step and breath of the way...and many, many people lifting you in prayer.

Amanda said...

Oh that truly breaks my heart. This has to be one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever read. My heart goes out to you all with lots of love.

I have passed along your words and really taken to my children in a different light. I make sure to thoroughly enjoy them and soak them up like a sponge.

Amanda in SC

The Morris Family said...

Little Boy In Time

The days are continuing on....
People are born, a little boy is gone

Time gives no thought
To the aching heart death has brought

Laughing, talking, on paths people go
Some sharing truth, sin others sow

O, please time, won't you stand still for me
But it goes on, my Luke will not come back and be

In days and years that go fleeting
A little boy they will not remember meeting

My heart wants all those here and there
Forget not a little boy, but time isn't fair

My little boy has lived his time in history
The Father's will, a mystery

They will not know my little boy lived and died
Except, a glimpse, for tears I can not hide

Maybe someday far away or near
The family in eternity will remember a little boy so dear

But now.... as I see the people in a mass
They remember not a little boy in my past

If I look in others eyes as I go
They too, have stories to be told

Goodbyes were said, and deaths they faced
But my little boy they cannot place

Comfort I must take, as others will never know
My Father knew of him, my little boy he holds!!

I wrote this simple poem for my little Joel and wanted to send it with Luke in mind.It just seems life goes on and people can not fathom the pain, may the Lord give grace each moment

Sarah said...

I have attempted to leave a comment many times before, but my heart is speechless. My heart aches for your loss. In so many ways I wish the Lord would allow us to see the bigger picture...perhaps it would overwhelm us. Your family is in my prayers.

Rhonda said...

May God hold all of you tonight...I will be praying for the 3 of you....

Laura said...

Thank you for your posts. I am praying hard that God would be so close to your family, that He would defend you, comfort you, and encourage you. Please keep sharing!

Julie Doody said...

Greg & Nicol,
I think and pray for you OFTEN! I know how comforting words can be but also how hurtful they can be. I have struggled many times in leaving a post, because I have truly been speechless. And anyone that knows me.......that just doesn't happen!! I ran into your father the other day shortly after their return from the commital and we had a very nice conversation. He thanked me for my posts and prayers. It was all I could do not to burst into tears. I just can't imagine and don't even pretend to. I hope you are able to come to Maine soon and maybe we will bump into one another. Honestly not sure if I would be able to keep it together.

I will continue to keep all your prayer requests in mind. I pray for comfort and healing. But you're right do not rush the healing process. It is different for everyone and you need to take as long as you need.

My thoughts any prayers are many for you!

Love, Julie Doody ;-)

sheridan said...

I have been praying for you & your family since I first saw Angie's post on her blog about Luke.

julie

Stacy D said...

Greg,

I found your blog through Angies, and I went to her's through the recommendation of a friend. Like Angie, I am carrying a sweet baby who has been given a fatal diagnosis because of several medical anomalies. Though our sweet Isaac's issues are different than their Audrey's, our stories are strikingly similar.

I am 32 weeks pregnant, quickly approaching my c-section at 37 weeks. The closer I get to that date, the harder the grief has been to bear.

This post and the words of encouragement you and Nicol have received spoke to my heart, particularly the ones about the two things you know to be true: The Cross and the Ressurection, and the one about walking, but walkign with a limp.

I appreciate so much the heartfelt honesty that you share here on behalf of you as well as Nicol. It has helped me to know that I am not alone or somehow "less spiritual" because of the grief my husband and I are facing. There can be a lot of pressure in the Christian community sometimes to somehow still feel okay in the midst of crisis and that somehow if you don't, your faith is "just not as strong as it should or could be."

So thank you for allowing others to share in your journey... you are ministering to the hearts of people, particularly those who have walked a similar road.

I pray that Nicol's recording session goes well today.

~ Stacy

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've been here...but I come by way of Angie's blog and from there "Nitty Gritty" blog. Anyway..please accept my deepest sympathies on the loss of your dear little son! I am so so sorry!!

As an aside to this...I have loved Selah for a long time now. Though I know your wife isn't with them anymore, I'm sure the songs I listen to have her on them. They have touched me deeply!

Words either "can" heal or bring "pain" and I surely don't wish the latter here for you or your family. I wish I could hug y'all...but I live in Wisconsin! Blessings.....

Mrs. Walker said...

I find myself writing words here that I read over, delete, being again....

As someone who's been where you are today, I know the power that words have to help and to also deeply wound. I never want to do the latter with what I choose to write.

I think simply that "I'm sorry." or "I'm praying for you." has so much more power to comfort than long speeches! Just knowing that Jesus walks with us, His people uphold us, that every tear is caught in God's bottle, and ultimately that one day there will be no tears has been my greatest comfort.

I hope it can be yours as well!

Amanda said...

WOW! It truly amazes me the way God uses His people in a time of their personal crisis. God is using you to speak into many lives. I am not a parent and I am single but there are things that you have written through your time of mourning that will stay with me forever.

Please remember that I am praying for you guys!!! I wish I could be there with you to just sit & cry and to walk through this with you guys!!!! That might sound odd coming from someone you have never met but that is one thing that God has called us to do...to come along side of others and walk the long hard road together!!!