This picture was taken in July of last year...just a few weeks before Mark's accident. It has been so difficult for me to look through the pictures of last summer, because they are what remind me of Mark the most...the way he was growing up into such a sweet and loving little boy.
This is the Mark that I hugged and cuddled every morning after he would crawl out of his crib and come and find me...still with a paci in his mouth. (Notice...in the picture, he is holding his paci in his hand because I asked him to take it out and smile!) These are the memories that are so fresh in my mind of all of the joy that came from having our four children here with us.
Maryanna and Madison attended Camp Agape, a children's bereavement camp, this past weekend. We are so thankful that our friends told us about the camp and helped us with all of the details of it. Our girls were able to be with other children who have suffered a significant loss in their lives. They swam, kayaked, rode ponies, did arts and crafts and so much more. They were also able to meet with a counselor to work through more of the pain and grief...something that both of the girls needed.
It was hard for us to leave them for 4 days so far away from us, but we knew that they were in good hands. They were each "buddied" with a teen or adult who was with them 24 hours a day. (and our girls got to be buddied with our family friends who are so involved with the camp and whom our girls love very much!) :)
Joe and I were also able to meet with a wonderful couple from our church this past week...a couple that we consider our mentors. God has put them in our lives to be the voice of sanity for us at this time when nothing makes sense in our minds. They reminded us of God's great love for us, for our children, specifically for Mark. I admit that I have had a hard time feeling God's love for me during all of this and I have had a hard time feeling that God did what was best. How can Mark's death be what was best for him and for us? It is embarrassing to confess that I would ever feel that my love could be better for my children than the love of our Lord, but I think that we just feel that as humans sometimes. Mark was entrusted to us, and I have been angry that God took him back.
These are the thoughts that constantly fill my mind...day after day. As time passes, I can begin to distinguish what is truth and what is a lie. But honestly, truths that seemed so clear a year ago, all changed, (in my mind), in an instant when Mark died. It is hard to explain.
Another truth that our dear mentors reminded us of was that even though it may seem contrary to everything that we feel, Mark's death is somehow what is best for us. We may not ever understand it or accept it, but God does know what he is doing. We have to trust that HE knows best. We may be left with the pain of trying to carry on without our precious son here, but Mark is in the presence of Almighty God at this very moment...in perfectness. Just thinking about it makes me want to be there right now. I can hardly wait.
Since I have struggled with all that I have believed, I admit that I have even doubted the existence of God, heaven, the truth of the Bible, etc. I don't like to admit that either, but it is the truth. "Before"...I would have been the first to try and encourage someone going through a tragedy that these things happen to everyone and that horrible things don't change who God is, etc., etc., etc. I would have meant every word too. Now, "after", the line between what I "know" and what I "feel" has become so blurred. But, I am happy to say that as the days go by, I am strengthening my faith more and more and I do know that all of God's Word is true. A faith that is built on who God IS and not what I want Him to be or what I want Him to do for me.
What would be the point of living at all if this was all some kind of random occurrence that led to nothingness when we die? What a depressing thought. No, even if I doubt sometimes because of the great pain, I will always believe that there is a God, He loves me, sent Jesus to die for me and that He is in control...no matter what happens in this short time that we call "life".
And, in this short time that we have left...I will miss Mark.
Hello...I am Mark's mommy. I am 36 years old...married for 14 years to my wonderful husband. God has blessed us with wonderful children...four daughters and a son, Mark.
In August 2008, our precious son Mark died at just 2 years old. Our lives have been shattered and changed forever. We are struggling through our grief as our arms ache to hold Mark, but we trust that God is in control and that we will see him again in Heaven where we will never be separated again.