Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dark Day

One night, Dan kneeled down on one knee, in front of our friends and asked me to marry him.

He was a cattleman who bought a farm.

A place ––on paper which could never pay for itself even in good times.

Our life seemed stuck on fast forward.

We were in constant motion with changes and battles and work load.

Together we fought what professionals call a 100 year flood. The river came reclaiming the fertile farm soil it had deposited there in years past.

Financial disaster loomed with soaring interest rates and falling cattle and corn prices.

There were two daughters born eighteen months apart.
The youngest was six weeks old. My body was still trying to recover from her birth. Exhausted, and frustrated, Dan and I exchanged harsh words. As I pulled the covers up to my chin, I noticed that our wedding picture was falling out of it’s frame. It seemed weird....but appropriate.

I began to pray the Lords Prayer. It was just a habit. Every night the prayer was said, memorized and all run together. 

“...Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done….”

Those words lingered and wondering if I really meant them. “….Thy... will.... be done..?”

Morning came and for the first time our newborn daughter had slept though the night. I was suppose to go out and help Dan with the morning feeding, but I was still mad that he laid on the couch while I unloaded a car full of groceries, tractor parts we needed to begin corn harvest today plus two sleeping babies. We were both so weary and pushed past our limits. 

After taking a shower and getting ready, I went outside and heard the calves bawling.

It was a haunting, piercing sound.

Unrelenting. Unsettling.

I knew they should have been fed by now.

I took the path that went past the orchard and led to where the grain bin stood. The grain bin we had built together with family.

That is where I found him.  His life was claimed in an accident involving a power take-off on a tractor, while auguring grain.

It took a long time for the first responders to find our location, because it was before 911 was established in that area.

They said he was killed instantly.

In that unplanned moment it began. 


Grief so thick and deep that it penetrates the morrow of your bones.

When death comes knocking at your door, it’s not a question of “if” you will answer   - - but how.

My heart felt like it had received a near fatal wound.

As if the very flesh of my heart had been ripped from my body and left on the outside for people to stare at.

Grief is the price we pay for loving someone.

It makes you sob deep heaves.

It makes you cry ugly cries, until there are no more tears ––unless you drink more water.

There are no shortcuts to grief.

The only way to get to the other side  …is through it.

Even than it's a journey that has no real arrival point.

Its hard work.

Grief makes you feel crazy.

It makes you wish you were the one who had died.

Thankfully shock is an early response to grief since it cushions the blows.

That morning I sat in the wreckage of my life, waiting for the emergency personal to arrive.

I rocked my baby girls as if it was important. Rocking them as if my own life depended on it.

Rocking hard and asking God, "Just who is going to walk these girls down the aisle someday?"

The day turned cold.

The sun rolled behind the clouds and there was driving  rain, sleet and then snow.

Shards of icy rain stung my face as I walked along the river bank near the house.

Alone, truly alone, for the first time.

With raw emotion I cried out to a God I did not know personally.

Raging as I asked Him ––if He could even hear me.

I asked Him for a sign ––if He was real.

The area I was walking had been ravaged by the flood. When the waters receded there was nothing but sand and a few pieces of debris. I looked for something, anything to hang on to.

What I found was a rather small, smooth, red rock.

There was nothing else around.

Another disappointment, but I put the rock in my pocket.

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