HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAYDEN!!! (OCTOBER 12) Without Hade. The wounding. It’s hard to believe this time last year, Hayden was still alive, and we were planning a special celebration for her 24th birthday. Her sister Chandler asked different people to write letters to Hade because she wanted to put together a surprise scavenger hunt.
Oh, how Hayden loved everything mysteries, surprises, and games, so this would be a delight for her. Chandler would hide each letter with a clue for Hayden to solve to find the next message. Turns out baby sister got it right and it was a huge success - except one of the letters could not be found. That drove Hade crazy because she couldn’t solve the entire mystery. They searched high and low for the mysterious letter, but to no avail. Don’t worry, she did eventually find the last letter tucked up in a light fixture which made for a laugh and a special little blessing that day. Isn’t that just like God? To keep something hidden from us just so He can bless us later.
But back to the birthday letters. Now, I’m not a natural writer so when Sissy asked me to write a letter for Hayden I wasn’t very enthusiastic. It’s a real struggle for me to get my thoughts on paper, so I wasn’t looking forward to sitting down and trying to force my mind to put my feelings on a blank canvas. It isn’t that I don’t have things to say, in fact, it’s just the opposite. I have so many thoughts that it is difficult for me to organize them into a story that will make sense to others. It can feel daunting to sit down to write when the blank screen suddenly comes alive and begins to mock you “come on, what are you going to say?” “what’s taking so long?” “Is that how you’re going to start?” “You can’t say that!” I don’t know how it happened, but back in grade school, I gave an evil sheet of blank white paper way too much power in my life!
At first, I thought I would take the easy way and just jot down a few heartfelt words to Hade, but as I started to write, I was shocked by the flood of emotion that overtook me, and before I knew it I had written a page of tear-soaked, heart crushed, death realizing words. That was last year’s letter and I knew it would be the last birthday I would spend with my daughter unless God in His mercy intervened and saved her life.
I’m crying as I’m writing this even today. How on earth would it be possible for a mama to write a letter to her daughter for her last birthday? It isn’t natural, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
So now it’s been almost a year. God did not save her, and she is dead. No, not dead. I never think of Hade as dead, because in heaven she is more alive than any of us, but her body is dead. Buried in the ground over at the cemetery, under a tree, in the spot she picked out.
One of the hardest parts of her death has been that everything else of Hade’s is very much alive. The memories seem alive, I can smell her perfume, I use her make-up, can see her clothes and jewelry, read her words, see her face in pictures and hear her voice on video. That seems alive, but the torture of separation comes in the small moments, like when you want to call or text but you can’t. You are surrounded by all that seems like Hayden, but it isn’t. I reach out to pull her close, but all you can scoop up is air. As hard as I try, all that I can grab is the hollow of what was.
And when the pain was so great that I almost couldn’t survive God brought summer. The sunshine, the planting, the colors, and the distraction of parties and people. Summer felt like I could catch my breath and It started with a beautiful, 2-week cruise to Alaska - with my favorite human on the planet, my husband, Rob.
Oh halleluiah - Hayden wasn’t there. Every place we went, the smells, the sights, the sounds. None of them had any memory of Hade. Alaska is magical, and God has really outdone Himself on that slice of perfection. It was like He had transported me to the safety of a hidden harbor.
God gave my heart a break for a couple of months, and it began to heal in a new way. It was like a scab had formed over the super tender parts of something broken, and it wasn’t as painful as it had been. It was like a part of my heart was becoming numb, and I welcomed the relief from the hurt. But numbness and a scab aren’t always a good thing, let me explain.
A couple of years ago my mother-in-law had a varicose vein that started to bleed. And it bled like a son of a gun. When she called us to come clean up after she got it to stop bleeding, I’m not exaggerating when I say it looked like a crime scene had gone down in her bathroom. All we needed was yellow caution tape and a chalk outline. A little blood goes a long way. How could such a tiny puncture cause such a big mess?
A scab eventually formed on her leg and all seemed well. The spot continued to give her some pain and irritation, but I never gave it a second thought. Then weeks turned into months, and she wasn’t ok. On the outside, it just looked like a little scab, but deep inside there was a terrible disease going on. So much so that her tiny scab was covering up a severe infection. Gang green had set in, and the Doctor was concerned that they might not be able to save the leg. What? But it was just a little scab. How could a small thing like that be hiding a brooding infection?
Daily visits to the wound specialist would have to happen in order to clean out the wound. So, for months, my mother-in-law would have to visit the wound specialist, and eventually, they were able to save her leg.
The wound specialist
Call me crazy, but doesn’t that sound just like our loving God and tender Father? To save our life sometimes, He has to wound our wound. He has to remove the scales or the callous or scabs on the surface of our hearts to expose the festering that is going on underneath.
Exposed and wounded is how I am feeling. The summer season is gone, and fall is approaching and with it bring hard days I must face. Hade's birthday is on Friday and her death day is November 7th. It feels like God is wounding my wound, stirring up in my heart things that were slumbering for a bit. I don’t want to feel wounded. I wish the summer could continue, and I don’t have to face the coming pain, but I know that God the “wound specialist” would not uncover my pain if it wasn’t necessary to continue to heal. So, I am opening the wound of my heart to the healer. I am exposed to and trusting fully in His plan to heal me, even if He must go deeper than I think I can bear. God’s wounds are always for our good and meant to cause us to run to him – never away from his care.
God is the perfect physician and great healer of all that is human. He invented and created every fiber of our being so we can trust His good and perfect plan in all things. I am ready for the wounding that must occur for the saving that will follow. God alone is the wound specialist.
I know you have been wounded too. You have a choice today to let the Almighty God of the universe care for your brokenness or you can walk away and care for yourself. I encourage you to trust your wounds to the gentle healer, Jesus Christ a man of sorrows.
Here’s to another tear-soaked birthday Hayden. I wish it were not this way, but it is. So happy birthday my darling girl and to God be the Glory until we meet again, sooner than we can imagine. Amen.
See you soon. Love you, mom