My Pen Pal


He found me by way of the Lutheran Witness article I wrote this past January.  I received a letter — yes, in the mail! — from this man whose daughter was killed in similar circumstances to Makenzie’s death.  He wrote of his daughter’s joy, the music in her soul and her eloquence with words.  I could sense anguish as each finger-stroke transferred his heart to ink on a page.

He wrote, “We lost our 20 year old daughter, 35 years ago and I think about her everyday.”

35 years ago!  This man is forty years my senior yet his sorrow is as fresh today as it was in the past; one score and fifteen! (…that would be ’35’).

Am I to look forward to that emptiness the rest of my days on earth?  Will I have to navigate, for my remaining moments, those thoughts that cause me to momentarily freeze-up?  When (or if) I saunter around at 84 years, will my ache be satisfied or the glimpses be extinguished.  I know the answer is no.  My pen-pal confirms it.

Yet, it is settled that June 3rd is part of my story; not a bump in the road but a direction shift in the journey.  Things are different.  Life is different.  Our family is different.  But my Jesus is the same.  And in His letter, He says all is well; Makenzie is with Him and I will see her again soon.   Can’t wait.

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4 thoughts on “My Pen Pal

  1. Paula Wiggins says:

    Todd,
    Like Coleen, I can only tell you my experience after eight years. Like your elderly pen pal, I do think of my lost son every day. I miss and I hurt. Yes, something was fundamentally changed the day we lost our son in also in an automobile accident. I now tend to categorize my life in “before the death” and “after the death.” Todd, I recently read a grief recovery type book also by a minister who lost his teen-age son entitled,”life after the death of my son.” It is written by Dennis Apple, Beacon Hill press. It has been, I recall, about 15 years since his son’s death. I would recommend that you read the book.

    For me, I still miss my son desperately, but in time the pain does lessen. It kinda moves from “acute to chronic” in a sense. You never get “over it.” Losing your child changes you forever, but with the Lord’s help you can and will get “through” it.

  2. Colleen says:

    Oh, Todd and Kellie,
    If only it could be different. I can’t say how things will be in 20, 30 or 35 years. I only know now – soon to be 5. I guess what I can say is that now I can compartmentalize the grief and yes, the anguish. I know about heaven and long for our first meeting there. I have the comfort of knowing his life now is perfect and even more joyful and fun that what he had here. And I can suppress the tears almost anytime – our lives have moved on, we’re busy, we’re “happy” – and then let them flow when I choose to indulge. But when I do, the intensity, the grief, the pain, the sadness are all there – just like day 1.
    The first year was not the worst…for me year 2 was much rougher. But the prayers, the support, the knowledge of eternal life – somehow they bring you through.
    I pray it will be different for you, but if not, we all will be praying for your strenghth and peace.

  3. Jeannine Furukawa says:

    Thank you for sharing the joy you were given by the Lord through His gift of your daughter! Obviously your grief is beyond words, but your joy in the Lord Jesus is a blessing to all who visit your blog! Thank you for sharing! All glory be to Jesus, whose life gives us eternity & the joy of He carrys us through the unbearable things that happen in our lives on earth!

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