Saturday, January 26, 2008

Three years too hard

Today is the three year anniversary of the helicopter crash Joe was in. Technically he died yesterday, the 26th in Iraq, but it was our 26th that I was informed. Although I didn't visit Joe's grave very often (I never felt that's where he is) on these dates I really feel being so far from a place to give him something. This week has been hard, it's interesting to me to be able to look back and see cycles of my grief. Late January is hard for me, me who thought dates did not affect. I feel like I start all over in January and relearn everything I learned the past year. I have cried more this week then in the past 6 months put together. Strangely Providence is very affected these weeks leading up to Joe's death also. It could be the she picks up from me, but my crying is usually done at night after she is asleep, and it's not like I sit her down and say "In a week is the anniversary of your fathers death." I think it's more then that, and, not to get too out there, I think somehow her spirit can feel it. Last year one week exactly before the second anniversary she began tearfully begging to see her dad everyday, I would show her pictures and she would cry for him to hold her. It was very hard for me, I felt as though she thought I was keeping him from her. This year, as she is older it's come out in other ways of the same. I started writing some of them down this week when I noticed Joe coming up more then usual.

In evening prayers Providence prayed that God "would make my daddy not dead anymore"

One morning I found her laying down on the floor holding a pillow that my mother-in-law made with a picture of Joe on it crying "I miss daddy."

While she was playing with some junk mail she told me "Here is a picture of my daddy not dead (holding an address label) it's of me and you and daddy and us when he was alive, it is very special, should we put it up?"

Some conversations we've had:

Providence: Why did my daddy die?
Me: Because his helicopter crashed
Providence: Did he spin?
Me: I don't know
Providence: Did he fall out?
Me: No
Providence: He was just on the ground dead?
Me: I think he was in the Helicopter...

Providence: (Singing) I miss my daddy because I am an orphan
Me: But you're not an orphan
Providence: Why?
Me: Because you're mommy is alive
Providence: But I am because my daddy died (continues singing) I am an orphan, I think about him, and miss daddy...

Sometimes the things she says throws me so off balance I don't know how to respond.


Rosie January 26, 2008 at 9:03 AM  

Lis, you are an amazing Cousin, friend, mom, and person all around. I hope I can grow to have half the faith and strength you have. Blessings to you on this third anniversary. We love you two, hugs from all us here in texas.

Leanna January 26, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

Kids are amazing and really have an intuition we can never understand. We're thinking of you and sending prayers to help you get through this time.

P. Andrew Sandlin January 26, 2008 at 9:48 AM  

Great to see you're blogging, Liz. We miss you!

Anonymous January 26, 2008 at 11:08 AM  

Lis, My heart breaks with yours hearing all of those words form Providence and knowing there's nothing you can do to change things. I admire your openness and honesty with her and think it is wonderful that there is ongoing dialogue. It is where you are.
My heart breaks for you knowing only in a small way of the loneliness losing a spouse brings. I am honored to be included as one you share with and love the testimony of the strength of the Lord in the midst of it all. May the Lord wrap His loving arms around you in very real ways today- more than ever. Sending love and prayers, Deb

Anonymous January 26, 2008 at 2:25 PM  

What a wonderful way to stay in touch over the miles. You are in our prayers today...I remember that day so keenly with Bill in Iraq at the same time wanting to get to Joe. We love you and miss you at TCC and look forward to your visit at Easter. Be sure to tell Providence that Mrs. Garaway REALLY misses her singing! xxxooo from Diane et al.

Anonymous January 26, 2008 at 3:26 PM  

Thank you for sending your blog link, Lis. I'm always so impacted by your words. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You and Providence are loved and missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially today.

Drea January 26, 2008 at 6:09 PM  

I think kids can pick up on a lot of emotions.
I remember when I went through that hard time in ohio Caleb picked up on things a lot... and showed a lot more emotion about things.. he seemed real sensitive to Travis leaving or things like that.

you are doing a wonderful job... and I think it helps knowing that at Providence age she doesnt understand the different between real and not real in many ways. I dont think they can understand things well at 3. Atleast not regarding death.

Hang in there! You dont always need to know what to say :-)

So glad you are blogging.

rivkahree January 26, 2008 at 10:54 PM  

I think Providence picks up on your emotions and sadness, as well as body language. You don't have to cry or say anything, she is in tune to you. Joey was the same way with me. He knew how I felt just by being in my precense. He felt what I felt, even if he didn't understand it. I don't want to get too far out there either, but I think there is more 'out there' than we know or acknowledge. Kids are so intuitive and open to spiritual things, and many people become more closed to these things as they grow older. Either because of different beliefs or other's expecations of them. I have been taught to believe differently than I feel about some things. When I am with Providence, I see so much of Joey in her that I swear she knows him somehow. Can it really be that a parent and child are so much alike without ever knowing each other? Maybe so, I have to admit I do wonder at times, but am just amazed and thankful to God no matter what the case, for giving us such a beautiful gift to carry Joey on for us. Many times in Joey's life, I would try to hide my emotions from him because I didn't want him to be affected by them. But I couldn't hide them, he knew me too well. If I didn't share how I felt, he would still be affected since he knew anyway that something wasn't right. So we would just cry together, and share the sadness, and then feel better. He needed that, and I needed that, for each other to be better and be okay, and letting the pain out in tears together really does bring relief. It is all part of the healing process. So I think that is the best way to go. I am so proud of you and thankful that you share yourself with others, and that you answer Providence's questions honestly and openly. When she says she misses her daddy, does listening to him read her stories help? The ones he recorded for her? I wish I could take your pain away and bring Joey back to you. I love you two forever.

me. :( January 26, 2008 at 11:44 PM  

I am glad I got this, Today, :( Kid's do not make life easier, do they? :( ENOUGH!! (I say to myself)

I really hope you find a great man who you can love and truly love you in return. YOU deserve that and so does your daughter. I can not imagine being in YOUR shoes.

I woulsn't wish that on my worst enemy, even if I had one.

Stay in touch!!!
Nice looking dinning room, I wanna see more pics of the house too!!! : )

Lis January 27, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

Thank you all for your encouraging words and prayers. I am reminded of the Lords goodness from them.

Travis or P.T. January 28, 2008 at 5:01 AM  

Hi Liz,
Just wanted you to know that you're in my thoughts and prayers. I can't imagine being in your shoes, but I think you're doing a great job with Providence. And I agree with the others who stated that children pick up on our emotions. Sometimes I can see something similar with Caleb... if I act fearful... he becomes fearful, if I act super confident, he becomes super confident. Maybe God made them this way as another way we teach them how to respond appropriately to all the different situations in life. Anyway... I pray God will richly bless you with is His grace and peace and comfort! Take care.

Anonymous January 28, 2008 at 8:26 AM  

Providence is to lucky to have someone so wise.

Jeanne January 28, 2008 at 11:31 AM  

Aloha Lis.

It was great to get yoru Chirstmas card. I was so happy to hear from Malia about your blog. It will be fun to catch up and hear what you are up to.

I can't even imagine the challenges you face rearing your daughter as she asks about her daddy. I do know this much, though, you are still the most incredibly mature and wise young woman I have ever met. (I usually find myself fighting the urge to refuse to talk to anyone under 30!)

Please know that you are both on my mind and in my prayers.
Much love,

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