Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Chance to Remember

Today my sister Megan's son Chance would have turned seven years old... we still miss him so much. He was so full of energy and love for life. He loved cars and trucks and trains and buses and anything that moved. My mom and Mike have a stone that was engraved for them just after Chance died... it says "I saw it first" and the saying comes from a game that Chance used to play with Mike, his favorite buddy. He'd spot a bus zooming by and yell out, "I saw it first!" For Chance's funeral Mike wrote something about how Chance is seeing heaven before us, but at some point we'll join him there. Although I still struggle to understand why Chance was taken at such an early age and in a way that didn't really leave us with many answers, I have no doubts that there is a greater plan and that Heavenly Father has a purpose for him.

Olivia and I went up to the cemetery yesterday for our annual tradition of letting balloons go in his memory... it had just snowed and was freezing cold... and we had to brush off the snow to figure out which was his headstone, but we found it and wished him a happy birthday as we sent balloons off into the cold, crisp sky.

We remember Chance all year, but near his birthday we think a lot about him and wonder what life might be like if he were still around. The hardest thing about having lost Chance is that at this point we feel like we have lost Megan too. She has distanced herself from so many people that love her and won't allow herself to feel any comfort from true gospel principles. The tragedy isn't just that Chance is gone, but that she has allowed his death to prevent her from feeling happiness in life.

These last few months I have been reminded (again) of all the suffering there is in the world. My sweet cousins lost their baby just over a year ago... our friend in Georgia was just diagnosed with leukemia... and another dear friend Solange just lost her husband after he had battled Lou Gehrig's disease for several years. Solange and her husband lost their baby boy a few years ago too... and even as she shared the news of Olivier's death this week, she expressed her joy that her little David is again with his daddy. With all of these friends and family members I have been amazed at the strength and resolve they have shown. Their tragedies are sad and heart-breaking and hard, but they are pressing forward with faith and the conviction that they will again be with their loved ones.

Coleman was asked to sing in Sacrament Meeting today--and he practiced and practiced for so many weeks. (I can't let it go without saying that Ryan practiced right along with him, since he played the piano for him... and Olivia and I practiced as well, because we were the "moral support.") He sang "I Feel My Savior's Love" by Ralph Rodgers and I just love the words:

I feel my Savior’s love
In all the world around me.
His Spirit warms my soul
Through ev’rything I see.

He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.

I feel my Savior’s love;
Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.


I feel my Savior’s love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart;
My shepherd he will be.


As I watched him sing (and very, very quietly sang by him as I was kneeling by him because at the last minute he said he was scared) and listened to the words, I was struck by the thought that so many people who experience tragedy are able to come through it stronger because they allow themselves to feel the love of the Savior.

Just after Solange's husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, she and I spoke at length about how we often seek for physical healing for ourselves or loved ones... and how Christ can be our healer... but in some instances it is not our physical bodies that He heals, rather He heals our hearts when we are suffering and makes us stronger spiritually and emotionally. Although none of us wish to go through such devastating losses of watching loved ones suffer and die, it is a gift so wonderful that if we allow Him to, He will heal our hearts and souls if we offer them to Him. I hope that each of us can allow Christ to be our shepherd and always feel the love that the Savior has for us. I have a special hope for Megan that she will soften her heart and allow the Savior and her family members in again... so that she can feel the love we have for her.

Happy 7th birthday, little man. We love you!


Fame said...

That was touching :) Thanks.

Allyson said...

What a beautiful post! I love you Lisa!

Cheri said...

Thanks for sharing this. I remember reading Granddad's obituary last year, and realizing for the first time how many of his actual posterity had gone before him (4 grandkids/great-grandkids). I was so comforted that Macie had a few family members over there with her, and that she suddenly had her great granddad she never got to meet.

Sometimes I wonder if I am any stronger after what happened to us. I think in a lot of ways I am - I HAVE to be.

Very touching tribute to Chase.

Linn said...

Crying. Thank you.

Heidi said...

I would love to have been there to hear Coleman's sweet performance. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to your nephew. My heart goes out to Megan. I will remember her in my prayers.

Daniel, Lyndsie and Makai said...

What a touching post, Lisa. You made me cry! You are so sweet.

Jen said...

What a neat thing you guys do for Chase. Megan has been through so much in her life that hopefully she'll be able to have happiness again sometime.

Shannon said...

I heard about this post through the blogvine and although I only hear one side of the story, I have to wonder how saintly the actions are that your family expresses (or fails to) towards Megan. Perhaps it is not the fact that she has 'distanced herself from so many people' as much as the fact that the people who should love her unconditionally seem not to. To be invited to Thanksgiving dinner after everyone else has eaten and gone? To be kicked out of an accessible apartment made for her because it's in her (ugh) stepdads house? To be cornered and yelled at by her sibling? Maybe if her family members softened their hearts, and their judgments then you'd have your sister back. Who cares who she married, what she believes in, or what she does- the girl is the sweetest thing and in need of some support. Put the preaching aside and just be a friend.

Lisa R.D. said...

It saddens me that you (and others) feel that her family judges her and has hardened their hearts to her. We do love her. We want her to be happy. I am grateful that Megan has good friends and I know that you and Megan have been friends for many years... but please consider that there is much more to the story than what you have heard. If you (or any others in the "blogvine" that have passed on information about this post) would like to talk to me I'd be happy to, but a public blog is not the place or forum to do that.

Shannon said...

I agree Lisa, just felt I needed to give her a voice. And I am letting Megan know that distancing herself like she is does no good to all those involved. But if the reason her family has done what they have to her solely because she choses not to subscribe to chosen faiths, then that is simply b.s.

Sara White said...

Hum. I think your post to Chance is a wonderful tribute to both him and his mom. What a wonderful aunt and sister you are.