This is the post that I’ve been looking forward to writing the most.
You see, Amelia’s story isn’t over. It’s FAR from over. It’s just beginning!
I’ve learned a lot about heaven since her death and a lot of what I’ve learned is different from what I always believed. It’s been over 10 months since Amelia died and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, look at a picture of her, or pray about her.
A lot has happened in between then and now. I quit my job and started my own business. We traveled to California, Alabama and North Carolina twice (Yes, the boys did good in the car and plane). We went to my sister’s wedding in Portland. We made the hard decision to change churches (We left a lot behind at our old church, and everyone there was nothing but completely supportive when we went through all this. It made the decision that much harder to make). I went through the horrible procedure of a vasectomy reversal in Oklahoma (shout out to Dr. Wilson and his staff!)
We sold our house and moved into an apartment. Leaving our empty house for the last time was one of the hardest moments since leaving Amelia in the hospital. Her bedroom still smelled like her and I knew it would be that last time I’d ever have the opportunity to take in that beautiful scent. It was the only place we had memories with her. I cried on the floor of her empty room then I cried in the empty garage while it shut for the last time. Then I sat in my truck in the driveway and cried some more. I can still faintly remember what her room felt like but that memory is already starting to slowly fade. It was our first time living in an apartment since 2013 and we also had 1,000 less square feet (if you haven’t figured it out by now, my wife is very gracious with me). Something else that was healing was just being in the outdoors. We went to Multnomah Falls, Mount Rainier, Palouse Falls, and all sorts of rivers, lakes, and streams all over the state.
Through all that I can say with absolute conviction that our faith has always been strong. It’s never wavered. Not for a moment have I been angry with God. I’ve wished things would have gone differently of course, but I haven’t questioned God. I had coffee with a good friend who also lost a daughter shortly after we did and he said that it almost felt naive and ignorant to question the Creator of the universe. I agree with him. I’ve been angry with the doctor in Spokane. He had the absolute worst bedside manners ever. However, at the end of the day, being angry with him doesn’t bring Amelia back. It only hurts me.
My family has been there for us. Our closest friends have been there for us. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves since that day 10 months ago. We’re now able to have more kids than we would’ve had this not happened. That is such a joy to know. Beckham and Maverick still talk about her and hold her pictures.
Our faith comes from this verse in Philippians:
The One (God) who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus.
Meaning: He. Is. Not. Done. With. Me. Yet. He’s not done with my family.
He’s not done with YOU.
Another favorite verse is:
“My situation has turned out to advance the gospel.”
Thanks to Amelia, not me, but Amelia, more people are in church today and more people have renewed their relationship with Jesus.
The last one that I keep focusing on is a little longer (paraphrased):
“For God himself will come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord and so we will always be with the Lord.”
I know where my daughter is. I know I’ll see her again one day.
So here’s the deal, we LOVE talking about her! Don’t be afraid to bring her up or ask questions. Don’t worry about mentioning her name. Honestly, I don’t like that people don’t talk about her more often. So this is your free pass to talk about her with us anytime you feel like it!
That’s the end. That’s our story. We’ve met so many people who have been through so much more and it helps to keep our story in perspective. If there’s one thing I would want you to take away from our story it’s that everyone is going through something.
Be mindful of that. Everyone has a burden that you may not know about.
Show some grace, that may be all they need.