Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Update On Things... over a week later

It's nice to have last week over with, but the problem with this week, is that it's starting to become a little more real.  It's still hard to believe that my brother is no longer here, and that it all happened the way it did.  Nights are the hardest for me because for some reason everything seems more real.  I guess it's because I'm not staying busy.  I've been keeping myself real busy during the day.  I've organized some things in my kitchen and completely gone through all of Karis' old clothes and put them into tubs by size (and gotten rid of a lot).  It's been nice to get things done, at least.  I have a long list this month.  Ethan's room is next.  A friend of mine has let me borrow all of his clothes, so I need to put them back into the order that she gave them to me in.  We're still trying to figure out the best way to get organized for Levi's arrival... not sure if we should go ahead and switch rooms or not (Karis is going into Ethan's room and the boys into Karis' room because hers is bigger with two closets).  I have a feeling, though, that Levi will be in our room for a while... so we might just wait. 

Anyway... When Joey died, I shared how it all happened, then I erased it because I wasn't sure if it was too much to share on my blog.  I talked to my parents about it and they told me to share whatever I feel I need to share... that I need to grieve in my own way.  They don't feel there's a need to hide anything. 

If you can't handle this, then I would stop now.  I need an outlet to get out my thoughts, so this is the way for me to do it.  

My brother committed suicide, and he did it by shooting himself in the head with a deer rifle.  My mom is the one who had to find him... and she is the one who has been there for him through EVERYTHING.  It makes me angry in a way, but at the same time, he wasn't thinking.  If he was, he wouldn't have done it.  The room was so messy that it took a professional cleaning crew 3 days to clean and strip the room.  There is nothing left.  A contractor is having to come in tomorrow to put the room back together.  It was like I was in a night mare.  My parents didn't want to leave while they were cleaning, so we were all there while it was taking place (when it was real bad, they blocked it off with a sheet).  I left the kids at home with some friends here at the camp (except for a short time) because I knew that would be hard for them to understand.  That was their play room... most of their toys were ruined.  Ethan's pack and play was ruined.  That's all hard to explain to little ones... in fact, I'm not even going to try.  They'll just have to know that they have new things (when the time comes). 
Karis had a hard time for a few days, but she has already seemed to "bounce back."  She knows that uncle Joey died, and she tells me sometimes that she's sad about it, but I know that she's too young to understand fully.  She heard my first reaction when my mom called me (my mom called me right after she called 911), so she probably knows a little more than she should.  But, I can't take that back now, and she seems to be okay. 

I've kind of been able to "get on" with my life (because I have to), but I think about him all day long.  I sometimes feel like life is normal again, then I'm quickly reminded that it's not.  I think it's going to take a long time to grieve.  I haven't cried much since last week (I cried quite a bit last week), but I think I'll just have moments here and there.  For some reason it's hard for me to cry.  I feel as though maybe God is just giving me strength to handle things one moment at a time, and I'll cry when I need to.  It kind of makes me feel like I'm a horrible person that I am going on with life.  But, I am reminded that I have to for my family. 

I just want to take a moment to thank all of those that have been there through all of this.  For me, the first thoughts that come to mind are all that the camp family did for us.  Sandy came to my parents' house to pick up the kids the day it happened, and she took care of them for several days (with the help of many others here are camp).  I didn't have anything to worry about with them.  I did miss them, and they missed us, but it was best for them to be here and not there. The day after my brother died, we were on the way to my parents' house, and we hit a deer.  It busted our windshield, so we couldn't drive it.  We had to come back and switch out vehicles.  When we drove up, everyone who was working that day met us to move all of our stuff into our other vehicle.  They all circled around us and prayed for us.  That meant more to me than they will probably ever know.  It was so nice to have so much support.  The day of the funeral, Sandy and Judy came to my parents' house with a large meal from a local bbq place for my whole family (for about 20 people).  They also stayed at my parents' house during the funeral in order to watch my kids and a few of my cousins' kids.  And, the camp shut down that day in order to take a few van loads of staff to the funeral.  I am still so amazed by all that they did to support us through this hard time.  Not only did they do all of that, but they took up a collection for Robert and I to offset some of the cost of our deductible (for our car), and because I lost pay from work (for being out).  I just don't understand that kind of love.  It amazes me and will continue to amaze me.  I'm so thankful that we are here.  I'm proud to be a part of this ministry. 

Our family took turns being at our house last week.  It was nice to not be alone... to know that I (and my parents) had someone to talk to almost the whole week.  Many people brought food.  It was really helpful to not have to think about cooking or to spend the money to pick something up. 
There were so many people at the funeral... in fact, my parents received cards from people that they didn't even know, but just lived in the town.  They had/have so much support.  They still have people coming by to check on them. The police chief, the guy who owns the funeral home, and all that were involved, took care of us more than is probably normal for them.  I think it was tough for everyone. 

So many people prayed for us (and continue to pray for us).  I feel the strength through those prayers and don't know what I would do without people loving and caring for us.  It's in times like these that you really and truly see who your friends are. 

I have grown up a lot this week.  I had strength (through Christ) that I didn't know was possible, and other people told me that His grace flowed through me.  I pray that continues.  I pray that people see Christ in me through all of this... because I'm sure my flesh wouldn't have done so well.  I can tell you that anything that you saw this week that was good was through Christ. 

I'll leave you with the lyrics to a song that helps me a lot:
The song is by Casting Crowns.  We played this at his funeral, not because he liked it, but because I thought it would give some strength to those suffering through all of this.

I'll Praise You in this Storm
I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth



Katie said...

Courtney, I can't really imagine what you're feeling right now. Thanks for sharing your heart. I have been praying for you.

nicole said...

Courtney, words fail me. I'm asking the Holy Spirit to hear my heart on your behalf.