Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Four Years Feb. 9, 2014

Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of teh Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, 
      "This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:
     "'Among those who approach me
         I will be proved holy;
         in the sight of all the people
         I will be honored.'"
Aaron remained silent.
                                   Leviticus 10:1-3

This was the question when I first read about Aaron’s sons.
How did he not lose himself in grief? How did he continue on?
How did he not hate God?

I took the day off, my intent for the most part to sleep the day away. But I woke around 6am and from that point whenever I closed my eyes the movie began to play.
The side characters doctors, nurses, social workers even the person who drove me from the airport to the hospital that morning are now in shadow. I would not recognize them if we bumped in the street.
Other details are in eternal sharp focus.
The morning flight. The back of the chair in front of me. The snow on the drive over. The entrance to the Nebraska hospital. The nauseous feeling in my gut that something is horrible wrong. Edith’s face. Carli…

I get up wondering if I shouldn’t have just gone to work. There is plenty to do around the house though. Moved in about a week ago and there is plenty settling to do.
Edith starts texting me looking for a certain picture of Carli she wants to post on Facebook. Out comes the pictures and I go through all of them. Just can’t find it.

I pick up Cayla from school for lunch. A true pleasure.
We go to Raleigh to meet Edith at Carli’s grave site. This is the first time I have been here on the anniversary.
Edith set’s up a beautiful flower arrangement bright with color. Carli’s colors.
Then it begins to rain.

Later at my place Edith an I go through pictures of our children. Eventually we will need to figure out who gets what but right now Edith is in transition between places so I will keep them for now.
But she has laundry to do, so she leaves.

I don’t hate God though I'm not sure I could say how deeply I love him. Disappointment and hurt does not begin to describe what I feel. But I don’t hate him.
There are times I know he is with me. I know that I know he has orchestrated my return home. From the job, the car repairs, the extra training jobs to pay for it all, to the new job and my new home.
I know I am in the right place. That I am home. And I am grateful.
But this relationship we now have is different. It is very quiet.

My mother made this observation. “Now that you are not so angry maybe you will be able to hear him.”
It is a fair statement.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Yet another dream.
This time I am walking into a hospital, and when I enter the double doors I am immediately in a large room lined with hospital beds and children are everywhere. I know that they all have various forms and stages of cancer, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they are acting.
They are talking, laughing, playing.
In the first bed there is an adult, and he is a bit sicker than everyone else. He is talking to a doctor who somehow I know though I never see his face. He is gentle. Compassionate.
As the doctor walks away from this bedside to go to the next, the man in the bed looks to me. He knows he is at the end but there is no fear. He is ok. Even content. I see this as we talk for a moment.
I am there to find Carli. I have a bouquet of yellow flowers to give her but I know she is not on this floor. She is somewhere above, I believe on the top floor. I would go up yet I have never been here and I am not exactly sure where she is located.
The nurses are all busy going from child to child so I stand there waiting for one to give me a moment. Waiting for directions and permission to go on up.

This Sunday was my last at this small church Templo Betel. I can’t really find the right words to tell what this place has meant to me. What pastor Montero (my second spiritual father), his wife and the people here mean to me. How grateful I am to have been allowed to be a part of music and worship team.
How I fell in love with Sunday mornings.
My favorite day of the week.
Their love has been a balm of medicine for my soul.

Friday, January 16, 2015


I called to check up on her. 

Today’s Carli’s birthday and I knew it wasn’t going to be any easier on her than it is for me. One of two worse days of every year.
Sadly we will always share this. Not the way to share a child's birthday.
Edith had taken today off but still had some work to do. I didn’t take the day off. With my upcoming move there is just too much to do. Anyway, today is a good day to stay busy. Better not to think.

I get the questions, with my move to NC do I think we’ll get back together. I don’t see it happening. People are surprised when I tell them we’ve been separated almost three and half years now.  She is going on. Trying to. We both are.
It was good to hear her voice. I will always love her.  

Didn’t tell her about the dreams. Two nights, two dreams.
The first was of Carli in her hospital bed. This was the rougher dream.  Surprisingly. Thankfully. I don’t often dream of her like this. A heart aching dream to wake up from.
The second dream on the second night was of all my kids, but they were all very young. Carli was maybe 5 in this dream. With that sweet smile. And that mischievous sparkle that always in her eyes.

She would be 23 today.


Monday, December 29, 2014

The Letter

It did not seem real until now.

Not the new job. Not the search and then the deposit on the new rental. Not even telling my family the decision made.

Like tonight’s fog. Everything is there but still appears very distant.
When handing in my resignation letter, letting go of this anchor, it now becomes real.
I’m heading home. Returning to the deep rich greens of North Carolina.

I had started to doubt. Certainly my family did. Every door that appeared seemed to close as fast. I stopped even mentioning the possibilities.  
Suddenly here I am. Handing in this letter.

Well not so suddenly. Not really.


Friday, November 14, 2014


My son has come down to Florida to visit. More his friends than me, J but I am glad to see him. More than he knows.

There is an old song by Keith Green “Your Love Broke Through” and part of the words go-
“Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through
All my life I've been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch, you just rolled away
The stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy”

For me, since Carli’s passing, I have felt like I entered a dream. A collection of disjointed dreams. Where nothing is solid. Nothing is truly stationary. The meetings are random. The conversations ramblings. I could not tell you what is real or what has true meaning.
Those things that I held to be so sturdy, solid, dependable, I feel my feet slide over them, slipping on loose sand.

The walls around
will not hold in place
Round and round
Back again
Blurred motion
Grab something
But it is not just my eyes
The very earth
Is moving
Not the spin of a child
On the merry-go-round
No giggles
Or laughter
Twisted knots
To chest

When I allow time to think, I often have this sense of being in the wilderness, like Israel in the dessert. Just holding. Waiting. Not sure if this is where my story ends (I don’t think so), or if there is another chapter or chapters to be played out.
You don’t really find peace in the wilderness. You’re not really suppose to. Because there is always the unease of not being “home.”
But that said, you can acclimate. Adjust. Settle. Shed some things.
Maybe even grow.
Hopefully learn.
It’s funny, but when my daughter was sick I never felt like I was in the wilderness. Oh I was at times afraid. But I never felt lost.
Even by a hospital bed, her hospital bed, I felt like I was home.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

24 Years Ago Today

Seeing her this past weekend for my Uncles funeral was the first I have seen her since last Christmas.

She is her own person now. A woman. And has been for a while.

While dealing with Carli’s illness, Cassie’s needs got somewhat left behind. She started college without the normal parental presence and support a child should have.

And still she has become this amazing person. So determined to show how strong she is. Determined to be strong.

It is strange. This is what you want, your child to grow into an adult. For them to find their own strength and vision. Yet it also makes you ache and wish they were just your little girl for a little longer.

How I love this little girl, this young woman, my daughter.


Another of my favorite pictures. When she was yet brand new to the world.

 Yes, I once had hair.

Another of my favorites.

This last weekend in NC at my Uncle Ben's funeral.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Another dream... 10-6-14

I know, it has been a while.

It is not that I am too busy. It is certainly not that I am not thinking of Carli or my other children. I can honestly say “every day.”  Can’t tell you how much I miss her. How much I miss all of my children.

I dreamed of Carli the other night.

You might think I dream of her all the time but I don’t. Not very often. This is probably good as each time I wake up and realize again she is not here is just too much.

This is part of the reason I no longer write about these things so much. I find that reflecting to deeply does not give me peace. It actually takes me somewhere dark, into ache and anger.  

But the other night I did dream of her. I think this is the first dream I’ve had in which Carli was not a little girl.

 In this dream we were in the hospital. She was laying there, eyes closed, and at first I was very fearful. But she open her eyes and gave me that infectious smile of her. She began talking about something, laughing. I turned on the TV and laid down beside her.

When Carli was in the hospital I would never lay beside her in the bed. The hospital beds are not very large (and I’m not the smallest guy), and I was always afraid to move Carli around for fear that it would hurt her. Edith though would lay down with Carli all the time. She was fearless with Carli and I’m so glad she was.

Carli of course would complain. But that never stopped Edith. Edith needed it. That closeness. To love on her. And Carli needed it too.

So do I.