Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sad Happy Hopeful

The Lord is close to the Brokenhearted. 
He rescues those who are crushed in Spirit.
Psalm 34:18 

Hey Kansas,
Today is your 35th Birthday.
The fact that you stopped blowing out your candles at 31 will never be forgotten.
But for the first time in 4 birthdays, I feel a hint of peace in today.

I ran past the accident site yesterday on my run.
On purpose.
I've never done that before.
No tears.

I talked with your Mom in the afternoon.
No tears.

Joanna and I made plans to celebrate YOU, together, next week.
When we were done, they came.
But fast and hot on my face.

I sat down and just let myself focus on all my memories of you.
And I remembered another candle you didn't get to blow out.
Owen's First Birthday.
Remember this day at the Park?

It was a great day.
A sunny day.
A fun, happy, busy, windy, crazy day.
Who knew it would be THE ONLY BIRTHDAY you'd ever spend with your son?
No one.

When it came time to give Owen his cupcake, you couldn't find the #1 candle.
You looked high and low.
I remember you going through the food and decorations, even the trash looking for it.
I remember saying something like "It's okay! No biggie. It's just a candle."
But it was big to you.
You were so mad at yourself for misplacing it.

Eventually you gave up the search and enjoyed the party.
Forgot your frustrations and relished watching Owen devour his cake.
I remember your laugh, your smile, your sense of wonder, joy and pride.
I remember how you didn't let a missing candle steal your chance to celebrate with your son.

It's weird how this memory made me feel good.
Actually made me laugh.
And then sigh.
Cause my sadness is still very real, and very present.
I still miss you and think of you almost every day.
But some of my anger is gone.

I've watched Owen blow out 3 more candles since that day.
I'm sure you have too.
Maybe it's the time.
Maybe it's perspective.
Maybe it's seeing Owen smile and play and laugh and grow and BE.

Whatever it is, I think I've learned it does no use to hold on to the bitter.
When you do, you miss out on the sweet.
Miss out on the chance to LIVE and celebrate.
And who's to say we have more ahead?
More life, more candles, more chances to celebrate?
Maybe we dont.
Maybe we wont.

Remembering you on Owen's First Birthday made me realize...
When I focus on the candles stolen from your life,
I allow my anger to steal in me what I loved most in you.
Your happiness, your laughter, your faithful heart, your fun loving spirit.
Your ability to let go, forgive yourself, and be in the moment.

So today, my friend, on your 35th Birthday...I will blow out a candle in your honor.
(The consummate educator - teaching me things even in death!)
With this candle, may the last flame of anger in my heart be extinguished as well.
My wish is that this flicker of peace continues to grow.
I love you.

**For those of you who have read BUB for awhile and know my past feelings about Mrs. Johns, I can't say that they have changed. I don't think I'll ever forgive her. In my heart I have concluded, her forgiveness is not mine to give anyhow. I'll leave that up to God. Letting go of this responsibility, however, has allowed me to begin to move past my anger. And that feels good.**


mrsmaize said...

Your tribute to Candace and pictures are absolutely beautiful.

heather said...

This post is an amazing tribute to your beautiful friend. May God be with you and her family and friends as you celebrate her today and always.

Aubs said...

oh sweet sweet friend~ i love your heart. i love your gift w/ words and i love how you love so deeply, so completely. such a beautiful post to remember such a beautiful friend. HUGS! I LOVE you!

LauraC said...

Erin, I am so glad you are finding some peace with the passage of time. I have read all of the Candace posts as you were living them and you sound like you are in a much better place now. Never easy to lose someone you love, but I love the lessons you are learning and sharing along the way.

Hugs my friend!

Cara said...

Beautiful words, Erin. Just touching and genuine love.

Margot said...

Erin - What a touching remembrance of Candace. Owen is so lucky to have you and your kids in his life. So lucky to have you to tell him about his mommy when he wants to know about her. She lives on in all our hearts.

Joanna said...

Happy birthday, C. I look forward to seeing you soon, Erin.

Jeannett said...


TDM Wendy said...

So sad about your friend. For her family and friends. So sad. Glad you are growing and learning to let go of the anger and bitterness. As forgiveness, if you are harboring unforgiveness in your heart towards someone - it is up to you to forgive. Keeping praying on that and God will soften your heart and allow you to let go of it all. Philippians 1:6, Matthew 6:14-16, Mark 11:25
Colossians 3:13
Ultimately she needs to reconcile with God yes. He is her judge. But don't let unforgiveness take up residency in your heart. It's a destructive waste of time. Freedom in forgiveness.
Praying for you.

Brooke said...

You have the most amazing way with words. You are an amazing person and friend. I am glad that the anger is dying down. Thanks for the beautiful words.

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