The last year or so has been hard, very hard, and yet wonderful, amazingly joyful!
Tomorrow will be a year since we heard the news that our little Lucy, our daughter still in China we were in process to adopt, passed away unexpectedly at her orphanage. I want to shiver when I think of that heart wrenching pain we experienced as we grieved losing her in those first few months. (See original post here: http://www.hightonfamily.org/adoption-blog/2013/12/3/lucy-jane-forever-in-our-hearts )
It’s really so hard to wrap my head around this year when I look back. We were riding a high going into the fall last year having gotten our dossier to China and having completed an amazing Both Hands fundraiser. That project was such a blessing to us. Soon after the completion of that project, we got the referral for the cutest little China doll. Oh Lucy was so cute! We felt so sure she was our girl and peace to move forward and were anxiously awaiting final approvals from China when we found out that she had passed. We loved Lucy and had such hopes and dreams for that adorable little girl but that was never meant to be, but then why go through the pain of it all? Sometimes we never get the answers this side of heaven.
Fast forward to now we have our beautiful Rachel home almost 8 months and we all can’t imagine life without her. She’s such a joy, such a happy girl and she fits in with us perfectly. My dad had often said to me how he just couldn't understand how we got Rachel because her personality matches so perfectly with our family. She’s just the right level of stubborn and strong willed to compete with the other strong willed and stubborn Germans and English in our house. My answer to him all the time was God did it. There’s no other explanation.
Again this fall, we had more loss. My dad passed away on October 5th after a two year battle with liver cancer. Wow, that pain of loss is back again. My dad was such a big presence in my life growing up, as an adult and in the lives of my kids. My dad cared about relationships and he spent the time with me growing up to ensure that I knew he cared and we've always had such a close relationship. He wanted that with my kids too. He came to cheer them every season at soccer and baseball. He was at every one of my daughter’s plays at every birthday party and when Abigail called to invite him over for pancakes for dinner, well he got in his car and came right over. Before he got sick, he was rolling around on my basement floor with my boys wrestling, sword fighting, Lego building and playing dolls with the girls. He was a super dad and a super grandpa. We miss him. Every day my kids talk about him, wish he were here, wish he was coming over with nana, write notes to him and sometimes still cry for him. I’m beyond thankful that he lived long enough to meet Rachel and vice versa. Rachel amazes me with how much she remembers. Every time she sees nana, she asks where grandpa is.
So I can’t help but think of the verse in Job 1:21, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” This has been a season where we've been excited with what the lord gave us and so saddened by what was taken away, yet still, blessed is the name of the Lord.
It’s easy to ride the high during the good, but with the loss of Lucy and my dad this year, I could not imagine having kept my sanity without the presence of the Lord to walk me through. Dealing with the pain of loss is not easy in fact, it’s just plain awful! Unbearable at times. I now have more compassion for those who ‘numb’ the pain through addictions because dealing with it just sucks, but it’s necessary.
It’s been a very hard year of loss but the Lord’s presence is real, His comfort is real, His peace that passes all understanding is real, His joy is real and I’d be lost with Him. I still think about Lucy a lot. It's even more comforting to know our little girl is wrestling around with grandpa or as my kids imagine, Lucy is riding along on a baby panda and grandpa is running along after her. I can see it and my dad is giggling the whole time. Despite the loss, I’m thankful that every day I can look into the face of the little reminder of God’s faithfulness as she runs into my bed (bright and early) every morning. The Lord does give abundantly and He takes away yet I’m still declaring Blessed be the name of the Lord.