In Her Shoes is a series written by readers to give us a glimpse into their lives – to see what it is like to walk in their shoes. Today I am honored to introduce you to my amazing friend Brenda. Wife, mother, sister, writer, and friend – you can find her at RecoveredIdentity.com. Let’s join our friend as she shares with us what it is like to walk in her shoes. ~ Love, G
“Alexa is fine, but… Peter didn’t make it.” My heart stopped, but my brain searched for a way to make sense of it. Silence wasn’t an option. Words spewed from my mouth, too fast to catch them. “How’s Alexa?” Immediately, I gave myself a mental smack on the head. Duh. He already said she was fine. Maybe, just maybe, I was hoping he’d say they were both ok. I don’t know.
He repeated that she was still in the hospital, but she was fine. All I could say was “ok”. And then it was over. The hardest phone call ever. Through the tightening of my throat, I let my mouth say what my heart would not believe. “Peter and Alexa were in an a car accident. Alexa is fine… but Peter… he didn’t make it… He’s dead,” I told them.
Aaron held me, as I sat there for a minute in silence, fighting the physical effects of receiving horrid news… the shaking, the cold sensation, the sickness in the stomach, the tightening of the throat.
And then do you know what I did? I got up and went back to my life. I shooed the kids through the bed preparations, and Aaron and I tucked them in. Then I climbed in my bed, and just like every other night, I turned on the TV and we watched together.
I just wanted life to be normal. I wanted to forget what I had just heard. I wanted to pretend that my brother wasn’t dead. That my niece wasn’t trying to wrap her sweet little mind around what just happened to her daddy. That my sister in law and friend was not reeling from the loss of life as she had come to know it. I just needed to immerse myself in the lives of Rachel, Miles, and Charlie in Revolution. I needed that to be my reality.
It’s been two weeks and two days since I lost my brother, but the words still echo through my head everyday like the taunting rhythm of an oncoming train… “Peter didn’t make it. He’s dead.”
I’m not sure when that train will overtake me and flatten me to the ground. One of these days, it’s going to be real. I’m going to realize that his funeral was not just a family gathering that he wasn’t able to make it to. One of these days I will notice that he never shows up for family events.(Peter is pictured on the far right, with his siblings. 2002)
But for now, this is what I see… my beautiful sister and friend who finds herself being thrown back and forth from bully to bully… engulfing numbness, paralyzing sorrow, and angry denial. And I can’t do anything. I can’t hold her in my arms and sooth her into a peaceful sleep. I can’t heal her heart. I can’t tell her how to help her daughter through this tragedy. I can’t fix it. I can’t snap my fingers and bring her husband back to her side when she needs him most.
And my how this hurts!! I can’t even begin to put it into words. I love my people, and damn anyone who hurts them!
But wait a minute….
God did this! How could He? Are you kidding me, God?! I can see your sovereign hand in the death of Jim Elliot. I can see your sovereignty in the death of thousands of Jews during Hitler’s reign, horrific as it is. I can see your mercy in the death of my grandparents. But this… really, what good can come of the death of a 29 year old husband and father?!?!
How cruel to leave my sister alone! How cruel to make my niece witness the entire thing! How horrid to leave them all alone! You make NO SENSE at all!! HOW COULD YOU?!
And He answers…
“Dear, dear child, do not think that I left them alone. I am with them, closer than you can even imagine.
I’ve been with Alexa since the day she was conceived. I’ve been preparing her heart for this day. And I was with Alexa that evening, holding her tight, protecting her, guiding her through caring for her daddy and knowing what to do. I never left her side.
And I was with Peter. I held his heart in my hands. I cradled it. And when it stopped, I carried Him home. He was my precious son, and he accomplished all that I had planned for him here on this earth.
Oh and dear child, I AM with Jennifer. I knew from the beginning that she would face this sorrow. I have not left her unprepared. You would not believe the joy I received watching every moment Peter and Jennifer had together. It was beautiful.
I had my arms wrapped tightly around her when she was contacted about the accident. And I didn’t let go. I held her tight as she raced to the hospital. I held her tight as she whispered the heart wrenching words to her daughter. I held her tight as she went through the busyness of funeral preparations. I held her tight as Peter’s body was wheeled out the church doors and lifted into the Hurst. I held her tight as everyone returned to their own lives, leaving her to figure out what’s next.
And I’m still holding her, tighter than you could fathom. She might not feel me yet, and that might take a while, but I’m right here with her. Never doubt that.
Trust me, dear one. I will care for her with a gentle love and care that no human could ever manage.
I know what she needs and when she needs it. I will never abandon her. I am a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. I will never leave them or forsake them. They are in my arms.”
Thank you, Father.
A group of Peter’s friends have started a memorial fund to help support Peter’s wife in paying for the funeral expenses and the other costs that comes with a tragedy like this. My heart is breaking for his wife and little girl. Please continue to remember this precious family in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days.
To read more stories, or if you are interested in sharing your own story, please go to the In Her Shoes tab near the top of the page. I love learning about the people in this series. Connecting with others seems to make the world feel not quite as big and scary. We’re all in this together. I can’t wait to hear from you, to read your stories, and learn more of what it is like to walk in your shoes.
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