In the midst of tragedy

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord… 

I’m struggling, readers.  As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from the blog for awhile, and it’s taken a tragedy to bring me back.  I sit here with endless thoughts and words running through my mind, but without the slightest clue how to go about organizing them in a coherent manner.  I have no plan.  But still, I must proceed, if for no other reason than to process these feelings of grief and confusion the only way I know how – through writing.  

Photo: Never EVER be mean Girls to your Friends. Even in the moment ❤️ please learn from this !!
Meet Hailey: a beautiful, kind, vibrant 21-year-old woman filled with passion.  Passion for the Lord, passion for the outdoors, passion for learning, passion for working with and educating children, passion for her adorable Beagle, Hank, passion for her family, her friends, and for the love of her life, Stephen.

Meet Stephen: a handsome, generous, kindhearted and fun loving Christian man whose heart has been dedicated to Hailey for over six years, and who (along with his parents and sister) has been extremely special to my family for my entire life.  

Hailey and Stephen set the bar incredibly high when it came to healthy, happy, loving and truly admirable relationships.  Their example is one I strive for daily in my own relationship.  It didn’t take much to see that they were absolutely crazy about each other – their happiness radiated wherever they went, and it never faded with time.  Not only did they share that rare, soul-mate kind of love that many yearn for, but they had an immense, visible respect for one another, along with unending mutual support, inherently positive attitudes and steadfast faith in their Lord.  And they had so much FUN together.  They were going to make it.       

And then, the unthinkable happened.  There was a tragic accident, which took sweet Hailey’s life.

And now – after traveling home to pay my respects to her family and to Stephen and his family; after seeing them utterly shattered, shocked and grief-stricken; after hugging them, and crying with them and not knowing what to say; after attending the emotional service celebrating her life and being astounded by the number of people gathered there whose lives she touched; after seeing her beautiful, peaceful face one last time – now, I’m here.  And I’m thinking and feeling and processing and taking it all in.  

And my heart is breaking for Stephen because he lost his true love.  
And my heart is rejoicing that Hailey was able to find her soul-mate in her 21 short years.
And my stomach is sick with grief for her family because no one can ever prepare for this.
And my faith is shaken.
And I’m simply dumbfounded that this could even happen.
And I’m angry because it isn’t fair.
And I can’t stop asking “Why?” 
And I’m reminded of how much I take for granted.
And I’m holding my husband tighter. 
And I’m praying harder.
And I’m thankful for today.
And I’m hopeful for tomorrow.
And I’m comforted by thoughts of Hailey as a gorgeous angel smiling down from Heaven.
And I feel privileged to have known her and grateful for her kindness to my family. 

And all I want is for God to wrap His arms tightly around the Bordeaux and Stafford families, and everyone who is hurting during this impossibly difficult time, and for Him to never let go.

Because as much as I’m feeling right now, I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through.  They’ve lost a daughter, a sister, a one-day wife, a dear friend, and a genuinely wonderful person.  And it’s just so sad.  But, based on my experiences with her and all the stories and memories I’ve heard and read from her family and friends, her life, though cut short, was full – full of purpose, full of love, full of energy, full of happiness, and full of faith.  

And I know that faith is important at a time like this, so, through the confusion, anger, and doubt, I’m praying.  And if you happen to be reading this and are a person of faith, please send up a prayer for Hailey and her loved ones.  She was a truly beautiful soul, and she will continue to be loved and missed by many.               

(Pictures taken from Facebook.)