Friday, January 6, 2012

Caroline's Funeral

Tonight, my heart is heavy but my burden is somehow light.  Although I know in my heart that I am saddened by the loss of our little Caroline, God has lifted a tremendous weight off of my shoulders.  There is no reason why I should feel as strong as I do right now.  This has been, by far, the most burdensome event I have ever endured.  Yet, in what should be my weakest moments, God has made me strong....not just strong, but stronger than I have ever been!

Instead of looking at my daughter's casket with sadness, I look at it and smile.
Instead of being ashamed that my daughter has passed before me, I am proud to have just known her.
Instead of wallowing in my pain and suffering, God has allowed me to increase my faith and strength.

I realize that this may not make any sense to anyone else.  If you do not understand what I am saying, all I can leave you with is that this unbelievable turn of emotions is the ability that God has to change our lives.  He is the Almighty!!  He is the Redeemer of this world.  And He is the Master Healer of our hearts. 

God has healed my heart despite my huge loss!!  And He has used Caroline in such a way to heal hundreds, if not thousands, of others' hearts.  Will you let Caroline's story touch your heart, too?  As her father, I can assure you that she would want you to feel the overwhelming and unconditional love that she has felt ever since her arrival in Heaven at 1:58 a.m. on December 15, 2011.

I love you, baby girl.  I am so proud to be your dad!  I see your name and I just smile!!!  But we miss you so very much!  And we'll see you in a few decades!  ...what a wonderful day that will be!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Journey Texas!

Life is full of firsts. 

First car.  First speeding ticket. 
First girlfriend.  First break up.
First job.  First promotion. 
First child.  First death.

Yesterday, I got to ride in a hearse for the first time.  I'm not sure if I should call that a privilege or not!  But I can say that it was a proper ride for my little Cinderella as we escorted her to the airport cargo line.  She was ridin' in style!!  Only the best for my baby girl!!!  As for Emily and me, however, I'm still undecided.  I'd be quite alright if I never have to ride in a hearse least until I'm the reason the hearse is being driven!!

We were able to coordinate flights such that Caroline was placed on the same flight as us.  That was pretty special to me.  I felt secure and at peace knowing that I fulfilled my Daddy duties in assuring Caroline was properly and punctually prepared for our flight.  Once we arrived in Texas, we also had the privilege of driving back to the cargo area to pick her up from the airline.  Finally, after dropping her off at the funeral home, we made it home for some much needed rest and quality Texas family time.

Today, we met with the funeral directors to make more plans.  Caroline's funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, January 7th, 2012.  Emily and I chose to bury Caroline in "Babyland."  It was somewhat comforting to know she will be laid to rest with other babies who were born into Jesus's arms.  However, picking out a burial plot is yet another first for me. 
The Yellow Flag Marks Caroline's Gravesite

It was bittersweet, just like everything else we have dealt with regarding Caroline.  But we have assurance that we are only burying her earthly remains...her spirit left us over two weeks ago!! 

God has been ever present during this whole process.  Emily and I both feel as if we have just woken up from a bad dream.  What I mean is that we both feel as if no tragedy has actually occurred, relative to what we expected to feel like.  We both expected to feel as if we were run over by Mack trucks and left for dead while our marriage fell apart and fizzled to an end as we knew it.  In reality, what really happened, is that God has been our pilot, flying us through the most treacherous mountains and valleys we have ever seen, and Emily and I just got to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Caroline's death had extreme potential to be the ugliest event that we ever saw.  However, because of our faith in Jesus and because of our conscious decision to glorify God through Caroline's life, this journey has actually been one of the most beautiful events we ever experienced.  Because of Caroline, I have a stronger faith in my Lord.  Because of Caroline, I love my wife more than ever!!  She is a ROCK!  And because of Caroline, we are inseparable!!  To God be the glory, forever and ever! 

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the best gift you ever could:  eternal life.  Because of your sacrifice on the cross, we will see our Caroline in Heaven one day!!  And thank you for also giving Emily and me the second best gift you ever could:  Caroline Grace.  We continue to commit our journey with Caroline to you.