Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walk By Faith



Since the early nineteen nineties, this was the song I would sing to myself during tough times. Daniel heard me singing it many times. The song hails from the album "Wishes" which I highly recommend.

Christine and Scott Dente are the artists who performed the song. They are a long married couple with children. Christine's blogspot is:

http://christinedente.blogspot.com/

This song has been a great help to me in both good times and bad. Thankyou Scott and Christine.



Walk By Faith

Performed by Out of the Grey

I'm gonna walk by faith, not by sight
'Cause I can't see straight in the broad daylight
I'm gonna walk by faith, not by fear
'Cause I believe in the One who brought me here

I'm standing on the edge of whatever
Whatever He has planned for me
My next step will be measured
With confidence in the unseen

Like dancing on the edge of forever
I have nothing left to lose
Flying free as a feather
A vagabond in beautiful shoes

I'm moving through this great unknown
With faith beneath my feet
I take the road invisible
But I know Jesus goes with me
Oh, I believe, I believe
Because You gave Yourself to me
And I have nothing left to fear
'Cause I see it's You who brought me here
Though the road ahead is not quite clear
Still I know the way

Francis S. Collins MD PhD



When I was an atheist and I decided to explore the rational underpinnings of belief in God, I expected to find none—and was astounded to discover that there are strong arguments from nature and philosophy that point to God’s existence.
             Francis S. Collins




Daniel,
I don't remember how much you recall about the Human Genome Project, but its director had been a physician and scientist named Francis S. Collins MD PhD.
The Human Genome Project completed in 2003, mapped 3 billion letters or pairs of the human genome, or a complete set of DNA in the body. As a result, we learned that all human beings are 99.6% genetically similar to each other. We learned to do 1000 new tests for genetic illnesses and 350 biotechnology products are in development as a result. This work has the potential to completely change the way we diagnose and treat disease on Earth.
Yes, Dr. Collins was the highly entertaining man who spoke, and sang at your sister's college graduation. We also found the song he sang at the graduation on YouTube.

I found a link that I think you might like to see

http://www.genome.gov/10001018

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins_(geneticist)

As you remember, Dr. Collins was a Virginia homeschooled student, like yourself, who went on to get a degree in Chemistry, and then became a physician and genetics researcher afterward. His undergraduate degree came from the University of Virginia as yours likely would have been.
Besides being a very well rounded person, what I like most about Dr. Collins, is how his learning of the complexities of human genetics lead him to a stronger and more dimensional faith in God. He has written a wonderful book called "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief". He is a highly respected scientist and highly respected Christian. I was surprized that the university chose someone of this caliber to speak, since you know I consider them pretty ungodly most of the time.


http://www.explorefaith.org/speaking_collins.html

I wanted you to know that there are very bright people here on Earth like yourself who came to know of God's greatness as well. Love to Papa L.
I Love You So,

Mom


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dearest Daniel










My Dearest Daniel,

I know you read anything electronic that leaves our home, or that God passes along anything that is important. I wanted to let you know that some of the pictures are clouds from above the house that I thought you would love to see. The barn picture is the barn we have built for the animals, in the place that you helped Dad to clear last year for them.
Daniel, I promise to take care of all the animals who are still here on the farm. I will keep them all safe and comfortable until they pass to you and Papa L. who is with you. I know you are taking good care of our animals who are already there.
I miss you and Papa L. so very much. I love you both very much and I am trying to make you both proud of me. I know I have work to do here and I am trying hard to do it, although sometimes admittedly, I would much rather be with you. If you were here just now I would look into your beautiful eyes and give you the biggest hug. I love you more than my life. Tell Papa L. I love him very much too.
Everyone is doing their best to do what you would wish of them. I know you both will be here for Stephanie's birthday. All my love to you both. I know you are minding God. I am trying also.

Love you wider than all the oceans and deeper than all the seas,

Mom

Always




"Always" Lyrics
by Building 429 | from the album Building 429

I was standing in the pouring rain
One dark November night
Fighting off the bitter cold
When she caught my eye
Her face was taut and her eyes were filled
And then to my surprise
She pulled out a photograph
And my heart just stopped inside
She said He would have been three today
I miss his smile, I miss his face
What was I supposed to say ?

But I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
He will be with you always

He was living in a broken world dreaming of a home
His heart was barely keeping pace
When I found him all alone
Remembering the way he felt
When his daddy said goodbye
Fighting just to keep the tears
And the anger locked inside
He's barely holding on to faith
But deliverance is on its way

'Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
He will be with you always

Friend I don't know where you are
And I don't know where you've been
Maybe you're fighting for your life
Or just about to throw the towel in
But if you're crying out for mercy
If there's no hope left at all
If you've given everything you've got
And you're still about to fall
Well hold on, hold on, hold on

Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
Always, Always
He will be with you always
He will be with you always
He will be with you



Of all the songs I have heard since Daniel's passing, this one I believe has touched me most. The first verse touches a great loss like our own, and the second verse reminds us that there is still hurt here, and those who still require our help and that we have a need to remain here. Most importantly, the song tells us of God's love for us and how he is with us, always. The group "Building 429" has created a masterpiece.
Not being as computer savvy as my kids I was not sure how to add the video of this song to the blog, so here is a link where you can not only hear the song and video, but download the tune as a ringtone.

http://www.muvids.com/5768_video_building_429_always







Always with Lyrics




"Always" Lyrics
by Building 429 | from the album Building 429

I was standing in the pour rain
One dark November night
Fighting off the bitter cold
When she caught my eye
Her face was torn and her eyes were filled
And then to my surprise
She pulled out a photograph
And my heart just stopped inside
She said He would have been three today
I miss his smile, I miss his face
What was I supposed to say

But I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
He will be with you always

He was living in a broken world dreaming of a home
His heart was barely keeping pace
When I found him all alone
Remembering the way he felt
When his daddy said goodbye
Fighting just to keep the tears
And the anger locked inside
He's barely holding on to faith
But deliverance is on its way

'Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
He will be with you always

Friend I don't know where you are
And I don't know where you've been
Maybe you're fighting for your life
Or just about to throw the towel in
But if you're crying out for mercy
If there's no hope left at all
If you've given everything you've got
And you're still about to fall
Well hold on, hold on, hold on

Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
Always, Always
He will be with you always
He will be with you always
He will be with you




Of all the songs I have heard since Daniel's passing, this one I believe has touched me most. More on this to follow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The House Where Daniel was Born


Our daughter Stephanie, having just graduated from college has been going to job interviews. One of these interviews took her to the town about 100 miles from here, in which we lived, prior to moving out to the country and building the farms. Yesterday, after the interview, she stopped by our old house, and tried to take pictures without being seen.
Although I have a certain fondness for anywhere we have lived, I am not a greatly sentimental person with regard to houses. Home really is where you family is, and homes can grow and change as your family does. Still, this was the home we had when Daniel was born. He came home from the hospital to his beautiful bedroom. He learned to walk there. He spent lots of time in the beautiful back yard in a playpen as I sat there standing guard. He once fell into the small pond in the back yard while we were right there. Fortunately, he was fine.
We sold there in order to give our children opportunities to have horses, livestock, and a rural life, and we have done these things. They also had the opportunity to watch not one but two rural homes be built, and to help with the building of barns and other farm structures. Still looking at the picture of this house and remembering I wonder if staying there, being closer to the city and the opportunities it held, especially in a difficult economy, might not have been so bad.
I remember when it was time to move from this home to the new one, that we told Daniel, and as a tot he said, "We can't sell this house. It's too heavy !" We actually did keep this house for about two years, renting it, in the event that we chose to come back. I am really happy to have these pictures.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Still Those to Tell


It seems that no matter where we go, I still encounter people who do not yet know what happened. I travel periodically to another county where I buy certain supplies for the animals, and I stopped in at a new hardware store. While Matt and I were departing, a woman I've known for about eleven years was entering the store. We figure that we haven't seen one another in about a year and a half.
I caught her up with the news about Daniel, and she was shocked, and she told me about her own. Apparently, her eldest son lives in Florida, and one day she was driving to town to buy some supplies for a visit her sister was making to her home. She saw a cemetery and one of her eldest sons friends there, near dogwood trees that were all in bloom. She had a sense of forboding. When she got home she was very tired and fell into a deep sleep. She was awakened from the deep sleep by her eldest son telling her in her head, that he had just been shot and had died. Shortly after that, her husband woke her to tell her that her son was dead. She sat right up and told him, "Yes, I know. He was shot. He was murdered." She believes she has heard from her son since. It is surprizing how many families who have lost a loved one, have a story of post death communication. So many of these are so conpelling.
She is presently raising her 12 year old granddaughter and was understandably distressed to hear that Daniel had passed away at only 12 1/2 without a known medical issue other than some food allergies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Message



One of the things I do in order to stay sane following the passing of Daniel, is that I belong to a number of Mother's Bereavement Groups. These can be very helpful because most of us live life on a roller coaster and when I'm up a little, I can help someone who is where I was last week, and vice versa. This also serves the integral purpose of talking about our children to someone. People who have lost a child need to share their memories of their son or daughter, and too often, others who have not experienced the death of a child, cannot understand this, or be comfortable with it. Many times on these groups, we just talk about funny things that happened with our child or about his favorite foods, etc. On one of these lists, we have three psychics, two of which have lost a child themselves. Although these lists do convey that occasionally WE are the best people to talk to our own children, they do occasionally pass messages they believe they have received from a particular child. One of the mother's passed this one to me.
She said that she thinks this message is for me. She said that she saw a very clean and pretty calf, black and white, in a vibrant green field in a beautiful setting. At that moment, a blue butterfly lands on his nose, and for a moment, he goes cross-eyed to see it. It is comical and she says it runs over and over again. She asked me if it meant anything to me, because she does not understand it.
Two weeks before, in the process of building the barn, the contractor asked me what I would like on the weathervane. I had been wracking my brains as to what animal or symbol would be a remembrance of Daniel. He loved so many animals, that it would be hard to pick just one. I thought about an angel, but I wanted to memorialize things he did in a tangible way, and not related to his passing. Finally, after looking at the internet for about an hour, I cried at the prospect of living life here without him and I said, "Daniel, you are going to have to show me what animal you think will work on the weather vane". Perhaps, I told her, this is what he is doing.
Later, I remembered that when he was small and we used to go to the post office together, we would pass a dairy farm with all the young calves tied to what looked like doghouses. He loved calves ! I thought this was likely the message.
In the confusion of my daughter's graduation from college, I forgot to mention this to her, so this week in the car, I did. It had an additional meaning for her. She said that when Daniel was small (She was 12 when he was born), she used to play a game with him called, "Buppey-fly". She would pretend her fingers were a butterfly and would pretend to fly them until they landed on his nose. He would laugh and sometimes go cross-eyed, and then everyone else would laugh. I had forgotten this ! I told Stephanie that our listfriend had said it "runs over and over again". "Like an animation !" Stephanie said. Yes, certainly, I thought. Daniel was a master at computer animation. Perhaps he found a way to send us one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Visit to the Doctor


Today I had a doctors appointment with my internist, a very bright woman. Being an RN and college instructor myself who teaches courses with medical applications, etc. having a doctor I trust and who is truly bright has always been of importance, and has sometimes been a challenge. The appointment went well and I am apparently quite stable medically. She put a fair amount of time into assessing how I am coping with the loss of Daniel. I told her the truth which is that at the six month mark in some ways it is as hard as in the beginning. His physical presence has now missed a Christmas, a Winter, A Spring, his thirteenth birthday, Mother's Day and his sister's graduation from college. Even when you accept that he exists and is alive and dwelling with God, it's tough on those who are left here. I miss hugging him, talking to him and watching him smirk, smile or even roll his beautiful eyes. I told her that I belong to a number of mother's Bereavement Support groups but that I didn't know how helpful they really were. It's easy to get stuck in a phase of grief when you have peers in which to stick there with you. I also accept and understand that friendships you made only because you have the loss of a child in common, and with people you might not have been friends with normally, are not likely to survive long term. I believe that true friendship must have more than terrible pain, loss or grief in common. The doctors verdict is that I am, in fact, surviving.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Graduation



Today my husband, our sons Matthew and Adam and I attended my daughter's graduation from college. Stephanie is graduating Magna cum Laude from one of the top art schools in the country as an illustrator and communications artist. She is also a significantly gifted photographer. For many reasons, this was a difficult day. First the travel to the location was difficult and the information as to where the university graduation was as opposed to the one from the art school was located. Stephanie attended both as I had asked, although I think she was frankly too tired and would have ditched it had I not implied that it was important to me. More than three thousand students graduated, some with Pharmacy doctorates, Nursing anesthesia doctorates, DDS, and MD degrees. The art graduates were quiet, whereas no major was as boisterous or as truly joyous as the nursing majors. I was tearful as I listened to the commencement speaker who is a top scientist who not only discussed science and great changes to come within the fields of medicine and bioinformatics, but he spoke of faith and of God, and how the more he learns of DNA and RNA that the more in awe of God he is. I thought this was a brave choice for a public university. Palpably missing from the ceremony for me was my father who has helped to finance some of my children's university educations, and of course Daniel. On looking back in the convention center, I noticed two chairs in back of me that were empty and stayed so throughout the ceremonies, #12 and #13. Perhaps they were both there after all. Congratulations Stephanie, you have been a joy to raise and to homeschool until college. I could not be more proud of you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Daniel


The day before yesterday was Daniel's first birthday since his passing. He is now 13 years old, although I hear that in Heaven we are ageless and that he is closer to grown there. The day was busy. We have planned to have lunch as a family when everyone can be here Saturday, and have birthday cake. Yesterday was booked solid with driving school for one of our sons, and stops by from friends, as they anticipated it would be a difficult day.
Daniel, if you read this, we all miss you very much and hope you had a wonderful birthday with Papa Lawrence. We send our hugs and love. We are taking care of your animals and your things. We love to hear from you, in dreams or however you can do it.
I have added a short Sonic film on the occasion of Daniel's birthday. Although a great many of these were inappropriate and carried odd content, Daniel found these shorts very entertaining, and for private use, often modified these himself using computer code. This is a short found on Youtube.
Happy Birthday Daniel.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finding Ways to Celebrate Daniel's Birthweek


Today is the day before Daniel's thirteenth birthday. Friends have been worrying that shortly this will be the first Mother's Day since his passing, but really, Mother's Day is not on my screen of days to fear. Daniel's birthday, however, is likely to be very difficult. It symbolizes not only the first birthday since his passing, but the beginning of his teen years that he is not here to have or to claim. Somehow I know he has attained teen years and lots of wisdom, but it still makes marking time here, the way we embodied humans do it, difficult.
Normally, our family celebrates a birthday on the first Saturday after the day, because we are all home then. The birthday boy or girl normally opens a few presents on the day, and their family part is the Saturday. I was actually willing to celebrate on both days in memory of Daniel, but Matthew's driving school dates, which are quite a few, fit right over this time also. Daniel would love the idea that Matt will be driving soon. I decided that in honor of Daniel's birthday to buy a fair amount of boxed canned goods at Sam's Club and to drop them off at a local food bank. Daniel would get a kick out of his birthday being celebrated after his passing, and about good being done even though he isn't "in the flesh" to do it. We also plan to have a family lunch and birthday cake on Saturday as a remembrance. Today is the day in which I deliver the canned goods to the foodbank. I hope Daniel and my Dad can see what we are doing. On the actual birthday I also plan to make a fuss of all the animals who love Daniel so very much.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Waterhorse



Some time ago, Daniel and I were watching a movie together and in the trailers before the film there was an advertisement for a film nearing completion called "The Waterhorse". It seemed a charming film set in Scotland in WW2 with a young boy who discovers an egg which grows into a young waterhorse, or Loch Ness styled monster. Daniel wanted us to rent it. At some point, I bought it and last night I got the opportunity to watch it. On some level I feel as if Daniel watches the films he would have liked with me, and in that sense I feel closer to him.
The film starts in WW2 as Royal Navy officers inhabit a small Scottish coastal town. A young boy whose father is away at sea locates a peculiar rock which he brings home. The egg hatches and lots of drama begins. This was a difficult film for me because it touched upon death, a child who on some levels reminded me of Daniel, and I could not help but think how much Daniel would have enjoyed the film which was nicely made, well filmed and believe it or not, realistic. I cried as many tears as would fill a Loch. It is now 5 months and several days since Daniel's passing, and it will soon be his 13th birthday. How I have survived until now, I am not sure.