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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dancing With Grief Plus Two Months

A month ago, I was reliving the horror of the events of the days leading up to the discovery of Jolene’s body. I felt compelled to record the details before they faded from memory.

This month, I left Oklahoma on the 13th—the probable anniversary of Jolene’s actual death—and didn’t even think about it.

I’m not sure whether to be sad or glad. How could I forget so soon? How can I not be happy I’m moving forward?

In any case, today, the two month anniversary of Jolene’s official date of death, loomed large on the calendar. Mom pointed out that it’s another anniversary for her; five years ago she had a stroke the weekend of May 17-18. A double whammy.

I prayed for grace and strength during my quiet time. Then I opened my prayer list.

Next up: Jolene. Oh, God.

My thoughts today have centered around Jolene being frozen in time. She will always be twenty-three. We will grow older. We have already experienced two months that she didn’t witness with us. (Aside from whatever knowledge those in heaven have of our lives here.) She has not enjoyed the “prettiest spring in Colorado” Mom has ever seen. She does not know about her coming niece or nephew. I can’t tell her about my new book contract. She can’t plan her wedding with Marius.

If so much has happened in two months, what changes will a year bring? Five years? What changes would they have brought to Jolene?

She’s gone. But we’re not. And life has so much left to offer, a cornucopia of blessings and trials. Things I’ll experience without my daughter.

Good bye, dear girl. I wish I could have seen your mature beauty.


Mary Connealy said...

A suicide leaves a toxic waste dump of emotions. So much grief and regret and second guessing every word and gesture, everything done and undone.
Then, on days you dare to feel none of those things...guilt.

I spent today reading Gunfight at Grace Gulch. You bring the same gift to that book that you do to this blog, putting things into words in wonderful ways.
I'm thinking of you.

Melanie Dickerson said...


I pray God fills you with a peace that can only come from the Father of compassion, the God of comfort. He loves you and can and will see you through all your tomorrows. I'm so sorry for all you're having to go through. I've thought of you and prayed for you many times through the ACFW prayer loop. May God be with you every moment of every day.

Debra Ullrick said...

I'm so sorry for what you're going through, Darlene. I feel your pain.

I tried desperately to think of something else to say here. But you know what? Nothing comes to mind. So, I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you, and that I care what you are going through.

Debra Ullrick

Darlene Franklin said...

Believe, I know, there are no words. A heartfelt "I care" is more than enough. Thanks for stopping by, Debra.

Darlene Franklin said...

Mary, how descriptive, a toxic waste dump of emotions. That describes it to perfection.

NancyMehl said...

You're in my prayers, Darlene. Hope it helps to know that others are lifting you up before the Father.

No matter what happens in life, I remind myself of what awaits us. You and Jolene will spend eternity bathed in the joy of the Holy Spirit and the pain of this life won't even be a memory.

How sweet it is to trust in Jesus.


Lisa Harris said...

A bittersweet day, I know. Am praying for you today as you move forward yet never forget your sweet girl!


Dana said...

You and your family remain in my heart and prayers, darlene. Dana

Robin Bayne said...

Praying for your family. Thanks for sharing your feelings. ((HUGS))

Janice Thompson said...

Darlene, even in your grief you've painted such a beautiful picture with your words. Jolene WILL always be 23 - young, healthy, vibrant. You have that "picture" of her and it's a lovely picture. While she might not grow older, see the things you see, taste of life in the way you would have wanted her to, you always have that beautiful snapshot of her in your mind. And when you shared it with us, we could see her too - the way you do.

There are so many things my dad and younger sister didn't live to see. SO many babies have been born in our family since their passing. But, instead of mourning the fact that they're somehow missing out, God has reminded me with every new birth that He's giving our family a new opportunity to love afresh. To celebrate anew. To move forward, not backwards.

I know this is so hard to imagine, but your life will go on. It's going on already. New babies will be born. Things will change. And the pain...horrible as it is...will begin to diminish.

I'm so proud of you. You are an amazing woman of God. And the next few months and years are going to prove that out. I love you, honey. Wish I could wrap my arms around you and let you cry on my very broad shoulders.