Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Surviving

About a year ago we made the long drive to Oklahoma City to visit my brother, his wife and their new baby.  It was a long trip for a 2 year old and for me, being as I was between 4 and 5 months pregnant with Shyla.  While we visited them, we went to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial site.  It was surreal. 

I remember that day so clearly in my mind.  I was only in the 5th grade on that April day, but it was the first time I really remember following current events and what happened that day is forever burned into my mind.  The vision of that gaping hole in the building is something I will never forget.

It was a peaceful day in June when we walked up to the fence that surrounds one end of the memorial.  Things that people have left in memory and in honor of those killed, those injured and those forever changed by the bombing are tucked into the fence.

It wasn't until later the things we saw and did really gained a new symbolism to me and my family.



As you walk up to the main entrance, the massive gate read 9:01 in big bold numbers.  The day before the bombing.  Peace, innocence, and security.  Through that gate you can see the reflecting pool representing 9:02.  The time of the bombing.  On the other gate a large 9:03.  The moment that healing started and all that existed at 9:01 was gone.



Months later, I looked as these photos and thought how this trip has so much more significance to me and my family now.  In the photo directly above, Ben and Ethan are looking over 9:02, the reflecting pool, to the 9:03 gate.  You can see the survivor tree in the upper left corner of the photo.

You see, these numbers don't just remind me of that fateful April day anymore...they mean a whole other set of dates.  9/02 was the date Shyla was stillborn.  9/01 the day before and 9/03 the day after.  Looking back through these pictures gives me chills.  We had no idea what those numbers were going to mean to us just a few months later.  But here we are.  We will be reflecting on 9/02 for the rest of our lives, just like that large pool in the middle of those two unmistakable gates. 

But that's not where it stops.



This is one of the only photos taken of my whole family together.  I am almost 5 months pregnant with Shyla here and we are standing under the SURVIVOR Tree.  The tree that withstood the blast of the bomb now stands regally in the corner of the memorial.  I love this tree.  This is my favorite tree.  It means so much more than I can put into words.  One of God's creations stands tall as a reminder to survivors of the blast and survivors everywhere that we can survive and that God will protect us.


My family has withstood the blast of the death of a child.  We are surviving.  God has been with us every step of the way and the photo of all four of us under this tree is such a blessing to me.  I thank God for this photo and what a reminder it is.

Another photo I was unaware of the symbolism until later, was taken at what was the children's playground.

A lone pink daisy weaved through the fence that surrounds the grassy area where the children once played.  It was getting dark and I just really wanted a photo of the one thing left there for the children.  And now, a year later, it is the same flower that reminds me of my baby girl.  That's Shyla's flower.



While we walked the grounds and looked at all the chairs representing those killed in the blast, the little chairs broke my heart.  I just couldn't imagine the pain of loosing a child.  The thought of just having this little chair to visit instead of one of my children made me kiss Ethan and hold my belly tight.  I never thought I would be able to say that I could identify...even a little bit...to a parent whose child is represented here.  But now I can.



The other side of the 9:03 gate reads, " We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever..."  That's how I feel about this blogging community.  We come here to remember our babies, to support those of us surviving and to reach out to those forever changed.

As we were leaving for the night, we stopped at the church across the street and sat on some benches and saw how the cross was lit in front of the gate.




It all goes back to the cross.  No matter our pain.  No matter what we are surviving, the cross is there.  Keep looking to the cross friends.
He is there and He always will be.

5 comments:

belle said...

W-O-W !!!!! soooooo significant. sooooo amazingly well said. i was a sophomore in college (geeze i feel old) and distinctly remember working in the theatre office when it happened and i was just stunned! all we could all do was crowd around this tiny little tv and watch with mouths gaped open that THIS could happen.... and of course it was (or around) the anniversary of another horrific tragedy that had happened when i was in high school.... it brought stinging, wincing memories of ruby hill, waco, (though it wasn't deliberate, the challenger explosion)... and now, 9-11-01..... at the time i had no idea what life had in store for me... all those babies, all those mommies through the years. we are bound together but as oyu said , more than that, we are bound to Christ and the answers that only He has.

beautiful pictures!

Brandon and Melani said...

I love that pink daisy!!! Isn't it crazy how certain things we did or said come back to prove us wrong...or right in some cases! In my case, early in my pregnancy with Evan, I was talking to a friend who had lost her son when she was 28 weeks pregnant. At the end of our conversation I remember saying, I would not be able to handle leaving a hospital knowing that I wouldn't be bringing my baby home. Well, I was wrong, it has been hard, but i'm still here! I love all those pictures! They are beautiful!

Lori said...

What a beautiful post...and so true about how it all goes back to the cross.

Perspective has such a way of changing, doesn't it? Your family picture is gorgeous and I love the pink daisy. Just so, so touching.

xoxoxo

Maggie said...

Wow! What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. This gives you a whole new perspective on things...I remember when that happened and not for a second did I think of those parents who had children that died. Today, I bet that would be the first thing on my mind.

Tim and Carissa Wix said...

God has blessed you with the gift of words. Your blog always touches my heart and speaks to me, someone who hasn't even tried to become a mother yet. This post made me reflect on some of the things I'm "surviving" from, and you put it so well, it all comes back to the cross!