Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A blog observed...

Dear Sara,

So many thoughts go through my mind each day. Sometimes I have a hard time sifting through the noise to find meaningful patterns.

Missing you is now status quo. It’s something that I assume I’m doing. I occasionally surprise myself with short moments where I realize I wasn’t. It’s not that I’m not missing you during that brief period, I just stopped thinking about how much I miss you.

I’ve been thinking about how we both had our “own” lives, even while sharing a life for almost 15 years.  We each had unique passions, which we let the other pursue without complaint (or at least without too much complaint.) I’ve been pondering if that may ultimately help me in the healing process. I look around the house, the yard, the garage, and I see the things that were uniquely you. I also see the things that are uniquely me. There is plenty of uniquely us, too. Time will tell. When I see the uniquely you, my sadness is that you’re not here to enjoy doing those things anymore; but, it’s the uniquely us stuff that hurts more.

I’m still finding a lot of resonance with CS Lewis as I read through A Grief Observed. Some people say that times like these are a test of faith. Lewis didn’t agree with that thought, “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” Much like Lewis, my faith in God feels more fully examined, and exposed, than it does tested.

I also find myself agreeing with Lewis that I will someday no longer add to this blog. I don’t know when, but it will come. Lewis recognized that his journals were less a “map of sorrow” (as he had originally thought they would be) but served more as a safety valve against total collapse.  In regards to both his continued writing and the process of sorrow he said, “It needs not a map but a history, and if I don’t stop writing that history at some quite arbitrary point, there’s no reason why I should ever stop. There is something new to be chronicled every day. Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a new landscape.” I don’t think I’ll stop writing anytime soon, but I may find myself writing less frequently between now and then.

I find myself regularly looking at the wounds on my arm, hand, and wrist, and thinking about you and how they mirror my heart. The worst of the injuries have healed over, but they will be visible for a very long time. The pinkish raw color will stay for another few months, maybe even longer. Someday all that will remain will be scars, always out there to be seen, but less noticeable than they are today.

I miss you. I love you. Give Miranda a kiss from daddy.


  1. chad,
    I continue to think of you daily.... I was at Lowes that day and remember how terrible it was!!! Know that there are plenty of Jackson "neighbors" that can lend a hand if you need anything. sending love and hugs on this rainy Tuesday evening!!!

  2. chad just wanted to let u know was thinking of you today and check on your blog regularly now. My heart goes out to you! Your faith is amazing!

  3. Dear Chad, I appreciate your blog - your vulnerability, your transparency. But I realize your grief journey will one day no longer include us "strangers". I feel honored to be a part of it for however long you choose to share publicaly. I continue to pray for you daily, and find myself undone with emotions as you come to mind during routine events. And I consider it a privilege to lift up my brother in Christ. I will continue to bring your name before Him.

  4. Thinking of you this evening. I think of you and your entire family, including Sara's as they are your family too. Even as I shared your story last evening the sting of your loss seemed still so recent.

    Robin Sebalj Carlen

  5. Chad,
    I am from MI and know exactly the area you had your accident. When I lived in AR, I would make the drive to Fenton at least once a year and one night I was doing just that. It started snowing and almost instantly the road was covered in black ice. I remember thinking how unusually dangerous this particular stretch of I-94 seemed. Cars were pulled over everywhere. An accident can happen to anyone..too easily.
    I am just so sorry for your tragic loss. I would never be so arrogant to think my words could ever console you or ease any of your pain but just know...your blog puts it all into perspective for the rest of us. You can count on the fact that I will be squeezing my kids just a little more tomorrow. They make me pretty mad sometimes and often I feel overwhelmed at the details that daily life demands. None of it matters, though. Only THEY matter. I know this, but you have reminded me once again. Nobody is promised anything on this earth...except love.

    Thank you for sharing yours.

    Nicole Fey
    Colorado Springs, CO

  6. Chad,
    Just as Nicole F. wrote in her comment, I too squeeze my daughter and husband more often than before and I also try to remember when I am "sick and tired of cleaning the house and doing the laundry" that I indeed should be THANKFUL that I have my loved ones to do these things for.
    Your life has touched mine in a way that I cannot describe. In fact, just yesterday, I made a decision to stay home w/ my daugther because we were supposed to get a terrible Blizzard (we ended up getting 0 snow, thankfully). It was your life's story/tragedy that made me think twice about going out in that nasty weather.
    Thank you for sharing your life w/ us. I continue to send hugs and prayers your way and I think about you, your wife and daughter every day. Your life has changed mine forever.

  7. Chad,
    Thank you so much for sharing so openly and honestly about the lives of your wife and daughter and the journey you now find yourself on. Although I have never met you, I feel a bond as your sister in Christ and as a mom who has buried her child. I had the privilege of working with your cousin Carrie for several years while she served as our Youth Pastor. It was through her facebook page that I originally learned of your tragic situation and began to pray for you, Miranda and your family. When I learned of this blog, I began reading your posts and went all the way back to the beginning. (I'll admit, that sounds a bit "stalker like" lol) First of all, you are a very gifted writer, something I so admire. You have a way of making words come alive and express emotion. My words, thoughts and grief run like novels in my head but I have never been able to put them on paper. Your loss, although extremely public in many ways, is so very heart wrenchingly private. Thank you for putting words to your grief and for sharing them publically. I hope that its therapy for you, that as you write you are able to heal. (That sounds dumb as I write it...I am not naive enough to think its that easy.) I know that would require writing until God calls you home, as grief is a journey, not a destination. Like I said, I have a hard time putting my thoughts to words, so I hope you get what I meant by that. To have your blog because it touches my heart is selfish.
    My personal grief journey has been long, hard, sometimes unbearable, sometimes indescribable. It's been almost 9 years since my son was hit by a car on his way to school. In the early stages of my grief I attend a support group for people who had lost children. At the first meeting, a middle aged couple introduced themselves and said "we lost our son David 14 years ago. I was devastated. It took me 3 meetings to finally speak. When I did I said "please forgive me, I don't mean to be rude, but if i'm still going to be here 14 years from now, please just shoot me now. I can't do it. I'll never survive it. I don't want to survive it, I simply can't live in this pain for 14 more years." The darkness of those first few months make me shudder when I think about it. The couples reply was full of compassion and grace, "Connie, We are not here for us anymore, we are here to show people like you that you can and will survive." Chad, I mean no disrespect to you. Your grief is real, your situation unimaginable. My heart breaks for you. But, I want you to know, that couple, they were right. I didn't believe it at the time. I couldn't begin to absorb their ministry. My mind was full to overflowing with devastating grief. I'm still healing, those words you so beautifully give life to in your blog still run around in circles in my heart and head, but it's different than it was in the beginning. I will always be broken, but I am glued together, cracks and all, by the Master Potter. Ironically, now I find myself leading an adult grief group for Starlight Ministries. Although I often feel inadequate, it has been a blessing and God and my son are being honored through the ministry. You and your family remain on my heart and in my prayers. I hope you continue to blog, it's a testimony of your faith, your love for God, and your precious wife and daughter. A grand reunion awaits Chad. Hold on!
    Connie Stegeman

  8. Chad,

    Like your wounds, your wounded heart will scar over...it will heal in time...but the scar, the reminder of the love you have for your daugher and wife will be still be there today, tomorrow, always.

    Continuing in prayer for you ....

  9. Chad, my heart continues to break for you. You are in my prayers daily. I hope that over time life starts to make you smile again and that you see Sara and Miranda shining down on you every day.

  10. Chad, I read all your posts...I comment on some....but not on all because I don't always know what to say or how to even express what I want to say. I just know that I find myself looking forward to reading your blogs (I hope that doesn't sound strange) and I can't even imagine sitting down in front on my computer to read your blog and one day there aren't anymore.....(selfish of me, yes) but @ the same time reading your blogs keep me connected as this tragedy touched me to the core. But, as you said..that day will come when it starts to be less frequent then maybe someday not @ all....but in all reality when that day comes...when your ready to stop writing..it's a new chapter in your life and the healing is occurring and for that I will be nothing but happy for you..... I admire you..I admire your ability to expressing yourself,your strength,your rawness, your faith in the lord above..... I just admire you for being true to your feeling and openly expressing them in this blog and allowing us to go on this journey w/ you.
    Praying for you always...


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