Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Endings...

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you’ve gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but…

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
‘Cause we know our goodbye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope
‘Cause we believe with hope
There’s a place where we’ll see your face again
We’ll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God’s plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
‘Cause now you’re home
And now you’re free, and…

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
‘Cause we know our goodbye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope
‘Cause we believe with hope
There’s a place where we’ll see your face again
We’ll see your face again

We have this hope as an anchor
‘Cause we believe that everything God promised us is true

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

With Hope
by Steven Curtis Chapman

Every book, every story, has a final chapter. It doesn’t mean the story is over, it just means that we don’t get to read the rest of it. Hearts will still ache, wounds will still bleed, scars will still knit, and grief will continue to flow, like a mighty river, through our families for years to come, even as this final chapter is put in place. The story of Sara and Miranda will continue to be written on the hearts of those they loved, and those who loved them, for a very long time. However, the happy ending, the ride into the beautiful sunset, will not take place here on this Earth.

"Never again will they hunger;
     never agaain will they thirst.
  The Sun will not beat down on them,
     nor any scorching heat.
  For the Lamb at the center of the throne
       will be their shepherd;
     he will lead them to springs of living water.
  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
          Revelation 7:16-17

I live with the hope of The Resurrection. I live with the promise that my daughter and wife are rejoicing in Heaven, worshipping the Living God with the angels and all those who have gone before. I live with the promise that they are made whole, recreated, resurrected, as God fully intended them to be. I live knowing that my love for them will never fade, but can also never grow beyond what it is today. I live knowing that I, and all those who believe, will join them in that resurrection when our time here is through.

I want to thank you for joining me, us, in this journey. The love, encouragement, prayers, and support of so many have been so welcomed, so unexpected, and I know they will continue, even after today. The story does not end; it’s simply recorded in a different way from today forward.

The Hurt and The Healer
by MercyMe

Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here




Sincerely,
Chad Cole

NOTE - this post was first published on 6/20/2011. As I consider the events of the past year, moving this post to "the end" of my blog seems like a more natural position for it.

61 comments:

  1. God will bless your journey, not matter what. Prayers will continue....thank you for sharing this far. Praying for God's comfort and strength as you move forward.

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  2. I just want you to know that I will continue to pray for you. Your memories of your precious wife and daughter will be with you forever. I hope and pray that one day you will find true happiness again. You deserve that for sure. Thank you for your writings. They have brought me back to reality when I've felt depressed about minor issues in my life. God bless and keep you safe. x

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  3. Chad, thank you for allowing us to go on this journey along with you. May you find comfort in sharing Sara and Miranda.

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  4. Dear Chad,

    As I read this, today, my eyes fill with tears of joy and sadness at the same time. Wishing I were able to be holding two little granddaughters in my arms. I just want you to know how much I love you and will always be here for you. Our family is very important to us and will be here to help and comfort each other where ever life carries us from here and the Lord blesses us with as a family.

    Thank you for sharing this blog with us and the world around us. We trust it has helped many others in their struggles with loss and continue to put our trust in God for our lives.

    Love,
    Dad

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  5. Chad,
    I'm sorry that I won't be able to follow your blog anymore, it has been inspiring to watch maintain your faith while struggling to heal from such an indescribably painful loss. However, you will remain in my thoughts forever, I hope you will continue your journey with God at your side.

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  6. Chad....

    I have followed your blog since the accident. Although I have only commented one other time. Over the past few weeks I have noticed your blogs becoming fewer and farther in between. I knew your final blog would show up soon. I pray for you that you may find peace and contentment once again in your life. You are in inspiration to people all over the world. Although....I have to believe that isn't much consolation to you. Trust in God....that someday (probably when you least expect it) you will find happiness again. I will think of you often and pray for you daily. Sincerely.

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  7. Hi Chad:

    I've been occasionally following this blog ever since your tragedy occurred, and I thought about you again today as another old friend of mine lost her little one. I'm both incredibly saddened by your loss as well as in complete awe of your strength.

    I hope that continuing to publish your musings will be cleansing, and bring your some measure of peace. Just know that you have a stadium full of souls who are silently pulling for you (including one who hasn't seen you in 25 years and now lives on another continent).

    I wish you joy and peace, my friend.

    Your childhood pal, Daniel Park

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  8. Chad, is this goodbye to the blog? I will miss it so much, it has become such a big part of my day. Please keep in touch, let us know how you are. Ending this is just like a good friend moving away. I wish you joy, love, Laughter and Gods blessings.

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  9. Thanks, Chad, for sharing your story with us. It has truly helped us more than you know.
    I will continue to pray for you and that you will be able to be happy in the future.
    Sincerely,
    Renae Staggs

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  10. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with the world. You will continue to be prayed for and thought of.

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  11. You will always be in my thoughts Chad. I hope nothing but the best for you future. You have amazing strength and are a huge inspiration to me.

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  12. I, too, have followed your journey from the day of your tragedy, and am always reminded that our time with our loved ones is truly a gift from God.

    Your ability to share your thoughts and feelings in such vivid clarity is a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing this journey with so many.

    God's grace and peace be with you as you continue on this journey.

    Blessings to you,

    Angie G.

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  13. Dear Chad,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Your love for your wife and your child is so apparent through your writings. Your story has reminded me not only to cherish each day, but each moment. I am sad that this is the end of your blog, but I remember you writing that this time would come, when you no longer needed this outlet. It sounds like you have an amazing family and support system...I hope the next leg of your journey leads you to a new happiness.

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  14. i have also been following you since i heard of your terrible loss through a friend of your brother's. i too am in awe of your beautiful words and strength through your loss. although this may be the end of your blog, i know it will not be the end of your sorrow. i will continue to think of you and your missing girls.

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  15. Joy cometh in the morning...

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  16. I can't remember if I have posted before, but I have been following, and praying. I don't even know how I came across your blog. Your faith is an inspiration, and I will be praying you are able to continue to cling to Him in the days ahead. I hope you do post occasional updates, or even begin a new blog with a link to it from here.

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  17. I have and will continue to keep you in my prayers. Thank you for sharing Sara and Miranda with us all.

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  18. Dear Chad,
    The journey continues... we'll still be here...keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. The story that could have had a different ending, the life, the tears and the learning has for sure helped others and it is part of Sara, Miranda and your legacy... Your story will forever be in my heart, a story that has taught me so many things...Thank you... never give up...

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  19. Dear Chad: I have followed your blog and have been truly inspired by your love and faith. I will continue to keep you and your little family in my prayers. Thank you for sharing everything. Fondly: Nina

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  20. Dear Chad~
    Thank you once again for letting us follow your blog of your little secret. I will certainly keep you and the family in my thoughts & prayers. I wish you all the best. Stop once in a while and let us know how you are doing. God Bless.

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  21. Laura said:

    Dear Chad,
    Thank you for sharing your heart, even with people you don't know. Please know that you are admired, loved, cared and prayed for by many, and always will be. Your words and your story continue to bring me to tears. It just doesn't make sense that life could be so painful. Your story has taught me not to take anything for granted, to love and cherish those around me every minute. Please continue to share your light and love for Jesus, and for Sara and Miranda.
    Laura

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  22. I have been following you since the accident, and praying, and asking God why. I've never posted but wanted to let you know that I thank you for letting "us" into your life. Into your innermost feelings. For sharing everything with us. I've cried many time reading your posts, hoping that I would be as "strong" as you if any of this happened to me. Your faith shows, and I will continue to pray that God gives you the strength you need each day. You will not be forgotten by me. Stop in and say hi and let us know how you are every now and then.

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  23. Dear Chad,

    In many ways we as readers have taken your pain an sorrow to our hearts. For those of us that follow your little secret blog we were devastated when we read if the passing of Sara and miranda. Fathers day my daughter and I worked in the kitchen all day making dinner and apple pies for my husband. I caught my self crying thinking of you on such a special day. The events in your life have changed my life! I feel a sense of loss knowing that this is goodbye. I guess we all want to hold your hand, so to speak, as you go thru the greving process. Please check back I'm from time to time and let us know how you are doing. Sara became the friend I never knew and Miranda a child to all. God bless you Chad, you will forever be In my thoughts and prayers

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  24. What a bittersweet moment. For over 4 months I have followed your blog daily. I have prayed for you, wept for you, and been encouraged by you. As you place the "bookends" on this blog, please know that I will continue to bring your name before Him. I respect your decision to continue your journey in private and wish you well.

    Thank you for allowing us to read even one page of your story. It has been a gift and an honor to get to know you & grieve with you.

    You have marked my life, Chad, and I am forever grateful. God be with you as you move forward into the next chapter of your life.

    Sincerely,
    Jill

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  25. Thanks, Chad, for sharing. Life isn't fair. You're in my prayers. God has a plan that has yet to be revealed. Aren't you glad God is Sovereign? He's In Control, even when it doesn't look like it. I've been touched by your blog and even if it ends I'll still pray for you whenever you come to my mind. God loves you and so do I.

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  26. Today a friend sent me a link to your blog. I have yet to read through it but as I read the first entry on the first page (which is your most recent entry) it appears that this is your last post, so I wanted to quickly write a comment while I could. The link was sent to me because I, too, have lost my family. My husband and baby girl are on the other side. I'm very sorry for your losses, and I will read through your journey, though it may take me a while.

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  27. Dear Chad,
    Thank you....May you find peace and love in your life. I will continue to think of you and pray for you.
    Beth

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  28. I came across your blog today. My heart is broken for you, I am so sorry for your two losses. I have you so much on my mind and in my heart. I'm praying for you -
    Kelley

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  29. Thoughts & Prayers will always be there for you & your beautiful family. Thank You for sharing your journey <3

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  30. I know words are not enough for what you have experienced but I wanted to let you know i am praying for you. It is obvious that you are a wonderful husband and father and I am so sorry for your losses. May you find peace as you remember your angels.

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  31. Dear Chad,
    You pour your heart out in your posts and your writing is just beautiful. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I believe there is a reason I found your blog.

    I came across your blog in April of this year, just after my boyfriends cousin passed away. He was only 25 and it was so unexpected. Your words have helped me in so many ways and I want you to know that you have changed my life and the way I view the world.

    I find myself thinking of you often, just wondering how you are. I have cried over your posts and I even shared your story with my family. We are all praying for you.

    As I read your last post, I couldn't help but feel sad, but hopeful at the same time. I've never been good at good-byes and I feel like this is an ending. However, I hope that this ending is a good sign that means you are that much closer to finding happiness. Although nothing can ever fill the absence of Sara and Miranda, I truly hope wonderful things happen to you in the future.

    There aren't enough words or ways to thank you for your posts and for sharing your world with the rest of us. I feel blessed to have stumbled across your blog and want you to know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that you find peace and happiness again someday, there is nobody that deserves it more.

    All my love,
    Briana

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  32. Chad,
    I wish you the best and thank you for sharing all that you have. I hope this is not the last that we hear from you.

    In Christ,
    Sarah

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  33. Chad,
    Thanks for all that you have shared... I wish the whole world would read this...
    I sat here at work...with tears running as I read your blogs...
    God's is soo powerful and he is showing us that thru people like you...

    Many would have gone insane(including me) after going thru something like this....

    I found your blogs because I was trying to find words to write to our little angel...
    My sister's baby would have 2 tomorrow...
    I have never been a good writer but i wanted to write her a letter telling her how much we miss her.... and God put your notes in my way...

    Thanks for being you... best wishes... and may God continue to bless you!

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  34. Dearest Chad,
    I wish you all the best on your journey through life. I have no doubt Sara and Miranda will be watching over you. You are an incredible person. May happiness find it's way to you again, may you continue in your faith and remain strong.
    Many of my fellow firefighters have begun reading your blog, 2 have begun attending church again.
    I thought I would share something with you;
    Many years ago, I ran a call for a family killed by carbon monoxide. 3 beautiful children and a Mother. The Father had left for a midnight shift at a factory the previous night unaware that by morning his family would be gone. This mans devastation ripped at my heart. Over the next few months, we picked up this man many times, until he finally said he was giving up. His giving up was actually seeking our Lord. He still mourned, but began to find a peace, knowing his family was waiting for him. A few months ago, I received a call for a women in imminent labor. When I arrived, I realized it was the same man. He had found happiness again and his new wife was expecting. (and in fact I delivered my first baby that day) it was truly seeing a story through. For I had taken this mans little girl out of their home that fateful day, only to deliver this new life years later. What a miracle. And how incredible to witness it. Take care Chad, I will continue to pray for you. God bless.
    Your friend in Christ,
    Erica

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  35. Chad, I just wanted to say I am still thinking of you and praying for you. Let us know how you are doing, please? Take care and God bless.

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  36. Dear Chad,
    I hadn't read your blog in a while, but as you mentioned and suspected, prayed for you and your heavenly girls even though I wasn't keeping up with you. I am happy and sad to see that you are closing the year that you have so generously shared. I do hope and pray that these writings have helped you; they have helped me and certainly many others. I wish to thank you and to promise to keep you and the girls in prayer. The one post where you described visiting Sara in a room that you did not recognize was so similar to dreams I have had of loved ones gone on; I hold these gifts as hope and promise, that in God's house there are many mansions, and room for all who wish to come. I pray for your continued healing and joy in your life;blessings always.

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  37. Hi Chad,
    I just wanted you to know that we were praying for you. Many blessings to you and please know that your faith will be rewarded by our Heavenly Father.

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  38. Praying for you today, while I am not "friends on FB" and have never met you I looked at your photos of Miranda on FB today and wept for your loss. You are constantly in my prayers. I know nothing makes this easier but Sara and Miranda have touched my life forever, thanks for sharing their beautiful memories.

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  39. Chad,

    Thank you so much for allowing us into this part of your life. This story has been so tragic, yet God's love and strength have shone through. I have cried for you and your loss. Sara and Miranda will always remind a part of me now and so many others. Wishing you continued blessings, prayers, and support.

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  40. Dear Sad, I, like everyone else here, have been so blessed by your sharing. Your story has entered my heart. Thank you for letting us be a part of your grief. I am glad that you tell people that you do have a child. Your Chara (I do realize that was a combination of names by the way) and Miranda are never really gone. A friend who lost her son 3 hours after birth 5 years ago still sorta expects him to round the corner! He is a younger and older brother, and still very present as a member of the family. Blessings as you navigate this journey.
    erika

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  41. I found your blog only recently and spent a couple of days reading through every entry. I have no words of comfort to offer you. I am so sorry. It all seems so backward and upside down and wrong for anyone to suffer this way. My prayer is for you to have peace, joy and an amazing new journey.

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  42. Chad,
    I continue to check this page daily hoping you will send out a word of how you are doing... whether you are able to see the Goodness of our Lord, or if you feel as though you are being swept away by the waters or consumed in the fire. I hope you will let us know so we can rejoice with you and/or pray you through. I hope you are not going it alone. Be transparent. You are loved.
    Blessings on you,
    Becky

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  43. Thank you for sharing. My best to you. I hope you find more joy in the future. And that someday a little bit of the grief lifts. You are loved.

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  44. I found this Steve Chapman song on youtube and it made me think of you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmyUgsmCzB4&sns=fb

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  45. Chad,
    I just wanted you to know that even though I don't know you personally, I am praying for you. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I know that through God you have touched so many people in so many ways. I pray that God pour his blessing upon you daily.
    Melissa

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  46. Hoping you are ok. Keep checking for an update and there is nothing recent. Praying for you!

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  47. Dear Chad,

    I have no better words than those that have already been posted above or spoken to you in person. As a friend of Aaron's, I came across your blog the instant I heard of the accident. Oh how we prayed for a miracle... at our church and in our group of family and friends... but a miracle wasn't to be ... at least not the one we wanted.

    Here is the miracle that I'm seeing through this blog, these posts and with talking with others ... you, Sara and Miranda have touched so many hearts!! Thousands upon thousands have come across your tragic story. We have cried with you, begged God for healing alongside you, cried again, lost sleep, prayed for you and have witnessed His goodness (did I say "goodness"?) in your walk with Him and your hope in life everlasting. People are drawing closer to God, coming back to church, asking their Pastors or trusted friends the tough questions, and praying like they've never prayed before!

    Again, let me reiterate - YOU have touched so many hearts! What an amazing gift of the written word you have! Can't wait for you to begin writing books, my friend. At a time where words cannot begin to describe, you find the right words ... and you take us on your journey alongside you. You are truly a gifted writer. Thank you for including us on your painful, yet inspiring journey.

    Your beautiful wife Sara and wee little Miranda, who most of us only know through your well-crafted words and beautiful pictures, have touched so many hearts. We won't know the full impact of the lives THEY have helped change until we all get to Heaven - oh what a day of rejoicing that will be!!

    My heart ached for you on the day of their funeral. I wept uncontrollably as I drove to work that day. You didn't know that, because you don't even know me. I prayed ... oh how I prayed for you and all of the family. Then Laura Story's song, "Blessings", came on the radio. I had no choice but to pull off the road and weep. At that moment, I committed you and your constant care to our Heavenly Father. I asked him to hold you so close that you could practically feel his breath on your cheek. I asked him to give you the time you needed to grieve, but to give you peace.

    And that is my prayer for you today Chad, and for many more tomorrows to come, that the God who loves us more than we can ever imagine, will bring you a peace that passes all understanding, hope for brighter tomorrows and life everlasting, love for life, and in time ... JOY!

    Blessings!
    Janice Smith
    Wallaceburg, ON Canada

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  48. Thank you Chad, for sharing your story, for showing what it is to fully and completely give everything over to God. You have touched so many people, and through you, so have Sara and Miranda. What a joy it is to know that they are in the hands of God and waiting for you. God bless you, God bless your path, and God bless your girls. Thank you again for sharing.

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  49. Chad
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us I will continue to pray for you and your family I hope that some day you find true happiness

    In Christs Love
    Nicole

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  50. I thought about you today, Chad, and looked to see when the last time was that you posted in Widowed Village. I'm embarrassed that it's been this long before I reached out.

    I hope that ending your blog is a sign that you have found your way to taking steps into your future. A future filled with joy and laughter and love. Sara and Miranda will always be in your heart, and God will always be with you to guide your path.

    God bless you.
    Dianne in Nevada (but originally from Adrian, MI)

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  51. Dear Chad: I will always remember you for your love of your wife Sara, daughter, Miranda and your great faith. I pray that your life journey brings you great peace, good health and happiness. You certainly deserve that and more. All my best wishes. Nina

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  52. Chad, Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful wife and daughter with us all. You are in my thoughts often.

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  53. Thank you for sharing the love you have for your wife and daughter, and thank you you sharing your faith in Christ. I hope and pray that you find peace, love, and happiness. I wish you nothing but the best for you on this journey through life. Take care and peace be with you!!

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  54. Just wanted you to know, we're still praying and love you in Ohio. Give us an update from time to time to let us know how you're doing Cole.

    The Lairds

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  55. Dear Chad,

    I first heard about your accident through a prayer chain and prayed constantly that your daughter would be okay. I was so upset to find out that she ended up passing but happy for both your wife and daughter in the way that only a Christian can be happy when another Christian goes on to be with Jesus.

    This sounds silly since we don't know each other but I'm in charge of our school's grandparents night and I had them sing "All Creatures of our God and King" in honor of your little girl. That blog post has stuck with me all this time.

    Keep your chin up, you have a God that loves you so much, a place prepared for you in Heaven by the King of Kings and a family who is right now there waiting for you. And strangers all around the country praying for you.

    Sincerely,
    Dawn from Virginia

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  56. I hope that someday, there's someone for you to hold close and love again. I have a feeling if it happens, Sara will have had a hand in it. You now have two angels looking out for you. I have been so touched by your journey, and it truly helps me be in the present and grateful for what is near me. Thank you Chad, and Sara and Miranda. I will miss hearing from you Chad.

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  57. Just popping in to say hi and let you know you're still very much in our thoughts and prayers! God bless you Chad, today and always.... and know that know matter what, there will be a joyous reunion in Heaven one day!

    Love and Prayers,
    The Lairds

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  58. Chad, I am sad that I won't be able to follow your blog anymore. But I am so happy for you in your ability to move on and it is such an encouragement for me. I tend to become attached to people and places and suffer from depression because of having to "start over" every time I lose one or the other...but you have shown me in your ability to "move on" that I don't have to "start over" - "moving on" is the better way. Thank you for giving me a glimps into your life. I will rejoice in seeing Sara and Miranda when I go to live with our Savior some day! The Lord has been promting me quite bit the last three months to pray for you, though I haven't read your blog for about 6 months. Now I know why. It's a big decision, I know, but I am happy for you that you can make it. God bless you and all who loved Sara and Miranda and miss them so much. We don't grieve the same way as "those who have no hope", but we grieve none-the-less. I pray your grief will continue to subside as the King of Kings fills your soul with His joy!

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  59. I'm in tears after reading this blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  60. So so sorry. My husband was killed in a car crash in 2010 when our kids were 5 and 7 years old. Being widowed is HARD but less hard, I find, when I realise that I am not doing this alone.... XXXX

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  61. Praying That God will give you beauty for ashes. He is faithful. Every tear u have shed is in a bottle. Your tears are not wasted. Praying for u..

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Thanks,
Chad