Apart from the many times we have tweeted, emailed, commented on each other's FB page - and the time we Skyped once - I have had the pleasure of meeting Lori in person. Twice. The first time was at a blogger's meet up at a cafe; the second was when we filmed a little something together for Kleenex Mums late last year. Let me tell you - her smile lit up the screen. In fact, her smile mesmerises me in general. It's so strong and bright, and her eyes light up with it. I only wish I had a smile like Lori's.
I know that right now, Lori probably can't imagine ever smiling again. Her heart is too heavy. The future, no doubt, looks bleak. However, I want to assure her it will happen. Someday, it will. Slowly, but surely, she will smile again.
For now though, I wanted to tell Lori that it's ok to be upset, angry, hurt, frustrated, confused...all of that and more. It's part of the process. She will ask, "Why?" a million times. In time, it will hurt a little less. In time. Slowly does it.
Two things that I have always remembered that my Mum said about my sister, Valda's death (at the age of 17 in a car accident) was: "The pain never goes away. It eases over time, but it never goes away, and that's ok. I wouldn't want it to." And, at age 14, when I asked her why she thought God took Valda when He did, "I think he needed her in heaven with him."
And I know that the miracle we had all prayed and hoped for since last Thursday didn't happen, but I believe a small one did though. I'm sure that Lori is so thankful that, even briefly, Tony opened his eyes in hospital the other day, and she was able to tell him she loved him.
After I found out about Tony's death yesterday, I was walking along the beach - my feet tracing the footprints of those who had walked before me - thinking of Lori and about just how much pain she must be experiencing right now, and I thought about that old reflection/poem by the same name:
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The LORD replied:
"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."
I remember my Dad giving me a copy of this poem when I was a teenager. I have always loved it, and during any situation where I have felt alone and as though I couldn't cope, I have thought of it.
Lori - I hope, if you're reading this, that by sharing this poem with you today - no matter how often you have read it in the past - that it helps in some small way.
Lori has two very young children (a 15 month old daughter and 3 year old son). If you would like to help support Lori and her kids, you can make a donation. I promise that you'll be making a difference, and your money will be going to someone very special and who very much needs it.
You could also light a candle for Tony. Lori has requested this, and I'm sure she'd appreciate it.
Lori - the blogging and Twitter community are behind you and here to support you in any way we can.