“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalm 46:3
Abigail was younger when her first sister was born, so by the time Audrey came along she was old enough to help the way she wanted to. The look of love on Abigails face meeting Audrey for the first time was priceless. They became inseparable and Abigail would often hold Audrey on the couch while I would clean up after meals. Abigail would proudly call it “her job”, and it became their time together.
Abigail wasn’t the only one in love, because Audrey was quite smitten with her also. Abi could calm her down just by speaking to her, and would often sing ” I love you forever” over and over again. Audrey actually smiled at her for the first time. Abi thought that was pretty special and would often tease me about it.
We took Audrey camping for the first time when she was only four weeks old and Abigail loved being the big sister as she showed her off to all of her camp ground friends. She would proudly stand there as they ogled excitedly over the sight of such a small baby.
On the morning of July sixth my innocent Abi woke up to the sounds of horrifying screams, loud cries, and sirens. Panicked and not wanting the girls to see her sister laying lifeless on the floor, I quickly shut them in a room together and locked the door. Over the past year she has opened up to me about her fears that morning, and about trying to console her little sister in the bedroom while only a door separated them from the chaos going on outside.
Having to tell Abigail that Audrey had died was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. I felt so helpless as the very pain I wanted so desperately protect her from quickly spread across her face. Knowing that I could not shield her from this death as I had done for her sisters Alexis I allowed her to say goodbye. My heart broke continuously as I watched her sit in a pink hospital chair and hold her sister in her arms as she started to blurt out any reason that she may have died, desperately trying to make sense of what had just happened.
The morning that Audrey died I was terrified that a part of my bright, vibrant, and full of life little girl was going to die to. The morning that Audrey died I feared that Abigail would live her life bitter, angry, and in-contented with the questions we were unable to answer.
But she didn’t.
Through Audreys death she has watched, learned, and thrived. Through Audreys death she has witnessed the true love of our family, church, and community. She has felt the arms of the people we love wrapped around us in times we have needed it the most, and she has seen her father step us as a leader, protector, and nurturer as he held our crumbling family together.
Abigail’s faith has grown as Audreys death has opened up endless oppourtunities for conversation about his grace, his love, and our need for him. Audreys death was traumatic…it was unexpected….and there was no way to sugar coat anything. There were times when I couldn’t hold it together anymore and she found me completely broken on the floor, but we kept going. We looked up verses together when we needed an answer, we prayed together when our questions were left unanswered and we just didn’t understand, and we cried together when it hurt too bad. We struggled together,but we also grew together. We smiled as I laid with her in bed at night and remembered Audrey, we wondered together as we talked about what she might be doing in Heaven, and we comforted each other as we missed her.
Abis life could have easily ended the day that Audreys did. She could have stayed angry at God, instead she glorified him. She could have ran away from him, instead she ran to him. She even expressed interest in being baptized. Audrey showed her that there is not only love in life, but that there is love after….that with life comes trials, and things may not always be the way we would like them to be… but that with the love of friends, family, and God we can overcome even the hardest of times. I thank her for that.