We miss Lydia deeply. As time has gone by, our emotions have changed from shock and horror, to sadness and heartache based upon the reality of never seeing Lydia again while we are on this earth. Honestly, some recent days seem harder than the early days. Tears flow nearly every day. It has been the most difficult year of my life. And the start of year 2 doesn’t suddenly make everything better. The difficulties continue along with the intense sadness.
But through this all, we have had our heavenly father by our side comforting us. I’ve heard people ask the question, “How could a loving God let a child die?” I know why! Because … God does not view death as the end. He views death as the beginning. For those who believe in Jesus, and have accepted His gift of salvation, it is the beginning of our lives with Him. Lydia accepted Christ early in her life. On April 22, 2001 (at 2:01pm) she accepted the Lord into her heart. At the time I recorded the moment into my Bible. I wrote down the date and time, along with the scripture reference, “Psalms 40”. I don’t recall what led me to this scripture at the time, but when I return there I see it is the most perfect of scriptures to associate with Lydia’s wonderful decision.
Yes I am very sad. Yes, I miss Lydia more than I could ever describe. But my faith in God will not waiver. I will never be the same, and I expect that I will always miss my special girl. I might always feel some level of sadness when I think of my loss. But I will smile when I think of the fond memories of Lydia. And I smile when I think of that moment when I will see Lydia again.
Now let me tell you about Gabriella – our new teenager. Gabriella has had three heart surgeries, two of which have been open-heart. We didn’t know if our little baby would live to be four months old. But God worked miracles and Gabi is now a strong and healthy 13 year-old.
Just tonight I made the observation that this birthday (the 13th) was coincidentally on 20-13. I thought that was quite a special birthday. A little bit later Gabi came back to me and informed me that every one of her birthdays would be like that. She would be 14 in 20-14, 15 in 20-15, etc. It only took me 13 years to make that observation, and wasn’t bright enough to figure out that this year wasn’t unique.
During Lydia’s funeral, one of her teachers spoke. It was a wonderful tribute to Lydia, and we learned some amazing things about the impact Lydia had on the lives of others. One thing she revealed was about a school assignment in which Lydia had to write about her hero. Lydia chose to write about Gabi. Yes Gabi was Lydia’s heroine. She admired her for her strength and resolve.
We intend to make September 18th a celebration of Gabi’s birthday. Please pray for us. And wish Gabi a Happy Birthday. She is 13 in 20-13!