That First Day

Many of you who are reading this probably know me already, but for anyone who may just be stumbling upon this blog, My name is Chrissy.  I am 26 years old, I have three kids, and I just lost my best friend of ten years, my husband of five.  There are no words for the pain I have felt in the past three weeks, but I am hoping to share the lessons God shows me as I press on in this life without Jacob. This will not be a “feel good” blog full of Christian cliches… This will be my real beliefs, thoughts, emotions and stories from day to day, starting with that first day.

We had worked at Bliss Summit Bible camp the week before and since the rest of our week was booked, I had scheduled all of our doctors appointments for that Monday, August 4. The plan was for me to go to my six week post-birth check up, then jake would take the girls to the dentist, come back, drop the girls off to me, go to the waterfall quickly, and then go to his dentist appointment. Later that night we were going to go altogether to playoffs for one of the softball teams he was playing on.  When Jake go back with the girls, he came into the room where I was sorting clothes into the dresser.

"I gotta head out, is that ok? Are you all set?"

"Yea, have fun!"

Upbeat, excited, smiling… That would be the last time I would see him.  I got the girls lunch, talked to his mom on the phone about plans to come over the next day, and got them down for their nap.  I then went upstairs to feed Chase.  I spotted the movie “Decoy Bride” on Netflix and decided to relax for a bit while feeding him…  About halfway through the movie Chase had fallen asleep and I heard Mike knocking on my door.  He came in and shut the computer and then just sat there not making eye contact…  My assumption was that he was messing with me.  I have always been a wee bit gullible…  He told me Jake had slipped and gotten pulled under the water, and that he hadn’t come up.  I just stared at him for a solid 30 seconds, really, not even worried… I was just waiting for him to crack a smile so I could tell him how not funny that was.  When he just kept looking away, I suddenly processed that he might be serious. He repeated himself, trying to hold himself together for me.  He informed me that it had happened about an hour earlier and that search and rescue was there.  I began pacing the attic, I think I said “No” at least a hundred times.  My brain felt like it was spinning so fast that it was shorting out.  I dropped to the floor and called my daddy.  I was sobbing so hard he couldn’t understand me so Mike took the phone and explained what had happened and my dad said he was on his way.

While Mike was on the phone I decided I needed to go to the river to look for him. “We need to go, you need to take me to where it happened NOW!”  I ran down the stairs and out to the lawn to wait for Mike… Honestly I still don’t know if he was taking forever on purpose or not, but it was probably good that he did.  I was freaking out.  I tried to think of who could be to the house ASAP who could be stable through their emotions, so I called Bill. In the ten minutes it took him to get to me, I sat alone in the yard.  At first I just screamed and cried, then I got angry.  I got up to pace again, but turned around and started wailing on one of the big garbage bins by the side of the house…  I felt a small sense of satisfaction when I realized through my tears that I had indeed broken the garbage can from kicking it too hard… Mike came out and he gently implied that he didn’t think I should go anywhere, I knew he was right.  Bill showed up first, then my dad, followed shortly by Meg & Amanda and MANY others.  It was Insta-Prayer on our lawn as I waited to hear anything from the police…  Of course, it began to rain shortly into our time outside.  Instead of hiding, I went to the middle of the lawn and just laid there.  I kept thinking of the song “Healing Rain” and hoping that the rain would somehow fix everything…

Most of the rest of the day was a bit of a blur… hours spent hoping, praying, calling family to tell them… Cindy kept bringing me water and I think I drank about ten water bottles in that first hour because it was the only thing that seemed to help me breathe. All I could think about was “what do I tell the girls??” They’d still been in their room napping when all the drama happened in the beginning and then friends and family played with them for the remainder of the evening so they wouldn’t sense anything was wrong.  Finally around 9pm, I decided it was time to get real. I told them what had happened, that daddy had slipped and fallen into the waterfall; that he had died, and wouldn’t be coming back.  Nadia didn’t really get it… She just cheerfully said “ok” and hopped back over to the computer to finish watching “Tangled”.  Ruthie, on the other hand, with a hurt and confused look asked,

"Daddy’s dead?"

"Yes baby…"

"He can’t come back, ever?"

"No baby girl, He can’t…"

Hardest conversation I’ve ever had.  Then it got harder.  She burst out weeping and just kept repeating, “I want my daddy back!!!”  I sat there trying to comfort her for over an hour… Twice my phone rang, and she would stop crying, gasp, and say, “Is that daddy?!?”  It was an awful night. It was an awful day… An awful day that had started so well…

So, many people have asked me if I am taking time to grieve, because most of you saw me very calm and collected.  I certainly went into “go mode” pretty quickly, and I am grateful to the Lord for getting me through.  But Jessie and Aimee can attest to the nightly meltdowns because I had slowed down enough to actually have a thought.  Or they could tell you about me waking up crying because I had no Jacob by my side to roll over and snuggle with.  So, yes, I am grieving.  And I will continue to do so for the rest of my life…

It’s a technicality, and so it seems silly to keep thinking it, but when I was taking classes at Brockport, I remember learning that the national average age for a female to get married (as of 2009) is 28… So my brain wants to know how it is that I am only 26 and already widowed with three kids???  Then of course logic pops up and says that I was able to help counsel many friends on relationships because of how young we got married… Also, that if we hadn’t gotten married young then I would’ve had even less time with him and I would not have my three amazing blessings…  So, now you can see how I process… My heart clenches and I ask a hard painful question.  It is then immediately followed by a whole line up of logic and explanation, and for a second I feel better… Until my brain realizes that my logic didn’t change or fix anything… Then my heart goes back to being clenched and I either find a distraction or start crying.

Sooo… Pretty sure I could just keep writing, but no one would make it all the way to the end haha.  I applaud you for making it this far! It really is amazing how much writing can help sift through things…  I think this blog is going to be a great tool for me :)