Labor Day was one of the many holidays growing up that we had the delight of choosing what parent we spent it with. A decision no child really wants to make. Anyhow, since 3 of us lived with my dad and 2 of us with my mom, where all the family was, chances are minor holidays they came to mom’s. Of course we traveled to pick up and drop off whoever whenever.
This labor day, September 1, 1997, after all the family festivities settled…we traveled back to Leesville to meet up with my dad. That was the half way point to say our good byes and hellos. We dropped my older sister and older brother off with my dad and my mom, youngest brother and I made our drive back home. It was a quiet one. We stopped for frech fries at the store and then drove back home to get prepped for school the next day. When we made it home, I ran to check the answering machine. (The days before cell phones…what did we do? 😜) I realized we had several missed calls from my dad’s phone and several messages from them there. In their messages, you could hear the urgency in their voice. I called back right away and my dad says…”hey Scoot, I need to speak with your mom!” I hand the phone over to my mom where you saw her already tired demeanor become serious, scared, sad and helpless. She discussed some details with him, got off the phone with him and preceeded to call the prayer line at our church. I asked, “mom, what’s going on?” Her reply was something that didn’t feel so liberating or celebratory that holiday.
“Carissa was in a wreck. She has been rushed to the ER where they are giving her blood tranfusions.”
Carissa was my oldest sister. The momma – do of the family. This news had me nervous and scared. I didn’t know what to do in that moment. So I did what I did best as a destressor…I cleaned. I went to start a load of laundry and as I am getting nervous and scared, I heard God audibly for one of the only times in my life. He said, “Callie, I have brought you through so many things in your life..I will bring you through this too.” A statement that has shaped my love and trust in God. As I got excited because the word I just heard was a message of hope to me, I went to tell my mom. She scolded me. She said not to talk doubt in that situation and that very scared momma was not hearing the faith in the word I heard, she heard it as final. The rest of the night was a busy chaotic mess. Before the end of the night, my sister Carissa at age 17, breathed her last breath.
So how on earth was such a message of hope ending with such despair. I remember falling asleep that night wishing I could die and go be with her. I remember falling asleep hoping I was gonna wake up and it had all been and dream. I felt all but God in those moments.
The following days and years began the journey without her present in our day to day life. A journey i was all but prepared for yet so well prepared for. You see a year leading up to that day, I had been having dreams that we were looking for her. I woke up feeling eery. I would pray. For a year leading up to, I had gotten use to not seeing her everyday since she lived with my dad and I with my mom. And the days that followed that brought many hard moments, I felt a peace that surpasses every understanding surround me. Did I cry, yes! Did I get mad, yes! Did I question things, yes! But not one step did I feel alone.
My thoughts from this lately as I walk through some things is this..I am never walking this journey alone. When I am faced with hard, stressful situations…I am that 15yr old girl again standing at the washing machine in our old beautiful home in Grand Cane, La with God speaking to me telling me…I have brought you through everything else in your life…I will bring you through this.
I don’t know what you are facing today, this week or this year. But I do know this, it says in Hebrew 13:5
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
You are not walking through this season alone. He is saying to you…I have brought through everything else in your life, I will bring you through this.