From Mom and Dad
In March of last year, John and I became members of a very exclusive club.
The price of membership was so dear we could not imagine being a part of the club. We realized in the back of our minds people didn’t choose to join and pay the dues it was done for them. In fact, only The Lord really has any idea of how members are selected. There are lots of theories of how The Lord may choose, but much of the time, the theories come from non-members, non-Christians who don’t understand much about the situation.
The “club” we are now in (although it is not organized) is known as “Bereaved Parents Club”. The cost of our membership was the life of our daughter; and we like other members, have no idea why we were selected for membership, but know God will some day reward us for our suffering and loss.
Even now a year afterward, inside our hearts and minds we continue to fight membership. There was no way to avoid it…We did our best to save Melanie.
We have learned a lot since our membership began. We now understand about other members. In fact, we seek to be with them, to discuss our membership, and try to understand its value.
Sometimes, those outside the club are afraid of us, fearing if they come near us or talk with us, they will be selected to become members too. Acquaintances often try to ignore our membership, pretend that it doesn’t exist. They seem to think that will make things easier, and then the members won’t feel bad, but it only makes things worse.
So many times we have wanted someone to mention something about Melanie, who still lives inside us and overshadows all our thoughts. We have heard people say” I don’t want to upset them, or remind them of her, or say something that will make them cry”. We want to tell you, the only way you can make us feel any worse than we already do is to pretend that she did not exist or that our pain is not as deep as you surely know it is.
Have you ever experienced the feeling of having one terrible incident go though your mind, day after day, month after month, wondering why it happened and how you could have prevented it? Well, don’t worry about reminding us of Melanie. We are thinking about her nearly twenty-four hours a day. Sure sometimes our minds are temporarily distracted; it would have to be to function at all.
But if you think there is even one day that goes by without Melanie’s death tearing up our hearts, then you have no idea what this club is about.
We appreciate your talking about Melanie, or at least letting us talk about her. She was a very large part of our life, and ignoring her now will really hurt us. It makes us think that you feel she’s no longer important because she is gone. It hurts to think that people don’t want to think about her or remember the good things about her, just because she has died.
We understand that you don’t want to say anything that will make us cry. That sounds kind, and we used to feel that way too, but now we know better. We would rather the tears didn’t come when you talk us because we know they may scare you away, or at least make you very uncomfortable. But we have learned how useful and necessary they are. If you allow us to cry in your presence then perhaps we won’t cry alone, wondering if anyone else remembers or even cares about our lose.
You can not know what will make us cry, sometimes we don’t know ourselves. Some days we stay dry eyed through nearly everything. Other days, the slightest thing will start the tears, things you could not possibly imagine or anticipate. Not all the tears are tears of sorrow. Even in the midst of our anguish, we sometimes cry tears of joy and relief because you have reached out; because you have confirmed that Melanie was special; perhaps because you have shared with us some precious memory about her which we had not known before.
Please don’t run away from us. Don’t pretend her death never occurred, or even worse that she never lived. We still love her, think of her, and need to remember. Please share with us and we will both feel better.
We are learning that God is not punishing us. He did not cause her death, but he can help us to grow through this experience to become stronger, wiser and more caring. Initially, when we were told by a church member that we would change and grow stronger through this experience, we wanted to scream that if it meant losing Melanie, we didn’t want to change or get stronger. But we now know we had no choice about that… she is with the Lord and the only choices we had were to either trust the path God had chosen for us or allow grief to destroy us. We chose God’s path, and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. If our dear Melanie at the age of six trusted him enough to die without fear and wanted others to trust as well, maybe there is some small thing you could give to God and see what happens. He brought us through the worst time in our lives and rewarded us with the life of a beautiful baby girl to bring us hope and memories. We love you all and thank you for allowing us to grieve. Please continue to wear Mel’s purple band, but not in memory of her but in honor of her wish for everyone to pray to the Lord and to always trust in him. The purple ribbons around trees and car antennas should be testaments of you pledge to trust in God as Melanie did. Purple is the color of royalty, maybe Melanie loved this color because it reminded her of the royalty and grandeur her Lord and savior Jesus Christ.