Rainbows on sunny days...

I picked this title because it has such meaning for me. Since my niece has passed I see things I never saw before. The sky is more brilliant in the evenings, the sunrises have more shades of pinks and oranges than ever before. And I have seen more rainbows on sunny days than I can count. I believe that if we are just ready to experience what our loved ones that have gone on want to show us, we will be blessed with hello’s from Heaven. I still struggle with putting on this run. I wish every day that I would not have been slammed with the pain of having someone you love deeply take their life by suicide. But, wishing it away doesn’t change the truth of the matter. The truth is that I was lucky enough to have that sweet spunky girl in my life for 14 years…and now I am blessed with her sweet Heavenly hello’s. I am also blessed to be able to pass on a message of HOPE to others…and really love on kids right where they are at. I still struggle with loving deeply, but am daily trying to change that. I think I can finally grasp how much more painful it will be to go through life without truly giving to others, than it is to lose them when you have. Love and hug on your kids today. Tell them they are wonderful, kind, and important. Never forget that your words matter.

The sixth annual run is coming soon....

I am sitting here tonight thinking about this years run…thinking that it has been six years since my niece made a terrible mistake. What kind of 20 year old would she be?? How would my family be different, my kids? How would I be different? I have changed so much…I am less able to really give myself to others, less able to love fully…I am afraid of the pain that comes with the loss of someone you love completely. How different would my involvement be with my church and community? In so many ways I continually am amazed at how God has turned such a horrible tragedy into something beautiful and healing for so many. But I will tell you right now that if I could go back in time and change what happened, I would. I would tell her that life is worth the struggles…that she is amazing…that pain is temporary….I would tell her how absolutely precious she is to me. But I can only dream of this, it will never happen. So instead I pour my pain and grief and HOPE into others. I wish I could say it gets easier…the pain of the loss dulls, but to be honest I think it just changes. I still see such grief in my sisters’ eyes, or in Lilly’s younger brother and sister. Her grandparents don’t laugh and smile as easily as they once did. It changes everything. I am so sorry for anyone that has experienced a loss of a loved one by suicide. I am hopeful that what we do through the Lilly’s lope will help someone else that is contemplating this make a better decision. This year I am thinking the scripture on the shirt will not have the word ‘Hope’ in it for the first time, but instead is another form of encouragement…

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6