Our lives were forever changed the day we lost Corey. He was an amazing man who loved the Lord and his family with all that he was. The pain of losing him is like no other. Our only comfort comes from knowing we will see him again someday.

I have moved the slideshow played at Corey's service to it's own post page above, titled "Corey's Memorial Service - August 10, 2010"

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Clinging to God...clinging to hope-Part 1

     I had the unique opportunity to be a part of a discussion panel at a MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers) meeting last Wednesday. The topic was depression, and myself and 2 good friends were asked to share our own personal experience with the illness. I shared briefly about my own struggle with depression since college and what that has looked like for me. As I was the only person on the panel who has had a spouse with depression, I went on to spend the majority of my time sharing about Corey's battle with the illness and what brought him to his place of desperation. 
     I had talked with a friend a couple of days before the meeting because I was struggling with knowing what to share, how much to share and how to leave people with hope after hearing about how Corey had lost site of hope for his own life. I didn't want anyone to hear our story, and, God forbid, be in a similar place of desperation and think that suicide was the solution for Corey and therefore might be the solution for them. Corey is free from all suffering now and, better yet, in Heaven. That sounds like a pretty good solution, but how could I express that it certainly wasn't the right one. Below, is a letter I wrote to Corey. I am sharing it so that people will see the ramifications in the aftermath of a suicide. If you are ever in the position of helping someone who is suicidal to see another way out, or if, God forbid, you yourself are ever considering suicide, it is my hope that these words will stay with you. Your loved ones' lives will not be better without you! I really think Corey had convinced himself that the girls and I would be better off without him. It certainly was not the truth.
     I will tell you that it was an emotional but healing process preparing this material. I did a lot of crying. That said, some of this might be hard to read. I also want to stress that I did not write this letter out of anger or bitterness towards Corey, but out of my love for him. 

     I wish that in the hours and days before your death you could have seen into the future to know fully the gravity of your decision and what the reality of your death would look like in our lives. 
     I wish you could have seen that life without you would not be better. Yes, your depression brought many challenges into our lives but the girls and I are facing many challenges now in the aftermath of your death…they’re just different ones.
     I wish you could have known the grief your daughters would have to come to terms with. I wish you could have known the dread I would feel in having to share the news with them that you had died and then see our oldest daughter sob uncontrollably in response. I wish you could have seen all the tears they would shed over your decision to leave us. No more Daddy to play horsey with on the carpet. No more Daddy to cover them with kisses at bedtime.  
     I wish you could have known how lonely my days and nights as a single parent would get. How much I would miss having my partner and confidant. A widow and single mom at age 34 was never what I dreamed about as a young girl, and it was never what I wanted for our daughters. Life in this fallen world can be so cruel.  
     I wish you could have known how many others in your life would miss you too. Your parents and brother, your extended family, your friends and co-workers. They miss your smile, your humor, and your kindness and compassion toward them, amongst many other things.
     I wish you could have known just how many people it would take to help the girls and I recover from losing you. Three therapists, 5 pastors, the prayer support of more than a few church communities, and too many friends to count. All these individuals combined cannot replace the value of you in our lives. I wish you could have realized that this side of heaven we will never fully heal from losing you.
      I wish you could have seen that your life had value – to God and to your family. That even in your darkest places and deepest valleys you mattered to us.
      I am thankful I had the chance to tell you minutes before you died that the girls and I would be devastated without you. That was the truth. I only wish you could have seen the impact that losing you would have on us and just how important you were in our lives. Maybe this reality would have helped you choose a different path; however, I know that in your illness your thoughts were not your own. I have no anger towards you, just sadness that you weren’t able to grab hold of the truth.  
     I pray that your story, that our story, will bring life to others; that through our tragedy and loss, others will hear a message of hope and know that God’s love is deeper than any valley they might find themselves in.  
 Suicide has been described as a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  I know Corey’s life had great value both to God and to all of those who loved him.  His decision to end his life was not the right solution.  Corey may have lost sight of hope but that does not mean that there was no hope to be found.  We will never know how God might have otherwise lifted Corey from his valley. I’m certain that Corey’s decision broke not only our hearts but God’s heart as well. 
     I closed with an exert from the book A Path Through Suffering, by Elisabeth Elliot: 
He [God] wants to transform every human suffering into something glorious. He can redeem it. He can bring life out of death. Every event of our lives provides opportunity to learn the deepest lesson anyone can learn on earth, "My present life is not that of the old 'I,' but the living Christ within me" (Galatians 2:20, JBP). When our souls lie barren in a winter which seems hopeless and endless, God has not abandoned us. His work goes on. He asks our acceptance of the painful process and our trust that He will indeed give resurrection life. 
           "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" ~ Jesus, John 10:10

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