Posted by: kathyhugs | February 22, 2008

Responses and Blessings

I received this email tonight in response to the questions I asked a few days ago. I wanted to share parts of it with you and my response afterward.

I would first like to introduce myself. I am from Wellsville. I would like to tell you how horribly sorry I am for the loss of your daughter. I did not know Tonia personally, but since reading your blog…I feel surprisingly close to her. I had seen her around town in the stores and she and I always smiled at each other and said, ‘hello’. So many times I wanted to email you or post, but for whatever reason, I hesitated. My heart breaks each and every time I read a new post. You have opened yourself up to the public and for this, I thank you. You are helping so many people that you would normally not be able to reach if it weren’t for your blog. I have not experienced the loss of a child (thank you Lord), but have often wondered how a parent copes with such an unbearable pain. I just can’t imagine, nor do I want to, but the thought has been there.

How did you hear about Tonia’s death? From who?

(1.) I heard something horrible had happened at 1200 Commerce St. I am not sure who told us what actually happened, but I do remember my reaction.

What was your reaction?
(2.) I became sick to my stomach and I stood there in disbelief. I remember my hand being over my mouth and having tears in my eyes. I was quiet. I was so sad for Tonia, but angry at JC.

What did you notice about the people around you and how they reacted? Immediately and into the present.

(3.) Shortly thereafter I was sitting out in the backyard trying to make sense of something that I later realized we would never make sense of. Several people were stopping by and just sitting there with us. It was not the usual ‘gossip fest’ that normally happens when something happens in Wellsville. It was 100% sadness and anger being shared by everyone.

How were you affected by Tonia’s death, the funeral and the events afterward?
(4.) Tonia’s death has affected me in ways that I don’t understand. Although I didn’t know Tonia, I feel the need to defend her. I see pictures of her that you post and I feel as if I know her. I want to hug her and tell her that I am sorry.

What questions did it bring up? Did you find any answers?

(5.) Although I know he has a plan and I should not do this, I question God as to why evil seems to prevail while here on earth. I know that the good will prevail in the end, but I want to see it while here on earth.
What has affected you the most?
(6.) Of course Tonia’s death has affected me, but the events after her death is what is affecting me even more so. I know Tonia wouldn’t want this, but I am angry. I am angry and have a very bad attitude.
Any other comments you want to share that will help me understand how you have learned to cope with the changing situation!
(7.) I am learning to cope through your blog. I cannot see your anger through your words. I hear your pain, but there is no anger. If you are without anger, why do I have so much? She was your daughter, not mine. You have been given the right to feel angry, not me. I have prayed and asked God to take my anger…but I am still harboring it.

Comments and insight into or about the people around you

(8.) It is as if your daughter became our daughter in the blink of an eye.

Please know that my prayers are with you and your family. My heartfelt sympathies…

My response:
You have touched my heart tonight. Thank you. I have been sitting at my computer trying to find the words to say when I speak at our church’s retreat. They just weren’t coming tonight. I checked my email and you were there, sharing with me. My daughter’s death was not in vain when women can reach out to each other and share their pain, anger and their frustration with each other; and know that they will be understood! I started my blog with the intention to share with my friends so at those times when I couldn’t speak, they knew what to pray for; when I couldn’t make one more phone call with “news” I could post it and be surrounded by love. I started it for me but God has used it for so much more. I have been loved over emails, through prayers and in person but I have also made new friends, new sisters who are crying out to God. We are all struggling with questions that have no answers but we want to know that God cares and that He is real. Your email to me is evidence that God is real and that he cares! He uses us to be His voice and tonight he used you.

I understand your anger. I have felt it in weird ways, getting mad that I don’t have any windshield washer fluid and wanting to kick the car. Getting angry when I think that someone is ignoring me or when I can’t get answers. I have shut down friends and family until I can get my anger back under control. But I have also come to realize that anger only hurts me (and my family when I take it out on them). I decided that I had a choice to make: I could respond with anger or I could ask God to protect my heart and let that anger turn into a passion to communicate about my daughter! There are days when I can write for hours and I have never been a writer before! I have taken notes about every conversation I have had with the detectives, the coroner, the prosecutor and anyone else that tells me anything about my daughter’s death and the legal stuff.

God has granted me the grace to grieve in my own way, the grace to be surrounded by wonderful friends, and even more amazing the grace to hear from new friends like you.

Thank you! Many hugs and blessings.

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