Saturday, March 7, 2015

One Breath at a Time-A Year Later


  On the day of my mother-in-law's funeral I made a promise to my niece that I never dreamed would come true. She asked me if I would take care of her children if anything were to happen to her. Having lost her brother in a car crash, father from a sudden heart attack, and her mother at the hands of a murderer, my husband and I were whom she turned to for family support. Of course I reassured her that if something were to happen, we would take her children, but that she would be around a long time. She was a single mom who did an amazing job of raising her kids on her own. The children were fourteen and twelve, I fully believed that God wouldn't allow her to be taken from them.

One year ago today, five months after I made that promise, I received the news she'd died. The words knocked me to my knees. I cried out to God asking him why this kept happening. Why she, like my nephew, and sister-in-law were taken from us without warning. Each death tragic. Now two children were motherless in a state away. Just like when we got word of her mother's death, the five hour drive was a blur.

 The enormity of what lied ahead of us weighed heavy on my chest. Planning her funeral, how to pay for it, and most importantly what was best for the children. The thought of their future depending on us took me under many times. I awoke from a sleep in the hotel in a panic more than once, broke down in tears on and off daily. Voices of others drowned me. Some told me we were doing the right thing by petitioning for custody. Others treated my husband and I like we were the villains in this situation by taking the kids away from their home.  The voice I needed to hear the most was God's.

  I asked him to lead my path a day at time, an hour at a time, and some days....a breath at a time. He answered..through words from someone, a verse I'd read, a door opening, or blessings poured onto to the children and us through the generosity of others.

  The last year hasn't been easy. The children had a tough road to travel. Grieving their mom, transitioning to new schools, a new home and family, leaving their friends..but each day is another step forward. One year later, I couldn't imagine my life without them. They are my kids now. I love them with all my heart. They are no longer my daughter's cousins, they are their sister and brother. Today isn't going to be easy. It'll bring a fresh batch of tears and grief. We'll make it breath at time.