I don’t write much about my family here, some things are too tender to ply with and I guard the subject dearly. Too many years of misunderstandings and hurts and battles keep my mouth silent on that front. I love them each dearly, even though we are spread to all corners of the United States and the globe. I am grateful for our story, as haphazard and dysfunctional as it may seem to both the casual observer and the intimate friend. That’s the thing about not knowing someone at all or knowing someone very well: you can imagine the worst or know the worst, so it’s better to just get it over with and know people well.

But once in a while I do let myself think about this living, breathing organism that birthed me, crafted me, grew me, released me, and still lets me call them family. And once in a great while, when I am brave enough to let you peek at those thoughts, I write them here:

Today is April 19 and to you that is just another day. Perhaps you thought of the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, perhaps it’s your birthday, perhaps you remembered a bill that was due today, or perhaps it was just another Tuesday.

To me, though, April 19 is never just another day and only one thought pulses through me all of this day every year. Five years, six years, seven years, last year it was ten years and this year it makes eleven years.

Soon, he will have been dead longer than he was alive.

Andrew David Ferguson 1986-2000

I think about that a lot.

Something about it still being less than 14 years since he died, keeps me feeling like I know him still, he is still fresh in my mind, his voice is still present, familiar to me, his crooked smile is stayed, permanently crooked.

But soon, in a few years, then the baby who was born so soon after he died will turn 14 and we will all know then, then it has been a long time. A very long time.

Soon, all the photos I have of him will begin to look their age.

It will stop feeling like he was here, real, a part of us.

I remember worrying that I would forget him. Those months and weeks after he died, I would lay in bed at night and try my best to remember his voice, his steps, his smell. I would cry sometimes, more from the worry of forgetting than the actual missing. The missing becomes normal, but even the possibility of forgetting feels like a betrayal.

But it is more than a decade now and I don’t worry about forgetting. I remember. More clearly than so many other memories in my life (Perhaps this is why I forget so many things in my past; my energy goes to remember this one Very Important Thing.).

It is sometimes strange to me, people’s response when they learn that I have lost a brother. I’m so sorry, they say, their heads drop, they feel my past pain so acutely for one moment. But I am quick to reassure them that it is not an awkward subject for me, nor one I’m uncomfortable discussing. This is a mark of the gospel, death has no sting.

A family in my church lost their young son this week and after the service I made my way to the very last row, where they sat, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand.

I ask to pray with them, for them. And I say to them to not worry, to let themselves grieve without the worry that they will forget or that his siblings will forget or that someone will forget. God gives grace to the humble and there is nothing more humbling, I say, than losing a part of yourself.

Especially because he’s not really lost, is he?

Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we will always be with the Lord.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

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18 responses to

  1. I love you friend. This made me shed some tears. Echoes to my heart.

  2. Wow. Amazing. I had no idea that you had lost a brother. You are one of the most joyful people I have ever met and it is contagious, most people would never know that you had experienced such pain. Be blessed, sister. I, for one, am grateful for you.

  3. Very, very touching. Thank you.

  4. Rachel (Allen) Bowles April 20, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I still miss you, Lore.

  5. “God gives grace to the humble and there is nothing more humbling, I say, than losing a part of yourself.”

    So well said. Isn't that so true?

    Grateful for all that the Lord has done in you and through you.

  6. Denise (from church) April 20, 2011 at 5:29 am

    My goodness, Girl, you know how to make a person WEEP! Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

    Who was the family who lost their son this week? Do you know them?

  7. Thanks for sharing, Lore.

  8. @Tracy, thanks friend. I love you too!

    @Amy, that is so sweet of you–I'm not always joyful though, trust me =) But I'm glad you've been blessed, you bless me!

    @PR, thanks =)

    @Rachel, come visit us when you're in Dallas next!

    @Jeremy, it is so true. And I'm grateful that grace abounds too.

    @Denise, I actually don't know them, her first name was Elizabeth and I think their last name started with a G. Matt had us pray for them at the beginning of the service and then I just went and found them afterward.

    @Sam, no problem. Thanks for reading!

  9. we are told to comfort one another with these words….because, well….because they are a powerful dram of medicine for our bruised souls, doled out by the Good Physician himself.

    I love you. Thanks for bravely sharing.

  10. A friend of mine linked me to this blog-post. I lost my younger sister in an accident a few months ago. Thank you for the encouragement and for saying exactly how it feels, “The missing becomes normal, but even the possibility of forgetting feels like a betrayal.” I feel exactyl like that sometimes. I'm afraid that she'll know that my memories are getting faint. Thank you for assuring me that I won't forget.

  11. Lore, I so admire your courage in posting this – in posting your heart. it gives me hope that someday I will find the courage to write about the deep scars we all carry. thank you. <3

  12. This is heartbreakingly beautiful.

  13. @Kristin, so grateful you stopped by. I hope that you are blessed and that you hold tightly to the good memories and let God preserve them all.

    @Catherine, you bless me! I'm so grateful that God's taught me that the deep scars are only there to point us to our need for Him, otherwise I would have no courage at all!

    @Josh, didn't mean to break your heart. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. @MaNan, I like it when you comment on my blog because you say things like, “a powerful dram of medicine for our bruised souls, doled out by the Good Physician himself.”

    And it makes me wish you wrote more on your own blog…

  15. Thanks for sharing Lore! Another great share! Many memories flood back over me! :o )
    …Hard to believe…11 yrs. gone by so quickly…that I was available to take that ride North w/ your dad, and see & hear his pain…our pain…and loss…seeing & hearing GOD's Grace extended…as the community…the family of GOD…your family, gathered around…the effects, differently on each of you individually…

    @Amy,I believe Lore would agree, it's the pain, losses, storms, that the LORD uses to shape her into that joyfully, deep, contagious, strengthened person she's becoming [and very becoming I might add! :o )]
    Exciting to watch how He uses our life experiences in little ways to touch & effect others lives! At least if we are keeping out of the way of the Master Craftsman & let Him finish His work in us!!

    Another memory brought forward Lore, was from our loss of almost 31 yrs. ago! Where has that time gone?!…first child…only 16 wks…interrupted weekend away…longgg unsure weekend at hospital…life in the balance…will she make it full term…no heratbeat = no life…only 6 or 8 inches long, w/ finger nails!…fearfully reverent & distinctly wonderfully made…just not long enough in the cocoon…womb…time for growth & muscle to bring about complete metamorphosis! [metaphorically speaking :>)]

    As YOU know, GOD was Gracious the Second time, thus her name, picked out for her before we even knew what the future held! GOD IS GREAT!!

    Oh, then another beauty, and a handsome! Precious lives!!! All shaped for His Glory… in differing ways…w/ differing struggles! :o D

    Well, by now I'm only anonymous to your readers, no longer to you!

    …We are continuing to bend to The Wind…as in bowing…it strengthens our roots!!!…

  16. First I saw this… made me cry again and miss him again… he is NOT forgotten. Never. We'll die first, and then there'll be no forgetting anything.

  17. I know what you mean.

    K.

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