When I first lost my daughter I was in complete and utter shock. I was in shock for multiple reasons. My precious baby had died plus I had suffered great trauma in finding her and trying to save her.
The time leading up to her funeral service was a blur. I remember that I could be crying out for her in pain then just a few moments later I could be laughing hysterically or be so completely numb and staring out into space. I was all over the place. It all felt so unreal. I had no control over what emotion might come out at any given moment. I also had tasks to accomplish. I had to plan a funeral and be at the funeral home. I had to greet people during her viewing on family and friends night. At that point, I was still doing something for my daughter and also just going through motions without thought.
I hadn’t had a chance for anything to really sink in until the moment I walked into that chapel for her funeral service. I walked in like I had purpose, holding it together, heading directly to Madison so I could say hello and give her a kiss. As I was walking back to join everyone in the family room, it hit me, like slamming into a brick wall at 95 mph; My daughter was dead and she was laying in that casket. This would be the very last time I got to see her beautiful face or touch her.
I was able to make it to a group of chairs intended for overflow guests and I wept like only a mother could. I wept so hard that I began to shake so intensely that I could barely remain in the chair I had sat down in. An immense anxiety rolled over me and I couldn’t breathe. I was having a nervous breakdown. I was on the verge of losing it so completely that there was no return.
My immediate family came to my side and comforted me the best they could. It didn’t help much, I had already lost control. I ended up having to stay in the overflow seating which was off to the side from where Maddy was, in the front of the chapel. That is where most of the family sat too.
It felt like I was stuck like that for days and somehow the service had begun and ended before I even knew it. Then I raised my head and saw a sea of teenagers, friends and loved ones making their way towards me as they waited to see Maddy and say their own goodbyes. I remained seated as most of them headed my way. I had no strength or any control over my body. I couldn’t stand. It was physically impossible.
But, just as they got right in front of me, by nothing but the grace of God, I stood. I stood and I hugged those that came to me. I comforted and cried with her friends. I stood that day because God had given me the strength to do so. I couldn’t have stood on my own.
And here I am two years later and still I stand. I stand only because of God’s grace.