At least three times in the last few months someone has told me what an inspiration we were to them because of the way we reacted to Lauren's death. And every time someone says something like that, I am always shocked. I find it hard to imagine that people feel that way about us, but I am always so grateful to them for their kind words. Often, I walk away wondering what they mean, though.
Usually I recount our experience trying to get through the night Lauren died. My husband and I were up all night. We were almost in a daze, alternately crying and trying to figure out how to survive without her. At one point, we decided what our plan would be. We began to ask ourselves what Lauren would want us to do. Would she want us to crawl under a rock? No. To turn to drink or drugs? No. Would she want us NOT to take care of her brother? Absolutely not. Would she want us to abandon our faith? NO!
We became more focused- We spent the next week surrounded by the support of our family and friends, our priests and our church family and our wonderful community. We were able to hold on to each another and to our son and our God, and walk- one foot in front of the other- to honor our daughter and her memory. We made that our goal- that people would not forget the lovely child of God that she was, and that through her memory, we would minister to others who lost their children and endow her scholarship to help other college students.
I realize now that it was our faith in God that took us through. As my sweet husband said, "Why should I be angry at God? He is the only one who can help me!" I am blown away by his deep relationship with God.
When someone comments on our strength, or how we were such an inspiration, I am quick to remind them that I have no strength of my own. It all comes from God. My childhood friend, Joel, who has suffered with kidney disease since birth, has a signature on his e-mail that reads, "I'll point to Jesus and say he is why I am here." I think he has the right idea.
The Church teaches that we are to be Christ to others. What a great challenge! I fall short of that challenge every day. But every day, I try. I hope people can see him in me.