Blakely passed away at 5:15pm on February 18th and in that moment, everything went dark. In Blakely’s final moments I was scared. In Blakely’s greatest moment of need, her earthly daddy was completely helpless. I could not save her – I could not rescue her. In Blakely’s final moments I felt emptied and poured out. Death was like a black hole sucking all the life out of the room – it felt powerfully dark.
Moments after Blakely died I found myself asking these questions, “God where are you? God where is Blakely?” It felt quiet and it felt lonely. I felt disconnected and separated.
Death is like scissors that cut through relational ropes that bind us together. Blakely is separated from me. I don’t know where she is and I am not completely sure where God is either.
I remember in the first minutes after Blakely’s death feeling this weight wash over me. I could almost here someone audibly speak in my ear, in a mocking voice, “Michael, don’t you see, life is meaningless. Michael, don’t you see Blakely doesn’t matter”. Those whispers haunt me, they paralyze me in fear and fill my head with doubts. Throughout this whole process with Blakely I have often asked God, “Is life meaningless?” More times than not, I could hear God calmly say, “Life matters, I created it, it is good.” But in Blakely’s death I fully felt a crumbling of all I believed, as I saw life being stripped away. It was crushing. In those moments I was so unsure of God, faith, Jesus and the meaning of life. I wish I could say I never wavered but I most certainly did. I completely failed. I was scared. I was shattered. I was extremely weak.
For the first time on the dark night of February 18th, Emily and I would leave the hospital without Blakely. We left the hospital without a stroller, without a car seat and without Blakely’s clunky medical cart. Death swallowed all of it up and left us with memories that right now, make us cry. How cruel and how mean death is to those it affects.
The next morning the sun came up as it did the day before and it was bright. The sky was crystal clear and the weather was amazing. It was like creation was mocking us and laughing at us for being sad. It hurt to be in the bright sun when my heart was locked in a cave. It felt like death was re-telling the story of the world and the story of my life and the story of Blakely’s life. It felt like death was taking all that I believed to be true and twisting it into lies. It took my favorite memories of Blakely and my favorite pictures of Blakely and turned them into painful reminders of what is gone.
I often found myself angry at God again. I know what he says about life, about me, about Blakely and about this world but it feels like death is winning. Death seems to be emptying this world and this life of its purpose. If only I could know where Blakely is right now, if only I could see Jesus and feel the wholes in his hands and feet then I will know that God wins, but right now, it is really dark and it feels like death has the upper hand.
I have been convinced that darkness is real and that death is powerful. Death is more powerful than me. Death is more powerful than Blakely and death is more powerful than this world. Death will swallow us all up and it is scary.
“God, where is my beloved daughter?”
“God, where are you?”