Prisoner of Hope – Foggy Days

Part 2 …….

The next twenty-four hours where as though I walked in a fog.  A thick, tangible fog.  I could function but felt as though I was going in circles.  Many friends and acquaintances  came by or called to let us know they were praying that our daughter would be found safe.  Working at a police department helped me.  Our dispatcher called California for us to see if she could get answers.  Our Captain did the same.  We later found out that a high school friend of our daughter’s who lived out there jumped in his car to see if he could look for her.  They wouldn’t let him in the area.

After a sleepless night and intense day we received the call from the Coroner’s Office.  They had her body.  Writing this gives me great pain in my heart even seven years later.  It’s the news no parent wants to receive.  It’s the news no parent deserves.

You find yourself in an intense split moment of a crucial decision.  What are you going to do?  Of course you cry out and you fall apart.  That is a given.  We all respond in a different way.  We hold each other and we hurt like we’ve never hurt before.  Then, when you get through the initial shock – however long that takes us – you decide to either get better or get bitter.  You decide whether to entertain thoughts like, “If only I …..”, or “What if she …”, OR say, “No, it happened and what will I do now?”

We had to call our sons.  We had to call China, where a brother was alone in a very foreign land with no friends to comfort him and tell him his only sister was gone.  We had to call Kirk in Kansas City, who just a few weeks before had spent Christmas with his sister in California.  And then we had to call my husband’s mother in Idaho, elderly and frail.  We had her minister go to her first.  That woman was a trooper!

We all chose to move forward.  It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  The anchor I mentioned in the last post just got bigger and stronger.  We saw incredible things transpire before us – things that we couldn’t have done in our “condition”.  Things like getting a son home from China in a hurry.  Planning a memorial service we wanted nothing to do with.  People in the community coming to our side and literally doing these things for us.  We had to let them because the “fog” was thick.

The week from the time of our loss to the memorial was very strange.  We’ve all heard about the feeling of “how can the world around us keep revolving when ours just crashed to a halt?” It’s so true.  Refrigerator full of food and we’re not even sure who dropped it off.  A friend walked us through the arrangements and then four months later he lost his son.  What a world we live in.

A dear friend who had lost a child told us “we just joined a club we didn’t want to join”.  So true.  We live in an imperfect world and yes, bad things do happen to good people.  But our anchor is strong.  We relate to a God who gave his son to die for mankind.  He can relate to loss.

After a week of barely eating or sleeping we greeted friends and strangers alike in front of our daughter’s casket.  After we went out in the freezing wind at the cemetery and said our goodbyes we hopped in the limo and devoured ALL the snack chip bags that were in the back.  And laughed.  Hard to imagine, but there was a release at that moment.  A release that we could now move on into the process of grieving and the process of life with one missing.

It was the worst of times and the best of times.  Because of our anchor of hope we knew that our daughter was in heaven with Jesus.  We knew that we would see her one day and be in eternity with her.  That’s good …… but it also sucks.  Not a day goes by where we don’t miss her.  But oh, the memories are wonderful and we have chosen to keep those alive in our hearts and talk openly about her.  We can’t pretend she never was.  We were blessed with the gift of Vanessa Joy Bryson in October of 1976 and loved her everyday she was with us.  Was she perfect? No.  But she was a product of our love. We nurtured her the best we knew how and so glad we knew her as along as we did.

Vanessa Joy Bryson and her dog Bailey (who also perished that day) .

to be continued ………………..cb


Prisoner of Hope – Our Darkest Day

Part 1 …….

I am about to bring to you, Reader, a personal account of great loss to me and my family.  I will open to you an experience of great loss and grief and, at the same time, great victory and triumph and peace for us.  I hope that you can glean from our hurt and loss to apply to yours or to help someone you love.

In January of 2005 I worked in a small town Police Department on the East Coast of the United States.  It was a normal day in my life – went to work, I knew at four o’clock I would drive home and feed the dogs and myself (my husband worked evenings so I wouldn’t see him until very late) and just relax with the TV or a book.

Our children were all adults by this time.  One married and living about 4 miles away from us.  Our daughter on the West Coast and  a son in China studying Mandarin and the youngest living in the Mid-West.  It was a bit lonely since we were a close family but communicated by phone regularly and saw the oldest often with his wife and our grandsons.

In the afternoon, while still at work, I felt a strong desire to call my daughter and see if all was OK.  I had seen on CNN that there were heavy rains in Southern California and that always meant possible mud-slides.  I called her and she said everyone was home in the small community of LaConchita due to mud on the main freeway.  That was pretty normal there in the winter months.  She sounded a bit afraid.  She told me there were reports of possible tornados and I asked if she was near a hill.  She said she was fine there and we told each other, “I love you”.

Those were the last words I heard our only daughter say to me.  My heart broke that day.

She, along with 9 others perished as the hillside broke free and covered several homes and streets.  A mother and her three young daughters perished next door while their dad went for ice cream.  It was a heartbreaking day in La Conchita that January 10th, 2005.  And a heartbreaking day for our family.

Being on the east coast was difficult.  I received a phone call from a friend that told me what happened and at the time all they knew was that my daughter was missing.  I immediately called my husband and he came home from work so we could pray and wait.  We had to call our sons.  We called Jonathan, who lived the closet and our youngest, Kirk, who was in Missouri.  We decided to wait to call Matthias who was in Shanghai, China until we knew the outcome.

That night was the longest night of out lives.  Waiting is hard on a normal basis.  But to be waiting the outcome of a tragic situation is pure hell.  We are a God-fearing family with a personal relationship with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We try our best to trust and depend on Him to guide and carry us through life.  We are human.  We lack trust often and lack faith often.  But one thing I can say that was proven that dark day in January of 2005 is that we have a Hope in God that is anchored deep.  Meaning that when the clouds crash down on you and all looks dark – we saw an anchor fastened deep that would carry us all through this dark, hurtful time.

…………… to be continued ………….

Everybody Has Something To Say

It’s been a while since I posted a blog.  I had a grandiose idea to write a blog a day, much like people take a “photo a day”.  Well, I hope the photographers are doing better than I am.  It’s hard to write something every day.  There are days that I think I have nothing to say.  How can that be?

Everybody has something to say.  Yes, EVERYBODY.  I truly believe that.  I grew up thinking I had nothing of any importance to say.  Therefore, I was extremely quiet and withdrawn.  As I grew up and began to walk on that road to discover who I was and what “made me tick” I began to talk, to express myself.  It was hard at first and after years have gone by and I now know more of who I am it can be still hard in some ways.

There is always going to be some circumstance or even some person who blocks you from being heard.  That’s life.  We live in an imperfect world.  We need to surround ourselves with people who want to hear us.  Those friends and family who truly have a love for us and who can see past our imperfections and see who we really are.  The ones that see our potential.  They also see our strong points and our weak points but love and encourage us just the same. They listen to our dreams and push us forward to get there.   I love those people.  I also want really bad to be one of those people to others.  Really bad.  I want to listen to their dreams and tell them they can do it!  Because I really believe they can.

This last week I found a long ago High School friend.  One of the few I had and one of the best.  We connected on FB – of all places – hearing from her took me back to the days of High School where it was painful to be heard.  But she heard me.  And now we have families and have gone through great growing pains seperate from each other and I see how much she has grown into who she was made to be and I’m proud.  Yes, actually proud to have been a part of her life long ago and even more proud to have her back in my life.  Thank you JP if you read this!  You are awesome!

I have many words bubbling up in me about this subject right now.  I’ll keep it simple.  I believe that the One who made me knew all those growing pains I would go through and who would be in my path along the way.  He knew how hard it would be at times but He also sees my potential and knew I would come through.  I thank Him daily for watching over me and getting me to where I am today.  I plan on helping many others to see their potential too.  There is something so sweet when you come to realize you really CAN do that thing you so desire to accomplish.  Don’t give up.  There is so much more for YOU.

Keep Dreaming.


Different Strokes

I heard the most beautiful thing today.  I was sitting in the sanctuary of a Nazarene Church this morning waiting for a community event to start.  It was a beautiful sanctuary – wide open with very tall ceilings and just a very pleasant setting overall.

One of our team members from Deeper Waters got up to talk for a little bit about this event.  It was an event acknowledging “Hope Heroes” in the Kansas City community.  People who have humbly given of themselves to help others gain hope and love in this life.  They ranged from school coaches to TV news reporters.  A very diverse group of people.

As he began he pointed out the stain glass windows in the sanctuary.  They were beautiful!  No pictures in them just geometric shapes of many colours pieced together.  He simply pointed out the colours being pieced together to make a lovely setting of beauty (my words) and how that’s how people should come together in community.  It’s a beautiful thing to have such diversity around us.  I think it would be awful if we were all totally alike.  BORING!  AND most of all the coming together of these different colours makes a magnificent glorious image especially when the sun (Son) shines through.


Just a Word…….

I have been involved in a Deeper Waters event yesterday and today and it continues on tonight and tomorrow.  Deeper Waters is a ministry my husband and I stumbled into through Facebook of all places.  It’s a ministry that brings hope to people, businesses, nations, etc.  Hope?  We all have hope if we are Christians, right?  I thought so until I stumbled into Deeper Water’s very 1st meeting of “Champions of Hope” almost one year ago.

Hopelessness can creep up on you when you least expect it.  And no one is exempt from it.  No one.  When you listen to those little suggestions about yourself that is demeaning and negative – hopelessness and despair can set in.  Those things are all lies because God thinks so much more of you.  He sees you in a totally different way – the way He made you to be.  You are everything to Him.

Well, you may be surprised how hard that is to believe about yourself.  Oh, we all believe that we should love our neighbors as ourselves – but most of us do not love ourselves.  Therefore we do not love our neighbors. OH!  Sorry. Ouch.

Well, today at one of the meetings, a nice man from Indiana (I think) wanted to pray with me when we were asked to pair up and pray and encourage each other.  He told me a story of something that happened to him as a very young boy.  He felt he should tell me this story and then related it to me and how God feels about me.  Wow.  It is so amazing how a simple childhood story that happened to someone else can have a wonderful impact on another!  It did just that.  Impacted me and put a big warm fuzzy smile on my face!

Get close to Jesus, listen to the heart of God.  Take the time to really listen and know that what He longs for from you is to just love on you and spend time with you.  He knows you best.

cb for more info on Deeper Waters (and check out the team members – you’ll see me)

Here in the Waiting Room

waiting for a cookie

Waiting is very hard for me.  Is it easy for anyone?  Well, I’m sure there are some of you that wait better than I do and perhaps even enjoy the waiting.  God bless you.

But this is about me – I want to embrace the waiting.  I want to get every single drop of the moisture  of learning, of knowing, of love out of the waiting.  I want to paint the waiting room walls a cheery yellow with green accents and a touch of orange so as long as I need to linger I can enjoy the wait.

So, here I am in the waiting room.  Trying to focus on the One who sits with me as I wait.  Trying to focus on Him and the tasks set before me that can be worked on while waiting ………

Waiting for what, you ask?  I am simply waiting for the desires of my heart to come to pass.  The promises lovingly spoken to me to blossom to their fullest.  Writing these words suddenly makes the walls a brighter yellow and my heart beats a little faster feeling the anticipation of windows opening and doors being flung wide.

Ahh, fresh, sweet air coming to me on bright frilly breezes…… here in the Waiting Room.  🙂

I’m Writing a Book

I know, I know. Some of you after reading my blog may think, why would SHE write a book. LOL
Because I’m suppose to. I even wrote chapter 1 today. So, those of you who hang out with Jesus please say a prayer for me because I do believe it is Him who (whom?) told me to write this book. It will be about loss and mostly HOPE.
It feels good and it feels right.
I was putting off starting this book until today when I left a meeting that exudes in Hope and a gal I somewhat know handed me a book that she wrote and self- published. As she placed it into my hands I heard, Here – she did it – so can you!
Truly an inspiration from God.
So, today begins the journey – the 13th of September, 2010.
Hope journey.

%d bloggers like this: