Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tomorrow Should Have Been...

Tomorrow's the day Amanda would have started college. She wanted to be a police officer since she was four years old. Because police departments don't hire anyone under age 21, she planned to attend Arkansas State University at Beebe and study criminal justice.

This should have been a time when I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions: happy, sad, proud, and scared. Instead, I'm just sad. We lose so many things, tangible and intangible, with the death of a child, so many things that we can never get back.

I'm so proud of all my students who are moving on with their lives and into their new college homes, but watching that brings all of the "what should have been"s to the surface once again. I wish Amanda was a part of this great migration from child to young adult, but she'll remain forever just where she was on January 15, 2011.

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- " -- Jeremiah 29:11

Amanda's hope and future were apparently in Heaven, not here on this Earth with us. It's impossible for us to understand, but faith and the knowledge that she is with Jesus and we will one day join her helps to keep us going. Still, missing what would have been major milestones in her life make for some of the hardest times.

I hardly saw it coming,
This day that is tomorrow.
Now it's crashing down upon me,
And I'm overwhelmed with sorrow.

These days I'm mostly okay,
Though each one I think of you.
Usually I think of happy times,
But this weekend seems more blue.

As I wander through the house,
In pictures, you look back at me.
But today your smile reminds
Of all you'll never get to be.

Tomorrow's August twentieth,
A day I always thought would come.
It's the first step in a journey,
For many others, but not my one.

That's the first day of classes
At the college where you planned to go.
Many of your friends are starting
An experience you will never know.

I hear other parents talking
And read their worried words.
As sons and daughters leave the nests
And become like soaring birds.

Though I'm really happy for them,
That doesn't stop the pain.
Thinking of what should have been,
You with your friends the same.

Tomorrow should be your first day
Of class at the university.
Instead, you'll remain here on the shelf
Where you'll forever be.

Life goes on, even after the loss of a child. As hard as it is, I can't imagine how anyone makes it without the love and comfort of having Jesus Christ as their Savior. I know I could never have kept going if not for Him. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy, ever. It's not.

Times like these, all the sadness rises to top. I doubt it will ever be any different until I join Amanda in Heaven. Some days good, others bad. Some days happy, others sad. Until then, I'll take one day at a time and try to live as Jesus would have me live. I just hope she can look down and be proud of what she sees.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.


  1. That was really moving, John. God bless you & your family. Hugs & prayers.

  2. Thanks Valerie. All those prayers have kept us going through the darkest hours. We really appreciate them.

  3. You and your family have been in my prayers and thoughts since we first "met" a few months ago through e-mail. This poem was incredibly touching and brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of the way I felt this past April on the day of my 30th birthday when I didn't have my mom by my side to greet the excitement, reality and nervousness that the day brought. Everyone seemed so eager to welcome me to the 30s club! I agree, it brought about a sense of fulfillment .. like, I'm getting older and I'm getting wiser. Yay I have a career, Boo I have tons of bills, lol!!! But what hurt was that while everyone wanted to sing Happy Birthday, I noticed the one voice that wasn't there, my mom. I felt blessed to have family/friends with me, but couldn't help but feel incomplete because of the 1 that wasn't. Now, I look around all the time at moments that seem "wise" enough to know what a good old-fashioned phone call to mom is good for, but can't do it. I wish I'd have done it more when I had the chance. Nonetheless, I know you and I exist in two totally different worlds and circumstances, but I still can't help but feel so drawn to your story and feel saddened for you all over the loss of your beautiful daughter. Please know you will remain in my prayers. I still hope to get the chance to officially "meet" at the Marine Corps Marathon ... while you run with Amanda and I run with my mom. :) Keep in touch and happy running!

  4. Thanks Nichole. I look forward to seeing you at MCM too! Keep your head high. I know she's proud of you. :)

  5. John, I am praying for you as school starts. You are so strong. Love ya!


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