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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: He Held Me
By Alicia Renkema


I stood in the doorway leading out into our garage and stared at a strange sight. My 18 year-old-eyes could not believe what they saw, my Dad, slumped over the steering wheel of his car. Going into shock, my mind was mostly numb, with strange thoughts like: Did my parents have a fight? But how would that explain my father's body slumped over, unconscious in the car? I could not figure out what my eyes were seeing. Nothing was making any sense. Yet, God knew I needed more time to absorb what had really happened.

It was Friday, three weeks before I was to leave for college, and a family whose kids I loved to babysit for were supposed to be taking me on a special thank you picnic. Just the day before I had had this passing thought, “Katherine, you will never go on that picnic!” In retrospect, I believe that thought was God's Holy Spirit very gently starting to prepare me for the terrifying events that were to come my way. I never did go on that picnic, for that was the day that my world crumbled--one brick at a time.

I don't know how or when in all of the commotion that I first heard or thought about the word suicide concerning my father's death. Yet, almost forty years later, whenever I hear about this gut-wrenching act, I cringe, praying inwardly for the family and friends involved. These prayers can last for days.

The day after loosing my father, I was sitting in my bedroom listening to the same melancholy record over and over again. I was crying so hard, the sobs began to hurt my chest. Then my mother walked in. I was startled to see her because I knew she had so many details to plan for the up-coming memorial service, as well as dealing with her own anguish. It turned out that in her graciousness, she saw my pent-up pain and had wanted to comfort me in some small way.

She held in her hand something so tiny that I had to squint through my tears to see; the last gift I had given to my dad. It was a small, silver filigree tie clasp; this one had little pinstripes etched into the silver, making it stand out from the rest. I remembered with bittersweet pain, the joy I had in picking it out for him, on what was to be his last Father's Day. My mom's words broke into my reverie. "Honey, would you like to have your dad wear this for his burial?"

All I could think of was this had been a gift to my dad, how could I take it back? I also wanted there to be some part of me to remain with him… I nodded, “Yes, thank you for thinking of me."

She hugged me and quietly left the room. I was alone with my thoughts and tears once again.

I often wish I had made a different choice that day. I know it is only a material thing. Yet, sometimes, I agonize and wish it could be in a special drawer so I could finger the filigree clasp in my hands, like I did that day when my mother came into my room oh so long ago.

Whenever I feel that way, I hear the Lord say to me,
"I want you to have the memory of selecting the tie clasp for your dad. Yet, having it to touch and see would have been too difficult for you. It was best for it to be buried, both then and now."

Jeremiah 29:11-13 speaks to my heart. The Lord wants me to know that He has a bright future for me if I come to Him and seek Him with my whole heart. He also tells me in this passage that He will always listen to me when I come to Him and pray.This comforts my wounded soul.

No matter how dark my past has been, I have a promised-Spirit-led future if I trust my God. I can go to sleep at night and be secure in Him. Our God is the One who ties all things together. These things will come full circle to His glory when we allow Him to hold our memories, as the clasp holds the tie.

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This article has been read 352 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Judith Gayle Smith03/07/13
Heartbreaking. I pray it is and isn't a true story because the ending is so bittersweet.
Danielle King 03/08/13
This is heartbreaking to read yet uplifting at the same time. Your deep faith in God's promises, to work everything together for good, and to always be there for you, shines through you and your words. This is a powerful testimony to God's grace. I feel sure it's a true account because of the depths of your feelings. This will be a blessing to many people who have suffered the trauma of a loved one taking their own life. Thanks for being brave enough to write this.
Margaret Kearley 03/08/13
This is beautifully written and anguishing to read. Thankyou for being brave enough to share such deep pain and sadness - may what you have written reach out to help others who are heartbroken. The part that touched me most was your realisation of God's kindness and overruling in allowing you to be separated from the tie clasp to save you from more overwhelming grief. Precious. Thankyou for sharing.
Richard Hicks03/09/13
I havent so far lost a parent to death. Im not sure what my reaction or the sorrow I will feel. This is very well and very beautifully written testament that Jesus held you together. It touches my life and will touch countless others, and make them appreciate what they have now even more. Thank you... and never give up this passionate calling that God has so graciously given you. ~Grace and peace.
lynn gipson 03/09/13
I have only experienced one suicide in my circle of life. My best friends dad shot and killed her and then himself when she was 17 years old.He was like a father to me. I know the anguish of asking why? This is so beautifully written and expressed. Your feelings jump off the page with this. God bless and keep you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/09/13
You grab my heart from the very first word and hood it to the very end. I want to grab that 18-year-old girl and rock her in my arms. Suicide is not an easy subject to talk about, but it is such a vital one. You will touch more hearts than you could ever imagine with this piece.
Vince Martella03/11/13
An emotional, courageous and poignant piece. Thanks for having the courage to share it. This will minister to many; may we all be reminded of the Lord's strong love and care for us in the dark valleys of life.
Noel Mitaxa 03/11/13
Having taken so many funeral services that have been caused by suicide, and involved in the follow-up from them, I know how eloquently you have captured the pain that words alone cannot address. Very well done.
Carla Rogers 03/12/13
This is such a heartbreaking story and held my interest through the entire thing. I have lost both of my parents, but not to suicide. It is so hard to get rid of their things. Even losing my parents after I was an adult, didn't make that process any easier. You ended it in an uplifting way that will encourge everyone who reads your article. Very well done.
Bea Edwards 03/13/13
Bittersweet story written with tears I could feel. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt piece with us.
Myrna Noyes03/20/13
I love your title, as it fits so well with your story and with the week's topic. Yours is a sad tale, but I loved the mother's thoughtfulness toward her daughter despite her own pain. And your last line--"Our God is the One who ties all things together. These things will come full circle to His glory when we allow Him to hold our memories, as the clasp holds the tie"--was a perfect way to end the story! Good job!