Saturday, January 2, 2010

TSMS - An open letter to Third Day

I haven't done a "Then Sings My Soul Saturday" with Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders for quite awhile.. I'm trying to get back into blogging.. Still figuring out what this looks like now that I feel "better". Still missing Seth and trying to figure out how to remember him and honor his life. One of the things I realized is that I tend to hold back on sharing. I have this fear that I"ll run out of things to share and regret having used them all up. Yes, I realize how silly that sounds and I'm making an effort to challenge that thinking myself. To that end, the song Tunnel by Third Day was a hugely impactful part of our journey with Seth. I had the opportunity (through a bloggy friend) to send a letter via email to Mac Powell of Third Day. I did that and I thought I would share the letter here as well. First, the song:

And next, the lengthy letter (which also serves as a recap to Seth's story):

In August of 2007, my husband and I learned we were unexpectedly pregnant with our fourth child. The timing, honestly, seemed bad. I'd just re-entered the work force (part time, at our church), our then youngest was only 18 months old.. (due to some relatively minor fertility issues, our kids are all 3 or more years apart.. prior to this!). A dear friend of mine was in a fight for her life against cancer..

We had some early prenatal testing done, and on Oct. 2, 2007 my ob called to tell us that something was wrong with the baby. It was too early to know WHAT exactly but the least problematic of the options was Trisomy 21 and the worst options were "incompatible with life". Two days later, on Oct. 4, 2007, my sweet friend triumphed over her cancer by entering Heaven, leaving behind her 3 young children and her husband. I couldn't make sense of it, couldn't understand WHAT God was doing.. Had a HARD time holding onto hope. The afternoon after I'd heard Brandi had died, I packed my young daughter into the van to pick her big brothers up from school. The radio was playing in the background as I was too consumed with my thoughts to hear.. As I backed out of the driveway, I felt as if God said "Listen..", and the voice on the radio was saying "There's a light at the end of this tunnel, for you.. for you..". As I turned the corner, I saw a beautiful rainbow. And I held onto hope. That was the beginning..

More than once, I can remember hearing "Tunnel" exactly when I needed it and gradually, I accepted it as a message from God that there WAS light.. I couldn't see it but it would be there. He promises. It often seemed as each doctor's appointment brought more bad news. We eventually learned that Seth would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, requiring 3 open heart surgeries before the age of 3, the first one a few days after birth. I especially remember one day, driving out to work, upset and miserable. Crying out to the Lord, "YOU have to make it okay, help me get through this because I can NOT do it on my own." I turned on the radio to the opening notes of "Tunnel."

Seth was born on March 27, 2008. His first surgery was April 1. His recovery was hard but he came home, happy & healthy on May 16, 2008. I heard "Tunnel" less & less on the radio but smiled every time it came on, knowing that God was blessing me. Eventually Seth needed to go into the hospital for the 2nd planned surgery. Surgery was 9/11/08. On 9/17, Seth coded and suffered neurological damage. On 10/2 (exactly one year after we'd been informed something was wrong with our sweet unexpected fourth child), we placed Seth on comfort care and loved on him until he went from my arms to the arms of his Heavenly Father, early in the morning, on Oct. 12th. I remember that day in "snapshots". We packed up his hospital room. Kissed our baby goodbye, again. Thanked the nurses for loving us and caring for our boy and walked out of the hospital empty-handed.

Stunned, we slipped into our minivan, preparing for the drive home, and the task of telling our "big kids" that their baby brother had gone to Heaven. My husband started the car. The radio came on. "Tunnel" was playing. As we drove out of the hospital parking lot, into the sunshine, I knew, as sad & scared & hurt as I was, that God WOULD provide a "Light at the end of the tunnel".

God's grace has been SO sufficient for us.. as evidenced by the use of your song to touch my heart at times most needed. I can't hear "Tunnel" without thinking of Seth and God's faithfulness and love for our family. We are blessed to be on this journey and that day in October, when it seemed like the end, was in so many ways, just a beginning.

I'm sorry this is so long. I really wanted you to know HOW much your song impacted me. How instrumental it was on our journey.. How much I appreciate being able to hear it and remember Seth. It's impossible for me to truly convey how significant that all is but I hope I was able to give you a small glimmer.. thank you for your faithfulness to do what God calls you to! And know how much you minister to others!

I know this is long.. thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed Tunnel by Third Day.


Peggy said...

WOW!Kathryn...sweet blessings and may the Gentle Healer come to you this day! (not able to write much because I have too many tears after reading your letter & tribute to Seth, your little angel!) I pray that you do see His light at the end of this tunnel soon! Beautiful song & words! Really love Third Day! Glad that you're back sharing!!! May God carry you through the sorrow & pain and help you regain your Expectant Heart for more of what He may have in store!

Lisa notes... said...

Oh my! I hope you will continue to share more and more because you have such an important testimony to share. I'm so glad you wrote that letter to them, and so glad that you published it here, even though I'm crying right now. I lost my second daughter to physical abnormalities after only 1 hour of life, and it was such a journey to seek for that light at the end of the tunnel after her death. But, praise God, he is ALWAYS faithful to guide us through even the darkest places.

I'm thankful that you are coping and sharing about your sweet Seth. He will never be forgotten, and our reunions in heaven with our babies will be sweet indeed.


Millie said...

Great post! I also love that song. I LOVE music, always have it on, and well, songs just minister to me. Anyway, Seth really touched my heart. There are some kids in the "group" that just really touch me. I don't know why some do more than others, but Seth and your family is one of those that have really touched my heart. Thanks for sharing.
God bless,
Millie and Colin-HLHS

Cathy said...

Bless your heart, Thank you for sharing that song and letter with us. I don't remember hearing it before, but I love Third Day. I'm glad you joined us on TSMSS. I'm sure your post will give others hope. God bless you in this New Year.

BoufMom9 said...

My goodness. Tears are on my cheeks reading all of this...
a very dear friend of mine lost her two year old daughter to cancer January of 2008 and she has talked to me many times about the struggle to understand the whys of the Lord.
It's amazing sometimes that all it takes is something as simple as the words of a beautiful song to bring us comfort.
My friend found her comfort in Casting Crowns "Praise You in the Strom". Another song with words that speak of loss...
Praying that you will continue to find your way and that 2010 will bring you peace that passes understanding.

Debbie said...

Oh my! Kathryn, I'm so glad that you shared this letter with us. How like God to provide you with hope and comfort through a song!

Such a difficult time you went through with your little Seth. How your heart must have ached as he went through the surgeries and eventually went home to be with Jesus.

I'm so glad that you are not holding back and allowing God to use you. In the blogging world it seems that many have experienced loss or are currently going through situations and could use an encouraging word. What a perfect role for you as you have walked this path.

Thank you for sharing this song "Tunnel". I never heard it before but the words are perfect.

May the Lord bless you,

daylily777 said...

Thanks so much for sharing your heart today . I am glad that God Blessed & helped you with Third Day's song .He does things in such unexpected ways.I will praying for you & your family , I am so sorry you had to say good-bye to your son for now . I know you have hope because Heaven is our future .I also know you are suffering right now & my heart goes out to you.
Blessings & Hugs,

shopannies said...

That is a lovely lovely post one that makes me think and thank God that at their is a light at the end of the tunnel. What grief you must have experienced and yet God shared a song with you at as it seems nearly every point in life that it was needed. Praise God for his love and the light at the end of the tunnel

Rochelle said...

Phew! Nothing like starting the day with a good cry. First I read your letter and cried, then listened to the song, and cried again. Thank you for sharing you and your families story and your journey - it helps others feel less alone.

BTW, thanks for visiting my blog.

Holly said...

What a great song. Did you ever hear back from him?

L Harris said...

I don't know what to say, and I should.

Love me.