Pain

{Written by her Daddy}

I love pain. Ok, maybe love is not quite the right word. I appreciate pain. Yes, that’s it. I APPRECIATE PAIN. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I don’t love or appreciate the act of being injured physically or mentally. Instead, I appreciate pain for what it teaches us and allows us to become.

From the moment we enter the world we begin to experience physical pain and we quickly learn how to avoid or alter the stimuli such that the pain is reduced or absent—think about touching a hot stove. Although the first thought that comes to mind after being burned is not appreciation, we can learn from the pain if we choose to. As we progress through life, we learn that some pain must be endured to achieve a positive result—think about a dental visit to fix a cavity or training for a marathon. I have done both, and I can assure you, I appreciate the pain that came with those experiences. I appreciated the pain of the anesthetic injection because I knew my tooth would not hurt and my mouth would be healthier. I appreciated the pain while running; because I knew when I was finished I would feel confident and healthy. In those moments, I made a conscious effort to choose to look through the pain because of what it allowed me to attain and become.

But wait. What if the pain is mental or emotional? What if the emotional pain of an event is so intense it steals your breath?

The diagnosis and eventual loss of Audrey stole my breath. At times, it felt as though I was drowning. I wondered how it was possible to look through such pain and grow? I wondered how I could possibly appreciate this pain?

The answers have slowly unveiled themselves over the past eight months. They did not all arrive at once; their unveiling was a marathon like no other.

I appreciate the pain of losing Audrey because I know that if I do not, I will truly lose her. I appreciate the pain because it has allowed me to love deeper and with more purpose. I appreciate the pain because it has taught me how to respond when others are grieving. I appreciate the pain because it has made me a better husband and father. I appreciate the pain because it has opened my eyes to the many families who endure situations just like ours. I appreciate the pain because…the list continues on as I discover something new each day. Something new, that I fear, I would not have known if it weren’t for her miraculous life.

Thank you, Audrey Claire, for teaching me to appreciate all aspects and emotions of life. It is my hope and prayer that my appreciation never stops and that your legacy causes others to appreciate more.

All the love,

Chris

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10 thoughts on “Pain

  1. Dear Chris,

    I wept with the poignancy of your message. How dear the words, the emotions, the directives to those of us who live and carry forth this message of love , strength, and faith.

    Our love and prayers are with you , Rachel, Cooper , Audrey and all who cherish you.

    Cathy

  2. Our dear and only son. You humble us with your strength, wisdom, and deep spirit…you always have! You are great in so many ways, and dear Audrey Bunny knows all about that and always will. Rachel and Coop, and all of us, are blessed to have you in our earthly lives!
    M&D

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us. You have been such a rock for your family during this journey. We are so thankful and grateful for your love and support of Rachel and your precious children Cooper and Audrey. We are also blessed that we are a part of your life. Thanks to your mom and dad for raising an amazing man. We appreciate you. Love you.

  4. Chris,

    What an thought provoking acceptance of pure love…. Amazed by your insight and have grown so much through your words. I don’t even know how to express the inormidy of how your posts have had an impact on my life. You touched my heart and I hope in some way I could help heal yours. Much love, Bete

  5. What thought provoking words Chris! What you, Rachel and Cooper have experienced has helped to strengthen all of us who love and support you.

  6. Dear Christopher~ The strength of you and your spirit have been clear throughout your journey with your daughter Audrey Claire~ For her to have been loved so well and so deeply by her daddy speaks to your sense of knowing, and of what is important in this life on earth. One of my favorite sayings is “To the extendt that I know my sorrow, so too shall I know my joy.” You’ve expressed just that. Love to you, your brave and beautiful wife, and precious little Cooper. Be well~ With love, Aunt Cynthia and Scottie too.

  7. Chris, you have always been so strong. With all that has happened to you this summer, I now know how strong you truly are — you are much stronger than me. It is your strength, and dedication that carried Audrey all of her days with us, and it is your strength, that is still carrying Rachel, and your beautiful and handsome son Cooper. He is a miracle, and Audrey is still a miracle. I can’t even begin to tell you how much all of this has meant to me — maybe in person someday. Just know she reminded me how to really ‘be strong’ and what the important things are to fight for. So often, we all, especially me, get caught up in what is right before us forgetting what might be more important but is farther away…. she taught me, and reminded me, to never loose sight of the most beautiful things that might not be right in front of us in the moment — but to never forget that those are often the most valuable and most inspiring and uplifting things in this life…. like a sunset, like a rainbow, like heaven, like an angel, like my Mom and Dad…. like you and Rachel and Cooper…. your family is and should be your foundation because it is where you come from and to who you will always return…. Know that I will always love you and Rachel and Cooper so much…. so much more than I could ever express and Audrey, for it is she who reminded me of this and it is she who has changed my life forever. You should be so proud Chris to have created such an amazing miracle and small tiny teacher in a beautiful baby girl…. she will be remembered and cherished always.
    Love always, your sister Carrie (and Donovan my creation)

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