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Monday, October 1, 2012

Life After Dana's Death

Tracey Anne Hallberg is my Monday Guest Contributor.  She is a survivor of Family Crisis, and proof positive that there is light on the other side.  She shares from her heart, leaving very little to the imagination.

Her story is valid, important, and needs to be shared.  My personal journey is very different from hers, but on my journey, I have come upon many...many...who have had to live through horrors similar to the upbringing Tracey was forced to endure.  

Tracey is one of the most courageous women I have had the privilege to know, and I am honored to share Wings Like Eagles with her every Monday.

Tracey's account is graphic and raw, and is not suitable for young or sensitive readers.  I give her posts a strong PG-13 rating.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

My world came crashing down.  All I had ever hoped and dreamed for my sister.  Gone.  All I had prayed for her.  Gone.  All the obstacles, triumphs, trials, victories, joys, celebrations.  Gone.  

It will be one year, tomorrow, since she died.

I think of her every moment, of every hour, of every day.  I dream of her.  Every night.  I miss her, with a gut wrenching cry, that resonates in my soul.  I am incomplete.  Forever.  Seems like forever without her.

I cannot call her when I am excited, scared, sad, or humored.  Ironically, I hear what she would say, and think, and do.  With every happening in my life, she is beside me.  She is in me.  Her soul is a part of me. Who I am.  I hear her voice when I speak.  I feel her spirit when I cry.  When I laugh.  It is ambivalence.  Happy and sad, all at once.  I am blessed to have know her.  I sometimes feel cursed to the way I  lost her.  God is good.  Every day.

But with this faith I have been given, I do believe she is there.  By His side.  Waiting for me.  Mama is there.  Uncle Neal is there.  Dana's baby Randi, her third girl she lost at birth.  She is there.  Jesus promises us Eternity together.  Without that, I would stay in bed.  Without that peace, I would surely drown in my sorrow.

 Dana lost her mind.  Her faith.  Her body.  But her soul belonged to Him.  She could not take that away.  No matter what she did.  I know this with all of my heart. 

The night I learned of Dana'a passing, I  dreamed of her.  Wearing armor.  A Helmet...of Salvation.  A Breastplate of Honor.  And a Sword of Truth.  She was fighting demons coming at her,  cutting her to bits.  She was swinging her sword.  Weaving and bobbing.  She was takin' some brutal hits.  She was falling down and getting back up.  Staggering.  Faltering.  Stumbling.  She grew tired.  So weary.  The demons were still coming.  Non-stop.  Exhausted, she took off her helmet, and her breast plate, and put down her sword.  They swarmed her 'til she was down.  Never to get up again.  Broken.  Torn to shreds.  Defeated.

I know in my heart that was jest her body and mind.  Her spirit did not belong to her.  She gave it to Jesus.  Satan cannot take that away.  It is his deception, if anyone believes otherwise.

The day after I lost her...  

That night, She came to me.  I was standing in my mirror, puttin' on  my makeup.  She stood beside me.  Head tilted to the side.  Sadness in her big dark eyes.  She said,  "I am sorry, BabySister.  So sorry.  I came to let you know I am OK. Everything will be OK."

It was jest like she used to say to Mama, when she was down.  "It is going to be OK."  

God it kills me, to think of her torment.  But I know the torment has ended.

I also saw her with baby Randi on her lap.  Glowing Gold Perfection.  She said, "Tracey Anne~!  It is beautiful here~!  Remember what I am saying to you....K.C...~!  My book has the same cover as yours." 

When I awoke from this dream, I was so sad.  I did not want to leave her.  I did not know what K.C. was supposed to mean. So I went through her Facebook friends.  There was a girl by the name of Kayleigh Camp.  On Kayleigh's Facebook page, it said..."Love one another, as I have loved you.  This is the first commandment.  It was a Bible verse!!!  The book with the same cover as hers.  A sign!  Straight from Heaven!!!   She was leading me to not forget my purpose.

I realized I had deleted all her messages.  Dana being goofy and funny, and singin' Happy Birthday to me on my phone.  And I was devastated.  Again.  In my sadness, I ran across a video of Dana singing and laughing when she was here.  Celebrating my sister-in-law's birthday.  A special gift from Jesus.  God is good.  Every day. 

When I learned of her death, I went to back to where she lived.  In a moment of anguish, back at her house...the place where she had died, I went through her poetry.  Such BEAUTIFUL, real, heartfelt struggles.  Her battles.  Her losses.  Her victories.  I cried out to God, "Why, God?  Why...?  Did I do everything I could?  Did I say everything I could say?  Is this my fault???!!!!"  My tears soaked her papers, and my hands were shaking, when I came across a poem entitled, "Tracey Anne."
It read:

Tracey Anne...
She is the best sister I could ever have asked for...
She never judges me...
It is me she adores...
She always prays for me...
She is there when I call...
She catches me when I fall...
When all is said and done...
She loans me her faith....
When I have none....

God is good.  Every day.

She is with Him.  I know it.  When I went to bury her, I helped with her hair and makeup because I knew how she liked it.  She was beautiful.  Even in death.  Beautiful.  She was peaceful.  At rest.  Her hands were done doing what she came to do.  Her mind was done thinking and feeling what she came to do.  She had loved everyone she met, as hard as she could.  It was done.

I held her hand for the longest time as she lay there.  In the funeral parlor.
I combed her pretty red hair with my fingers, and I promised her, "I got these girls...I got them...I promise you."

God's peace washed over me, and that is when I laid her down.
I walked so slowly, out of the room.
My beautiful sister.  Dana Sheree.
She waits for me.  She knew I loved her.

When I went to bury her I sang her a song:

 My Immortal by Evanescence.

I'm so tired of being here

Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
'Cause your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along

She loved the Lord.

No matter her sin.

It was Dana I adored.

We are all jest doin' time here.  Make it count.

Make 'em proud.

Until we meet again.

EDITOR'S NOTE.  Tracey's Birthday is this Wednesday, October 3.  She learned of her sister's death on October 3, 2011.  Please pray for her.

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