Seeing Beyond Tragedy
By Jaxie Miller
aturday, August 7, was a bright sunny summer day. Doug, our twelve-year-old son, was at camp. Charlie, my husband, had gone to work for a couple of hours. At 11:00 a.m. Tana and Kay (20 and 17 years old) decided to go for a quick water ski before lunch. We live next to the river so that was not uncommon.
At 12:05 I though, "Hmm, the girls should be here soon. Guess I'll dish up the food." A few minutes later Charlie came in and sat down at the table. As he did, the phone rang. It was Tana. In a frantic voice she told me that Kay had drowned, and she was terribly sorry. She repeated it over and over.
Sensing the gravity of the conversation, Charlie picked up the other phone. Quickly he jotted down Tana's location and we ran to the car. At first we rode in silence. Then one of us quietly repeated the words from the Bible, "All things work together for good to those who love God."1
We shared other words of encouragement with each other until we arrived at the scene of the accident. The reality of what had happened hit us as we put our arms around Tana and listened to her sob out the story. It was true. Kay was dead. She hit her head on the windshield and was thrown from the boat when it was hit by another boat at a narrow curve in the river.
The reality of what had
happened hit us as we listened
to Tana sob out the story.
How could we ever be ready for a day like this? Humanly speaking, we couldn't, but on checking our calendar I saw how God had helped and prepared us for this crisis.
July 4—just one month earlier—had been an unusually happy day when we had a big picnic in our back yard with family and close friends. Everyone there enjoyed time with Kay. Lots of treasured photos were taken.
Several days later all five in our family went camping. This, too, was another special time together when we ate around the campfire and reminisced about past vacations.
The next week, Kay and I spent a cherished day together in Chicago shopping. Kay found just the outfit she wanted. It suited her perfectly. Little did we know it would be the last dress she would ever wear.
On Sunday, August 1, Kay and Tana both gave their brother, Doug, a warm goodbye when he left for youth camp in Wisconsin. On Tuesday, I attended a women's luncheon with a friend. Afterwards we discussed the speaker's talk about facing a person crisis in her life. We agreed that neither of us had ever had to face a major crisis and wondered how much faith would be enough to do so. Interestingly, the speaker's verse was, "I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."2
Kay did something most unusual on Thursday. After working in the morning, she stayed home for the afternoon and talked me into sunbathing with her–something most unusual for me to do too! We talked and shared another wonderful time together.
On Friday, Kay had her senior picture taken at 2:00 p.m.—less than 24 hours before the accident. What a priceless treasure!
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