For most of my life, my family has been the bedrock of my life. My grandparents knit together a large, but tightly woven family, and I have been more than blessed to have been a part of it. We have, until the last few years, been blissfully immune from any real tragedy. On April 13, 2011 however, our collective world came crashing down. My day began with a 5:58 phone call, to which I did not wake up, followed by a 6:02 text message, and finally a connection with my mom somewhere around 6:05. I was up early to get ready for a conference I had to go to, but knowing that a phone call and text that early in the morning could mean nothing good, I called back immediately. Sure enough, the news my mom had for me was not good. There had been a fire at my aunt and uncle’s home, and my aunt and cousin had passed away.

Since then, I have been in New Hampshire with my family. Each day, more members of the family have poured in, and we have taken over the lobby of a local hotel which has been more than gracious to us. By Tuesday, there will be almost 50 of us here to say goodbye. It has been therapeutic to be together, to laugh and cry together as we ride the waves of grief, disbelief, and memory. I am grateful for our strength in numbers. Tomorrow and Tuesday will be tough days as we endure the calling hours and funeral, but the real challenge will come on Thursday when this is all over, when the family has gone home and we are returned to what is now our normal lives. The challenge will come on Sunday when we should have been preparing to celebrate Easter together at a home that is no more, with family members that have since passed on. The challenge will come as we learn to live in a world that now seems so random and unfair, and the challenge will come as some of us seek to return to faith in a Father we know to be good and loving but who right now seems so far away. We covet your prayers.

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