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Rhema Interview

09/7/08 (transcribed below)

Good morning Bob

As most of your listeners will know it's almost three months since the loss of our eldest child, Natasha who drowned while canyoning the Mangetepopo River with a group of school mates and her teacher.

You wanted to know how we're doing.

As you know Bob, Nikki and I've faced a number of serious life-threatening hurdles in our life, but this, losing our precious 16 year old daughter has been by far the worst that I had ever imagined.

In fact we remember saying to each other one day about six months ago as we stood on our deck with a cup of coffee and reminisced together about all the good things in our life, thanking God for the lovely family we had to enjoy.  We said, "Imagine if we lost Natasha.  Life would be unbearable."

And here we find ourselves having to live with the unbearable.

You know, unlike our other challenges, physically we are all right, we haven't hurt ourselves, or endured a life-saving operation, but the actual pain one feels is incredibly physically acute.

And everything seems to be cloaked in a deep dark veil of sadness, that's all around us, that doesn't seem as if it's ever going to lift.  We know it will, because others who have walked in our shoes tell us that it does.  We are hanging onto that for now.

To be honest, before I had been rather blasé about death.  I'd watch the news and I'd  hear about the tragic loss of someone or other, I'd pause for a minute and feel sad, but not really long enough for it to really sink in, to personally affect me.

These types of things happened to other people.

Boy I am so different now.  Now any news of someone being tragically killed personally hurts.

I'm driving below the speed limit (sorry to hold you all up), and am in no rush to get anywhere.

I'm much more sensitive to other people's pain - whatever it is.

And I think I'm softer in my nature - though I haven't had anyone make that observation.

Life is so different now, in so many ways.  These school holidays, the dinner table, drives in the car.  We miss Natasha in so many ways.  She was a person who lived life to the full.  She gave herself away.  If you ever received one of her hugs, or one of her complements, you'll know what I mean.  She sang worship songs to the Lord all day long at home and gave us so much joy.

Bob, that girl made us look good!

So how are we doing?  We are doing the best we can.

At first, it made us appreciate that we are in the right job, focusing on marriage and family.

But in that first couple of months even our work seemed so pointless, and unimportant.

In fact, nothing much mattered except one thing:  our own family.

Our own marriage and our other two children, Ben and Olivia became so precious.

And it's not like we took each other for granted or anything before.  In fact, quite the opposite. Because of my tenuous life expectancy having a kidney machine to keep me alive, we all of us already understood just how precious each of us are, and make the most of life.

Nikki and are also coping with it differently, and that doesn't help, but at least we're so committed to our marriage we know how vital it is to talk about our differences. As a guy, I'm more compartmentalised.  There are times in the day when I can focus on other things, like work that I enjoy ... now, (I don't have memories of Tash at work)  but if I pass by her bedroom and open up that little compartment with her in it ....

Whereas with Nikki, as a woman she's more emotionally attached and everything about her day as a stay-at-home mum, is in some way attached to Tash.  Well they aren't - but that's how it seems.

So it's hard.  It's different.

For me it's been helpful to hear the responses of others that have experienced losing a child.

I like what Rick Taylor said in his book "When life is changed forever."

He said, that in looking back some years after he lost his 4 year old son Kyle,  I'm glad to see that I'm not the same person today as I was back then.  I like the person I am becoming.

And Zig Ziglar who lost his adult daughter Susan.  "I realised I had two choices: To pull away from God and become hard-hearted,  to push towards God and become soft-hearted."

Bob, I want to have a soft heart.   I want to grow through this.  I don't want Natasha's life be wasted.

But pray for me.  I made a pledge to follow Tash's example of keeping a journal ...

I'm failing miserably so far.


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