Early this morning I received some news that I thought I would share with everyone.
I received two hand written notes this morning by email fax. Also a post to update from Michelle. She doesn’t know about the letter yet so that makes these even more eerie.
The first note was from the mother of the man who “stole Michelle’s face”. For those who don’t know she wears a prosthetic on her face to cover a hole left where her cheek used to be. Her cheek bone is a plastic insert and there is a large gap where part of her cheek was ripped off. She hadn’t shared this but now maybe monster in the mirror makes more sense.
The mother write the following short note.
“Thank you for allowing me to see my son in his final hours. He passed away on December 30th in the late evening holding my hand and wrapped in my arms. Something I hadn’t been able to do since he was sentenced to prison. If you have children you understand a mother wanting to hold her child when they are sick.
I asked our priest to give him last rites and I asked our God to bless you in your life for your gift. It wasn’t easy following your example of forgiveness and kindness. I spent many nights cursing my son and praying for you. I don’t know where I went wrong raising him because that’s not the boy raised.
My son isn’t the best man in the world, that’s pretty obvious by the things he’s done. Of all the people in his life you’re the first to show him such mercy. He knew your mercy and kindness in his final hours. I have no words with which I can properly thank you for allowing me to be with my son. Because of all the people who should have you’re the only one that showed him mercy. And you’re the only one who had cause not to.
My son was granted one last measure of dignity because of you; as I got to hold my son in his last breaths. I want you to know that every night I had prayed that I could’ve taken your place, so you would’ve been spared the pain you have. My prayers are answered because I now know God truly loves you and so do I. No one is capable of such mercy without God’s love.
Thank you and I shall continue to pray for you and all the blessings you deserve.”
The second letter I got?
It was from our prison pastor. The first man Michelle forgave.
“With the death of this monster only four remain. I hope you find some peace in this lifetime, maybe his passing will grant you some. Honestly if I thought my life would give you peace I would sacrifice it now without a second thought. But I know God is working in you I can see it. Not everyone can forgive someone what you have. I know he didn’t deserve the peace you granted him and so did the parole board. But you did!
To me this is evidence that Jesus Christ is working in your heart and He is doing wonderful things in you.
You are a pretty amazing person. I wanted you to know that he did not die alone. He died with his mother close at hand on Tuesday December 30th. I cried when I heard of his passing. Not because of him, no I won’t miss him. But because of the incredible gift you gave him. I continue to pray for you and I pray that Jesus Christ will make you whole.
I ask him every night to grant you the peace and life we stole and I offer him mine as payment if he wants it. Jesus died for my sins but I would take his place upon the cross to reverse my own sins and the pain they’ve caused. Instead I carry the burden of Jesus dying for my unworthy life.
He is working in you, let Him in and you will be whole.
Peace and long life,”
Pretty amazing letters. She got her wish. I’m always amazed by her heart. I wouldn’t have bothered asking for that “dignity” if it was me. Hell I haven’t forgiven him (and I’m not even close to it) for what he did to MY Michelle. It would seem she’s father along that trail than I am.
Some people say she’s been selfish lately, thinking only of herself. I think she’s been incredible under extreme conditions. She’s lost, she’s scared, and she’s slowly finding her way back to Michelle. Not everyone can suffer what she has and continue to live and love. Most couldn’t is my bet.
She’s been a living dead girl for sometime now. But it seems she’s letting the dead half go and clinging to the living. I see so much happening and I get mad hearing people say things when they don’t understand. People who put her down, say negative things about her or even say she’s selfish. I say remember she is none of those things.
She’s broken and she’s still amazing. She’s weak but she has incredible strength. She’s so many things and they are all good. Accept that as you may but to me it’s fact and irrefutable.
So I mentioned a third letter. This one was a short post from Michelle. When I got it I thought great post. Then I got these letters and I was like damn! If this isn’t God nothing is.
Here is Michelle’s post.
“I lost myself inside my mind,
a huge cavern to be filled.
But fill it with what is my question?
Unbeknownst to me,
as I began my walk.
The cavern went on forever.
Too deep to see,
to wide to cross.
How can I reach the other side.
I pray and I pray,
and the answers come.
Forgiveness is the filler.
As I obeyed and began to forgive,
the cavern seemed less wide.
I can see the path just over there.
I stop wandering as I see,
the cavern filled before me.
Much left before it’s full.
But crossing it no longer troubles me. ~Michelle”
Add to that these posts from her journal.
“I can see the road to allow the death of who I was and recognize my own rebirth. Now to find the tools to love what I am. My only chance at the life I want is to let go of what I can’t have and cling tight to what I do have. Then to mold what I have into what I want.
How? I don’t have those answers yet. But I have the solution to the problem so it’s just working out the math that comes to the answer I see. Where is x? X = God and apply liberally to this problem.”
“I can see the Christmas moon and believe in miracles. I pray this night a monster finds rest, both inside me and a man six thousand miles away. One step closer to the edge, things don’t seem as bad. I could explode with anticipation at this journeys end and I am looking forward to my Christmas miracle where my new life begins and my old is faded memory.”
“The new year arrives. With it the promise of better days. I see the way Sarah still looks at me, her love so plain in her eyes. Perhaps this will be the year mine become less clouded and I can focus all my love on her. God is truly great and my new year pledge is to remember these simple words daily. ‘Today is a great day!’
I didn’t think I’d live to see a new year. To be honest I didn’t want to for a time. I guess more than a few worried about that. I need to remember to say I’m sorry to each of them.
Josef is getting so big. He’s a handsome, smart, thoughtful young man. My other pledge? To get more hugs from my son and to remember to tell him how proud I am of him. I don’t do that often enough. Must do it more.”
“Today the light of my life her one earth grows one year more beautiful. Thank you God for sending her to me. I have so many blessings and yet I was blind. Yet the good father you cleared obstacle after obstacle from my path.
Dear God let me never be so blind again, I see now:
As I cursed you, you blessed me
As I tore you down, you built me up
As I cried and begged, you listened and sent aid
As I gave myself to your enemy, you shield me from his touch
As I stumbled, you caught me
As I hated, you loved
As I sinned, you forgave
As I lost faith, you never stopped believing
I pray I never forget what you’ve done. I pray I never curse you again and I ask you help me in that. I’m human, I’m weak and I’m bound to screw up. But I know you’ll be there fixing my every mistake, catching me when I fall and loving me no matter what. Thank you for all my blessings. From your love and faith in me to Sarah, Josef and my family and even my awesome friends, you’re daughter Michelle.”
She has her faults. Lack of a heart isn’t one of them. Sometimes it seems I’m in the dark and I don’t like it. Sometimes she seems distant and I don’t like it. But my heart sings in the glimmers that are MY Michelle coming home to roost.
Funny how every turn lately has been about God, forgiveness, and being whole. Everyone seems to be praying and working in the same exact direction. Tell me again my lord and savior and His father in heaven aren’t real. The proof is in His directing everyone like an orchestra in the same direction at the same times. How great is he?
I just hadn’t noticed until I saw these three letter. All praying the same way as I have. So I went and looked and email after email from about a dozen or so sources all praying the same direction! And it hit me just how much His hands are upon Michelle and all those praying for her, cheering for her and loving her. He is at work here!
Now for an update long overdue. Michelle now spends every weekend home. Normally it’s surfing Saturday and church Sunday with more surfing. We play some games (board games, twister, jenga, ect..) , eat, walk, talk and laugh. I love seeing my family whole. Josef is so happy when his moms are with him. He loves racing Michelle on the waves but I think he likes the games just as well.
We had a great time on the boat trip last weekend. I sang to her our song, we danced in the moonlight. This time was different because she smiled a lot more. Meaningful smiles. She still isn’t out of the psych ward entirely but I see the progress.
Soon she will be out every night and every weekend. That is the next step. But I’ll take every baby step with her and in the end I will have my Michelle and won’t have to worry about her trying to die. Will we always be fighting her past? Probably. But we’ll fight it together as we always have.
She didn’t get to sing at church on Christmas because we’d had a tough week or so before. She was a little bummed at that. But she’s in the church choir so she’ll get her chance soon enough. She loves singing and with her new voice she tries singing everything. And I mean everything. From country to hip-hop to heavy metal and even screamo. I’m personally glad that was just a phase (the screamo).
She’s still bound and determined she’s going to strip when she gets out. I’m against this idea and she knows that. But she also knows I won’t leave her for it. I’ll stand with her even when she makes the wrong choices. That’s what I’m supposed to do. But I can complain about the choices all I want and I will. Often too.
She has decided as of last night to take my father’s offer and have her face repaired with plastic surgery. We both know this won’t get rid of the monster to her. But it’ll make social situation easier and there will be a smaller reminder in not having to “put on her face” every morning. We all hope with less worry and less effort. We can help her push the monster to some far corner where she won’t have to live so closely with it.
It will take some time to get this all arranged and everything in place. But I’m happy for her. She won’t have the worry “is everyone starring” or the questions when it falls off (which does and has happened) of “what happened to your face”.
Minimize the monster, and minimize the “cracks”.
As for the update on me,
I’ve complicated my life lately with school, extra work, a family, play host, feelings and people. Busy is good because I haven’t really had to think about some things. I’ve been able to function being busy under some tough times. Now that things are looking so up I need to slow down a bit. But alas that won’t be this week or next.
We have a long road to a healed Michelle that won’t hurt herself anymore. Fifteen years of habit is hard to break. That’s how long she’s been a cutter. What I know is there are moments I see an innocence in her I haven’t seen in more than fifteen years. It’s fleeting but I see it more and more and for longer periods of time. She is on the right path now. With love, a little luck and a lot of God she’ll stay on the path.
I look forward to that day when as she says. “The war comes to bitter end.” From the bitter we can taste the sweetness of victory together and her captains can finally stand down and return to the lives they lived before this endless war enlisted us. It’s been a pleasure serving as a captain to my Caesar but I do long for an end to war. The day my Caesar stands victor and the sun shines again on Rome, I will dance in the streets and throw the party of the century for the Hero of Rome. But my sword will be close at hand and should the need arise I won’t find myself out of practice!
Sarah has hope for the first time in a long time, real hope…