You couldn’t tell just by looking at the clouds floating against the blue canvas sky that Amy McPherson’s world had just ended. She wiped the back of her hand across her face and saw the sweat, blood, and tears mingled with dirt from the roadside where she stood. Whose blood was it? How did it get on her face? It really didn’t matter. It could have been from the gash on her head, or from her husband, Tom, or from one of her daughters whose lifeless bodies lay on the side of the road. In one moment everything in her world, her entire universe had exploded into a ball of flame, ignited by the recklessness of a drunken woman.
The beautiful spring day turned a horrid black when Amy heard the ripping sound of zippers closing the ugly black bags that held the bodies of her beloved husband and daughters, Missy and Laura.
Gone? How could they really be gone? How could she go on? Where would she find comfort if not in Tom’s strong arms? Oh, God, this can’t be happening. It has to be a horrible dream. Surely, she thought she would wake up soon.
Try as she might, however, she did not wake up. Somehow, she made it through the funerals. She couldn’t bear to pull herself away as Tom’s casket was lowered into the ground. Saying goodbye to her daughters took all her strength. Amy could feel her heart slamming against her chest as two white caskets were carefully lowered into graves beside Tom’s.
Tom and Amy had many friends. Their church provided food and comfort through the haze of the funerals and the months of smothering loneliness afterwards. She went back to work after a few weeks, and that did help, some. The long evenings were the hardest. Amy dreaded going home to a dark, empty house that no longer rang with laughter. Oh, how she missed the laughter.
Crying herself to sleep had become a ritual. In the beginning, her doctor gave her sleeping pills. She just needed something to help turn off her busy mind. After three visits, however, he refused her pleading and told her to see a counselor. She didn’t want counseling; she just needed something to get her through the lonely nights of deafening silence. She found another doctor who gave her more pills, for a while. After he refused her, Amy went from clinic to clinic looking for the drugs she needed to still her tormented mind.
Amy tried to pray. In the past, she and Tom prayed with the girls every night. She loved God, but Tom had always been the strong one. Amy never understood where he got his strength. He was always reminding her of God’s love and encouraging her to grow. She depended on him to guide her in her Christian walk. Now it seemed that God was even further away than ever.
For eighteen months, Amy found herself caught up in a cycle of drugs, tears, anger, guilt, and bitterness. So many endless nights of watching a clock that never moved. The pills no longer helped, but they were still necessary just to survive. She was toying with the idea of ending her torment. Why not? What could be worse than her present existence?
Her carefully worded note lay on the bed beside her, ready to console those she would leave behind. With pills in hand, she picked up the glass of water and the picture she kept by her bed. In anguish, Amy cried out to the picture frame, “Oh, Tom, I don’t want to die this way. Show me what to do. Please. How did you stay so strong?”
In the frame, Tom had his arms around her and the girls. He was laughing, as always. But wait; there was something else. What was different about this picture? Love. God’s love is what gave him such inner strength? God! This man knew God. He knew God personally. That was it! That’s what made him so strong.
Amy knew she couldn’t do it by herself. She needed to know God too. That’s what Tom was telling her. Through her sobs, she cried out to Heaven. She prayed until there was nothing left of the old Amy. When she was finished, she fell into a deep, restful sleep. Amy McPherson was ready to face the future, pregnant with the promise of God’s love.