author: "One More Day: A powerful true story of suicide, loss, and a woman's newfound faith"

prologue ... loss, life, love, hope

It was a couple of days after my sister died, and I lay awake in the guest room in my father’s house. I was crushed, and my insides were so twisted and numb that I didn’t even know how to move.

I had traveled 800 miles to Texas for Katie’s funeral, and as I lay there, I undeniably felt God’s presence. He filled the room with all the promise that he provides when life is good, hard, fulfilling and empty. With all the security that he would uphold us, care for us, love us, and provide for us.

I felt him there filling all the space possible, waiting for me to reach out to him.

So, I did.

I lifted my arm, stretched it out into the dark and silent bedroom, palm faced out, and said out loud in a voice even I didn’t recognize, “You … can wait.”

I felt so angry, so deceived. Why didn’t you stop it?! Why didn’t you break the cord?! Snap the cord apart!? Why didn’t you save her?

And I didn’t talk to him for about seven days, except for asking for strength before giving the eulogy at my sister’s funeral.

That went something like this:

Lord, I know I’m not on speaking terms with you right now, but I need your strength alone to tell my sister’s story. Please.

And then I stood before hundreds and told the story of a too-young 29-year-old who suffered from depression for 15 years. Except I didn’t use the word depression. Nobody did.

Suicide wasn’t mentioned, either.

It was too raw: the word, saying it out loud, the feeling it gave us of what-else-could-we-have-done, and the answer always staring straight at us: you did everything you could; this wasn’t your doing.

I stood and told her story: adopted from an orphanage in Seoul, South Korea, at two weeks old. Lively, a mother, wife, daughter, sister, protective, smart, loyal, determined, independent.

Free spirit, ambitious, stubborn.

“From here, we will share that she went to great lengths to serve others,” I said at her service. “That she put others first – always – before herself. That she was the first to reach out her hand to those in need.
 
“She was the first to defend her family. The first to defend her friends. The first to provide love and companionship and friendship to those who needed it most. She was our rock, and our foundation. She might have come to our family from a different bloodline, but she was our lifeline.
 
“She will tell us to go on,” 
I continued. “To live our lives, to be useful, to give. To serve. To be good friends to each other. To be the first to reach out our hand, the first to give to others when they need help.”

I finished talking, and the room was silent. I walked back to the front row where my seat was saved in between my father and my daughter, and my father stood up and I collapsed into his arms, making a noise I never want to hear again.

My silence with God resumed.

But at that moment, God was there. When I needed him, he provided. For those 10 minutes that I spoke, I spoke with strength. I stood with knees that didn’t shake. With a voice that didn’t quiver. With breath that didn’t run out.

With a heart and mind that remained strong.

And then I moved on from him. It was another few days before I prayed for Katie’s husband. For her young daughter. Anything that didn’t have to do with me.

I wanted nothing from a God who I felt couldn’t save my sister’s life.

Nothing.

It would be months before I began reconnecting. It would be months before I began to give hope a chance. To believe that I had belief. To trust, all over again, that God is good all the time.

That #godisgood is more than just a hashtag, or a praise that others give when something goes right.
I had those 10 minutes to hang on to. To remember that when I asked, when I needed him, he was there. That the strength was his alone.

And all I had to do was welcome him back in.

****

Imagine feeling you are the only one who has ever felt this way. Imagine feeling that lost. Imagine sitting in church just two weeks after your sister commits suicide, and falling into a heap of tears because as you watch others sing praises to God, you simply can’t understand how they believe the words they sing.

You believe they are fooled into loving a God who allows hurt. Who doesn’t stop suicides. Who did nothing to save your sister’s life. You take it so personally, that you watch as others sing praises to a God for … what? For what!?

Just two weeks prior, I was one of them. But on that day, and many to come, I was so far the opposite that it would, months later, take the most tearful and heart wrenching “I’m sorry” to our God for pushing him away.

As strongly as I had pushed God out of my life, I continued attending church only because I knew if I stopped, returning would take forever. And as forcefully as I pushed God away, I still questioned how people lived life without Him.

That is the only way I knew I still had hope of inviting him back into my life.

I’ve seen pain before. The hurt.

I felt it when we lost my brother in a hiking accident. When we lost my mother to breast cancer. When I was raped at knifepoint, and my life threatened, while out on a morning run.

This was different, though. This was first imagining how much pain my sister must have been in to take her own life, and that’s enough to cut you to your core. Enough to make you question time and again what you could have done differently.

Enough to make you cry out and whimper into your pillow late into the night. Enough to make you fall to your knees in your bedroom closet in anguish. Because you feel that deeply. Because you are that devastated. Because you are that lost.

And you have chosen to push yourself away from the one thing that can help restore all belief.
This story is about returning to that. To God. It is about loss, life, love.

And hope.

©Kym Klass