As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have always had a difficult time dealing with death. Going up to Atlanta Friday night for Tripp’s funeral yesterday was beyond difficult for me. I had to just take today and rest. I have not been able to sleep since hearing the news on Wednesday and I have barely been able to function. It’s hitting me so hard and I’m not his mother! I cannot fathom how Rachael is being as strong as she is being.
I’m so thankful to Crissy for going with me on the little trip. We never get to spend any one-on-one time together and it was wonderful to get to know her better. We didn’t turn the radio on one time and never had a second that wasn’t filled with one of us talking – telling a story, sharing advice, talking about our babies, or talking about Tripp. I am also so thankful to Liz who opened up her home to us. I felt awkward calling her up, since we haven’t even seen each other since high school…7 years ago, and being like, “Hey can I stay with you?” But I’m glad I did. Her home is beautiful as are her two precious children (even cuter than in her pictures! I know it’s hard to imagine but it’s true!). We had a nice time staying up late us three girls just talking and talking and talking (women sure can talk can’t we???). Something like this happening to our friend and to a fellow mommy is so hard to grasp and sharing it together helped us all to deal with the news and figure out ways to be there for Rachael.
Saturday morning was filled with more reunions. It was great seeing how many girls from our high school came out to show support. While it was so wonderful seeing everyone it was sad that this is what it took for us to get together. It was also nice getting to see Kelly again (who I met in person for the first time back in April) and to meet Katie for the first time (who has an awesome blog and two amazingly beautiful girls!). I loved that we all sat together as we made a high school / online Rachael support section 🙂
The service was, of course, beautiful. The feeling was one of love and hope. Both speakers did a fabulous job in a situation where finding appropriate words is so difficult. The most inspiring thing was that both Greg and Rachael spoke. I couldn’t believe they had the strength to get up and do that! I had never met Greg until that day and I am BEYOND impressed. The preacher said that in the emergency room, after Tripp had passed away, one of the first things Greg asked him was for advice on how their marriage can stay strong through this storm. When Greg spoke he started off by admitting that he’s been a Christian for 5 years now but that many of us may not know that about him. I am always so impressed by people who aren’t afraid to admit their shortcomings (and cannot stand when people try to appear perfect all the time) so this statement alone made me a Greg-fan. He spoke for a long time. He made some jokes, lightened the mood, and also had some moments where he choked up. Where we all did. It was amazing and something I will never forget. He mentioned how he has always hated Facebook and all this blogging stuff (what man doesn’t tease his wife about it?) but that now they have such an appreciation for it all.
When Rachael spoke she was so graceful. And beautiful. And strong. Everyone cannot get over this woman’s strength. I know she is my age but when I looked at her up there I saw a woman so much more mature than I am. Her Facebook status said before the service “when everyone is looking to you, will you be looking to Jesus?” I think she took that to heart and was SUCH an example of how we all should lean on the Lord in times of struggle and that nothing should ever make our faith waiver. It was awe inspiring.
I was nervous to see Rachael after the service. Afraid that I wouldn’t find the words. I mean, what is appropriate to say?!? I ended up just hugging her so, so tight (and I gave her an extra hug from all of you who asked me to since you couldn’t be there in person!) and crying; saying I loved her, wished I lived closer so I could do more, and that I’m so proud of her strength. Basically I was a blubbering idiot. So much for me being halfway graceful! She was so sweet to everyone. Smiling. Laughing. Just being Rachael. That’s something I have always loved about her. I feel like we are kindred spirits in that we are both very REAL. If you read our blogs then you’ll “hear” us being US. We say what we think and don’t really apologize for it (my saying is “love me or leave me alone” haha). She was herself at the funeral and that’s so awesome! That even with such a loss she is still her.
We headed home right after the service and part of me wishes I could have stayed there longer. For a couple weeks just to be near by in case Rachael needs me. I HATE that I am almost 4 hours away!!! I am so thankful that I went as I know it meant a lot to her. And it meant a lot to me too. To get to be there for a friend in a time of need is such a blessing! I really hope she knows how badly I want to help and that she will call me anytime!!! I’m proud of her for her strength and totally impressed by it, but at the same time I know that it can’t last forever. I know with Nana I was able to smile at her funeral while doing my reading and I was able to be strong that entire week for my mom, but when I got home, when all the support was gone, I broke down. I feel that Rachael may have that in common with me as well and I just want her to know that she has me during the time that she needs to break down that wall of strength and just be weak. That it’s okay to be weak and to need support and to just cry and be angry ya know?
A lot of you out there have been contacting me wanting to help the family in someway. There has been a group set up on Facebook that I urge you to join. It’s a way for all of us to organize our efforts together to make sure Greg, Rachael and Macy have constant support. Someone mentioned us keeping it up for a year and all try to volunteer to do things for them so that something is done at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be food (home cooked if you live near by or maybe mail a gift card?), some kind of service (maybe go mow their lawn or send them a gift card for their house being cleaned?) or even just a card expressing love. This kind of pain isn’t something that is going to just “go away.” It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better and as a community we have the power to help them through this. You do NOT have to know them in “real life.” I know it would mean the WORLD to me if a blog reader, who I don’t know, did something for me or my family. Rachael and I weren’t actually that good of friends prior to blogging so I’m just as much a stalker of her blog as the rest of you 🙂 There is a calendar on the group where you can click on a date and add your name. I ask that all of us do everything we can to show our love and support for the Copponex family!!! We also want to do something bigger for them and would love ideas and suggestions as to what we can do. This whole experience has brought us all a deeper appreciation for the online community hasn’t it? Isn’t it amazing how many people across the world (I had someone in Brazil say they were praying for them and saw someone from Alaska too!!!) are lifting them up in prayer?!?! We gotta keep it up for sure!!!
Here is a link to the group on Facebook.
If you aren’t on Facebook you can still write your name down on the calendar here.
If you would like their home address to send something to them just let me know!
I still feel so much guilt about moving forward with this blog. I know that may seem silly to some but it’s hard for me to keep going with my life knowing that such a dear friend’s life will never be the same. I took a long nap today and just chilled. I needed a break to kinda recoup before moving forward. Thankfully, I already have several posts waiting to go up that I wrote before hearing the news about Tripp. I will be posting them over the next several days and will continue to write as my hobby and my way of keeping all my memories. I will never stop thinking about Tripp, praying for Rachael, or appreciating the precious time I have with my own son. I hate thinking of “moving on” as I won’t move on. My life may not have been changed in the ways that Rachael’s has been, but I have been altered. These past couple days have affected us all in ways that are unchanging. We won’t forget this time. We won’t move on from it. We may move forward in our lives because, after all, what other option do we really have? But this will always be apart of me and who I am. Nothing I could even imagine moving on from.
Keep praying for Rachael and all of the Copponex/Miller family. Keep holding onto each moment with your children, your spouse, your family. Keep loving life and living every second of it!