February 8, 2014

Say something...

My friend Jen invited Teage to go to her preschool three days a week. She knew it was a way she could help him . . . and it did. It got him out and involved in something. He enjoyed it, and more and more often, he came home talking about what they were doing and about his new friends. Teage had never gone to preschool away from home before, so it was all so new and exciting for him. At the end of the session, Jen invited him to participate in the end-of-the-year performance for all the families to come and see what the children had learned throughout the year.

Teage talked about it for days—how awesome it would be to get up with his class and sing all the songs they had shared with him. He anticipated the day of the program and couldn’t wait to go up and show me all that he had learned in his few short months of preschool.

The day of the performance came. As he walked toward the door, he was so excited, he was skipping. He couldn’t wait to stand up in front with all of his friends and sing his heart out to me. We went inside, and began talking with some of the other parents and kids. After a few minutes, I could see that ‘look’ coming into his eyes. He started glancing around the room like he didn’t know where he was, his eyes shifting quickly back and forth. He was no longer skipping and jumping around with all of the other kids. He didn’t move anything but his eyes . . . and they circled the room . . . while his body remained still. I sat there wondering what he was thinking about and what had taken away the enthusiastic smile he had worn the whole way there. Finally, he came and stood by me and grabbed my hand. I looked down to see if he was okay. He had tears in his eyes. I knelt down beside him and said, “Hey dude . . . I can’t wait to see you sing your songs. Is everything okay?” Alligator tears came streaming down his cheeks. “So Mom . . . why am I the only kid in this room who doesn’t have a dad?” He let go of my hand and ran into the bathroom and slammed the door.

I followed. I knocked on the door. He didn’t answer. I knocked a few more times . . . but no reply. So, I slowly turned the handle. As I peeked inside, I could see him lying on the floor sobbing. I shut the door behind me. “Hey bud . . . I am so sorry,” I said. “I can’t do it, Mom!” he replied. “Why isn’t he here for this? Why can’t he just come and watch? He can go back in the box after it’s over . . . but I am not going up there unless he is here to tell me how proud he is of me.”

I lay down on the floor next to him and stared up at the ceiling. I could see all the texture in the paint. I could hear all the dads laughing out in the hallway. I so wanted to just pick Teage up and make him go up and sing for ME . . . but instead, we just lay there together. “It’s okay, buddy. I would much rather lie right here with you tonight.” He grabbed my hand and we lay there quiet and still. We listened to all the songs the kids sang. We could hear the dads clap and cheer as each song ended. We could hear them saying how proud they were of their children. I could feel Teage’s hand squeeze mine tighter every time a song ended . . . and his eyes continued to leak like a faucet. Every once in a while, I would take my hand and wipe away his tears. We didn’t say any words to each other . . .

With Teage’s hand in mine, I longed to tell him that everything was going to be okay . . . even that I could understand what he was going through . . . but I couldn’t . . . so I didn’t say a word. Emmett wasn’t there. I couldn’t hear him outside the door cheering. I couldn’t see his hands clapping for Teage . . . but I could feel that he was looking down on us, watching as our tears fell onto the tile and knowing that our hearts longed to hear his voice. It was as if Teage were waiting for his father to come and pick him up and say all the words he longed to hear.

There is a song I have recently come to love. It has many meanings to me . . .

Say Something [1]Composed by Ian Axel, Chad Vaccarino and Mike Campbell.

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you

Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I am feeling so small

It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall

I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I’m giving up on you

I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you

Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye

Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
And anywhere, I would have followed you
Oh-oh-oh-oh say something, I’m giving up on you

Say something, I’m giving up on you
Say something

I can almost picture Teage’s little heart singing that song as he lay frozen on the cold bathroom floor that day. He was waiting for Emmett to say something . . . to remind him that he was there watching him. He was waiting for his father to show up and clap for him. He longed to hear Emmett shout out—when a song ended—that he was proud of him. But instead of waiting out in front of the audience where Teage could watch for him . . . we waited on the floor with the door shut. He knew his dad wouldn’t be there that day . . . but he waited anyway. As loud as Teage’s voice could sing—even if Emmett could have heard the words where he was—he would never be coming that night. We both knew it . . . but hand in hand, we waited to hear him say something.

There will be days when we feel like we might as well just give up . . . when we know darn well that the voices we long to hear or the words we seek will never come. We give up on our dreams . . . and give up on ourselves. We give up on others we hope will change. There will be moments when we are lying on the bathroom floor waiting for someone to hear our cries . . . or waiting for someone to speak to us. Maybe we’re hoping our Heavenly Father will be listening. Our souls are crying up to Him . . . “Hey . . . please say something! I am starting to give up on you. Please come and give me answers to all that I’ve been begging for. Please let me know you are here . . . ‘cause I feel so alone. Please say something . . . because I’m beginning to wonder if you care.”

Maybe we are just waiting for a sliver of relief from a physical pain that overwhelms us every minute of every day. For some, we wait for the life we feel we deserve. Some of us have goals we are waiting to attain. Others wait for exam results to determine what their future plans will be. Sometimes we wait for someone to encourage us . . . when we feel we have no more fight in us to keep going. We will all have to wait . . . sometimes for ourselves, sometimes for the people we love, and sometimes, we will be waiting for God.

In those moments, we plead to hear what we’ve been longing for. I think there are days when Heavenly Father looks at us in the same way. “Hey . . . you. I’m starting to lose hope that you’ll ever say anything to me. I’ve followed you everwhere. I am not giving up on you . . . but please say something! Ask me for what it is you need. Let me know what you are thankful for. I don’t care what you say . . . but I am here . . . just say something to let me know that you know that . . . I am here.”

We are all going to feel alone. We are not going to reach all of our goals. We are going to stumble and fall. Sometimes we are going to feel alone lying on a bathroom floor while everything around us moves along perfectly.

Teage was probably waiting for me, in a lot of ways that night, to tell him all the words he needed to hear . . . but those words never came. We sat in silence . . .

Sometimes we will be blessed with the words to say, and other times . . . we will be blessed with the peace to just lie down and be there for someone.

There were a few people who showed up at my house the day after Emmett died who did just that for me. They didn’t come with grand words or marvelous insights to try to help me find my way. They just held me and cried with me. But their silence spoke volumes to my soul. Their arms around me gave me strength to reach out to the next soul who came to find some light from me. Their silence whispered love to my heart, and brought peace to my mind.

Silence can feel scary. But sometimes, as we shut out the sounds around us . . . those are the moments when we feel true beauty. We feel real peace. When darkness tries to settle in your heart . . . shut off the noises all around you . . . and listen to the silence. Let your heart feel the calm, and without words, you will feel God’s love. He will grab you by the hand and lie down on the cold hard floor with you. He will wipe your tears. He might not come with mighty words . . . or the answers you seek . . . but He will send his love, and in that moment, you will know, without a doubt, that He is real.

Sometimes the moment when you are waiting for Him to say something . . . is actually the time when silence brings true peace to your soul.

Say Something


shayla and greg said...

I've been reading your blog for the past week and for some reason after every post I start singing 'say something' in my head :) I'm sorry for everything you all have gone through- especially those little ones. You have a very beautiful family. Thank you for sharing!

Chalisse Martineau said...

I absolutely love reading your blog. I am truly sorry for all that you and your sweet children have gone through. Thank you for your words, your testimony and your courage! You amaze me with every new blog post. Your children are so blessed to have you for their Mommy!
Thank you again!

MamaMags said...

This post spoke volumes to my soul....I am so touched by your wisdom and insights to true spiritual growth. Your spirit touches so many lives for good, thank you for sharing your incredible life altering and spiritual growing experiences. It is a fortunate person indeed who s able to put their arms around you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your courage to share your story and what you have learned. You are amazing. <3

Anonymous said...

Thank you......your strength gives me so much hope. I have been fighting to "not give up" for a while now and this post spoke to my soul.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee, thanks for your courage to share your story. I have been reading since almost day one, and I have been strengthened by your words and testimony. This post, like many others brought years to my eyes. I am amazed at the comfort and strength you have your children when I know you were suffering yourself. I hope that you continue to find peace and healing in your journey. Thanks again for sharing your beautiful words to strengthen others

Anonymous said...

thank you! Your words spoke to my heart.

Anonymous said...

I think so many people are meant to read your blog. I know I am one of them. I first read your name three times one day about a month ago; twice on facebook and then once on Youtube where Dateline presented your story. I don't think it was coincidence that I kept being reminded of you of that day. While I have not experienced anything close to what you and your sweet family have experienced, I have needed the words of hope and faith and perseverance that you have written. Thank you. What's wild is that when I first I heard "Say Something," I immediately thought of you. I thought, "But that girl never gave up on her husband. It would be so easy to walk away, but she hung in there every step." You are amazing. Your family is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a light for a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

My husband has been unfaithful. He hasn't been himself for several years and at the moment he still doesn't think what he did was wrong. I am trying so hard not to give up on him. I have hope that he can be found and we can grow together, stronger even than we were before. That dream you had, with the letters... Those are the things I am desperate to hear. Thank you for helping me to not give up. My kids would thank you too if they knew. Thank you for sharing your strength and your source of strength. It helps me so much.

Danica said...

Your posts are amazing, heart felt and provide such insight to something that we all feel at one time or another. Thanks for reminding all of us about God's light and having faith even in our darkest hours.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee - I've spent my day reading your blog and posts. Your strength, hope and endless courage are inspiring.
I live in Boise and have followed this story from day one. My heart ached for you and your littles. Just this week, I passed Walgreens on my way home and your family crossed my mind.
As hard as it is to read some of these posts, I admire and commend you for your strength and passion. I hope you continue to find peace and strength on those hard days.
You are beautiful!

jayna said...

Hi Ashlee,
My name is Jayna Haws (I am friend with Emily Hoge who was in my ward before they moved!)
Anyways, I just visited your blog after viewing the Statesman article. I would love to do a free makeover on your site. Anyone reaching so many people and telling such a brave story deserves an awesome site!

Here is my family blog so you can see a bit of what I can do: www.thehawsfamily.blogspot.com

If you are interested, please email me (jaynahaws@yahoo.com) and we'll collaborate on what you might enjoy seeing done with your blog. I'd really love to help.

Take care,

the haws family

Renae Hurst said...

After reading the article in the Deseret News today I started reading your blog. Excellent! I spent more time reading than working. When I started reading this day, the radio started playing this song. So strange. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the blog! It's been very uplifting and has given the the push to get out of my funk and start doing what I can to change my circumstances. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom!

Stephanie said...

Ashlee, thank you for all your wise words. You are a beautiful person. Your story and faith has inspired me, challenged me, and blessed me. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your story, the kids, your struggle has made me cry so much but also, inspired me. Your forgiveness is palpable even though it was never requested of you or offered. The pain and hurt your family has endured overwhelms me but clearly, as a woman of strong faith, you will survive and that message, is what I've needed. Bless you.

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