“Sometimes there are a thousand things to say, no words to say them and a heart too broken to try.”
That was my latest update on Facebook. It sat there on my profile for well over a week. Most of the time when something happens that breaks my heart or I have trouble processing the horror of it, I write. But sometimes it can be so tragic, all words are lost to me. I become a virtual mute when it comes to writing. What happened to throw me into such a stage of sadness and heartbreak?
Two weeks ago I was with a friend and neighbor when her world shattered around her. This was how the extended family shared the news with their Facebook friends.
We need your help facebook friends. Last night The Hendricks Family suffered a tragic loss. Rusty was fixing their one and only car when the jack broke in half and crushed him. He lost his life. (He was 36) The Hendricks family needs your help. Teresa is a stay at home mom with 3 children Samuel 11, Sara 9, Matthew 7. There is no life insurance and Teresa is left to raise her beautiful family alone.
*(I am not divulging anything private or breaking a trust by sharing those details. This is the information the family wrote for the fundraiser they are holding to try to help this wonderful family. Please if there is ANY way you can help…even just a little bit, this lovely woman truly needs it.)
I’ve never felt more helpless and heartbroken for a friend. As I said, there were a thousand things to say, no words to say them and a heart too broken to try. Not a day went by that I did not cry for this family. Not a night went by when I didn’t crumble to the floor of my bathroom wracked with gut wrenching tears of desperate sadness. It was how I dealt with it at night. Alone. So I could try to refuel and be strong for the whole family when or if they needed anything. I wanted to be there to help.
What you have to know about this family is how amazing they are. They touched the lives of everyone they met. I loved watching Rusty play ball with his oldest son in their front yard. When it snowed, he would be outside with the kids laughing and playing just like one of them. I always laughed when he would give Clint a hard time about not putting up Christmas lights. (He even taught my next door neighbor how to hang them “correctly” so that she could have them up for her kids.) He was one of the most joyful men I have ever met. Teresa is one of the kindest women I know. She is soft spoken, sweet and so very giving. She has a heart of gold and a tenderness about her that makes you smile and gives you peace. And those kids? Wonderful kids. Gabby plays outside with them and the sound of their laughter is beautiful music to my ears. Honestly, laughter is the first thing I think of when I think of those kids. Rusty and Teresa are very strong in their faith and they’ve been raising their kids in a faith filled home.
And so the first question is why. Why Rusty? Why this way? Why now? I don’t know the answers. I still can’t even wrap my mind around it all but I do know that this is a family of faith and I know that faith will help them through this. They and their extended families have actually blessed and comforted people who came by to comfort them. They are that special.
One thing Rusty’s sister shared with me (and I don’t think she would mind me sharing) is that he would want people to find something in this tragedy to help them grow- in their faith and their relationships with others. To never let a moment pass without sharing your love.
Through this tragedy I have seen some very beautiful things occur. I have seen friends and strangers pull together to help this family. I have seen relationships heal. I have seen new friendships form. For myself I have solidified friendships that I knew were there but didn’t know how very strong they could be. I was pulled from the dark place I was hurled into last year to see people in my life that truly will always be there for me when I need them.
I suppose you could say pretenses were stripped and people were seen for who they really are. It blessed me to see a community pull together as it has. It blessed me to see people I respect pull together not only for my friend and her family but for each other. To feel their love and have them extend their “family” to encompass me as “one of them” not only healed so much in me, it made me see how jaded I had become by a completely irrelevant event in my past.
Why did it take a tragedy for that to happen? For me to really see things as they are? For me to realize who truly cares and who I can depend on for the good times and the bad? For me to tell my friends that I love them and that I appreciate them? To take those negative voices in my mind and silence them? To reach out to others- not just those involved in this but people in my life who may just need to know someone is there and cares? Why did it take something so unthinkingly horrible for me to take stock of my life and realize the wonderful, beautiful people that I am blessed to have in my life?
I don’t know. I hate that this happened. I am heartbroken that this happen. Yet, even now Rusty blesses me with his joy and love because to not honor his memory in that way just wouldn’t feel right. He touched so many people. And his memory will continue to bless others. Now that? That takes one amazing man. And that was Rusty.
May he sing with the angels.
For Teresa and those who are hurting missing a loved one…