And don't ever start a sentence with the words "at least." Any time I hear the words at least coming at me, I know it's going to be a sentence that makes me mad: "At least you had him for 27 years." "At least you have other children."
Looking back, how do you describe what you call "the old Rick and Kay"?
Because of our love, we conceived a child together. I birthed him from my body. He was a part of me. A part of me is no longer here. How can I be the same? For us as a couple, as a family, there were five of us; now there are four. Our child murdered himself in the most raw way I can tell you. Suicide is self-murder. Our son, the murderer, was himself. The trauma of knowing what he did to himself, how he destroyed the body of this child that we loved. He did it to end the pain. How could we ever be the same? Trauma changes you. I can't ever go back to who I was.
On CNN, you said, "I'm terrible but not okay. We're going to survive, and some day we'll thrive again." Is this still true?
I said at Matthew's memorial service, "We're devastated, but not destroyed." I don't know that you ever stop being devastated by catastrophic loss. In the last year-and-a-half of his life, we lived right on the edge every day. I would talk about it with close friends and say, "It's like sitting on the edge of hell."
I determined some time ago that I was not going to let anything destroy me. I had my years of saying to the Lord, "You were at work in Matthew's life yesterday, today, and you'll be at work in my life every day until I meet him again."
I heard an incredible sermon by Hillsong's Brian Houston last summer, called "Glorious Ruins." He talked about Lamentations, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and all of what happened to Israel. Ezekiel, chapters 36 and 37, talks about how Israel was ruined. God says, "I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it" (Ezek. 36:33-34 NIV).
This corresponded with a favorite quote by Eric Liddell, the Olympic runner. He said, "Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins." That phrase "God is not helpless among the ruins" has kept me where I can say, yes, devastated but not destroyed. My life has been torn down to the foundation, ruined, and yet, at the same time, and God has a plan for us.
You've shared before about your hope box and the mystery pot. Are those still useful?
They sit right on my table right next to where I have my devotions every day. Every time I would read a Scripture that gave me hope I would write it out and put it inside that box.
Late on the night of April 4, I had a texting conversation with Matt. I knew that he was threatening to kill himself. All of a sudden he quit texting. I was very frightened. Rick was sick with pneumonia, and I pulled him out of bed and we drove over the Matthew's house. I banged on the door, rang the doorbell. He didn't answer. He had threatened that if we called the police that he would take his life if they even got near. We found out later that he had actually taken his life.