The Good Ones

Grief. We are all well acquainted with this un-wanted emotion... some more then others, nevertheless, none of us are immune to it. A tragedy or traumatic event may take place in your life, losing a loved one or experiencing some sort of personal struggle- where it feels as if time slows down, and you can feel every painful, agonizing emotion gnawing away at the very core of who you are. How do we go on, when the joy dissipates, and all that is left is grief? Unfortunately, my family abruptly had to come to terms with this all-encompassing question this past spring. 

On Saturday, May 20th, my cousin Helene Brandy decided to go kayaking with her friend on the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, when things went terribly wrong. Unbeknownst to them, they were kayaking towards a nearby damn, where the current was so strong, they were unable to paddle away. With great sorrow, it burdens my heart to say, that they both went over that damn and passed away. Helene's body was found over a week later... She was 25. Can you imagine being so desperate, that your prayers were asking God to reveal the body of the person you love, just so that you could bury them? My family did that for days. I can't even imagine. 

Family-of-missing-kayaker-Helene-Brandy.jpg

(Helene's mother)

In times of immense, inexplicable grief, we often question the cruelty of the world; or rather, the cruelty of God. But friends, God did not respond to tragedy by saying "Whatever I do is just by definition." On the contrary, you will find He is present amongst those who are suffering more often than those who are not. Nonetheless, He is always present, He reminds us, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18

I suppose that begs the question still as to why Helene died. Sure, He may have been comforting those afterward, but WHY did He take her in the first place? Or really, why do good, innocent people die sooner than later? This question could be debated for centuries- heck, it has and still is being discussed till this day. And though there may be a far more intelligent and elegant way of communicating this to you all, there is no good answer or reason for why people die suddenly or unexpectedly. It simply happens, because we live in a fallen world, where we are not immune to death. We weren't initially designed to be like this, but because of sin entering all the seams of what ties us together, we are now in the constant state of ripping apart and being stitched back together with the Lords help. It's not fun to talk about nor is it fun to experience the things of the world that are flawed, but it's our reality. And sadly, bad things happen to good people. I don't know about you, but I have always had a hard time swallowing that pill. However, I discovered when I chose to live my life in spite of the world, my heart began to shrivel up and slowly die too. It is what we do with our grief and pain that makes all the difference, We can choose to live a life eternally depressed and defeated, or we can make our most significant burdens the reason for our determination to live. It is a choice... and a heartbreaking one at that. This is no easy task. Nor do I think Helene will ever sincerely be mourned in this lifetime by my family fully; but Jesus meets us in our suffering, wipes our tears away, and reminds us of His saving grace that transcends any and all death.

I wrote a song for my family when this all transpired this past May. How the song came to be is a story in itself, but I wanted to dedicate this blog post to my family rather than making it about me. The song "The Good Ones" is for my families healing journey. I did not compose the song with the intention of it being on radio or written to perfection. My only wish is that this song helps people, and meets them in their time of questioning. Because that's where I was, and the Lord affirmed me in my moments of grief. I pray He affirms you. 

We love you Helene,

Carmen xoxo

Graphic for "The Good Ones" - Cassie Dulworth

ProductionCharliehorse Productions 

LifeCarmen Brandygrief