I read something the other day that I wanted to share..It was a statement that said “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom may not be something you do..but someone you raise.” when I read this I immediately thought of Sydney Lisa Jeter Many of you have heard me talk about Sydney’s writings we found after the accident. We made a scrapbook with them and displayed it on the year anniversary of the accident to share with those who came to support and love us. As people read through her writings many asked if there was a way to make a copy of the book to be able to share with others AND….with the help of my amazing sister in law Tanya and three friends Kristi, Cathy, and Marilyn WE DID IT. We made the book as inexpensive as possible, and if you catch the right sale you can get it for about 25 dollars. This book is filled with amazing wisdom and truth that Stacy and I believe will help anyone who choses to read it. She wanted to leave a legacy..In her OWN words she said she wanted to be known for her faith and devotion to God and always trusting him with her life.She wanted to be known as knowledable thoughtful and someone who gives good Godly advice..This is what she wanted her Legacy to be..and what a faithful God to work through her to end up fulfilling her hearts desire. When I think of Sydney’s legacy I will forever be reminded of Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believed The Lord would fulfill his promises to her.
As time passes I’ve learned the greatest gifts are when someone is willing to have a conversation with me about Sydney..I still have a daughter I’m still her mom..she did more than teach me in her 16 years 9 months and 24 days..she continues to teach me things each and every day..I appreciate when someone takes the time to share their stories of Sydney..what she taught them..how her love affected them..changed them or inspired them..stories of random acts of kindness done in her memory..how her book touched someone’s life or spoke to them..God continues to bless us and show us that yes some walked away and chose to not live the life she wanted them to live..but she’s also touched ppl’s lives she never knew..For the longest time I fought so hard wanting those closest to her to be the ones to tell her story and share with others what God did in her life..I chased after people which only added to my pain instead of providing me hope and a reason to continue..God continued to stand beside me redirecting me time after time until I finally let go so I could receive the people who did want to be a part of her legacy..I finally learned the lesson he was teaching me..I don’t need to chase people..He will provide the opportunities to share her legacy just like he faithfully provided her legacy..His plan is not my plan, but when his plan gets carried out..it is far greater than my greatest dreams and it continually leaves me in awe of who he is..When I originally made her book I hoped to see pictures and hear stories of the journey her legacy made..I’ve only gotten a few of those stories but the few I have gotten have given me the encouragement to continue sharing her love for Gods truth with the world. It’s been bothering me that if a random person looks her up via the information from a card or her book on the Internet..they don’t find out who she was or the story behind the card or book instead they find out about the accident..I don’t want ppl to focus on the accident or that she’s gone but instead that she LIVED a life full of love and happiness. The kind of love and happiness that last beyond this world..So I’m currently working on a website for her so that when you search her you will find something more than news stories of the accident and it will become easier for me to share your stories..her story..her testimony..my testimony..and the lessons we learn as we walk through the remainder of my life without her..it’s an overwhelming task as I am not a computer person but with the help of my sweet friend I’m muddling through it hoping to have at least a shell up soon. I don’t want to waste a single opportunity to show others God’s love and truth!!
This site is being developed so we may share the story behind the I think you’re beautiful card, stories of the happiness it brought people and the journey of Sydney book “A Legacy of a Lifetime”
Thank you for being a part of my sweet daughters memory
In May of 2013 Taylor Swift came through Texas on tour. Sydney and I had talked and planned on going but I didn’t realize how early we needed to get tickets and by the time I went to get them they were outrageous..I decided to wait until her next tour so tickets would be a little cheaper..Sydney was disappointed but even though she was spoiled she never asked to be..I just spoiled her on my own so she easily accepted my promise and was excited about looking forward to the next tour..so almost 2 1/2 yrs later Taylor Swift is touring through Texas..I promised her we would go so there was no way I was going to miss it..I wrapped myself in the things that reminded me of her..I wore her favorite vest, her boots and was joined with one of her sweetest friend and “we” went to see Taylor Swift last night. I’m not gonna lie I missed her every second..no matter how hard I try I can’t fill the emptiness especially when it comes to something we had planned for so long to do together but at the same time I also felt her with me..She was dancing singing and laughing with Lindsey and I..It is often in my hardest moments that her spirit encourages and fills me the most..I’m positive she was determined to let me know she was with me❤ I wanted to say a special thank you to Lindsey Mitchell for walking beside me carrying my precious babies memory so honorably and living her life for God the way Sydney would want. This was a once in a life time moment and you helped me “live” it for Sydney. I hope you know I Thank God often for putting you in our lives because I know a blessing as special as you only comes from God.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Sydney’s mission statement. I’ve shared it before as it was in the flyer we handed out at her funeral. It is not necessarily the words that have been consuming my thoughts, but rather the actions she took after she wrote the words..You see what prompted her to write a mission statement in the first place is the book she was reading (Your Hearts Desire by Sheri Rose Shepherd) She didn’t just read the book and move on..she stopped prayed and thought deeply about her hearts desires, found a sticky note and put her hearts mission into words. For some reason my mind doesn’t let me stop here..why? I guess because she didn’t stop there..she didn’t write those words for others..she didn’t write it and post it..actually I found no post that she made referencing her mission statement. So then why did she write it? I keep thinking about that and as I’ve thought about it I’ve learned as much from wondering why she wrote it than I have from the words she wrote..I believe that when I typed her mission statement out..I in a way took away from the beauty of it..So I’m attaching a picture of the original post it note and where she placed it (it’s still in the exact same place today) I believe that it answers the question as to why she wrote it..She wrote it for herself, so that as she got up and faced each day she would be reminded of “her mission”. Sydney placed this sticky note on her mirror because she realized that seeing too much of yourself causes you to lose focus on God and the purpose and mission for your life..She wanted to make sure that when she looked in the mirror she didn’t forget what her life was about. What I find most beautiful is that she wasn’t fooled into thinking it would be easy or that she wouldn’t face temptation or distraction and took the steps necessary to help overcome them in the future by placing this in the one place she knew she would look everyday. I continue to learn each day from the things she wrote and the things she did and consider it a blessing to be a part of sharing her faith and legacy with others. Thank you my sweet girl for leaving me so much of your heart.
I’ve heard many times “Your strength inspires me” I immediately think my strength? I am not strong I have absolutely no strength..I feel so weak and broken..my mind is constantly consumed with thoughts about her, what if’s, I still cry, I still hurt, I still miss her voice, I still miss her hugs, I still miss her craziness, I still miss watching her grow as a disciple and worship in church, I still miss our bible studies, I still miss EVERYTHING and then I have to try and ba…lance life around all that.. It makes me wonder how anyone sees strength..I think that what people see in not actually strength but rather the peace that I have because I believe and trust God more than I do the lies Satan continues to whisper to me. You see I truly only had two choices the day I lost her..One was to let Satan beat me down and destroy any purpose God had left for my life and the other was to believe and trust God and allow him to use every broken piece I had left to help him bring good out of the destruction. No matter how much I wanted having Sydney back wasn’t one of my choices..letting myself..self destruct wasn’t going to bring my baby girl back or bring any kind of peace into my life..The choice however was still mine to make..I often think about all the blessings I would have lost had I chose to not follow God’s light and guidance..The people he’s placed in my life, the things he’s taught me through obedience, the rewards are more than I could ever imagine..You see we aren’t going to ever stop bad things from happening in this world, but we are given a choice to join God as he works to help us survive this broken world..I believe it is only through my weakness that I have experienced the true power of God’s strength..If you are broken and struggling I want you to understand you don’t have to feel strong, for others to see strength you simply have to cling to God and his truth with all that you have and he does everything else.
Last week I was given the opportunity for a 2nd yr to speak to approximately 200 1st year medical students about the loss of our daughter and the emotional, physical, and spiritual journey through our grief. I worked for the department for 8 yrs before losing Sydney and was the one to organize and arrange the speaker for this particular lecture. It’s unbelievable to me that I’m now the speaker. The purpose is to give the students an opportunity to hear, see, and ask questions in hopes of educating them on what a grieving person might go through or need. I of course do not have all the answers, but it is something I believe I have been called to use my voice for..I don’t speak for myself, but instead because of myself..as I’ve walked through my grief I’m continually reminded about all the things I could’ve done to help others but didn’t because I didn’t know what to do..My heart was overflowing with a desire to help, but yet I’m guilty of every single thing that I now know only adds to the pain..It breaks my heart as I continually think I wish I had known..A grieving person rarely reaches out, and by the time they do they are in bad shape..knowing ahead of time could help you help someone in the future. I hope no one ever takes my post personally..they are not to point fingers but instead written for the person whose heart is overflowing with a desire to help but just doesn’t know how..I was amazed at the desire these medical students had to learn what they needed so they would be able to help their future patients. I thought I would share just a few of their questions into my thoughts and emotions:
What statements should we avoid?
A lot of times uplifting encouraging statements can be very upsetting to someone grieving..all meant for good however losing a child affects the way we think..so having ppl quote Jeremiah 29:11 this is what I heard..God’s purpose in taking away my child was so that I could now prosper and have a better life..Truth that scripture was meant for someone going into battle and My life will NEVER be better or prosper more without her..Everything happens for a reason it’s part of God’s plan..what I heard..God’s plan was for my daughter to die in a car accident and me to be broken beyond repair… TRUTH regarding the wreck Sydney was a passenger in.. Everything does happen for a reason but sometimes its because we are human have free will, and make bad decisions…Her work was finished..what I heard..if I hadn’t taken her to church and she hadn’t believed and obediently served The Lord she would still be here because her work wouldn’t be finished she‘d still be lost…the TRUTH God does not wait until you are saved or finished..People die and go to hell everyday..She was only 16 her work is completely UNFINISHED. It is now up to us to help her finish it..I could go on but I think this gives a good example of how irrational our thinking is and how we relate whats being said to the pain and loss we are currently experiencing
You seem to have a good grasp on your grief when did you start feeling better?
I DON’T feel better..my heart hurts just as much today as it did the day I found out..I actually miss her more as each day passes so that continually gets worse not better..I wake up everyday and before I even open my eyes I’m already thinking about her, missing her, and acheing for her..the only explanation I can give for my grasp on my grief..is the fact I have chosen to face it, not ignore it, talk about it, and accept it on a DAILY basis..you can’t run from ignore or hide from grief..It sits there waiting and growing I’ve learned that facing it DAILY keeps the wave of emotions from overwhelming me or downing me as the wave crashes onto me. I acknowledge my daughter the blessing she is and the pain losing her has caused me EVERY SINGLE DAY.
How is your son doing, does he talk to you about her, and has he ever said what hurts or helps him?
This question was so special to me because it let me know they recognized him and realized he too lost and hurt and they cared enough to ask about him. My answer: Cameron is doing ok. He refuses to talk about pain or hurt, but does talk about his sister and how awesome she was. He feels we shouldn’t be sad because she is where she wanted to be where we all want to be and she’s happy. I believe this is a perfect example of “childlike faith” he has the ability to not see what he actually lost but see the gift she gained however even with such a positive thought process he has expressed to me a few things..he misses her friends..Now he doesn’t want them to come over and sit and “talk about it” he won’t talk about feelings EVER..but to just have someone around that knew her still caring and loving him is priceless..(a special thanks to the very few who have continued) Only 2 of his friends knew her he spent most of his time around her and her friends..his friends were never really around her..He also expressed that he just wants to be able to talk about his sister just like other people talk about theirs..When most people talk about their older siblings it’s not about what they are going to do tomorrow but what they’ve done before..for example when I say ya me and my brother used to fight on vacations and Cameron says ya my sister would always sing and dance every time we were in the car…Cameron says the minute he talks about his sister..everyone turns around looks at him and you can hear a pin drop..he hasn’t made it uncomfortable however everyone else did and now he feels like he upset people by talking about or remembering his sister..When I asked him what he missed most about her he said EVERYTHING!
How should I approach a patient who’s lost a child before becoming my patient? Should I acknowledge their child? is it okay to ask them to share with me about them or is that wrong?
If you get nothing else from my post please get this…YOU ARE NOT GOING TO REMIND ME THAT MY CHILD IS GONE…I know this every second of everyday and I mean that literally…EVERY SECOND..Of course acknowledge the loss..it never goes away..NEVER..so it’s a part a them and their past medical/emotional history, but if you want to make them love you and want them to be your patient forever…ask them to tell you a little about them, what they did that made you smile, or what you miss most about them..then say I know you haven’t moved on, because that’s impossible so please tell me what do you do to keep your child’s memory alive..Some of my best days are days I get to share Sydney with people that never knew her..After this lecture 200 more people KNOW Sydney..they saw pictures of her, and heard the stories that went with them..they learned something because of her..they cried because of her and most importantly they SMILED and LAUGHED because of her..She continues to touch people but most important she continues to LIVE because I was willing to share her.