Since Noelle's been gone, I've formed (in my head), The Dead Mother's Club. It's odd that I call it that because I don't have a dead mother. I have a dead daughter. But for whatever reason, that's what I call it and no, you can't become a member.
Yesterday was the first time I have visited Noelle at the cemetery. As I have told you before, it's beautiful there. On the drive over, I remembered how after my Granny died, Noelle would ask me to take her to Granny's rock. (what she called my Granny's headstone) We would go there together and I would look at the trees in the distance and after awhile, feel peace. I couldn't find peace there yesterday. I sat on "Granny's rock" and cried for my daughter. And then I screamed at God, which is something I have yet to do.
"Why? Why HER? She was a minister of your word, she was GOOD!" I was thankful that the cemetery is so secluded and the police were not called to report a crazy woman screaming at God.
Staying busy in the days since Noelle has been gone has helped keep my mind from dwelling on the fact that she is actually gone. I've found the worst part of my day is waking up, because my first thought is, "My daughter is dead." Laying down at night is a close second, because my last thought is, "My daughter is dead." During the day, I can pretend that she is just at church camp. I am use to her being gone during the summers and going days without talking to her because there is no cell service at camp. It's these mornings and nights that are kicking my butt.
For those of you that didn't get to go to Noelle's funeral, this is the Eulogy I wrote for her service. I have had many people tell me how strong I was to be able to speak these words. I don't think strength had anything to do with it. It was my final good-bye to my daughter and there is no way I couldn't have done it. I needed to say these words out loud to her and to honor her in the only way I knew how. Of course, she might have been a little mad when I told of her riding her stick horse through the house in nothing but panties, in her defense, she was only 5.
Besides burying my daughter, going through her things has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have always respected Noelle's privacy and never riffled through her things or read any of her journals, so it feels like a betrayal of sorts.
At the same time, I have found things that have made my heart sing. She had such a good soul! As I read through her essays, my emotions bounce from one extreme to another. Pride so fierce that I feel like I am about to burst leads to sorrow so immense that I can't breathe. She had so many plans, but her goals were all the same: to serve others.
I don't know how I got so lucky to have God bless me with Noelle, but I'm sure glad he did. I can't take credit for her strong faith, because I didn't give that to her, but I did try to give her the best of me and she took that and magnified it tenfold.
Noelle wrote the following essays for scholarship applications. I think they speak to her very essence and wanted to share them with you.
When Noelle was 14 years old, she and her friend MaRanda snuck out of the house to walk to QuickTrip in the middle of the night. The police saw them walking and brought them home. I made her sleep with me for a week afterwards as part of her punishment. It is kind of ironic that my first ride in a police car was at 14 as well. Only in my case, my friend Melba and I had stolen her mother's car and taken it for a joyride.
I was very lucky with Noelle, in all of her teenage years, that was the only trouble she ever got into. She was a good girl. She graduated high school on May 15, 2015 and was planning on going to the University of Oklahoma in the fall.
She was beautiful walking across the stage. I was so proud!
On Friday, June 5, 2015, Noelle sent this tweet...
They never made it to QT. Noelle was killed in a hit and run and MaRanda seriously injured.