Lydia's Love

with Daphne Greer
Daphne, what is your loss story?

It was summer, July 16, 2008, to be exact. My son, daughter and I were on our way to daycare and work. We commuted 25 miles each way every day and were about 15 miles from home when suddenly, we hit a farm truck in the middle of the highway.

After the car came to a stop, all I could hear was my 3-year-old son, Hunter, crying hysterically in the back seat. I looked up, my windshield was shattered and the driver’s side door was caved in. I tried to open my door, but couldn’t. I climbed out the passenger side door and immediately unbuckled Hunter, consoling him as best I could. I looked and saw my daughter, unconscious in the back seat. The farm truck driver immediately came to help, as did a woman who stopped at the scene, taking care of my daughter, applying towels to her injuries.
Lydia Marie Greer
November 27, 2002 – July 16, 2008
Hunter and I sat holding each other on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive. Not knowing the extent of Lydia’s injuries, we prayed out loud together for Lydia, pleading to God to save her and make her okay. These were the longest moments of my life. Trembling from shock, I tried to call my husband but was unable to dial the phone. Thankfully, the other driver was able to dial the number for me. With my husband on the phone, I told him we had been in an accident and he needed to get there fast. Before I knew it, my in-laws arrived and took care of Hunter, as I was loaded in the ambulance.

My husband got there just as Lydia was loaded into the helicopter, in which he then drove an hour to the trauma center. Already in the ambulance and unable to move, the commotion of the responders and loud sounds of the propellers were frightening.

I was taken to the nearest hospital, in the town where I worked. They took blood, urine, x-rays, and cleaned the deep glass from my arm ending with a plethora of stitches. I suffered a broken elbow, as well as severe lacerations to my upper arm and head. The entire time, the nursing staff was excellent and took care of my every need. I remember talking with them saying, “I just want my daughter to be okay”, incessantly asking them, “How is my daughter.” Thinking about it now, I never received an answer.

Before I knew it, a couple of hours later, my husband came into the room. He looked up at me sobbing, his eyes swollen with tears falling and said, “Sissy didn’t make it.” In a moment I will never forget, I began to scream and pleaded for this not to be true.

After several hours, I was able to leave, yet before we could go, we were told we had to tell our son. The chaplain led us to a little room where my husband and I had the difficult task of telling him about his sister. We then were driven home by one of my husband's co-workers. I remember sitting in the backseat, in grey issued hospital sweats, heavily medicated, and not sure of what had just happened.

For days and weeks after, I felt like I was living a dream. I could not fathom what had happened as I waited for her to walk through the front door.
 
What would we want everyone to remember about Lydia?

Lydia was my firstborn child and a vibrant little girl, so full of life and love. She had a love for dancing, shopping, and fashion. She was very outgoing and her big personality could entertain an entire room. I like to call her the glitter glue to our family. She was the sparkle, the glitter, and glue that has held us together.
Much like her grandmother, Lydia was a girl who loved to shop, eat cinnamon rolls, drink hot chocolate, and explore what the world had to offer. She loved the spotlight, as her singing and dancing was a daily occurrence in the house. She loved people, friends, and was a social butterfly. She was a creative soul who taught me not to worry about what others think and to be comfortable with who God made me to be. She was known for her mismatched style, yet she took pride in her appearance and doing things on her own. She loved to draw and made beautiful artwork, leaving many notes and pictures around the house for us to find, long after she passed.

Lydia would often talk about God and want to know when she could meet him and go to his house. She was fascinated by her family members who passed long ago, having a deep desire to meet her great grandparents, often requesting to go to the cemetery to see them. I would smile and tell her God is always with us and how wonderful Heaven is, but that she had long life to live on earth before then. Little did I know, her time here would be brief.
 
What impact do you want to leave on the world?

After the years have gone by, I want others to see how God has worked in our lives, as well as Lydia’s. Lydia was an old soul and looking back, there were signs all around me of what was to come and , yet I wasn’t able to connect the dots.

I want to be an example for all those hurting out there due to loss, to see that it is possible to live a happy life, live with a passion and purpose. Being a family struggling with faith during those first months, we have found our true reason for being and want to show others what God has done for us during this time. By bringing joy and serving others, we can find that purpose. God still has a plan for those of us that are here; we must live to the fullest.

Most of all, I want people to realize that there can be a positive side or sweeter side to their grief. If we focus on the beautiful life that lived and keep legacies alive, incredible things can happen.
After a lengthy career in law enforcement, my focus has now changed. I was not the same person anymore and didn’t have the same heart for my job as I used to. I now find my passion in helping and serving others, recognizing the true meaning of this life we have been given. In losing Lydia, I was thrust into a devastating world of heartbreak, yet there have been remarkably positive impacts on my life as well. From new friends and relationships, to closed doors and new opportunities, life has taken me on a new path of self-discovery. I hope others will see this and get a glimmer of hope during times when the world turns dark.
 
What lessons could people learn from your life?

Bad things do happen to good people. After 14 years in law enforcement and having a fairly good life free of tragedy, I never dreamed that losing a child would happen to me. But it did. One thing I would want people to know is the importance of slowing down and listening to God and let him guide your path. Listen to what he is saying and telling you. Don’t get so consumed with everyday life that you miss those moments. Moments with God, moments with your children, moments with your family are the things that really matter. Re-evaluate your life and priorities. After going through this, looking back, I clearly see that God was with me, and how he worked in our lives, both before and after the accident.

It’s okay to smile through your grief. As time passes, it’s okay to laugh, to enjoy yourself, don’t let the devil of guilt consume you. We are still here for a reason. It’s time to live life with purpose and passion. We all need to look deep inside and find what really motivates us and makes us happy. For me, I wanted my daughter to be remembered. It was a scary first year as people did forget. I have relied on God, trusting that he will direct my path and it will be okay. I know He will make triumph out of tragedy, and He has.

Lydia’s Love was started in 2011, a non-profit that provides birthday parties to homeless and needy children. This has been a rewarding and heartfelt experience. Seeing joy in children’s lives during hard times, as they feel and know that they are special, is priceless. It has also been a wonderful way to get the community involved. From churches, to school groups, to families and organizations, Lydia’s Love has given others a positive avenue to volunteer and give back in.

In addition, I recently started blogging. Something new to me, but something I felt a calling to do. It’s called Grieving Gumdrops:-The Sweeter Side of Grief. It’s about my writing and reflections on my grief, as well as highlights those other people, books, blogs, organizations, etc., that have found meaning or a positive sweeter side of their grief. In the midst of this, I am also working on a memoir, wanting to share my story as God has wanted me to. During the past five years, I have kept a journal and now looking back; God has been with me all along and has done some miraculous and amazing things. I can’t wait to share.
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