Let it Go

Kaleeya let it go

This story seemed fitting tonight as I was getting ready for bed, thinking of all the things I have been working so hard to let go, and excited for a day of healing this weekend to spend more time facing them. 

The trial had been over for many months. Life was starting to feel normal again. I was fighting hard every day to see myself. I was overcoming anger and praying for forgiveness. Talk of the past had become less and less; the kids smiled more and more. 

It was a normal day: a trip to Costco, cleaning house, playing with the two little kids while the big ones were at school. Everywhere we were that day Kaleeya kept asking me to play Let it go on my phone. Though the new song was a usual request around our house, I began to get tired of it on this particular day. 

Lunch was over and I carried Tytus upstairs for his nap. As I was leaving his room I noticed Kaleeya had turned back on her constantly repeated song. I rolled my eyes as I stepped down each stair, thinking . . . Isn’t there another song we could play?

As I turned the corner to enter the living room the music grew louder as it blared from my phone on the floor. I looked over to my little dancer who was standing very still—tears were falling down her cheeks. She was sobbing. 

I fell to my knees in front of her, “Sis . . . what happened, are you ok . . . are you hurt? What is wrong?”

In the loudest, yet most tender, voice I have ever heard she pleaded for some answers. She sobbed,  “Mommy . . . I don’t understand . . . why did he die? Where did he go? I don’t know why he died. Why do people HAVE to die? It hurts . . . I just don’t get why Daddy Emmett had to die, I don’t know where he is . . . or why he isn’t here with us anymore. Teage said a bad guy shot him in the night . . . is that true? I . . . just . . . don’t know why, I don’t know . . . why did he have to die? Why did he have to leave us?”

My heart broke into a million pieces and for the millionth time I took in a breath as I prayed for answers on what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I was stopped, frozen in the moment—trying to comprehend the magnitude of her emotional demands of the truth. The music continued to play, as she stared into my soul for relief from her pain. 

For a second I felt trapped—in a life full of new memories, being pulled back into the pain—a battle I usually fought alone. 

The song still played, as her gaze never left mine. Each word entered my ear and pierced another hole in my heart. She had heard the words. The music blaring from the phone took on a whole new meaning as I realized her need for that song was more powerful than the dance . . . it was way more important than the rhythm or the melody—the words had spoken to her heart. 

I scooped up my little girl and rocked her. She put her head on my shoulder and for the first few seconds she sobbed like I never knew a little girl could. 

Then—without any words to say—I began to sing at the top of my lungs along with the music . . .

Let it go, let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn my back and slam the door

And here I stand, and here I’ll stay

Let it go, let it go

The cold never bothered me anyway

Soon Kaleeya’s voice joined mine . . .

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small

And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all

Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe

I know I left a life behind, but I’m too relieved to grieve

Let it go, let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn my back and slam the door

And here I stand, and here I’ll stay

Let it go, let it go

The cold never bothered me anyway

Standing frozen in the life I’ve chosen

You won’t find me, the past is so behind me

Buried in the snow

Let it go, let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn my back and slam the door

And here I stand, and here I’ll stay

Let it go, let it go

The cold never bothered me anyway

A song we had played literally a thousand times that week didn’t just make us want to get up and dance, or sing along. It had called us to action. And we stood together calling back—pleading for an answer as to how it could be done.  

I have had many times when I have cried through a song—but that day I shouted a triumph through my tears, with a little girl who felt broken . . . a feeling I knew all too well. 

The song was on repeat. We spent most of naptime singing it over and over—sometimes softly, and sometimes through our tears and shouts of anger—but every time with a plea in our heart that we could learn how to let it go. 

I didn’t ever again roll my eyes when it started over and voluntarily repeated—I heard the words for the very first time and their truth taught me. Maybe that song was really just about a princess who was learning to let go of her past . . . but that day it was about a little girl who was learning to stand.

Ashlee Birk is the Author of the blog and book series entitled The Moments We Stand.  In them she tells of her personal journey of healing and seeking peace after the murder of her husband Emmett.  Through her trials she has learned the importance of a personal relationship with her Father in Heaven. She has found light in the darkest of moments—and she has found hope when she thought it was lost.  She has come to find that the grace of Christ is powerful—not only in sin—but also in forgiveness and carrying you through some of your darkest moments.

Ashlee is remarried and resides in Idaho with her husband Shawn and their blended family of six children. They work hard every day to continue their journey of peace and finding the joy in life. Ashlee believes that every day is a gift—and in each one, she has learned to stand.

The Moments We Stand

spouse murdered 11/2011

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