Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Are You Doing?

I have been asked this question a lot. It is amazing how much variety of expression there can be in the same words. Some people ask how I’m doing and then seem to catch themselves. They just asked their “hello” question and then realized what they’ve said and to whom they have said it. Others ask slowly and carefully, looking for an honest answer. Others are very apologetic, but really want to know, so they supply phrases like, “I suppose you’re asked this all the time, but how are you doing?”

I think I can speak for my family when I say that we don’t mind these questions in their varied forms. However, speaking for myself, sometimes I do feel like responding, “How am I supposed to be feeling?” I won’t say that, and I don’t want to say it with an edge, but it is how I am “doing” sometimes.

Regarding the habitual, “How are you doing?” question, I still do it myself, so I certainly don’t blame others for asking me!

I can go through long stretches where I’m just rolling along with the “new normal,” and then something will come out of the blue to bring back the grief. How distracted should I be? Should I feel guilty for having a good night’s sleep? When should I get back to the regular routine of pastoral duties (whatever that is!)? I think all of us are just figuring out how we should be feeling.

For people that we don’t see regularly but read my blog, here are some point-form observations about how we are doing:
- We’re pretty much back to routine. I’ve been back in the office, homeschooling has been back on for a while and lessons and meetings are on the schedule again.
- Financially we are fine. All of our expenses are covered and then some. We are blessed and well-supplied by many gracious people.
- The kids seem to be doing alright. We’ll have to take care of each other and listen to each other more than ever to make sure that we’re all healthy. I know that as dad, I have an extra responsibility in this department.
- We’re been overwhelmed with cards, letters, emails, visits and phone calls. We are humbled by and grateful for these expressions of love.
- The pace of these responses has not been too heavy, but we can’t possibly respond with “thank you” to everyone.
- There is nothing to report on the investigation front. The RCMP have been excellent, however, and we are not getting frustrated with them. God is sovereign.
- We are realizing more all the time how rocked our community has been by Emily’s murder. I talked to a couple of people yesterday that could barely talk to me. This will take some time to process and heal.
- There have been community initiatives to raise money for a reward fund through Crimestoppers. There is also a community benefit concert scheduled for November 15th. The proceeds of this event will go towards a music scholarship in Emily’s name.
- There is still a large measure of unreality about all of this. Psychologically speaking, I think this is a protection, a defense mechanism.
- Another aspect to the unreality of Emily’s death is the fact that she is now more alive than ever. She has left the shadowlands and is now with Jesus in Paradise.
- God is carrying us still. We are reminded of that whenever we hear or read reports that people are praying for us. We appreciate that very much.
- Last point: We miss Emily very much.

Thanks to everyone who has come to visit my blog in the past weeks and for the many who have commented. Your encouragement is precious, as are your prayers.


MagistraCarminae said...

Dear Terry,

You and Juanita and the children remain in our prayers daily. Thank you for the little glimpse into your life that helps us know how to pray.

With much love,
Chris in NM (a classed cyber-friend)

yofed said...

I have not been reading your blog for a very long time, but I wanted to tell you your positive outlook during such a dark time is really inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

Patti Hobbs said...

Thank you for thinking of us, Terry, and keeping us updated. Not that anyone in your circumstances has to be especially considerate, but it sure is appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Terry. I also appreciate so much your updates on here. I'm the worst phone person ever (what if I get them at a bad time!?) so I am thankful for this avenue to let you know you are never far from our thoughts and we care SO much about how you are doing.

I have also been thinking these days about your "new normal" and I'm so glad that you addressed it. How does one know how to approach normalcy at such a time as this?, but eventually I guess it finds you.

We're planning to come back to see you before the snow flies, will let you know when as soon as we know for sure.

Wishing God's peace and comfort for you, Juanita and the kids every moment of the day,

Love, your sis, Ruthie

Anonymous said...


The Elzinga's

Rodney Anderson, said...

Dear Terry, Juanita, Al and Sheila,

When we heard of your sad loss we put an old picture on our fridge ... the Northwest quartet ... Terry, Steve, Geordon and Lindsay, taken in our home in Campbell River, many years ago. You all look so young, and of course, you were.

Each of you was facing an unknown future with an all knowing, loving God. He has proven to be everything you need when faith really matters.

The picture has been floating around in cyberspace and perhaps it has arrived in your "in box."

Our family, home group and church (Parksville Fellowship Baptist) continues to pray for your family.

Blessings on you all,
Rodney and Myrna Anderson

Paul Van Stralen said...

Hi Terry, Juanita, Josh, Petra, Anne,

Thanks for the updates, I don't get to them nearly often enough. We're praying for y'all, thinking of you guys often.

It was weird talking to fellow pastors at our classis meeting. Everyone is very concerned and supportive to you and yours. It is so strange seeing Emily's picture in various locations around town. I've seen these things before, but this time it is someone I know.

Thank you for posting your funeral address. Until I read it, I'd forgotten what you'd said after "Help, help, help." It bugged me that while the media reported that, they didn't report what you said after, then it bugged me that I couldn't even remember! So, thank you.

Can we meet for coffee next week?

God bless you all.


Trish said...

Thank you for your updates, your encouragement for others and your honesty.
I think of you and yours often as i'm friends with your brother Doug and his wife.
Hugs to you all
Trish Swain

Annette said...

I was just coming by to see how you were doing. :) My Prayers remain with you. Such a difficult time.

Susanna said...

We continue to remember you. I don't think any of us can know how you feel or should feel or how we would feel. I am just thankful that God is sufficient for it all. Those last sentances are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us your spiritual journey. We continue to lift you all up in prayers.

Anonymous said...

I just got here by a link from somewhere. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my husband at Easter in a freak accident and I know there are simply no words to ease your pain. All I will say is this: a month is not long at all so be gentle on yourselves and cope however you feel is best on any given day. With love from Australia...

Anna said...

I have been looking all over to find info about Bible Quizzing and can't find it. I'm so sorry to ask here but your blog is how we first heard about it. Can you direct us to some link or site to learn about getting involved?
Thanks, Anna
Our older children were on TPS w/Emily.

stauf46 said...

For Anna:

I don't mind you asking about Bible Quizzing at all! Try this link:

The quizzing that we're a part of is a ministry of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) churches. I don't know the regional rules re. participation, but I'm sure using the contact information on the site will get you the answers you need.

Anna said...

Thank you so much!
Praying for you.

Janey said...

Dear Stauffer family..... wanted to let you know that we think and pray for you often. We lived in Edson for 3 months back in 2002, and met you and your church family when we came to church. Thankyou for writing on your blog. It helps us to hear you and enncourages us to continue to "look up" and draw our strength from our Saviour. blessings, janey

Anna-Paraskeva said...

You are truly blessed with the ability to verbalize thoughts and processes so well. Truly the prayers of God's people in support of you and your family are being heard, and The Comforter is indeed with you. And perhaps Emily's prayers as well, as she is now in the presence of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Terry, Juanita and family;

Thank you for your wonderful blog. Although I am not from the area I read your blog regularily now, I never did before Emilies passing. I had written your family thru your sons Facebook much earlier in the October.

I enjoy your updates and knowing how you are coping with it. Your comment "Should I feel quilty for having a good nights sleep" comforts me as I have certainly had this thought after unfortunate life happenings as well. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this theory. Also, I hope you are all sleeping well. :) Thank you for all of the wonderful words that you so kindly share with all of us.

Wishing you the best once again. Take great care

Melissa - Spruce Grove