The Words of the Lamson Family

Sunghwa Message given at Jessica Fladung's Sunghwa Ceremony

Michael Lamson
June 16, 2012

Today we are faced with a painful and perplexing situation we could never have imagined. A precious daughter, granddaughter, sister and friend has been inexplicably and unexpectedly taken from us.

We cannot pretend that we are not shocked and grieved by the death of Jessica. The timing of it makes it all the more difficult. She was still too young with many more years to live and so many more lives to influence.

We are gripped with a range of emotions, the sadness over the loss of someone so gifted, talented, loving and special.

Some of us are angry because we have been left behind and because we didn't get an opportunity to help, to say goodbye, or to say I love you. Some of us are having feelings of guilt because we didn't see the signs or we feel like we could have done more. And all of us are asking "why?" How could it have come to this? Why didn't she ask for help?

There is so much we don't know. We don't know what burden Jessica was carrying which seemingly appeared to her to be too much to shoulder. We don't know why she took her own life or what led her to think she had no other choice.

Our hearts go out to her, someone we thought we knew so well, and someone we loved. We all want to turn back time, grab hold of her hand, hug her close and help her through the struggle that became too much for her to bear. And we wonder, of course, how much she suffered at the end, in this final lonely act. There is much we do not know, and it hurts.

But that is not what today is about because there is a great deal we do know. We know that though she carried with her a great burden she loved, she laughed, she cared and she played her guitar. We know that she loved animals and was strong enough to be a vegetarian.

In our faith we know that God withholds his love from no one. We know He loves Jessica.

What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God. I believe that God is pleased with who Jessica was becoming.

He has loved Jessica all the days of her life. When she was born, God's love was with her in the gift of life. When she was a child, God's love was with her. Even when Jessica's days were at their toughest, when the pressures and stresses facing her seemed overwhelming, God's love was still with her. And God's love is with her today as well. No matter what we do or fail to do, no matter what we say or fail to say, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God.

We can wrestle with "if". If only I had said something… If only I had done something… If only I had noticed what she was struggling with…"

We can wrestle with the why's. Why did she do this? Why did she make this decision? Why didn't she turn to us for help? But that is a path which leads nowhere and provides no answers.

When we understand that God's love is sufficient, then we know He loves us and hears us. He is aware of our weaknesses. He knows our problems and frustrations. Even in our grief and sorrow, He understands because He knows what it means to lose a child. And we know that God's love will help carry us through and will heal the pain and brokenness in our lives.

At this vantage point, it is hard to see how any good could come from this tragedy.

The tragedy which has gripped us is not good by any means. When a person takes their own life, it is a tragedy beyond comprehension. We are likely to think in terms of failure- failure of will, failure of family, failure of friends and church. There is not one good thing about this. This is not what God wanted.

But good can come from this. Because of God's grace, good can come from this. We cannot see yet what God will do through this event. But we do know this: that in all things, even in the event of a tragic death through suicide, God works for the good of those who love Him.

It's been said that death ends the physical but never the spiritual. Death may end lives, but it can never end relationships. Even though Jessica is no longer with us, our relationship with her remains. She touched so many lives and her touch will live on with us. So, each time a memory of Jessica leaps into your head, it's my hope that you will cherish those moments for it may be her way of keeping in touch with you.

In Gods all Loving care. That's where our Jessica is. That's a good place. Today we have to let go and allow Jessica to begin her new journey, her new adventures.

You will always be loved by all of us Jessica, thank you for being a part of our lives and bon voyage, 'buon viaggio' 

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