God, Please Help Me Get Through This Storm!
By Lisa T. Simmons
Upon the loss of my soul mate, I truly understood what the definition of the word ‘heartache’ meant. He was LAPD SWAT OFFICER RANDY SIMMONS and he died in the line of duty on February 7, 2008 just two hours after we had prayed together as a family.
Every time I think back on that tragic night and my children’s reaction to their father’s death, it breaks my heart. Sometimes I become so frustrated by the fact that our lives were interrupted by a deranged man, a man who should have never been let out of a state mental institution. His disturbed behavior triggered his killing rampage, which included killing his father, two brothers as well as Randy.
As my frustration lessened, it usually turned into a deep sadness, especially when I would look at my kids who had such a great father and who were now without a Dad. Knowing how much hurt and pain my children felt, I tried with all my might to suppress my own pain, particularly when they were around me. I wanted to be strong for their sake, so I gave myself permission to cry, to be angry; to scream and shout from time to time, but only when they’re weren’t in my presence. Yet everywhere I would go and everything I would do, my grief would haunt me.
I had gotten really good at hiding my hurt and pain even at the most inopportune times. Often, I felt the need to keep my composure around LAPD, primarily during ceremonies honoring Randy. I would walk up to the podium to receive an award in his honor attempting to smile and show my gratitude, but the truth of the matter was that my heart was broken and my anguish often hidden by a joker’s smile.
In addition to hiding my real feelings, at times it was more of the normal things that ripped my heart apart like going to sleep at night and looking for Randy’s chiseled body and big smile on his side of the bed. I longed for the days when we snuggled up in bed, eating sugar cookies while watching CNN news.
And then there were moments when my son would reluctantly ask me to take him to a sporting goods store to buy football cleats or when he would ask me to help him tie his tie. It was then I would get a frog in my throat as I choked back tears. Those were special things that he and his father used to do together because those were Dad things. After all, what did I know about buying football cleats or tying a tie?
There were also the times that I could be found hiding out in the bathroom crying my heart out when I would see my daughter wrapping herself up in her father’s robe and walking around the house in his slippers. It was her way of using his personal clothing to substitute the feelings she had for his absence.
I guess the real meltdown came during my weekly grocery shopping trip. Without thinking, I would throw Randy’s favorite foods in the grocery basket barely realizing what I was doing. All the things that at one time held very little significance began having so much meaning. Things like his sugar cookies, pasta, or even buying salmon, as these were the foods he enjoyed. Sadly, they were now causing me to fall apart in the middle of the store. Talk about grieving!
But my children and I grieved in our own way and we also did the things that gave each of us a sense of comfort
about the loss of Randy. We deeply missed Randy’s presence and struggled with his absence.
As the months passed, I eventually started feeling myself slipping into a deep dark hole that I now know carries the name of depression. Although I was constantly praying, I just couldn’t seem to climb out of that hole. I remember one day in particular calling Randy’s mother who was a woman of faith. Surprisingly, she was handling his death so well given that he was her only son and the apple of her eye. I needed help spiritually and without a doubt, I knew she would be the one to intercede for me. I expressed all these emotions to my mother-in-law and explained how my entire body ached for my husband, how my heart felt like it was shattered and that it was all leading me into a deep depression.
She encouraged me with words of faith and scripture, telling me not to lose heart, but to read the bible and to
meditate on these things-
– Philippians 4:8“ Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
And so I did just that. Every time I felt the weight of grief come over me, I made it a point to focus on the Word of
God. Then, I would just start praising God each time I felt that sick feeling in my stomach, the feeling that suppressed my appetite. Slowly, I began to feel a change. The more I confessed God’s goodness and spoke life into my spirit, the more I began to feel alive. Every time I would feel myself slipping into that dark hole, I literally
started quoting this scripture verse –
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
I knew that Randy would want the kids and me to continue living out a happy and healthy life and to lean on the Word of God. For that reason, I pushed through the pain and grief with every fiber of my being and did everything I could to get through it. I must admit, every so often, I would break down and cry but I didn’t stay in that emotional state for long. I knew in the midst of all my emotions that God was still near and that in spite of the tragedy that had fallen upon us and the great loss of a future with Randy; I knew that God still had a beautiful plan mapped out for our lives.
Eventually, I got back on track. I lifted myself up and continued to run the race of life….walking, stumbling and falling from time to time as I continued to grieve for Randy. However, I was determined to live out the purpose and plan that God had for my life. I knew that with God’s mercy and grace, He would give me the momentum I needed to continue my journey at a steady and peaceful pace. I knew that God would strengthen me if I trusted Him and didn’t lose heart.
Day by day, I felt myself getting stronger as I started embracing my “new normal.” Instead of resenting it, I accepted it. Suddenly, it seemed as though the season was starting to change. The more and more I embraced the future God set before me, the more the storm began to slowly subside. Just like every other turbulent storm, there is a colorful rainbow afterwards that reminds us all of God’s promises. All we have to do is seek HIM.
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." Psalm 121:1.
Today, my children and I are in a new season. We are basking in the sunshine of life. Both my children are attending college and living out healthy and happy lives. As for me, I am now happily remarried and continuing on
my journey. I can now share my testimony of how - “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the