“If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going!”

[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Begging Forgiveness[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

I wallowed in self-loathing, but it couldn’t last.  I couldn’t die.  I couldn’t vanish.  I already shed every tear inside me.  All that remained was to act.

I called Nan to apologize, but she wasn’t answering.  I left an apology message, begging for her forgiveness.  And I waited, and prayed for a response.  Something to let me know she was OK.  That we were OK.  But nothing came.  She always responds to my texts, and we never let things go past a day in the past.  But nothing.  I checked my phone all night.  I shivered at the fears that I had destroyed our relationship permanently somehow.  Sleepless fits and nightmares that my family left me consumed the night.

Thankfully, day follows night.  And light dispels darkness.  As the sun rose on the next morning, my physical pain had vanished.  And along with the light of the day, a small ray of hope lit my soul when I saw this email from Nan.  It turns out neither of us slept that night:

[content_box_light_green width=”85%”]

From: Nan Kennard
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:23 AM
To: Aaron Kennard
Subject: Abe

I am sorry to report but our son has now spiraled down into full on self-depricating, wheeping, bawling, self-blamed depression. I know you think he just needs to change his thoughts and I need to expect him to but I also know from personal experience exactly how he is feeling and I refuse to continue to follow your suggestion to crack down and take things away from him and expect him to just rise up and be a man today. He has already had so much taken away from him and is mourning the loss of the happy, patient, gentle Father he once had.

He needs love, patience, understanding and peace. I am trying SO hard to give that to him and I am sorry if you feel like I am sabotaging him. I am trying my best to follow the Spirit and to love Abe in God’s way. Abe told me he feels like he doesn’t matter and no one cares about how he is feeling. He wishes you would stay in the hospital longer because you were mean and angry and he is afraid you have become that way forever.

I think you need to keep focused on healing yourself and I will keep trying to not stress you with all the crap going on at home. I know we will get through this eventually but I am not delusional in thinking it is going away tonight. If God is telling me to take Abe out of school for a while, don’t you dare tell me I am wrong and I am spoiling him. You have no idea the full extent of what is going on because you have been so consumed with your own pain and suffering lately and believe me I don’t blame you. You have been through Hell and back and I am sorry for how trying that has been. We are in Hell too. And it sucks.

So I may just have to hold Abe near me for a while and cry with him because frankly I am depressed too and I am sick and tired of fighting with Abe and taking away the last few things that bring him peace. I can’t sleep through this pain and I need Abe to love me rather that hate me for punishing him for feelings he is not actually as in control of as you may think. You work on yourself and I will work on me and Abe.

I love you and I know you’ll be yourself again soon. Keep being strong and optimistic. I will be strong and optimistic too. I am sorry I don’t do things the way you think I should but at least I am standing by you. I am pretty sure other women would have crumbled under this weight weeks ago. But I am still standing by you, praying for and envisioning your healthy return.

Yours in Faith,


My wife is amazing!  I am so blessed to have such a strong, faith-filled, patient woman as a companion.  I don’t know of anything in life that compares to the feeling of loving companionship.  Those words of faith and support relieved my tension significantly.  But the injury remained.  I had clearly hurt my son and hurled him farther down the path of depression.  It stung fiercely to think on it.  I wrote this in reply:

[content_box_light_blue width=”85%”]

From: Aaron Kennard
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:56 AM
To: Nan Kennard
Subject: Re: Abe

Thanks Nan.  I will defer to your judgment in following the spirit on it.

That was clearly a poor way to handle things by me yesterday and I’m so sorry.  I will do my best to make it up to Abe, and you.

It should have been between you and me in a place of me listening and trying to understand the situation a lot better.

I love you and support you and know God will guide you as to what is best.  You really are amazing, so strong, and are a literal angel to me.  I am so sorry for the harm and setback I caused.

Yesterday, right as you left initiated 12 hours of hell for me.

All the food I ate that morning and afternoon began a torture bloating session on my bowels.  It turned into the next 4-5 hours of me tossing/turning and trying through intense wound wrenching stomach pain, to puke.

Medicine after med, pain killer, zofran, anti-nausea, nothing working.  Finally at 9 or 10 PM I had 5 staff working on me trying to figure it out.

And somehow miraculously I puked finally, kind of a lot.  It was hell though.  And then it got worse.  They had to ram a plastic tube down my nose into my stomach to suction
everything out.  It’s still there. I have slept maybe an hour tonight through major hiccups.  Hours later it is still sucking out bile.  But hugely relieving is the stomach cramps and bloating are gone.

I love you,


Her email eased my agony, but all day I called and texted with no response, desperately waiting in silent torture for a call from Nan.  Finally, hearing her voice that evening brought immediate tears and relief.

After she called I sent this email to my son:

[content_box_light_blue width=”85%”]

From: Aaron Kennard
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:31 PM
To: Abe Kennard
Subject: I’m so sorry.

My Dear son Abe,

I’m so sorry about the harsh words I spoke to you yesterday.  I wish I could take the whole conversation back, but I can’t.

I love you Abe.  And I want you to be happy.  And I want to be the loving Father you deserve.

I am very sick right now and I am having a hard time being the Dad you deserve.  That is not your fault.  But I will get better, and I will be there for you again.

You are such an amazing son Abe.  I’m so proud of you and so grateful to be in your family.

I know our Heavenly Father will help you and me, and Mom and the girls through this tough time.

God loves you.  He loves us.

And I ask you to please forgive me for not speaking to you as loving as God would have yesterday.  Please know that you can always turn to your Heavenly Father in prayer for comfort, even when your earthly father is struggling.  God never struggles, He is perfect and He is always there for us.

I love you Abe!


My heart ached all day for Abe.  Nan was strong enough to understand I was not myself and I didn’t mean harm.  She could cope with it somewhat.  But Abe was now fully depressed and despondent because of my actions.  The weight of guilt and shame pressed down and covered me all day with claustrophobic anxiety.  I just hoped that my email could comfort him somehow.

Later that evening Nan and I exchanged the following texts:

2012-10-30 c

Whew!!  Life is a rollercoaster ride!  And I think Winston Churchill gave the best possible advice to follow during the Hell portions of that ride:

[content_box_red width=”75%”][headline_georgia_small_centered color=”#000000″]“If you’re going through Hell, keep going!”[/headline_georgia_small_centered][/content_box_red]