On Thursday, June 29, 2017, our 23-year-old daughter’s life came to an abrupt and heartbreaking end when she took her life.
A kind-hearted young woman
Alexandra Gabrielle Manos (Alex) was one of the most kind-hearted, thoughtful, gentle souls, and one of the greatest gifts in our life and in the lives of so many who knew her. She loved people and saw the best in them. She made the world a brighter place even while she battled her own internal pain.
Alex had moved home a few months before her death and was getting professional help for the anxiety and depression she had been haunted by since her teen years.
We won’t know this side of heaven precisely what happened in that irrational moment where the pain she carried caused her to take such a drastic action, but we do know this … she was loved dearly, cared for, and that moment does not define her beautiful life.
Alex was a believer in the Lord Jesus and she had a personal relationship with Him as her Savior. We know where she is. She rests safely in the arms of Jesus. She is free, whole, healed, happy, and we will see her again one day. James, Olivia, Blake, and I are drawing close to one another and to God. He is upholding us and sustaining us even now.
Finding comfort as believers
I posted the following thoughts July 3 on my Facebook page, just days after Alex’s death.
Words are containers. They mean things and they carry weight. This morning I woke up with these thoughts …
This is devastating, but we are not devastated
This is heartbreaking, but we are not broken
This is crushing, but we are not crushed
This is shattering, but we are not shattered
This is a dark road, but we have light
This is dreadful, but we are not full of dread or fear
This is overwhelming, but we will not be overwhelmed and consumed by despair
We are deeply wounded. We have all suffered an inconceivable loss. Our hearts are raw and hurting. We will need love and care for months to come. We will need gentleness and kindness. We will need time and space. And yet, there is an inexplicable rest even now in knowing that we are held tightly in the palm of our Heavenly Father’s hand, surrounded by family and friends and the body of Christ … loving us, supporting us, upholding us. We have to walk through this horrific ordeal, but He is walking with us and He is caring for us. We are not alone.
There is a hole in our lives that cannot be filled … except by the One who loves us and died for us. Even as I weep buckets of tears and the ache in my heart swells, I know without a shadow of a doubt that He truly does heal the brokenhearted. He is our healer, even now. Nothing will bring our beautiful daughter back. And oh, how I wish we could. Our lives are forever changed.
And yet … there is a peace that passes understanding in this moment because of Jesus. He is real. He loves us. He loves you. We are hidden under the shadow of His wing. Safe. Held. Loved.
It would be so easy to focus on the devastation, on the loss, and to be consumed by grief. But, even as I cry and I ache over her absence, my mind and heart just keep coming back to the anchor for my soul, the solid foundation under our feet because of our faith in Jesus. He is there. Immovable. Loving. Weeping with us. Covering us. Carrying us.
For all who knew and loved our girl … you are in my thoughts and I am praying for you. She was a remarkable person who touched the lives of so, so many. I know you are hurting, too. I am praying for peace to your hearts and minds, comfort, and rest. Remember who she was. The joy she brought. And smile … even as you weep … because of who she was and the light and life she brought everywhere she went.
Watch the Video of Alex’s Memorial Service
On Monday, August 7, 2017, several hundred gathered with us at Hillsong Phoenix, Mesa Campus as we remembered and celebrated the life of our beautiful daughter Alexandra Gabrielle Manos.
Our good friend, Dr. Jerry Law, did an excellent job in his opening message discussing the ways that depression lies and steals, and addressing this difficult topic directly and honestly, while also reminding us of the hope that we have in Jesus.
The celebration last night of Alex and her life was done so well and honored the person she is perfectly. Her love continues to work and impact the lives of those she has touched. Thank you for allowing so many of us the opportunity to celebrate her and her legacy. Praying for you all.