All posts filed under: Grief

Heidi: Third Birthday

I remember a friend of mine who’s son passed away of SIDS, as well, twelve years prior told me that some years you let yourself remember and reflect and rejoice in that precious child’s life; and other times you don’t do all those things and that’s okay, too. It was their first child -Jackson was his name- and with their other children they wanted to always celebrate Jackson’s birthday with cake and balloons, the typical party paraphernalia for any age. But she told me that some years there was too much weight, too much grief in the days leading up to Jackson’s new number. She’d remind me, “And that’s okay, you know? Grief is like the ocean tide- it comes and it goes, it’s subtle and it’s overwhelming.”  I wasn’t sure how I’d handle Heidi’s third birthday this year. But I decided that I needed to celebrate her. I made a rainbow cake and added skittles for humor since she was born the day after Halloween; my parents brought balloons and flowers and a card …

Steel :: Magnolias

When I first moved to this area five years ago, I knew a couple people but had no history connected to this city in the mountains. Everything was new. My husband and I slowly built friendships with folks in our church community. But then our Heidi suddenly died, and we suddenly had a flock of friends supporting us and carrying us through and knowing us more intimately than anyone ever had… Out of that came my very own Steel Magnolias. Women of a different season and of different experiences who became my safe place, my home away from home, voices of truth, steady and assuring companions.  Now and then we take a retreat together or we meet for coffee or we fellowship in a living room for an afternoon. Today we sat around the dining table with lumps of clay, building and creating while sharing our lives together. What special people I’ve been given the privilege of knowing 💙 What sorts of intergenerational relationships do you have? What kinds of activities do you share with …

Picture: of Grief

It’s a darling photo of a darling family. It would seem that simple. But it’s not.  Something I combat as a grieving mother (yes, grief is an ongoing process) is envy or pride or something like that. When I see pictures of other happy people in their happy place….. and know that they’ve never experienced tremendous pain or loss or heartache and that their life really is just about that simple….. I scroll past the picture.  Because when I look at my pictures I see people who came to a place of tender comfort from the trenches of battle. I see faces that smile though they were sullen, sore saddened shoulders that have been raised upright again, arms that envelop two precious lives… and ache for the other precious child. I see people who have suffered and wept and torn their hearts out and bloody beat the ground with woeful words to God. I see people who have a story that’s dug deep & long gnarled roots into the ground of God’s truth in order …

Why :: Write

I had a recent conversation with someone I love & respect, and in this conversation I was being prodded and challenged to consider why I write what I write. I was taken aback that my loved one didn’t understand the backbone of my writings. It was jarring to me and I’ve taken a backseat to think things through. Why DO I blog? What am I trying to convey to readers? What do I care about in my own life? Why do I verbalize the raw parts of my life? So, I’ll share my journal notes to myself about why I blog and then you can comment about what you think of it. How’s that? Discussion is good. Feedback is good. Sometimes I feel like I’m just blogging out into the void, but then some of you write to me privately about your own stories and your own inspirations. That means a lot to me. I think that most of the time I write for therapeutic reasons and as a form of artistic outlet, but I …

Who’s :: There

I’ve been working my way through a Beth Moore Bible study titled Breaking Free. I chose to host a study group in my home this year, because I knew my availability as a stay-at-home mother would be limited; and I also wanted to invite anyone in my community to share & fellowship. Despite having good reasons for it, I was also hesitant & apprehensive. I thought, “Break free? Do I even want to know what this sort of study will entail? I think I just want to stay in my corner of grief & sadness. I don’t think I can ever break free from the fact that my firstborn daughter died in my arms.” So, in case you think I’m a goody-goody Christian girl, think again. I’ll tell you the truth before you read the rest of this post- I haven’t broken free from my pain & suffering. I’ve actually come to accept it and live with it and see God there with me in it. I think sometimes that’s all those of us who …

Through: the Forest

You know that phrase, “seeing the trees through the forest”? We referred to it often when I was a Vision Therapist. Sometimes we are so focused on the tree in front of us and the tree to our left and the tree to our right that we become overwhelmed… as a result we’ve lost perspective and we’ve gotten lost in the forest of trees. We’re no longer seeing the trees that make up the whole forest. (In Vision Therapy this is known as central focus and parafieral awareness 😉)  The holiday season for us is much like this phenamanon. We tend to just see all the trees -sadness, despair, loss, misery- and no forest -God who is sovereign over these emotions. Or we see a thick dense forest of pain and anger that will consume us and we miss the individual trees of blessing and hope.  It is difficult to explain to those who have not suffered during the holiday season how much resentment, turmoil, and bitterness is wrapped up under the cheer, lights, ornaments, …

Forever :: Friendship

It is difficult for our friends – who have not lost or suffered greatly – to understand and enter into the pain of those of us who are grieving. What can they do to lighten our darkness? What can they say to give hope? How can they unlock the cold devastation that has quarantined us? — My best best friend and I have a unique and unusual friendship. We have literally known each other our entire lives. We’ve never known life without each other. Born two months apart, our parents members of the same church, growing up the first five years in the same county, remaining pen pals half a world apart for eight years, living together part of high school, meeting our spouses online and marrying six months apart qualifies us as the most bonded best friends ever. In our opinion 😉 We’re quite obviously sisters from another mother since we’re a foot apart in height, she’s the natural beauty and I’m plain jane.  But when Heidi died I didn’t hear from her. My …

Free: As a Bird 

Did you get a chance to follow along with us on Instagram during our adventures in Maui? My husband and I took off -leaving kid, kitties, puppies and chickens to fend with grandparents- for a ten day island vacation/anniversary retreat.  We needed it. We needed a break from life. We needed an oasis for our marriage.  Thankfully all participants survived this experience and all, mostly all, have settled back into good ol’ farm life.  Maybe you knew- my husband and I arrived home from our long journey on our daughter Heidi’s birthday. She is two years old and celebrating the beauty of two in Heaven. We had scheduled our trip around her birthday so that we would be home in time for it, in time to do something special in commemoration. But airplane mechanics got the better of our “best laid plans,” so we were delayed a couple days; which meant that our crash landing into reality left us jet lagged, frustrated, and disoriented. We hit the ground painfully hard with a literal nail in …

Darker :: Days

When I lay [my] questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of No answer. It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but in waving the question. Like, “Peace, child; you don’t understand.” -C.S. Lewis I recently experienced a very heavy darkness that lasted about a month- through E’s first birthday. While Little Hiccup transitions into being a year old, with all the successes and failures of it, I am broken hearted, my soul is downcast within me- that I never got to watch my daughter Heidi grow through those changes.  Not only have I wept, I have also been angry. “Fuck. No one else will have their baby taken from them in the middle of the night. No one else but me. I’m alone. No one knows the depths of my pain.” I have shouted that through the darkness of my soul. If I’m honest with myself, I’m railing at God.  Why? …

Vlog: Morning Visit

It was a breezy July day and I had a small window of downtime, so I considered how to answer some of your – you readers & friends – questions about my process with grief. Some have asked big broad questions like, “How did you survive?” Others have asked more pertinent questions like, “What gave you hope when you felt dark inside?” , “What did you believe about God that impacted the way you grieved?”. With coffee in hand I addressed some of these thoughts in a casual candid way- on my porch listening to the wind chimes and the morning birds. This is my invitation to you. If you’ve never wrestled with God about the things you don’t understand, He invites you to do that; if you’ve never read the scriptures about who God is, He’s left the door wide open for you to do that, too. Here’s part of my journey- the things I’ve struggled with, the thoughts I’ve had, the sorrows I’ve felt, the beliefs that’ve laid the foundation, the philosophy of …