All posts filed under: Grief

Better :: Broken

Much of this life that we’re now living – where we live and the way we do family and the way we handle our grief and how we live with hope – would not be possible if it weren’t for counseling. Counseling is tough stuff. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the selfishly minded. It’s not for know-it-alls. Counseling is for folks who are broken and looking for help. And we were so devastatingly broken when we began professional counseling in 2014. Prior to Heidi’s death, we had participated in informal counseling with the teaching elder of our church and his wife; and we’d sought out consistent counseling from a couple older than ourselves during our dating years. But losing Heidi threw us onto the couch of a professional counselor who had experience as a cop in domestic violence and trauma, who had been through seminary, who is a trained clinical marital and family counselor. We needed counseling desperately, and this particular counselor was the man for the job, as it …

Knowing :: God

I think I’m coming to a new place in knowing God. I was raised in a Christian home and I’ve studied the Bible for myself. But as it is for all of us humans- we question everything and we get tightly wound about the things we can’t explain. I am finding in this time -three years post Heidi’s death, two years post my NICU baby, five months post my third child’s birth- that I am trusting God in a new way… I’ve trusted God to be who he says he is. Now I trust God to be with me no matter what. I’ve been at the bottom of the barrel. Maybe I haven’t sunk as low as you have; but I know what it feels like to be a victim, to have out-of-control circumstances, to be utterly consumed with fear, to wonder if life is worth living. Now that I’ve lived more of life- I don’t trust God to give me good things. I know for a fact that he will give me terrible things. …

Moments: of Grace

Maybe you’re one of those people who prayed for us in the aftermath of losing Heidi. I remember being shocked that one of my college professors had learned of our tragedy; he wrote me a letter that said, “Don’t let this stop you from having children and loving children. You were meant to be a mom and I believe God will give you more children.” Truly, we had people from all over the world praying over our broken family- a church in Indonesia, believers of Christ in Italy, a church in France, friends in Norway, people I’d never met who knew someone who knew us… the list was long and the prayers were heartfelt. Last night my husband and I were putting this miracle child to bed, and we knelt together beside her to pray like we do every night. But it didn’t feel routine in that moment- it felt miraculous. There we were- holding hands as parents, talking with our two year old, helping her understand who God is, asking for God’s blessings over …

Christmas :: Morning

This certainly is the strangest Christmas morning I’ve ever had. I’m alone on my couch in the pajamas I’ve worn for the past three days, I’m sick with something like the croup, my husband is working, my daughter is having a sleepover with Granddaddy & Grandmother, my baby is asleep in his crib. It’s certainly not the toughest Christmas I’ve ever had. Christmas 2014 that we should’ve had with Heidi, but she was suddenly gone before Thanksgiving, was virtually unbearable and I am amazed every year as we look back that we survived it… I don’t mourn the lack of Heidi’s presence on this day as much as I think I would… I know that she is safe and well and happy, and I have no doubts of seeing her again and being with our Savior for eternity. But I’ll tell you what does get me- watching my other two beautifully innocent children and wondering what their future in this broken world will be… I mourn that more deeply, in a way, than I do …

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, …