Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Get to Be the One

Music is so powerful.  It can be a healing balm.  It can cause a person to think.  It can be emotional.  Somehow, music has the power to say what we are feeling when we can't find the words.  Music can lead us to a better place, but it can also take us to a darker place if we aren't careful.

Before William died I was pretty much a hymns only kind of girl.  There were a few other songs/artists I liked, but for the most part it was hymns.  But lately I've branched out considerably.  Part of the reason is that my older girls will bring me songs to listen to, friends have sent me songs they thought I might like, but also because I always listen (at least once) to the suggestions listed on a few different bereaved parents sites.  Some of the songs bring up memories of William, some just make me think, "Yes, that's it exactly."

Because music has the ability to say what we're feeling when we can't, I thought I'd start posting some of the songs I've been listening to.  I'm going to do it every Thursday since that was one of William's favorite days.  I won't link it to FB, but I'll just throw it out here on his blog to keep it all in one place for me.

You might find this one a little odd for my first choice.  I've actually been feeling pretty thankful even while I'm hurting so terribly.  The shirts have been a huge hit and I'm so happy that so many people are going to be wearing them and thinking of William and sharing him with others.  He was such an awesome child!  Man, that smile!  I am so thankful that it was me who God chose to loan him to.  I got to be the one to hold him.  I got to be the one that he wrapped those precious arms around.  I got to be the one to help him try to walk.  I got to be the one to teach him and help him and sing to him.  And he helped me grow.  Yes, I am grieving.  I miss him more than words can say.  But today, I am thankful...

Well hello,
Little baby.
Your eyes have never seen the sun
You should know
Little baby
That I am the lucky one

I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.

Don't feel alone now,
Little baby.
Do you hear me singing you a song
I can't wait to show you
Little baby
How to crawl
How to walk
And how to run

I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.

How does someone so small
Hold my heart so tightly
I don't even know you
I love you completely

I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones

I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Be Mighty!

with William's horse, Oreo


William loved strength and might.  Anything powerful.  He loved his daddy, dinosaurs (especially T-rex), Oreo (his horse), Hulk, Yoda...(and Woody, go figure).  :)

He always aspired to be strong.  Mighty.  But the truth is, even though his body was weak, his spirit WAS strong.  He inspired courage in those around him.  He always brought out the best in others.  It was impossible not to smile around him.  His laughter could brighten any day.  He loved the Lord.  He longed to see Jesus.

We miss him.  Every moment of every day, we feel the enormous void left in his absence.  Ignoring it doesn't make it go away.

So when it came time to take family pictures, I'll admit, I was somewhat frazzled.  How could we possibly move forward, commemorate in print his do you take a family photo when such a huge part of your family is missing?

We were advised to include something that would represent William, which we thought was an excellent idea.  In fact, our future family photos will always have something in them representative of William.  Sometimes it will be obvious.  Other times, you'll have to look hard for it. But it will always be there when we're in a photo as a family.

This year we chose to have one of William's favorite shirts remade.

William's shirt on Ru's quilt

Not only did William love this shirt, but it is a great reminder of the way he lived his life...the way he wanted us to live our lives.  Mightily.

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Ephesians 6:10

We are so thankful for each of you!  Your prayers, love, and kindnesses to us have carried us through this difficult time.  We are so grateful for your continued prayers.  Our road ahead is difficult as we adjust to life missing our sweet child and beloved brother.

P.S. We are placing a t-shirt order at the end of February.  If you'd like one, let us know your size by February 20.  The shirts will be delivered before his birthday.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

We've been so blessed by our family and friends.  So well taken care of.  Everyone has been so thoughtful.  We are grateful.  It grieves me what some hurting families have to endure.  I thought this list from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was helpful.  I chose not to post the "Things Not to Say" list because, honestly, I just can't imagine anyone I know saying those things.  Ugh.

I must admit, one of my biggest fears is that William's beautiful person will be forgotten.  He was such a great child.  It always means so much to me when someone else remembers him.  Yesterday I got a phone call from a young adult friend of his who just wanted to come by and visit his grave.  I wasn't home, but it really meant so much to me that he is still thinking of and remembering William.

The list below has been compiled from the hearts of the bereaved parents of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Here are some thoughts and ideas of what to say and/or do for a grieving parent and family…

  • The most helpful thing people said to my wife and me during that time was, “You’re in our prayers.” Knowing that we were in the hearts and prayers of friends, family, and even strangers, was one of the few comforts we felt.  Damon Fecitt,Aidan’s daddy
  • Please don’t avoid us. I know it’s hard to know the right words to say to me right now. But, just being there for me so I can cry on your shoulder, means more to me than you’ll ever know.
  • Please let us know that the death of our baby affected you also.
  • Please let me share my story with you. Over and over again if necessary. Sometimes, I need to keep going over the details until they seem real.
  • Please send us a card, so we know that you are thinking of us and that we are in your prayers.
  • If we have other children, please remember them, also. They are grieving, too. Offer to take them on an outing, because we still can’t face the reality that “life goes on.”
  • If you are running errands, please call to see if we need anything.
  • Please arrange for meals for our family. Something that can be frozen for later would be preferable.
  • Please remember our baby on her birthday. Mark the birthdate of the baby on your calendar so you can send a note or call. I have found that when friends call and say, “I thought of Marah today.” it makes me smile. Just to hear the name of my baby or to see it in print gave me some comfort. ~ Deb Stoner, Marah’s mommy
  • Purchase a special ornament or figurine with baby’s name on it. ~ Cheryl Haggard, Maddux’s mommy
  • If you think about giving us a call or stopping over for a visit…. don’t think about it, just do it. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had come up to me and say, “I wanted to call you or stop by but….” ~ Tammy Becker, Chase’s mommy
  • Truthfully, one of the most memorable things I received as a gift after my son died was a gift certificate for a tree. I picked out a birch and we have it in our backyard… it is a beautiful tree that is doing well. ~ Jessi Hill, Tristan’s mommy
  • As much as you may want to comfort a family member or friend and make the tears stop, unfortunately there is nothing that can be said or done. Just being there for us, and letting us know you are thinking about us, not wanting to run away when we shed our tears truly means a lot. This is a difficult task to ask of you, but it also lets us know that you care. ~ Tammy Becker, Chase’s mommy

  • Offer to come over to throw a load of laundry in the wash, or other light duty house work.
  • Give a gift certificate to the families favorite restaurant, preferably with no expiration date, if possible.
  • Give a gift basket just for mom. Bubble bath, shower gel, stress relieving soaks, candles, etc. Or lounge clothing and a box of chocolates or other sweets.
  • Get something for the other children (if applicable) like a gift basket of age appropriate toys, coloring books, reading books or even DVD/VHS movies.
  • It always seems awkward when someone asks how many children I have and you’re not sure if you should say the living number or include those who have passed. Sometimes it is just easier to say the living number to avoid the awkward look or questions. But, then I wonder, who is it really easier for? It’s definitely not easier on me and why should I make someone else’s life “easier” when I am going through so much pain? ~Tina Denzer, Isaiah’s mommy

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I posted on FB awhile back that I needed help with the bronze company.  I couldn't find anyone to do what I wanted for William's memorial.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I could, but not at a price that we could afford.  Not even close.

Several friends helped out and made suggestions.  Isn't FB wonderful, for that purpose?  A friend of mine that I haven't actually laid eyes on in 10+ years suggested a guy that actually lives in our state (thanks, Lisa)!  We've been working with him on getting an idea together.  He's been so patient, kind, and willing to help us work through our struggles.  He actually went to William's blog, read through some things, and got to know William a little.  Of all the bronze artists I contacted, he is the only one to do that.  It makes me feel so good about using him.  I'm sure he will be able to capture the likeness of our sweet William.

It was hard to let go of the idea of the wheelchair, but when push came to shove, we just couldn't afford the price tag.  So he helped us come up with another idea.  I'm not going to share it at this time, but I just wanted to share the good news that we are finally underway.  We are working with the sign company and will hopefully have that part squared away and ordered today.  Next is the concrete base, which is also in the works.  We hope to install the concrete base/sign on or before his birthday, April 8.  I am hopeful that the bronze statue will be installed by October.

Here's the unsure part.  I just went back and forth and back and forth over what the statue should look like.  I wasn't sure if I wanted it to look like William or just some random boy.  It seems odd to put a random boy out there, but I didn't want to have the appearance of setting up a shrine or idol, either.  After much wrestling over the matter and some good counsel, we finally settled on making it look like William.  Well, as much as they can.  It's like his final portrait.  And really, I guess it's not much different than putting an actual picture of him on the memorial stone.

This has been a good process.  It's given me something to do for my sweet son.  I am so used to taking care of his needs, fighting for him...I needed something to do for him.  It's been a healing process.  I'm sure it'll be difficult when there's nothing left I can do for him.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Three months ago I was up all night watching over my little boy.  Tonight I am up cherishing his memory.

I am weary, but I am not defeated.  Every day the enemy whispers his best, but the Lord remains steadfast.  He does carry me.  The enemy threatens to overtake, darkness looms, but the Spirit is faithful.  Even in the midst of my wrestling with God, I am reminded of the Scriptures that have been ingrained in my heart.  I know that Jesus holds me and the enemy cannot snatch me from His hand.

I am no Job.  In all of Job's trials he did not sin, nor did he charge God with wrong.  He did not blame God, nor did he question, "Why me?"

I question.  I believe God could have healed William.  He didn't.  I don't know why.  Why did He spare William all those other times and not the last one?  Why does He heal some and not others?  I do not know.  If there is a lesson for me to learn, I want to learn it.  Is it as simple as "his purpose was fulfilled?"  Or is it about learning to trust Him through the darkness, when I don't understand or like what He's doing?  Is it about learning to praise Him even while my heart is shattered?  Is it about recognizing God's goodness in the midst of all the pain and sorrow?

No, I am no Job.  But God loves me and will not let me go.  Each time God rescues me from the darkness is a victory.  And each victory is a small step toward another.  And one day I will finish the race...victorious.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jagged Peaks

I've been reading a book called Missing the Child You Love by H. Norman Wright.  It's been good for me.  I see some of the things I'm feeling in print and I realize maybe I'm not so strange after all.  Of course, everyone grieves differently and at their own pace, but there are some similarities.

Apparently I am still in the first stages of grief, which is somewhat depressing.  There's such a long way to go.  I am still in denial.  I can't believe he's no longer here.  I just can't fully wrap my mind around the truth.  There is still a huge part of me that hopes this is all a terrible nightmare that I will wake up from and wrap my arms around my little boy again.  Sometimes when I look at his picture I think, "How can this be?"  And, yes, there is anger.

I think I'm mostly frustrated by the questions.  The majority of my life I have been a trusting Christian.  Unwavering.  Always relying that, "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called, according to His purpose."  But as hard as I try, I absolutely cannot find the good in William's death.  Sure, I know he no longer struggles.  But he was cherished and happy.  There's the contradiction again.  One father in the book put it like this,

"I was bothered by seemingly contradictory emotions.  How could I laugh when I was feeling so sad?  How could I be resentful of what happened and yet accept it?  How could I let go and still hang on?  How could I believe and doubt in the same breath?  How could I actually experience deep joy, and yet feel the unutterable pain of having lost?"


Mr. Wright says, "Grief is slow, and it needs be slow, even though most people probably want to rush it along.  It will take longer than anyone has patience for."

He shows grief as a jagged pattern of peaks and valleys:

I found this chart very interesting, especially as we are approaching the 3 month mark and I find our grief much more intense than in the beginning.

I miss him so much.  Life is continuing, as it must.  I am trying to learn to continue with it, but I loathe the thought.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Guilt and Sorrow

Quiet.  My days are filled mostly with a solemn quiet.  Reserved.  It is hard to be around people.  I don't know why.  Even the people who love me most.

To our friends and family, I apologize.  I know it's hard for you, too.  We are not pulling away intentionally.  It has nothing to do with you.  Be patient with us.  We do not mean to push you away.

I feel guilty.  Guilty because of all the love that has been poured out on us and I know people truly love us.  I want to show my appreciation.  I want to love on others.  Really, I do.  And I try.  But most of the time it's more than I can muster.  I am doing good to force myself out of bed.  Facing people is just too much.  But I'm truly sorry that I've neglected my friends who have spent so much time before the Throne of God for me.  I still need it.

Grief has zero consistency.  At times I need to see his face, feel his blanket, hold his toys...that's the only thing that brings comfort.  Other times I see his picture and my heart shatters all over again.  The pain is nearly unbearable and I feel as though I'm being crushed by a weight I cannot possibly bear.  The same things that make me smile also bring me to tears.

One moment I feel the Lord carrying me, the next I teeter on the edge of the abyss, threatening to be lost.  Is my faith really so weak?  I have so many questions. Questions I don't dare to ask aloud.  There are so many things I know to be true, yet I struggle to believe them.  I know that I need God's people, yet all I want is to withdraw.  And that makes me feel guilty all the more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January Birthday

Well, since Sydnee is the only birthday we have in January, she was on her own for celebration. :)

Birthdays are yet another reminder for me of how quickly time slips away.  When I was a young mother I did not realize.  I mean, I knew, but I didn't realize.  I wish they could all be little again.  Or stay the age they are right now.  Maybe that would be better.  I enjoy my adult children.  They are sweet friends.  I appreciate them so much...don't know what I'd do without them.

It's fun when you get to see them "come into their own."  Sydnee has always been a jokester.  She is very much like her father in this area.  Always making a joke, playing a prank, finding the fun in a situation (or making it)!  But rarely do things get pulled on her.  So when the girls came to me and said that they needed to light the candles on Sydnee's cake without assistance and we needed to sing slowly, I was happy to oblige.

They ordered re-lighting candles.  And Sydnee was surprised and delighted.  We all laughed hysterically.  Fun times!

She tried diligently to blow them out, but they just kept coming back.

Titus climbed up into her lap to share in her birthday prayer.

Happy 17th birthday, sweet Sydnee Rose!

I love watching my children together.  The Lord has blessed us greatly.  I read somewhere that great love requires great sacrifice and brings great heartbreak.  I always thought it was speaking of romantic love and I disagreed that it would bring great heartbreak.  Now I understand what it meant.  The heartbreak doesn't have to come through anyone's actions or from something in anyone's control. But it's worth it all to have that deep, deep love and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

December Birthdays

The children are on a "share my birthday" kick.  I've always been a stickler for making a child's birthday their "special day," but I also like to do things they way they want them.  Especially on their birthday.  So, I'm giving in.  And we're combining birthdays with one big party.

December held 3 birthdays: Calvin, Adelina, and Selah.  It amazes me how big they are.  There goes that funny thing called TIME again...
Calvin - 6
Adelina - 3

Selah - 10
We had a really fun time!  We've been trying to do things a little differently.  For this group birthday, we set up gift time like a game.  One person would give a single gift bag to all three of the children and they got to pull out a gift (without looking) and determine if it was the right gift or not.

When it was Knox's turn to give his gifts, Calvin got to pull one out first.  He pulled out a stuffed Minnie in a pink dress and he immediately started laughing.  Adelina gasped and said, "OH! Minnie!!!"  Then it was her turn and she pulled out another gift without ever taking her eyes off the Minnie.  It was a pink cap gun.  On Selah's turn, she pulled out an army/tank Lego set.  Everyone was laughing except Adelina, who was still eyeballing that Minnie and not sure she was going to end up with it!  I said, "Did you guys end up with the right gifts?"  They all said, "Nooooooo...," and started to trade, with Adelina practically throwing the gun away to go for Minnie!  We were all laughing hysterically!

I'm glad she was so enthusiastic about her gift.  Knox was determined on what he wanted to get her and ONLY that particular one would do!

It's nice to be laughing together, even if it is tinged with sadness.  We all miss him so much...