Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Andrew Turns 1!

Our sweet baby turned one yesterday!  It's so hard to believe.  The days pass so quickly and the years are so short.

He's such a fun little guy!  He loves books and knows just what to do with them...

He carried his Bible around, right along with his sword! A good match!

OH, WOW!  That cake looks delicious...

Unfortunately, I had to pull it away so he didn't touch the flame...

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!!! That crazy singing has stopped...

Oh, yeah, I knew it would be good...

He's such a ham!

What a joy!  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gifts!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


This picture expresses the gap that is felt without him.  The gaping hole that is so evident in everything we do.  No matter what, no matter where...there is always something (someone) missing.  It is hard to believe that only 2 years ago, we were gathered together in the playroom, singing "I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving" and praising the Lord that William had come successfully off of life support.

Here I am again.  Another day, another battle.  I want to be thankful.  I want to live a life of thankfulness.  To see blessing at every corner.  And on the one hand, I do.  I look at my children and I have a deeper appreciation for them than ever.  But I also have the fear of being asked to let go.

I still feel like I live my life in a constant conundrum.  A continual state of give and take.  My life has become puzzling to enigma.  I feel that this is something I will eventually adjust to.  I must.

In many ways, my walk with God has only solidified and I'm closer to Him than I've ever been.  Yet, I struggle to overcome my mind in ways I've never fought before.  Bitterness, anger, depression...all loom at the door of my heart and I have to be ever vigilant to conquer them, lest they take me over entirely.

I am constantly fighting against my feelings and reminding myself of what I know to be true.  The struggle is exhausting but it is better than the alternative.

I feel as though I'm getting better.  But at what?  The grief is not gone.  I'm not even sure it's really changed much.  I still fight tears on a daily basis.  But I think, for the most part, people see "normal" when they look at me.  There is no normal.  It is gone.  There is only learning to adjust to a life of war within.

What used to be my favorite holiday has become another battle in the long list of battles.  I go.  I go do the things that are expected of me.  I put a smile on my face.  I laugh.  I listen, or at least try to.  I do my best to engage.  I pretend that my heart is not broken.  And in the midst of it all, I am looking, searching, trying to place at the front of my mind the things I am thankful for.  To stay afloat.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

We are 15

Bereaved parents often find it hard to answer the "how many children" question.  For me, I always give the full number.  Where my child is located has no bearing on my love for them.

Of course, Bryce is easy.  Though he no longer lives in our home, he is still living, growing, making a life.  We are still able to make memories with him, tell him we love him, take pictures of him (ha - as if he does that!).

But with 2 children in heaven, it can be difficult to explain their absence.  If one even wants to make the explanation.  I have to admit that while I always answer "15," I don't always give details.

A friend from a Bereaved Parents group posted this a couple of weeks ago.  I thought it was a beautiful encouragement that, though our children may be missing from this earth, they are never missing from our hearts.


A simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
-Her beauty made me glad.

“Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?”
“How many? Seven in all,” she said,
And wondering looked at me.

“And where are they? I pray you tell.”
She answered, “Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway-dell,
And two are gone to sea.

“Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother.”

“You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be.”

Then did the little Maid reply,
“Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree.”

“You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five.”

“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”
The little Maid replied,
“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,
And they are side by side.

“My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

“And often after sun-set, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

“The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

“So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

“And, when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side.”

“How many are you, then,” said I,
“If they two are in heaven?”
Quick was the little Maid’s reply,
“O Master! we are seven.”

“But they are dead, those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!”
‘Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

~William Wordsworth
source: The Longman Anthology of Poetry (Pearson, 2006)    

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Going on

We are staying pretty busy.  I'm  not sure if that's a good thing or not.  I feel so overwhelmed.  But I can't seem to slow down and rest, either.  That is also overwhelming.

I guess I expected that after a year of grieving, I would start to develop a new normal and things would kind of settle in.  I guess in some ways that's happening.  But I never dreamed how hard things would be.

How hard it would be to go to conferences and think about how much he would LOVE meeting new people and visiting new places.

How hard it would be to change out winter clothes and know that Wallace is wearing clothes he barely touched.  Next year, I will need to purchase everything new for a 9 year old Wallace.

How hard it would be to keep up with daily tasks, feeling lost because of the things that no longer require my time.

How hard it would be to make small talk.

How hard it would be to deal with conflict.

How hard it would be to look at his picture...or not look at his picture.

How hard it would be to do life.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Yes. This...

Try not to judge the bereaved mother.  She comes in many forms.  She is breathing, but she is dying.  She may look young, but she has become ancient.  She smiles, but her heart sobs.  She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she IS NOT, all at once.  She is here, but part of her is elsewhere.  For eternity.  ~  Unknown

This picture brought so much emotion for me.  It is likely one of the best pictures I have ever seen that even begins to describe the anguish and devastation of a mother who has been deprived of her beloved child.