Thursday, March 30, 2017

What to Say

I seriously did not think I would ever do this, but here it is:

What to say to someone who is grieving the loss of their child.

I could probably list a thousand things NOT to say.  Things like:

God needed another angel in heaven.
It hurts God more than it hurts you.
We're so selfish to wish our loved ones back here.
At least you have other children.
It's time to move on.

I know.  It's almost comical.

Except it's not.

What is it about human nature that makes us say things even we don't believe to try to make someone feel better?

I feel like I want to poke out my eardrums sometimes. Especially with the angel comment.  I know William seemed angelic on earth.  He was super sweet.  And kind.  And generous.  Yes.  I remember. But he's not an angel.  He's a saint.  But I also know we don't need to get into a big, drawn out, theological debate when you are just trying to take a moment to be kind.  And honestly, the only thing I have the energy for is a blank stare.

So here it is.  If you're in a situation where you need a one-liner, here is my big, long list of what to say to someone who is grieving the loss of their child.

1) I'm so sorry for your loss.
2) I'm so sorry for your loss.
3) I'm so sorry for your loss.

You get the idea.  If you feel the need to embellish, you can add, "I cannot imagine," in there.  Because you can't.  No loss you've experienced is the same.  Even my friends who have experienced child loss do not have my same journey.  Sure, there are similarities, but the experience is unique.  It's so unique and personal that, even though Michael and I lost the same child, our grief is different.  It's why it's so lonely.  No matter how much you love and support one another, there's a certain amount of this road that no one can travel with you.  You have to do it alone.  (Well, with Christ, but no other person here on earth.)

Now, if you're in a situation where you actually want to devote time to a griever and you know them well, by all means share a story of their loved one or tell them you are thinking of their loved one, too.

One of my happiest moments in the last few weeks was when a friend called up just to say hi.  After some small talk about the business of life and all that is coming up she said, "I heard a harmonica the other day and it made me think of William and how much he loved to play his.  And I remembered his great big smile after he would blow on it.  So I prayed right then that God would give you an extra measure of grace to face the coming month."

Wow.  Now THAT is a gift.  No pressure for me to say how I'm doing or respond in any way.  No cookie-cutter one-liner that I might have heard 5 other times that day.  It was heartfelt and sincere.  She not only told me exactly how she had been praying for me, but she also shared a memory she had of William, giving me permission to talk about him freely while letting me know he's not forgotten.

So, there you have it.  There is no one-liner that will help magically bring relief to someone who is grieving, so stay away from them, in general.  If you love a griever, it takes time, compassion, grace, and perhaps forgiveness to help bring healing.  And even then, they won't be the same.

Remember, a broken vase might be repaired with super glue.  It might still be beautiful or useful.  It might hold flowers as it did before.  It might even be able to hold water again.  But the crack will always be there.  It might be more visible to some than to others, but it will always be there.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

T-Shirts: BE MIGHTY and Trainer's Challenge

Here's the scoop on the Trainer's Challenge t-shirts for Abby and Sherrod:
Shirts are $25 each.  Proceeds will support both girls and help care for their horses while they are here.  Deadline to order is April 15.  Here's what they look like:

Please contact Abby via text, email, or FB if you'd like to order.  NOT ME.  There's enough swirling around in my head...😜

Also, it's time to order BE MIGHTY shirts again.  As always, these shirts are a free gift from our family.  If you'd like one, please let me know by April 8 (William's birthday).  If you need my email, it's  We will also have a few BE MIGHTY shirts on hand to give away at the trail ride.

Wow!  Lots of t-shirt ordering going on around here.  We just ordered the shirts for the very first WILLIAM'S WALK MEMORIAL TRAIL RIDE.  I look forward to seeing how they turn out.

We are also in the process of ordering shirts for WILLIAM'S WALK at The Right Path.  Deadline is also April 15.

So, if you think about it, say a little prayer for my sanity... 😘

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How Are You?

What a question.

I have 2 options when asked this question.

Option One:  I can put on the show.  Put the wall up.  Smile and give the obligatory, "I'm fine."  Then get out of Dodge.

Option Two:  I can break down, sobbing, and talk about how I feel like such a failure and a fraud.  How it's so hard to hear people tell me how strong I am or how great I'm doing or how much they admire how I've held fast while I just want to scream, "It's all an illusion.  I'm none of those things.  I'm just good at pretending."  I can lament the fact that I am controlled by fear in everything I do now.  There's no area of my life it doesn't touch.  I could tell about how grief has changed me.  How I feel it to my very core.  It's nearly impossible to live with it.  It's more impossible to live without it.

I usually opt for number one.

People expect me to be joyful.  They expect that the hope that lives within me is enough to extinguish the grief.

But it's not.

"Sorrow is knowledge; those that know the most must mourn the deepest." Lord Byron

The grief remains.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the hope.  I cling to it.  But I'm still living this life without my little boy.  I will miss him as long as God gives me breath.  Every moment of every day.  He is a part of me.  That's how God made me.  So I carry the sorrow, just as I carry the love.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Roller Coaster

This week has been very emotional.  I've had extreme highs and extreme lows.

Sarah and I got a new wish child on Friday.  We took a road trip (almost to Missouri) to visit him on Saturday.  Oh, my!  He's a cutie!

On Sunday Vixey died.  Boy, that was tough.  So many memories there.  She was such a sweet little dog.

I turned around on Monday and had a great day!  We took Velvet to The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center to visit children during their chemo treatments.  Wow!  Was that ever fun!  There were several children that we visited that made the whole trip worth the effort, even if they had been the only one we visited!  One girl, in particular, really struck my heart.  We had already visited a group out in what they call the pod.  They asked if we would mind coming around to individual children in their own rooms.  Of course we didn't!  As we're walking around the corner, a mom is hanging out in the doorway of her child's room, while daughter is sitting, watching TV.  Mom says, "Oh, hey, you have a visitor.  You will NEVER guess who's here."  Daughter, who looks really pale and tired, says, "Oh, Mom, I really don't want to see anyone.  I don't feel..."  Mid-sentence she sees Velvet.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of the look on her face.  She was so happy and excited.  She loved on Velvet for quite awhile and just thought she was wonderful!  Even after we left, as we were visiting other children, I would look over at her cubicle periodically and see her contentedly playing with her stuffed pony that we left for her.  Just made my day!

It was also fun to see all the doctors and nurses make all over Velvet!  We'll definitely have to do that again!

I've spent the rest of the week doing things around the house.  We picked up a bull for Sherrod's cow (borrowed).  Hopefully, he will do his job.  I've been busily preparing for William's Memorial Trail Ride, which is really just in a few weeks.  It is something I absolutely LOVE doing but it is so draining, emotionally, as well.  I have been trying to work out details on a fabulous gift that I want to give away at the ride.  It will be incredible, if I can pull it off.

I really messed up on William's monument.  Long story, short, I applied the wrong kind of wax.  It's been a nightmare.  We didn't know what it was going to do to the patina or if we could even get it off.  I thought it might have to be sandblasted.  Ugh.

Several of us spent several hours scrubbing on it yesterday.  I think it's going to be okay.  We got the face, ears, arms, hands, and front of the shirt completely clean.  The hair is going to take a good, long while, but we lost daylight yesterday.  Some of us are going to go at it again today.  That's incredibly emotional for me, as well.  I just wish he were here.  I wish there were still things I could do to take care of him.  I miss him every moment.

I had a friend tell me the 2nd year would be harder.  In the first year, people understand your tears.  They accept them.  They are still thinking of him.  He's still a part of their lives, too.  But in the 2nd year, the tears begin to make others uncomfortable.  His existence becomes reduced to a memory and his death becomes merely a date on a calendar.  They were able to rip that page off, but it's very much a part of who I am everyday.

I can't say that I am thriving but I am surviving.  Every day.  For now that will have to do.  Some days are harder than others, for no explainable reason.  I still have a hard time with sleep.

One thing has been very helpful to me this year.  In December, I did this thing on FB.  I'm not even sure how I worded it, but the basic idea was that I wanted people who would want prayer.  I ended up with 3 people each month of 2017 that I've committed to pray for everyday.  It's been so helpful.  It's given me a purpose to focus on other's needs when I begin to feel like I'm drowning in my own.  I'm so thankful for those who decided to participate.  It means so much to me.  Thank you!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Joining in the Fight

I have a difficult time dealing with the world around me at times.  It's an odd feeling for me because it's new.  I can't engage in the fight as I used to.  It overwhelms me.

I used to be so zealous.  Everything mattered and I could see a reason to stand up and fight against undesirable things.  Now it's all I can do to stand up on my own two feet and step forward.

There have been so many things going on around me that once I would have jumped in and done my part.  Politics, current issues, government overstep, vaccine mandates, GMOs, etc, etc, etc.  At one time I could have taken a setback and bounced back to fight harder.  Now I just feel defeated.

I look at the erosion of freedoms in our country and I just want to retreat.  Withdraw.  It's discouraging that so many people are gladly accepting and encouraging loss of freedom for their own personal agendas.  I must summon the courage and desire to fight on.  For the sake of those who come after me...

I miss him so desperately.  I miss who I used to be.  I miss the naivety of a life with unmarred joy.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


I'm not sleeping again. I don't know why. I was doing pretty good there for awhile.

I find that I enjoy talking to complete strangers, the people who I can pretend with. They don't know that my world has crashed and I can pretend that it hasn't, just for a moment.