Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the Season...

I miss him. The most wonderful time of the year is the most difficult for us. The lights, music and smells take me back to the three days we spent in the hospital, the last three days we spent with our Webb. Bo and Whit do not know we associate Christmas with their brother’s death. They are blissfully unaware of the significance of those dates, and we are grateful for that. But that does not mean they don’t feel it. In fact, we talk about him more than ever these days: putting the decorations up, hanging his ornaments, talking about the two Christmases when there were three boys on Santa’s lap and looking at those pictures….. It has prompted a series of questions. First, from Whit, who for the first time asked, “Mommy, when is Webbie coming home?” And then, from Bo, who is older now and needs more details about why his brother is in heaven. I answered all their questions as honestly as I could. I cried when talking with Bo because he asked, “Why did you let Webbie die? How many doctors did you take him to?” He cannot comprehend the parents who fix all of his problems couldn’t fix his brother’s. And I am heartbroken he had to come to that realization at the age of five. So, no, we are not feeling merry and bright. Christmas is incredibly and increasingly difficult. Most people acknowledge this- some don’t know what to say. But our little unit of four remains as close as ever, wiping each other’s tears and holding each other close, and really, that is all that matters. We love each other very much. We are grateful for our Savior’s unfailing love for us. We are hopeful for blessings to come. And we are remembering our angel with every minute of every day. Love and peace to all of you this season. And thank you for loving and praying for our family.


“If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift.” ~ Elizabeth Edwards

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Power (or not?) of Prayer

Children are dying. Everyday. I have heard of four just this past month. And today, as I went to preschool to read to Whit's class, I find out a 5 year old precious member of our church was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. I want to scream and throw up at the same time. Why is this happening?? Why are our children dying of cancer?!? I feel helpless and pointless and scared....because, by the way, once you actually lose a child, it doesn't mean you've "paid your dues." I am highly aware and sensitive to the fact I could lose another. And that makes me want to die. It's so risky, this business of having children. It's the most vulnerable you will ever be because the love you feel for them is so overwhelming and intense....which makes something happening to them (or even the thought of something happening to them) so incredibly painful and hard to take. What can we do? Before Webb died, I would say we should round up the troops, pray like crazy and hope for a miracle. And I suppose even after Webb died, I would still say the same things, but for very different reasons. Before Webb died, I believed if we prayed hard enough, long enough and had enough people by our side, we could change the outcome. I know now that is not how it works. God can still perform a miracle, but it won't be because we stormed the throne and "made" him do so. Why did I ever think I was important enough or powerful enough to change God's mind?? God already knows what the outcome will be. He knows the day we find out the diagnosis whether He will perform a miracle of healing or whether He will call someone home. No matter how many "prayer petitions" or "prayer warriors" or how many people we have lined up begging Him for the same thing, the outcome is still up to God. And we don't get to change His mind. Of course we don't. Do you really think God looked down on us and said, "Well, Webb is sick, but they only got 1000 people to pray, and the little girl down the hall got 2000, so I will spare her and 'take' Webb." ?? No. That is obviously not how it works. SO WHAT IS THE POINT? WHY EVEN PRAY? My past few Bible study groups have wrestled with this question, as I know many, many more have for time immemorial. What is the point of prayer? If God already knows the outcome, why do we bother? I don't know for sure. But to quote a dear friend (hi, Amy Walker)- the point of prayer is not to change's to change you. Because not one person can lay in the bed with their sick or dying child, calling out to God for a miracle for 3 straight days and nights, and walk away without a changed perspective on the world. And having been that person, who laid in that bed and went home with every single prayer unanswered, I can still tell you God listened. And yes, if He performed a miracle and healed Webb that day, I would have given Him all the glory and probably even said it was the power of prayer. But really, the healing would have been the power of God...the prayers would have changed the people praying but not the ultimate outcome. I know the Bible teaches us to pray. We have to, for our sake and for our sanity. But what about when the prayers are unanswered? What then? Do we pull away from God because He does not constantly perform miracles? Of course not. I still pray. All the time. I still ask God for a certain outcome, even if I believe He already knows what that outcome is. And I am a better person for the prayer, even if I sometimes do not know the point. My God still is the all-powerful healer, and the one who performs miracles. We just don't get to tell Him when He should do it. All this is to say, yes, I think you should keep praying. Of course I think you should still ask for a miracle and for healing when you or your loved one is sick. But don't feel forsaken if those prayers aren't answered - it's nothing you did or didn't do. The flip side of saying that healing was caused by the power of prayer is that death happened because we didn't pray enough. And I just cannot believe God works that way. All that said, I would ask for the thousands of parents who have recently lost their child or may lose them and are living through an absolute nightmare right now- we need to round up the troops, pray like crazy and hope for a miracle. The miracle will be up to God. The change will be in you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poured out from the inside....

Two years ago today, Webb started his "episodes" of throwing up and then continuing with normal play. Two years ago, I started taking him to doctors and doing test after test. Two years ago, I had no answers, except that he was probably ok- he was growing and talking and acting otherwise fine. Two years ago, I thought life was perfect. I remember telling Zac, "One day we'll tell Webb about his throwing up, and how he scared us." Two years later, I am left with a giant hole and the reality that children get cancer. Children can die. And it's not always obvious that it's happening. In the past two years, I have struggled with more loss than I know what to do with. I have questioned God, gotten angry, wanted to give up and wondered WHY ME?! more times than I can count. I have fallen to my knees, begging God for answers. Sometimes the answers come, and they are not what I want to hear. Sometimes the answers don't come, and I am more confused than ever. Sometimes I feel at peace, sometimes I feel panic. I keep thinking as long as the boys continue to grow and thrive, I will be happy. That is my standard, but I know there are no guarantees. Surprisingly, I am not a miserable person. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I am usually smiling, quick to laugh and easy to be around. Most days it is not an act. Some days I deserve an Academy Award. I know everyone wants to say the one thing that will make me feel better, but the truth is, that "one thing" does not exist. I am so thankful for prayers as I struggle to adjust to this reality that will never seem right. This year, there is one less school bag, one less Halloween costume, one less laughing red haired boy than there should be. And nothing in this world can make that seem normal. So we pick up the pieces and do our best, sad for the people we used to be, but hopeful life will not always seem so....empty.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I feel so far from where I've been....

I wish I could say I have not updated this blog because I have been too busy, or too happy, or because nothing was really going on right now. I wish I could say I was at a place of contentment, and that nothing was bothering me, and that I am doing great. Unfortunately, I am not there yet. And at this point, I am wondering if I ever will be. Of course, I know that I will never have a time where I don’t desperately miss Webb. But I somehow thought by now, the intensity of the pain would have lessened. It has not, and that makes me believe it never will. I am no longer consumed with the pain, that is true, but the intensity of my grief is still as strong, if not stronger than ever. I am no longer protected by shock. And that is rough. Next week, Whit will go off to his second year of pre school, and for the second time all we will see is that Webb is not by his side. That huge, gaping, obvious hole is a part of our reality, and that is so unfair. Whit asks where Webb is, and Bo is always quick to add in his prayers, “Jesus, please take care of Webbie from up there.” Their sweet innocence breaks my heart and comforts it all at once. I do not know what I am doing. I have no answers. I am scared. Prayers have gone unanswered time after time, month after month, day after day, and that leaves me insecure, unsure, and a little panicky. My stability has been shaken to the core. Nothing is what I thought it would be. Change is certainly coming, and I hope it is change that brings great joy, but for now, I’ll take no more pain. I have the urge to run, but every time I try, I realize I am struggling with something I cannot escape from. The mind is complex, but the soul is even more complicated. My soul is still battered and bruised from saying goodbye to Webb, and nothing except eternal salvation can fix that. I am standing on the rock, looking toward the horizon. I can see peace in the distance, so close I can almost touch it, but it keeps slipping through my hands.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keep on Keeping On....

Images of Webb are always in my mind. The same dream replays over, and over and over.
The dream where I still have him, and we're trying to make him well again. In the dream I have so much hope. I wake up and the heartbreak begins again. My sweet Whit won't go to sleep now without his twin's blanket. I check on him after he's fallen asleep, and Webb's blanket is always clutched tightly in his hand. The other day we bought the boys new shoes, and Whit wanted to know whether Webbie gets new shoes in heaven. Oh, how I wish my children did not have to ask questions like this. The pain is still raw, the grief is ever- moving, ever-present. The fears are still there, and I am sad my children will never know the carefree, innocent person I once was. While I try to be calm for them, it is obvious they sense my fears. This became most evident when I discovered Bo wasn't telling me when he felt bad because he didn't want me to worry. What a sweet boy, but clearly I need to try and get a grip. My fears about my children's health are constant, and I know it's justified and "normal" considering what we've been through, but I have to remember the Lord has it all in His hands. Hard to do when your living children are in pain and an ice cold hand squeezes your heart and takes you back to a cold day in December when the world stopped moving. Nonetheless, I am working on it. Praying about it. Asking God to keep me steady. And the boys' health is fine. We are, all things considered, doing well. Bo and Whit are growing and laughing and loving the way they should. We shield them from our pain. I answer their questions about Webb when they ask, but I am thankful they are still too little to comprehend what we've lost. I can barely comprehend it. We are clinging to the cross, resting in the truth He is mighty to save. Thanks as always for your prayers. They are precious to us all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And I Can't be Holding on to What you've got, When all you've got is Hurt....

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept,
things we don't want to know but have to learn,
and people we can't live without but have to let go.
~ Author Unknown

Well, isn't that the truth? When I was younger, I never dreamed things would not go my way. Sure, I assumed I would have trials and tribulations like the rest of the world, but I also assumed it would be something I could handle, or at least look to several other people for advice on how to handle. I knew I'd probably lose my parents, and hoped it would be when they were very old and ready to leave this world. I thought about getting sick, about losing a job, about having a child go through a difficult experience, divorce, relationship issues, and all the other things I was familiar with. Losing a child? That never crossed my mind, and it was the first horrible thing that has ever happened to me. And I don't know anyone else it has happened to. And I'm afraid people are a little freaked out about how to be around me. And I don't know what to do about any of that most days. I realize I could stay in denial. I know plenty of people who do that on a regular basis. They think, "Well, if I just pretend this didn't happen, or this person didn't treat me this way, or that person still loves me or he didn't cheat on me, or even, he didn't die, everything will be the way it always has been." But all those people in denial are probably crazy (or will be shortly), and honestly, that is no way to live. We have to face the things that happen to us, and we have to face them head on. Who wants anything bad to happen? It's not the things that happen to us that define us, it's how we handle them. I am not an ostrich kind of girl. I don't put my head in the sand, and I detest people who do. I cannot stand pretending. And I honestly don't have the energy for it. Unfortunately, life has thrown some serious curves at me. I have had the worst case scenario play out before my eyes. And you know what, it sucks. Bad. But I cannot change it. And I cannot run from it. I can't even rationalize it or make sense of it. So the only choice is acceptance. I have to accept the fact that Webb is gone, even though it goes against every fiber of my being to do so. Accepting it does not mean getting over it, nor does it mean I don't think about him every minute of the day. It just means not fighting it, not torturing myself that it happened. After all, we will be together again, and until then, the Lord will carry us through every possible twist and turn. That much I know is true. Pretending will not carry the day, nor will it carry us. That is why I love the quote at the top of this entry. We often don't want a lot of things. We don't want to move, or our spouse to cheat, or lose a job, or our parents to disappoint us or our lives to be the way they turned out. But none of that matters, because if it's actually happening, it's something we have to deal with. Keeping it inside will poison our souls, and these little pieces of denial will add up until you are merely a shell of the person you once were. Accept. Learn. Let go. It is what God wants us to do, and it is what we must do for our sanity and the people who love us. I couldn't imagine losing a child, and I did. It happened. I can't pretend it didn't, and I really don't want anyone else to pretend it didn't either. I don't mind hearing about him. I long to hear about him. Bringing him up to us doesn't remind us he is gone- as though we could ever forget. It hasn't gone away. His birthday was hard this year, just like it was hard last year, and just like it will be every year until we are together again. It isn't a family secret that our child died. Bo and Whit know their brother is in heaven. Yes, it will be hard for them, but it is part of life, a huge part of our lives. Accept. Learn. Let go. Until you do, you will never be free. It may not make you happy, but it will make you real. And after all, if we cannot be honest with ourselves, who are we?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby...

I have been crying a lot lately. At first, I didn't know why. After all, I have plenty of reasons to cry, but tears don't come like they used to, so this latest cycle of crying caught me a bit off guard. At first I thought nothing very specific had happened to start this emotional roller coaster, even though I certainly have been "dealing with" my fair share. Then I started to put it all together. It's the time of year. Obviously, I know exactly when the twins' birthday is: June 5. That date is solidified in my mind as well as the other most significant days of my life. But June 5 is not the only day that brings my mind back to happier times. It starts around the middle of May when I was, only three years ago, miserably huge and pregnant with the twins. I remember school getting out and seeing those "Congratulations Graduates!" signs at the front of my neighborhood, and I used to picture the future and seeing Bo, Whit and Webb's names on them. I remember preparing for the twins' first birthday party, and then having the party in our back yard and laughing at Webb screaming through "Happy Birthday." At the time of year when summer is about to begin, when the pool is about to open, when it just starts getting really hot---I am instantly taken back to the two years when my life was perfect. When I didn't think children could die. When I certainly never imagined one of mine would die. Now June 5 is a day of mixed emotions. Of course, joy because Whit is another year older, and that is something we certainly don't take for granted anymore. But also intense sadness because his twin should be by his side, talking up a storm, opening presents, eating cake and enjoying life the way he is. It is incomprehensible that he is not here. And as of this past Wednesday, Webb has been gone 17 months. It is almost to the point where he has been gone longer than he was with us. How can that be? The pain is still so present and raw. It still seems so unbelievable. I am still struggling to find answers. I want to know Webb as a three year old. I want to see him playing with his brothers at the pool all summer. I want to know if his personality still would be the way I remember....I want so much. And yet it is out of my hands. He is out of my arms. I cling to my other boys, and they have gotten me through some horrific days. But this missing piece of my soul remains. June 5. So much joy, so much hurt, wrapped up into one little day and two little red headed boys. How can this be the way that it is?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For better....or worse.....

This is not my typical post, but I feel so led to write it, I figure God is up to something. I have written many times about the support system I have felt since Webb died. And it is true, I have an amazing network of friends and family that have helped pick up the pieces of my broken life. But I rarely talk about the biggest human supporter I have, and I seldom explain the immense impact that person has had on me. I think it is because our journey has been so private, intense and special, but the person who I have counted on more than any other during this horrific time is my amazing husband. He is the only person on the planet who understands exactly what it feels like to miss Webb. We have different ways of grieving and expressing our grief, but the identical bond that we have in common needs no explaining- whether we cry together or not, we are each other's lifeline. Without him, I truly would not have been able to face morning after morning without my baby, and I would have no future to look forward to. Most couples our age have not even come close to experiencing the level of trauma we have. Usually the first thing young couples "go through" are financial troubles or the death of a parent. The divorce rate is still over 50%, and I think part of that is because couples do not know how to work through problems and bail when the going gets tough. But if you ever have something truly traumatic happen, you are going to want a partner to help you through it, and ideally that person should be the one you vowed to love for better or worse. I say this now because I have been thinking about it, and I am truly sad at how our generation often faces marriage. You marry the person who is (hopefully) you favorite, and then you throw yourself into married life. At that time, he makes you happier than anyone else. You love being a wife. You cater to his every whim. He thinks you're adorable and hilarious. Then, you decide to start a family. If it works right away, great. If it doesn't, you become consumed with getting pregnant. So much so that your husband is just a bystander in your plans to have children. It becomes a goal, an obsession, it takes the place of the moments you used to share and takes on a life of its own. Then, once you have children, they become your obsession. They take up all your thoughts and every hour of the day. Your husband becomes a nuisance to you. You quit going to dinner alone. You never take a vacation just the two of you. Before long, all you talk about is the kids and you go to bed every night without ever having a meaningful conversation. You blame it on "being busy," but that is just a cop out. Plenty of people throughout time have had more children, more responsibilities and more to do than you, and their marriages didn't suffer for it. The children have become your only identity. Their well-being, sports, activities and mere presence is the only thing you've got going anymore. You think this is normal. It's not. What if, God forbid, something happens to one of your children? Who will you lean on? Or the more likely scenario is that nothing will happen to your children, except they will leave the house one day, and you are now living with a complete stranger. I do not mean to stereotype and say that women are to blame for this phenomenon, but I do think we can be a guilty party in "letting our marriage go." Don't let this happen. Some people are so obsessed with their children, they have made them little gods, dictating their lives, chipping away at their marriages until nothing is left. Try to remember the man you married and the reason you married him. Talk to him about his day, his job, tell him funny stories that have nothing to do with the kids. Go on a vacation with only him. Go to an "adult dinner" at least once a month. And if you can't, wait until the kids go to bed then go outside and have a glass of wine together and talk about your day. Don't wait until something bad happens to decide what defines your marriage. The Bible dictates that your marriage is the most important relationship you have, after God. Guess what comes next? I'll give you a hint, it's not your kids. We love our children more than anything. We want to protect them and we want them to be loved and secure. But shouldn't this start by showing them what a real marriage looks like? God did not intend our children to be our most important relationship - it's why they grow up so fast and leave the nest. And when they do, you don't want to be living with a person you barely know anymore. Take care of your marriage. It will get you through the best of times and it will pick you up in the worst of times. But you have to work at it. I am not sure why I felt so led to write this, but I pray it speaks to someone, and I hope you all take the time to cultivate this precious relationship.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More than Words...

The other day I had an acquaintance tell me she knew a woman who lost a child and wondered, "what do I say to her? What words helped you?" I know this is a common concern, and it was one of mine before I had lost so deeply. I thought about it for a minute, and I wracked my brain trying to remember one thing someone said that brought me comfort after Webb died. I couldn't. That is because it doesn't matter what you say (well, that's not entirely true, the offensive things stick with you), but mostly, it's all about what you do. I cannot remember who said what to me after Webb died, but I can tell you what everyone did, and those actions meant more to me than any words could have. Of course people said things, but unless they were upsetting, they didn't really make a difference. So you see, all the times you have been worried about what to say - it doesn't matter! As long as it's not offensive, or ridiculous (which is rarely the case), you are fine. Anything in the neighborhood of, "I am so sorry," or "I love you," or "I am thinking about you," works. It's the actions, the things people do, that stick out. The people who are there, who are not afraid of saying the wrong thing, that matter most. And really, just do what makes sense for your personality, and for your friendship. It takes all kinds of friends to get you through a horrible time, and I was lucky to have them all. You don't have to do everything, just do something to show you care, to show you're there. Pulling away can be the only "wrong thing" to do. And when I think about it, I had a variety of people who brought their own precious, unique personalities into my grief and that made all the difference. It's not words that make the difference, it's actions: a friend that makes you laugh, one that lies in bed with you while you cry, one that cooks for you, one that cleans your house, one who watches your kids, the one who answers the phone, one who brings you books, one who brings you the entire series of Dawson's Creek on DVD, someone to send you Scripture, someone to send you wine, someone that talks everything through with you, and one who sits in silence. Someone to help fix your hair, someone to remind you to eat, someone who sends a card every week, one who calls every day, the ones who remember the hardest day of every month and the ones who don't, but you know they are thinking about you anyway. Don't talk, just act. Just love. It's what gets remembered, but more importantly, it's what works. Thanks to all my "life savers" I am still standing, breathing and making it through the worst time imaginable. So I would tell anyone out there who is worried about what to say, to forget about it. It's what you do that matters, and if that action is pulling away out of fear of saying the wrong thing, well, that hurts more than any "wrong" words ever could.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Ugh- I have been so bad about posting lately! For my Lenten discipline this year, I chose to give up all internet and emailing after work. Nothing at home. It has been difficult to say the least. My job is not conducive to being cut off to the outside world. However, that is the purpose of a Lenten discipline, to be uncomfortable, so I have suffered through it. The odd thing is, at a time where I am supposed to feel very close to and connected to God, I am going through something a little different. I am feeling disconnected. Not abandoned, not forsaken, just disconnected. I have certainly been in that phase before, but not since Webb died. I have to keep reminding myself this is a relationship and it is normal to have some disconnect. God and I have been through an intense 15 months together, and one of us was likely to pull away. This time, it was me. I still feel His presence, and I still talk to Him, but right now I am feeling a little off. I know I will get back on track and I am not worried. It is just the latest in how I'm feeling, which I always promised I would report truthfully to those of you who still follow me. (Does anyone still follow me? Who knows...but this blog has been such a wonderful outlet for me, I don't care if I'm the only one who reads it. :))
My grief is still extremely intense. I feel it and him all around me, all the time. Every trip I take, I imagine what it would be like if Webb were there. Every time I buy the boys a new outfit or new pair of shoes, I think, "I should be buying this for Webb, too." Every picture still has a giant hole. My heart still has a giant hole. It DOES NOT go away. I am not surprised by that, but I guess I thought the intensity of it would subside after a time. It has not. I will find myself pulled under by grief often and forcefully, and I never know when it will strike. It is troubling and unsettling, yet it is here to stay. My "whys" are still there. I don't understand. It's too big. I miss him too much.
Someone recently sent me this poem and it spoke so closely to how I feel....and it reminds me now matter how much I disconnect, no matter how much I pull away, my need for God is still evident.

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,
My need of God
- Hafiz

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Little" Losses

Fourteen months ago, I said goodbye to one of the loves of my life, and since then, I've never been the same. Recently I looked at Bo and Whit and realized our lives would be completely different if Webb was still alive. They would be different, their relationship with each other would be different, their relationships with us would be different...and for some reason, that makes me so sad. I can no longer easily picture what our lives would be like if Webb was still with us, and the realization of that loss is huge. You see, when you lose someone, their life itself is a giant loss, but the losses that flow from their death, the ones that pop up months, even years later, are the ones that take you by surprise and keep you constantly in a state of evolving grief. It's part of why there are some losses that are impossible to "get over." I experience these "little losses" all the time, which are still part of the giant loss but need their own mini grief session all the same. For instance, Bo and Whit have been sharing Bo's room for several months. Recently, I decided it made more sense for them to move back to the twins' room since it is twice the size. We had not taken down Webb's crib yet. It still sat in the exact same place it did the last night I laid him in it, December 22, 2008, with his name hanging above it. I could not even THINK about taking that crib down the first year. But once I decided to move the boys into that room, I was able to do it. I was sad, but not hysterical because I did it my way, in my own time. It was a loss, but one I had prepared for, so handling it was something I could do without breaking down. The rest of my life I will have to deal with these "little losses" that aren't so little.

Many people have asked me how we have been able to maintain our strength, our sanity, our faith and our marriage in the midst of such unspeakable grief. I have a lot of answers, but "the answer," of course, is by the Grace of God. Something happens when you are faced with the worst of all, something I have a hard time putting into words. "The peace that transcends all understanding," is the closest I can come to describing what Jesus does for those who are broken, but I heard those words a million times before I felt them and didn't appreciate them until I experienced them. It's a double -edged sword, because I would not wish this type of experience on one person, but in a way, I feel incredibly lucky to have heard and felt God in a way that I never knew existed.

Part of a song that captures some of what I'm talking about is copied below. It is called "Held" by Natalie Grant, and I must have listened to it 100 times a day right after Webb died and still listen to it every once in a while. For me, it is such a great description of the way I felt when Webb was ripped from my life - "held." After Webb died, God didn't sweep into my life in a big way and start telling me I was going to be ok and help me in and out of bed. No, it was much more subtle than that. Looking back, He was there the entire time, but sort of off to the side, giving us His gracious, quiet presence and His small, still voice. I remember feeling warm, comforted and peaceful - "held" is an almost perfect way to describe it, similar to the way I imagine my children feel when they are in my arms - safe and secure no matter what may come....

by Natalie Grant
Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow.....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Picture of my soul....

For 13 months I have been unable to look at pictures of Webb I wasn't used to seeing everyday. Of course, I have several in frames in my house and in my office and in my parents' house that I see all the time. But then there is also this giant box of all these pictures I have not looked at in so long. Pictures of the twins' birth, right up through a week before Webb died. I finally opened the box. I looked at hundreds of pictures of my boys and remembered those days. I thought I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Webb and Whit because they were SO identical - especially when they were younger. But I could. I could tell which one was Whit and which one was Webb in every single picture. And it filled my heart to see that baby, in a way I couldn't even describe. I had been avoiding looking at the pictures because I was afraid I would feel such pain because those days are long gone. And there were little stabs to the heart as I looked through the pictures. But I mostly felt peace. And love. And looking at those cheeks, those eyes, that dimple, that smile, reminded me how happy he was. Right until the end. I was able to tell myself he was not in pain and believe it. I looked at pictures of myself and in ways I was barely recognizable. Did my face used to be that round? Did my eyes really sparkle like that? Was my brow smooth then, not furrowed? I have changed, inside and out. I am not that girl anymore. And although that makes me sad, I know that I have grown, and I know that I have an insight I never had before, and although I would trade all that for Webb, I cannot, so I must accept this new reality that is my life. I closed the box and cried. Cried for me, for Webb, for Zac, Bo and Whit. I wondered again why we are on this path and why the roads are not straight for us. I wondered why, 13 months later, we still have so many challenges, so many obstacles to face. I do not know the answers. I do not know why some people move through life without one bad thing ever happening to them and why others cannot catch a break. But I don't think God causes those circumstances anymore. In fact, I know He doesn't. God didn't promise us that being good meant life would be good. But He does promise to be there when the bad comes. And He is. He is here. But to quote Mother Theresa: "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My hands are small I know....

I have had a hard time posting lately. And it's not because there is a lack of things on my mind, or a lack of things to say. In fact, there is so much on my mind, so many things I am thinking and processing, I do not know how I would be able to write them all down. I have been dealing with some medical issues (nothing life or death), and it has again put us back in the "dealing with stuff" mode. And I am tired of dealing. I am worn out, exhausted and all-around over it. I have taken to writing things down I am thankful for everyday to remind myself I am blessed, despite the mounds and mounds of horrific events we have been through. One of these major things I am thankful for is the health of Bo and Whit. Thanks to all for your prayers for Bo's HSP. His last urinalysis was negative for protein, and we are now 3.5 months past the HSP diagnosis which is a good indication his kidneys have been unaffected by the disease. We will continue to monitor it and continue to pray his body suffers no more effects of the HSP. Whit has also been healthy this season, after a bout of croup and double ear infections. Once you lose a child to an illness, healthy times take on a whole new meaning. I never take my children's health for granted. In fact, if nothing else goes right, but they are healthy and safe, I will be happy despite any other challenges being hurled our way. I do have some fears I have been struggling with besides my children's health....I am in such a strange stage of my grief. While Webb's death still seems so current and present for me, it is no longer at the top of everyone else's list. I know there are many who probably think we are "over it," or at least "moved on" as it has been 13 months. However, nothing could be further from the truth. As those who have loved and lost know, we will never be over it or move on. We have shifted into a different reality, but let me tell you, that reality still sucks. We are forever changed by losing our baby. Out faith has been solidified, validated and strengthened. We are soldiers of the cross, fighting this fight with Christ on our side, but the days and nights without sweet Webb are just as unbearable as they always have been. I know God is here and hears our cries. I know He is supporting us, holding us and pushing us when we feel like we can't go on. He is a very real presence in the midst of unspeakable tragedy. We will not turn from Him. The devil would like nothing more than for us to throw up our hands and say, "That's it! I can't take anymore! We are cursed!" I will not give him that satisfaction. We will march through these trials with the Lord on our side, by our side. And in the end, when I finally hear, "Well done good and faithful one," I will know I have led the life I was called to lead. I am one person, with a small voice, but I will sing to the Lord, because He has been good to me.....