CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.

Celebrating Laynee

You might want to scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the music before playing this video.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Prayers for Jada

This week, our church youth pastor and his wife received the news that their 5 year old daughter, Jada, has a form of kidney cancer referred to as Wilm's Tumor.  Doug and Jessica have one younger son, Oliver and are expecting their 3rd child any day.   Please pray for everyone involved as they begin the agonizing journey of the unknown.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beauty

This morning I awoke to the most beautiful sunrise.  The snow covered ground glistened.  The trees heavy with frost sparkled with the morning light.  I looked out my bathroom window to see my brother in laws horses next door as they pranced around in the snow.  One of my most beautiful memories of Laynee is in the mornings when I would dress her.  I would stand her up on my vanity and she would crouch down low, rear end, nearly touching the vanity top,  to see between the slats in the mini blinds.  Upon spotting her beloved hee hees next door, she would straighten, point their direction and give a long heeeee.  I'm not sure why it is but this is one of the pictures that I can recall with vivid clarity in my mind's eye. 

When I saw her heehees this morning, I was overcome with sadness, wishing that I could scoop her up onto the vanity for a good look.  As the brilliant hues of pink, orange, and purple began to appear in the sky, I was comforted with the knowledge that she is there.  Somewhere beyond that sunrise my beautiful baby dances before her king. 

Let us praise his name in dancing
Psalm 149:3





December 28, 1986

This day, 24 years ago, was a day that I shall never forget.  It is a day that could be in included in the count of the worst days of my life. 

When I was a young teenager, our family took in a young boy from Vietnam.  My parents acted as foster parents to Dung Duy Dao (pronounced Yung Wee).  Though we were never certain of his exact age, not knowing his birth date, he was about 10 or 11 years old.  He stayed with us for about 2 years. 

On Christmas Day 1986,  when I was 16, my parents,  Dung, my friend Andrea, and I boarded a plane to San Jose, CA where he would visit to his biological father.  There was much discussion by the state about Dung needing to return to his father, despite the fact that he wanted nothing to do with such a plan.  Dung had come to the US as a refugee on a boat.  He had some horrific stories to tell about Vietnam and his memories of his father were not pleasant.  I suspect that there were many stories that Dung kept to himself, not wishing to talk about them, perhaps stories too awful to tell. 

On the flight to Califorinia, Dung became very ill.  We had a lay over in Denver and were told we would not be allowed on our next flight without documentation from a physician that Dung was fit for travel.  Dung was admitted to the hospital and Andrea and I stayed at a hotel.  While at the hospital, no medical explanation for his illness could be found.  A psychiatrist determined that the visit to his father was causing him extreme stress and advised us not to continue to CA, but return home to Illinois.  After a couple of days, we headed back to the airport to fly home.  As we prepared for takeoff, Dung declared that he was going home. 

Shortly after we were in the air, Dung slept against the back of his seat, directly across the aisle from me.   My mother got up to use the restroom.  As she returned to her seat, she appeared rather shaken.  I watched her intently and with some irritation as she seemed to be poking and prodding at Dung.  I asked her why she didn't just let him sleep.  With wide eyes, across his sleeping form, she mouthed "He's dead."  Her "poking and prodding" was, in reality a check for pulse, reflexes, response to pain, or any other sign of life.  While my dad, Andrea and I remained in our seats, mom went to inform the flight attendants of what had happened.  There was nothing to do but wait for our landing at Chicago's Ohare.  We put a pillow under his head and pulled a blanket up close around him to shield his lifeless face from the inquisitive eyes of other passengers.  We remained calm, showing no outwards signs of our inner turmoil, in an effort to keep the full flight from knowing the truth.  We sat like this for over an hour before the plane finally landed.  I will not even attempt to describe what that hour was like for it would be virtually impossible. 

After landing, the pilot announced that we did have an emergency on the plane and asked all passengers to deboard quickly an quietly.  We stayed put, drawing the attention of all the passengers as the family with the "emergency."  A couple of times a bag or coat caught on the blanket over Dung, exposing a face that, by this time, was unmistakably dead.  As I watched the steady stream of people filing off the plane, most seemed unaware, but there were a few that glanced at Dung and I could see understanding register on their faces.  As soon as the plane was empty, the paramedics rushed on, firing questions at us.  I shall never forget the sight of Dung's ashen face as they picked him up, placing him on the floor of the aisle, and began CPR.   The rest was a blur of activity that my brain really cannot make sense of.  I recall the plane's cockpit, and yelling and a sterile green room.  In utter silence, we drove home from Chicago to our family, brothers and sisters who knew nothing of the nightmare we had been living that day. 

A cause of death was never determined.  There was nothing clinically that caused his death.  Still, his death does not remain a mystery, at least not for us.  Dung's life was horrific but for the 2 years that he was with us.  He had found peace and safety with us and it looked as though the state was going to take that away from him.  He was one determined young man and he was determined not to return to his biological father.  I suspect that he lost faith in everyone, even us.  He likely did not know whether or not to believe that we were really taking him back to Illinois. Dung came to know Jesus in the hospital the night before and  His statement "I'm going home" was not a reference to Tremont, Illinois but his eternal home, Heaven.

Every Christmas for 24 years, I have remembered.  On Christmas Day I remember leaving for CA and how violently ill Dung was.  On the 28th of each December I remember his death and at times I even dream of it. He is so heavy on my mind at this time of year that, earlier today, I even absentmindedly called Moise "Dung."    On New Year's Eve I am taken back to another year as we stood in the snow at his burial.   I recall confusion, disbelief and utter hopelessness.  Perhaps it is for this reason that I hurt so terribly at the knowledge of what my children experienced at the time of Laynee's death. The memory of CPR being performed, unsuccessfully, on someone you love, leaves a mark upon the human soul.  In many ways it feels like a cruel twist of fate that my children should have to suffer something so similar to what I experienced at such a young age.   I am fully aware that for all of time they will remember with great pain.  I know that there are some memories that cannot be dimmed by the passage of time.  I can no longer bring to mind the image of Dung's smiling face but the image of his face in death is seared upon the pages of my memory.  The sound of an ambulance siren, even if in the far off distance, has always triggered memories of paramedics in dark blue, red airplane seats and death.  Now my mind seems confused by whether to remember Dung's death or Laynee's. 

There was great sadness surrounding Dung's death.  There was also a sense of comfort in knowing that, though his life was filled with trauma and unfairness, he had 2 years of being loved and cared for as children should be.  There is no doubt that the 2 years that he was with us were by far, the best years of his life.  By comparison, Laynee never knew sorrow, trauma or sadness only 2.5 years of great love and joy.  I am so glad that they were spent with us. 

I have often thought about Dung and Laynee being in heaven together.  Do they know each other?  Are they aware of the connection that they both have with me?  When I get to heaven, will they be side by side, waiting for me? So many questions that I will never have answers to, this side of heaven.

Happy Angelversary Dung!  Kiss my Laynee for me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Laynee Grace

My sweet Laynee Grace,

It's Christmas. Our second Christmas without you. Your second Christmas in heaven!!!! In many ways it feels like the first. Last year we were in Florida and we didn't have the memories of you in our condo like we do here at home. I really don't remember much about last year. I only know that the hurt was so bad I didn't think that I could live without you. Like every other holiday since you went to heaven, I don't want to do this without you. I don't want to celebrate without you. I don't want to go to bed tonight knowing that you won't be here to bound into my bed tomorrow reminding us that it is Christmas. I don't want to but I will. I must.

Tonight we are all going to Grandma Glueck's. You would be so excited by all the people. You could play with little Londyn and......well...........you would probably do alot of bossing her around. Before we go to Grandma and Grandpa's house we are going to go to your grave. We each have a jar with a candle in it that will light up your grave. We got that idea from a blog friend. Kristin is beautiful like you and she is in heaven too. Do you know Kristin? And Carly? And what about Mark, do you know him? Anyway.......I think that the lights by your grave will be beautiful. Tomorrow we will go to church to remember Jesus Birth. In the evening we will go to Grandma and Grandpa Holmes. ShaneyB will miss you. We all will miss you. I don't want to do any of these things without my Laynee Girl, but I will.

I wonder about you in heaven. Where are you? What are you doing? Can you see your pink tree from up there? I hope that you can see it, Laynee. It's so beautiful, just perfect for our little princess. I know that what you see in heaven is far more brilliant and shining than this little pink tree, but I still hope you can see it because we did it just for you. Can you see all of us from heaven? I think about that question alot and hope that you cannot see all of the sorrow that we feel or the many tears that we shed.  I'm afraid that would make you terribly sad.  Is it possible, from there in heaven, to know how much we miss you and how we love you, without knowing how sad we are?  I suppose anything is possible in heaven.

Someday we are going to be with you in heaven.  I can't wait but for now we have to be here, without you.  It seems like it has been so very long since we had you here.  You feel so far away from us.   Time does not seem to help.    The sadness creeps in no matter how we try to hold it at bay.  Missing you hurts all the time. Sometimes it hurts a little, other times it hurts so much that I can't breathe, but it always hurts.  We are learning though, learning how to live life without you here.
I miss you sweet girl, with every beat of my heart. I miss your smile and laughter. I miss your strong willed, stubborness. I miss your naughtiness. I miss the soft side that you brought out in each of us. Most of all, I miss your joy and your simplicity.


MERRY CHRISTMAS LAYNEE! You're the prettiest, okay!!

I LOVE YOU
Mama


I'm sure you and Miss Dolly are quite a pair in heaven


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

We sent our Christmas Card out to many but I wanted to wish all of my dear blog friends a beautiful Christmas.  To those who have lost children in this last year, my heart aches for you and I pray that you can feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit as you struggle through this holiday season. 

Blessings to all.




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Christmas

 I struggle to maintain balance in a world that has been irrevocably tipped.   Someone is missing and she will continue to be missing from now until the end of time.  It is a truth that, no matter how I try, I cannot seem to wrap my brain around.  It's a truth that still takes my breath away.

Christmas is coming.  I am powerless to stop it.  I know that, like all other significant dates, it will come and it will go and we will survive.  I know this because we've done it.  I do not dislike the holidays but there is a sharp awareness that they will never be the same.  I will never celebrate in the same way that I once did.   We go through the motions of the holidays, on the ride with everyone else.  We've attended concerts and programs, baked and decorated, bought and wrapped.  We not only join in the festivities, we enjoy them.  However, we now lack the idealistic innocence that we once had.  We love the excitement of our children that are here, but desperately miss the one who is not. 

There is no end to the things that will forever represent her abscence, the greatest and most permanent being that place of sadness that has been etched into my heart.  The stockings, hanging from the mantle, have been filled with small gifts but her's hangs limp and empty.  We've received some precious ornaments from others this year, my favorite being a beautiful pink and silver rocking "hee hee". These ornaments, given to us in love, hang from our tree along with all of the others.  In our back yard is a spruce tree, donated by our children's school at the time of the accident.  We have adorned it with 500 bright pink lights.  It is beautiful and at times, though there are no flashing lights, it twinkles. I can see her tree from any window on the back side of our house.  It brings a pang of regret each time I pass by it, but it also reminds me of her vibrant, sparkling life.  On her grave is a beautiful arrangement with fuscia bows and purple poinsettias.  When I ordered this to be made, my request was "make it glitzy and girly."  As I knelt to place it on her grave, my heart squeezed inside of me and once again I fought waves of desperation.   There is a surreal quality to all of these things that are done in rememberance of her. 

   We have tasted of life's harshness. We have lived the unthinkable.  Now and forevermore, we will wish that she were here.  We will wonder what she would have been like.   We will remember her life with joy and her death with sorrow.  The most monumental difference between Christmas now and Christmas before is that which is deep in the heart of each of us.  It is the keen knowledge that our family circle is, for our time on earth, broken.  The baking, the decorating, the music,   and the lights can never make Christmas complete.   There is new longing, not for gifts or gadgets, but for that place where our little girl celebrates with her King.







Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Other Women

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4


This blog has become an invaluable source of healing for me.  I have come here, over and over in an attempt to make sense of the onslaught of emotion that we have been caught up in .  At times I have come with a voice of praise,  while at other times, desperation has echoed through the words I have written.    So often I become frustrated with my own inability to articulate all that my soul has to say about the unwanted changes that have come into our life.   I suspect that, to the reader, my words tend to be somewhat redundant as there are not enough words that have the poignancy  to capture all of the expression of my heart.  I began blogging in an attempt to release some of the emotion that rages within, but quickly discovered that it served a far greater purpose.  It is through blogging that I have found love and support to make it through this. 

   Before the accident, I had never given thought to how few people in our social circle have experienced the death of a child. This awareness induces a deep sense of loneliness. It is here, through the world of blogging, that I have been able to connect with those capable of relating to every aspect of a mother's grief.  I have come to appreciate and care deeply about many fellow baby and child loss mommies, those who know the searing agony of saying good bye to our chilren long before we are ready.  I am amazed at the number of women out there who never heard their child utter a single cry. Many have buried their children within days, weeks or months of birth due to heart or genetic defect, SIDS or other illness.  Some have watched their child die slowly and painfully.  Some mother's had a happy, thriving child one minute and the next minute their life crashed as their child died suddenly.

There is also a category of women with  whom I can relate even more specifically, those who's children have been taken from them by means of tragic accident.  Many of these mothers, along with myself,  share the daily living with the reality of what, to the human mind, could have been an avoidable accident.   I have come to care about many whose children have drowned in pools, lakes, jacuzzis or rivers.  My heart is filled with compassion for certain women whose children have died in accidents involving cars, choking,  window blinds and suffocation. 

These are women of great faith and strength.  As I read their blogs I am often awed by the eloquence with which they share.  I know that every word written comes from their innermost being.  I can feel, by the tone of their writing, when they feel stuck in a downward spiral or if they can feel the peace that passeth all understanding.  Between the lines I can sense the torrent of emotion that pours down upon each one.  Sometimes their words are filled with a nearly palpable sadness or peppered with anger and bitter resentment.  Still other times I can sense that they have had a moment of seeing the light through the darkness, that somehow they have been reminded of the hope that we have.  I know that for each of us, it is only those moments of hope that keep us going.  All of us share a very strong bond that comes from being in awe of the life lessons taught to us by children who were given to us and then taken far too soon.   Some embark on a mission to do something that will somehow make a difference or give a sense of purpose to what they are going through.    Though I have never met most of these women in real life, I fully comprehend the cry of their anguished hearts.  I know also that they understand me at a deep, heart level, as few others do.  

These are women who KNOW.  They know what it is like to have a part of you die with your child.  They understand the desperate longing to be reunited with our babies.  They have felt the agonizing pain of empty arms.  They too have had those days of wondering "am I going to survive this," those moments of being uncertain if you will even be able to draw your next breath.   These women's hearts, like my own, have been a battleground of spiritual warfare, where the enemy seeks to destroy while our savior seeks to save. They would never suggest that it's time to move on or that we should "heal" from the death of our child, knowing that we are forever changed and that there is no going back.

The words of these mothers resonate within me.  I read them, not as one who "can only imagine" or "cannot fathom," but as one who knows and understands and feels, on a gut level, the agony in every sentence.  In some strange and perhaps, selfish, way I draw comfort from the awareness that I am not alone on this journey.  I will not pretend that I pray for each of these women daily.  I don't.  However as I read their blog posts I am reminded of each of them individually and a take the time to remember and lift them up in prayer. Sometimes I make a feeble attempt at offering words of encouragement, while at other times I am aware that there simply are no words.

As we face another holiday season without her, I think often of these other women.  I know that they too have ornaments hanging from their tree in rememberance of their child so dear and so very absent.   Some face their first Christmas without them, others are still missing them after several years. All feel the emptiness of not having them here with us.  There is a silent, unspoken understanding that for those of us whose children are in heaven, the Christmas season hurts. 

To my reader friends, I ask that you would lift up these women who have become so dear to me.  They walk the same path of missing our children.  They are weak and they are strong.  To those who have never known this pain of infant or child loss,  please know that the hurting will never stop until we see them again.  To the other women, those who KNOW, thank you for your strength and faith and encouragement.

These are the names of faith tested and tried through giving up a part of their hearts.

Taylor missing Nathan
Stephanie missing Camille
Christy missing Chase
Misty missing Isaac
Brandy missing Abigail
Tiffany missing Julius
Rebecca missing Audrey Ann
Jody missing Grant
Stephanie missing Amelia
Joany missing Carly
Polly missing Kristin
Cindy missing Joel
Lindsay missing Ayden
Trisha missing Nathan
Hillary missing Natalie
Angie "Missing Mark"
Ashley missing Preslee
Lesley missing Gretta
Rachel missing Beckett
Kirsten missing Ewan
Joan missing Joshua and Gabriel
Rachel missing Aubrey and Ellie
Meredith missing Brayden and Kennedy
Marcia missing Brandon
Mary Kay missing Becky and Ben
Dorothy missing Matthew
Phyllis missing John
Arlene missing Jeff
Rachel missing Clark
Alice missing Grace
Denise missing Drew
Phyllis missing Chad
Michelle missing Brayden
Yvonne missing Nicholaus
Debbie missing Lexi
Rhonda missing Caleb
Kate missing Kennedy
Sumi missing Jenna
Shannon missing Ethan
Melva missing Nicki
Vicki missing Brian



For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18











Friday, December 10, 2010

From the Mouth of Elizabeth Edwards

There is a quote that has appeared o on the blogs of many other baby loss mothers in recent days.  Elizabeth Edwards, former wife of Senator John Edwards, passed away on Tuesday, December 7 at the age of 61.  Ms.  Edwards has left her mark on our country with her passion.  She was a mother, a cancer survivor, an advocate, an author and a symbol for stregth among women. 

While I have no intention of sharing my views on Ms. Edward's place in the public spotlight, this one quote of hers is too profound not to share.   She was quoted for this statement after the tragic, accidental death of her teenaged son. 

"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and ...that is a great gift."

~ Elizabeth Edwards

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Difference

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about an encounter with a woman who was less than kind.  She was rude, nosy and cruel in regards to Jalayne's accident.  That experience left me struggling for quite some time.  While I still cannot find it in myself to believe that her actions were innocent in nature, I have moved on from it and have chosen to forgive. 

Today I had a similar experience that was entirely different and left me with a warm, if still sad, feeling in my heart.  It happened while I was at work.  A patient came in needing to have her blood drawn and was a bit apprehensive. In an effort to ease her anxiety a bit, I made small talk with her.  After her comment that she had not seen me working at the office before, I told her that I had worked for this doctor before but took a couple of years off to operate a coffee shop.  She very politiely said "a coffee shop? How nice, what made you decide to come back?"  I began to feel a bit uneasy with the direction of the conversation but answered vaguely that after a traumatic life event, I needed a change and the simpicity of working for someone else.  She seemed to completely understand and commented on the importance of keeping things as stress free as possible, especially if we have children.  She asked the how many and how old question.  I told her, ending with "my 2.5 year old died a year ago."  Her face melted into compassion and she said "I'm so sorry, there is nothing worse than losing a child."  She did not tell of any experience, but instinct told me that this was a woman who had known this great sorrow.  She then asked,  "was she ill?"  Feeling completely at ease and unthreatened by this woman, I answered very honestly "No, she died in a water related accident."  She did not say a single word but her expression spoke volumes.  This woman was hurting for me.  She opened her arms and, being a rather large woman, enveloped me in a big, warm hug.  Then, with misty eyes, she placed her hand against my face and said "try to have a lovely Christmas and remember, there is heaven."

As she turned and walked away from me, I was struck by the stark contrast between this and the experience I had a few weeks ago.  Two women, both Christians,  both asking essentially the same questions.  One left me feeling weak and hopeless, the other reminded me of the hope that I have.  One made me want to punch her in the face, the other made me want to stay in her warm hug a little while longer.  The difference was in the tone of voice.  Where one seemed kind and compassionate, the other was cruel and accusatory.  The difference came from deep within the hearts of these two women.     I believe that both love the Lord, but only one of them allowed His love to spill over onto others.  While the light of the holy spirit radiated from one, it was lost in ugliness in the other.  Life is filled with choices and tonight I know which of theses two women I would choose to be like..........the one who was more like Christ.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Step

There is a question that arises, I suspect, for everyone who experiences the death of a loved one.  This is another one of those things that one never gives thought to until it is there, staring them in the face.  What is to be done with the belongings of the one who is gone? 

If I'd given in to the cry of my heart, her room would have remained untouched forever.  Her things would have remained exactly the way they were the last time she was in the room.   I'd begun to think of her room as a haven.  I could go there at night when sleep evaded me or during the lonely days when the pain threatened to devour me.  I could feel her presence there, smell her, picture her there with outstretched arms, waiting to be lifted from her crib.   I could sit in the big pink chair where Jade so often read to her.  I could cover myself with her pink blanket and rub it's silky edge against my face or clutch her bear to my heart, inhaling the scent of her.  Often I rubbed my hands across her crib sheet, still wrinkled from where her sleeping form lay on it.  I touched her shoes, looked through her glasses and ran my hand across her many outfits hanging in the closet.  As if somehow her unaltered room could lessen the reality of what is, my heart longed to leave it exactly as it was. 

Another part of me knew that making changes in her room was a necessary step in the grief process.  A step needed, if not for myself, then for everyone else in my home.  I knew that the day of feeling "ready" for this was not ever going to come.  So I set a goal.  I told myself that I would at least make some changes in her room before Thanksgiving.  I dreaded this task and knew that doing it alone would not be the wisest of choices.  Because Jamee and Jade were not overly interested in being a part of this, I asked my friends Karen and Kathy.  I knew that they would remember many of her clothing items and could share in my sorrow as well as the joy of having been touched by her

With coffee mugs in hand, the three of us went to work.  We sat on the floor of Laynee's room surrounded by mounds of clothing.  But what does one do with clothes so precious that the heart cannot bear to part with them?  How does one let go of the few things that are left of their child?  An entire lifetime of memories are sewn into the fibers of those clothes.  The only way to tackle this task was to begin.  Karen and Kathy were there but once I began I became somewhat cut off from all but the precious pieces of material in my hands and the flood of memories that they prompted.   We made piles.  One pile consisted of items that I had bought in the off seasons, which she had never worn.  These, along with a few things she had rarely worn, which did not have a great deal of memories attached to them, were given to Kathy's little grand daughter who lives in Tennessee.   Another pile was made up of things that were most precious, a few of her dresses, her first school outfit, and some clothes with stains that I now cherish.   These items, along with her shoes, school papers and art projects, items from the hospital the night she died,  favorite toys and books, and special blankets will be preserved in a chest that Jim will make.  This chest with her name carved in it will also contain the hundreds of cards we have received since she died and will be placed at the foot of our bed.

The last pile that we made consisted of those clothes that we love the most.  The things she wore over and over.  They are the things we picture her wearing in every day life.  A friend very graciously offered to create a quilt of these items.  Tonight she brought the comleted quilt, along with four smaller ones, created  for our four older children.  The kids have each placed theirs over their beds.  The larger one was hung on the wall, in our basement, where the kids spend much of their time.  When time allows, Jim will make a frame for it.

There is still much to done in her room.  The crib still stands and will someday need to be taken down but it has been stripped of all by the mattress.   Her torn window shade is still there and still torn and ........well it might be awhile longer before I can take that down. Her hot pink chair remains, the one she only sat in when she was on someone's (usually Jade's) lap.  That chair is obnoxiously pink and matches nothing in our home, but I don't care, it holds a beautiful, sacred picture in my mind, an image of a child so deeply loved.  There are few other, less frequently used items, which I really don't know what to do with. I suppose in time I'll think of something. 

As I held her new quilt, the ache was deep.  We remember every article of clothing, from the dresses, to the clothes she made filthy with her constant getting into things, to the PJ's we snuggled her in. Clothes, normal every day clothes, things I would have long ago passed on, probably to my little great niece if things were different.  That is what I would have done if she were still here but because she is not, these pieces of fabric, sewn together into a masterpiece have become one of the most valuable items in our home.

I have pondered this step and all of the other steps of grief work and a question fills my mind.  What exactly is this a step towards?  Typically when we take a series of steps, we are striving for something, a goal or an expectation.  What is the goal or the desire that we as baby loss mother's are pressing towards?  Perhaps it is closure or maybe each step is born simply of the expectations of society.  No doubt, many would say that it is a step towards healing but we mother's know better than that.  This is not something from which we will ever heal.  These steps do not make the pain less but perhaps they move us closer to the ever elusive thing called acceptance.  My child is not coming back.  Leaving her things, as if in waiting for her return, does not make reality any less so.  I suppose it could be said that the goal for which we strive is that of a healthy balance.  A balance which allows us to honor her in our hearts and in our home, yet does not cause us to remain stuck in our longing for her.  As I look at the things that we have done in her memory, I am reminded that each of them was "another step."  Her grave marker at the cemetary, the framed photos on the walls, her garden, special trees planted in the yard and now her quilts:  all serve as bittersweet memories, bringing smiles of rememberance and tears of sadness. Above all, they serve as a reminder of the hope that we have. We have a daughter and a sister waiting to welcome us into heaven one day.

                                                          Laynee's Quilt...............
Made up of favorite T shirts



and sweet dresses


and hee hee shirts


and soft warm pajamas

and princess jackets

and warm winter hats



and tanks she wore almost daily



all bordered with the sheet from her crib

 and her special blanky

Jamee's quilt contains the shirt she bought Laynee
in Paris during her summer trip to Europe


Jade's Quilt


Jamee's


Both boys are unphased by the "girliness"
 of having a quilt made of little girl clothes hanging
 in their otherwise masculine room. 
 They are Laynee's clothesand that fact trumps
pride, fashion and "coolness"

Grant' quilt


and Brock's


Thank you Bev.
They are priceless



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Co-existence

At our home, the better part of yesterday was spent decorating for Christmas. We put up the tree, hung the stockings above the fireplace and brought out our Christmas village.  The girls put a second tree in the basement and added a few extra decorations that we normally do not have.  It goes without saying that I fond myself pondering a year ago, our first Christmas without Laynee.  The first Christmas during which our family felt incomplete.

Once again, I am amazed at how much I do not remember.  I know that there were no trees or stockings or any other holiday trimmings with the exception of a candle in each of our front windows.  In many ways the lack of memory seems merciful.  Yet, at the same time, it leaves me wondering how we survived  and how we will make it through this and all of the holidays to come. 

As we decorated the tree, my mind imagined the excitement and wide eyed wonder of my would be almost 4 year old.  My mind's eye could see a tree with way too many ornaments on it's lower branches where she could reach. Our collection of ornaments contains many which are adoned with tumbprints,  handprints, or tiny photographs.  There are ornaments constructed of felt, pipe cleaner, tiny beads, popsicle sticks and misplaced wiggly eyes or fuzzy ball noses.  Those are the ones which were made by our children and proudly displayed for all to see.  My heart clenched at the knowledge that Laynee never had an oppurtunity to bring one of her beautiful hand made ornaments to me, hence, our tree will never have a piece of her personality on it.  Instead, I unwrapped  ornaments given to us last year which tell the story of a child taken far too soon. They are beautiful but not the kind that anyone ever wants to have hanging from their tree.   Each time I pass, I am reminded that my child is in the arms of Jesus where she will spend her second Christmas in heaven.  I know that I should be comforted by this knowledge, but the truth is that I don't want her to be in heaven, I want her here with me. 

As I have done so many  times,  I must find a balance.  The pain of grief refuses to dissipate.  It has been absorbed into my existence.  There is a narrow place that allows me to enjoy the celebration with my living children while my heart aches for my child who is in heaven.  Rejoicing and mouning can walk together.   

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving

Last evening was busy with preparation for today's Thanksgiving meal.   The void of Laynee's abscence is ever present.  We do what needs doing in spite of the void.  It's what we've learned to do. But last night, when the house finally quieted down and Jim and I were preparing for bed, the crushing, nearly debilitating weight returned.  I don't want to do another Thanskgiving without her.  I don't want another round of holidays to come and go without her laughter and joy.  I am resigned to the knowledge that I will never again celebrate as fully as I once did.  I can go through the motions, put on a happy face, and even enjoy the celebrations but I will never enjoy the holidays as completely as I once did.  One of my children is missing and I that is not ever going to change, nor will it stop hurting completely.

Still, I refuse to celebrate Thanksgiving without a spirit of thankfulness.  It is with greatful heart that I observe my five living children.  They are young people of strong character and compassionate hearts, made better, I believe by our tragedy.  They miss Laynee desperately, they hurt for her.  They long for the joy and sunshine that Down Syndrome brought to our home but they have persevered beneath the burden of sorrow.

I am grateful for the love and mercy of our Lord.  Without this I am nothing and can do nothing.  I am humbled by the sacrifice that was made, more now than ever, having experienced the fierce intensity of giving up my child.  Most of all I am grateful for the beautiful oppurtunity to be Laynee's mommy.  I thank my God for 2years, 7 months and 7 days of the love that she gave us.  Even knowing all of the pain we would face, I would choose to do it all again.  The sorrow is great but the joy and peace that she taught us was far greater.   Because my God gave up his son, I am going to see my daughter again someday.  Until then I will wait, I will try to enjoy, I will celebrate the time that we have left, and praise my God for hope.It seems hard to believe that a single heart could be filled with so much thankfulness and so much sorrow, all at the same time.  It is possible only because of Hope.

Thank You, Lord for every day that we had Laynee with us.  Thank You for the hope that we get to see her again some day.  Hold my baby close to you today.  Tell her much I love her, tell her that I will see her again, hopefully very soon.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Once Again

As we enter into the Thanksgiving week I find myself taking inventory of my life and giving thanks for the blessings that we have been given.  For whatever reason, the last week has been especially diffiicult.  My faith is weak right now and I struggle mightily against questions and doubts.  There are still times when I can feel myself being sucked into desperation's black hole and I think "I'm not going to make it through this."  However, what I have found is that there is always something or someone who reaches down and plucks me out of the pit. 

Yesterday, as I sat in church, my heart was filled with thanksgiving for my church family.  Though it seems much longer, Jim and I and the kids have only been attending Northfield Christian Fellowship for 6 years.  I love the people in our church.  They have come along side of us in this time of grief and have lifted us up.  These are the people who have seen us in some of our lowest times, as well as our strongest times.  There are those who have sat in the pews, after the services, and cried with me.  There are older gentlemen, some who've buried children of their own,  who come to me and put their arm around me or pat me on the back, they do not have words but I hear what they are saying to me.  Through their silent presence, they are encouraging me and telling me that they have not forgotten.   There are many who sit beside us and pray aloud, anytime, anywhere, knowing that words are inadequate but prayer is vital.

 While it is true that church has been one of my most difficult places to be since Laynee was taken from us, it is also one of the most important places for us to be.  There have been very few church services that I have been able to sit through without a flood of tears.  I long to have her there with me.  The many children in church make me hurt for her.   I have sat in the church pews,  under the preaching of God's word, and wrestled with my own thoughts, questions and doubts.  In those same pews I have been made aware of God's undying love for us.  There I have been reminded over and over that my God is in control of all things.

Yesterday as I slipped into the church pew, I felt weary and exhausted.  I felt as if I had no fight left in me to ward off the ever present hands of desperation.  As we sang in worship, I could feel the spirit there in the sanctuary, bringing me back,  parting the shades of darkness so that I could see and feel his presence once again.  We sang this song  and I was once again humbled by the steadfast love and patience of our Lord.  I was reminded that even when we lose sight,  when we fall off the tracks, he never ever leaves us.  He draws us back to him again and again.  Though last week I seemed to be in a place of darkness, today I find that I have come full circle once again.  Once again I'm in that place of quiet, peace, and restfulness.  As we sang this song I was once again awed by the awareness that my little girl is in heaven with Jesus.



Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life
And I'm in that place once again
I'm in that place once again
 
And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Now You are exalted to the highest place
King of the heavens, where one day I'll bow
But for now, I marvel at Your saving grace
And I'm full of praise once again
I'm full of praise once again

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend












                                                               Once Again

Friday, November 19, 2010

I found this picture in my uncle's photo album on facebook and I just had to share it.
Laynee with her Jade. She's so radiantly beautiful, so happy.  She absolutely
takes my breath away.




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Laughter

Today I found myself missing the laughter that Laynee used to bring to our home.  On the days when the kids are in school and I am home alone, the house is so quiet.  I miss the silly little things that she was constantly doing to make me laugh.  We have plenty of laughter in our home now but it is of a different sort.  The laughter that Laynee brought was so spontaneous, born of her pure innocence.    She was so busy, so determined, so ornery, and so incredibly funny.  I miss her silly faces, her expressions,  her bossiness, and her dances.  I miss dancing with her in the kitchen when no one was watching and singing completely off key to hear her laugh at me.  I miss the laughter that came when one of the kids hid behind a chair to jump out with a BOO.  And calling to everyone to come quick to see the predicament she'd gotten herserlf into this time.  I think back to when the kid's friends would be around and she would keep them all in stitches with her silly ways.  I long to hear the sound drifting through my window of my niece, Dani and nephew, Garrett laughing with Laynee.  I ache to hear her delight on the swings. 

I realize now that we took all that laughter for granted.  We didn't cherish that laughter like we should have.  I can't help wondering if we will ever again laugh with such carefree abandonment.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Laynee,

I am missing you something fierce tonight.  Daddy and I went to a visitation together.  The mother of some of our friends died a few days ago.  I know that she is up in heaven and I think she's probably making you laugh because she had a way of making people laugh and she really loved little people.  But I also know that the people left here are going to miss her alot. 

After the visitation Daddy and I stopped at your grave.  We don't go there together very often.  I go there all the time and daddy  goes alot, but not usually together.  It hurt to go together because we know how much the other is hurting. 

I heard this song today and it made me cry.  Of course, I did not write this song but the words are just what I'm thinking all the time.  This hole in my heart just seems to get bigger and bigger.  Missing you is not getting any better.   Tonight my arms hurt from wanting to hold you.

I miss you and I love you so much
Mommy

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Choices

I continue to be amazed at how time keeps marching on. Though it seems implausible under the circumstances, the phrase "Life goes on" remains absolute.  The pain of grief has not decreased with time,  but it is different.  With much hard work and determination, the chaotic messiness of traumatic stress has diminished somewhat. In it's aftermath remains nothing  but deep, lonely emptiness.  The combination of trauma and grief seems to have eaten a cavernous hole at the very core of my being. 

Nearly everything that I do these days is accompanied by a feeling of apathy.  I go to my job and the passion and zeal that I once possessed is completely nonexistent. I am employed only for the sake of being employed.  The responsibilities that I have around my home feel empty and meaningless. Homemaking tasks: cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc. are accomplished only because it is what is expected of me.  I look out my window and see jobs that should be done but I really don't care at all about them.   While I enjoy one to one time with close friends, social activities involving several people hold little or no appeal.  I have developed a monmouth sized aversion to large groups.  The definition of " large group" in my book is any number greater than 5 people. I have, for quite some time, had a lack of interest in the mundane.   I cannot recall the last time I actually looked forward to anything other than just being home with my family. The concept of excitement is utterly foreign.

If there is one thing that I have come to understand about the path of grief it is that, while we may not have had a say in whether or not we were placed on this road, the ensuing journey is filled with choices that only we can make.  In the first months after the accident the choices we made  were basic, made out of an innate will to survive.  The most difficult choices were whether or not to get out of bed each day and to put food in our mouth when the clock said to eat.  We went to the places that our schedules dictated and did the things that life deemed necessary.  In a sense, life, with it's continuous onward march, made our decisions for us.  As time moves on and we continue to trudge through the pain, the choices have increased in complexity.  A large part of the difficulty comes in recognizing that there are, indeed,  choices that need to be made lest we become stuck in  grief.

It goes without saying that in many ways Laynee's abscence has been a dominating focus in our life. Loss of this magnitude tends to become a pivotal point around which our very existence spins.  The pain, at times, seems larger than life, larger than our reason for living.  The enormity of sorrow's weight squashes any desire to move ahead.  Therein lies one of our greatest choices:  to embrace life, in spite of our sorrow.   The choice comes with acceptance that things will never be the same, that our hearts will always hurt.  Our heart's deepest longing is to be in heaven, the place where we will once again hold our precious child.    Yet, for now, we are here, residing on this earth.  We can remain stuck in our grief and mourning or we can join in the march onward that continues, regardless of our desire  to be a part of it. 

There is one question that hovers, like a cloud, over every choice that looms ahead of us.  What exactly is one to do with the sorrow and sadness?  How does one move forward when the heart is filled with such pain and emptiness?   My heart and soul have, in every concievable way, protested the direction that my life has taken.  I rebel against the idea of going anywhere or doing anything that allows the potential for more hurt and pain in my life.  I have found that I often become self preoccupied, which I recognize as sin that I need to cast aside and seek forgiveness for. I must acknowledge the truth, that God has a plan for my life.  While Laynee's time on earth is finished, mine continues.  Remaining stuck in grief is not what God wants for me, he desires that I move forward and embace the life that he has given me.  And so I come to him daily, hourly bringing all of the pain and placing it at the foot of cross.  With aching heart I accept that Laynee is gone, that she is not coming back and that I will never be the same.  I come to him, with heart void of dreams, goals or aspirations and seek to be led into whatever it is that he has for me to do.

 "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O Lord, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands"
Psalm 138:8





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stupidity

Isn't there a saying that says something like   "stupid is as stupid does" or "stupid says and stupid is"  or something like that?  Obviously I'm not one to use the statement much.  In fact I really am not fond of the word stupid.  However, today I had an experience that has left me with no other word to descibe it ...... sometimes people say and do things that are just plain stupid.  I do not think that they have evil intent, their motive is not one of viciousness, they just do not think.  Their brain simply does not stop to think about how incredibly stupid are the words coming from their mouth. 

I have already had my meltdown over this.  Fortunately I was surrounded by great people who intervened and supported me.  As the day has gone on, my sadness has turned to anger.  I stand in disbelief at the cruel, callousness of some people.  I want to strike out and hit something, instead I pray for grace and love for one who, right now, seems very unlovable. 

This encounter involved a woman that I have always viewed as rather rude and borderline obnoxious.   She began asking about my children and naturally Laynee's accident came up.   The questions she asked were bold and heartless.  Her face was an ugly grimace through the entire dialogue. She appeared disgusted and not in the least bit sympathetic.  She kept saying "How could that happen?" "How did you let that happen?"  It felt as if the walls of the room were closing in on me and there was a loud rushing sound in my head.  I knew that I had to get away from this woman......and fast.  I was either going to faint or injure the woman.   I really don't remember much except that I left the room very abruptly.

I usually try not to make too much of the things that people say.  I know that as a general rule, people are trying to be polite, they do not know what to say and sometimes say the wrong thing.   However, there are times like this when a line is crossed and I cannot find it in me to believe that they were trying to be polite.   My guess is that she was trying to fish for information.  She wanted to know the answer to questions like "who was watching her?"  and "where were you?"  But her words came at as accusations.
 
"How did you LET that happen?"   This suggests that we walked away from Laynee, knowing she was in danger, and ALLOWED her to die.  I abhor any words, even if they were unintentional, that might suggest something so false.    There is no end to the number of times our family has asked ourselves this question, "how did we let it happen?"  This is a question that our adversary would love to destroy us with.  To have a human being, a Christian woman ask something so ridiculous,  can only be descibed as stupid. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Helper

Baking cookies this morning and wishing with every ounce of my being that I had my little helper dancing around the kitchen.   The things that hit me, like a knife through the chest, never cease to amaze me.  This morning it is the dough beaters.  They scream at me that she is not here to lick them clean.


In the diswasher, I spy her bottle.  The one with clouds and stars on it.
Apparently, she spied it too.


I miss those toes, beautiful, beautiful, Down Syndrome toes.
If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you can see her sweet toes up close.

Laynee Bug, Laynee Bug
HEY
Laynee, Laynee Bug!!!!
Why do I love you so much?!?!?!?



Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Promise Kept

"I have told you these things,
so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

My daughter, Jamee, has this verse hanging on the bulletin board in her room.  It is written on a note card and is among several other verses that are meaningful to her.  Though I cannot say for sure, I believe that this verse was hung there shortly after Laynee's accident.  It warms my heart to see all of these verses. They hang there among the pictures and mementos of people and events that are dear to her.  Many of the pictures hanging there are of her sweet baby sister who brought so much joy with her presence and so much pain in her abscence.   As I was doing some cleaning this week, I went into Jamee's room and I stood there for awhile looking at the pictures and verses above her bed.  As my eyes came to rest on this particular verse, I was a reminded of a conversation that I had with someone a couple of weeks ago about this verse. 

  Though there are likely many who could not give the exact scripture reference for this verse, it is one that is familiar to most christians.  They are beautiful words"...that in me you may have peace"   in which we can find comfort and rest.   These words "But take heart, I have overcome the world"  are powerful words that bring hope and confidence in spite of living in a broken and mixed up world.  This week, thanks to the counsel of a man whom I have come to greatly respect,  I stared at the words of John 16:33 as if seeing it for the very first time.    The same verse that brings peace and hope and "warm, fuzzy feelings" has a promise written smack in the middle of it.  We tend to overlook the promise because it does not bring the same sense of warmth to our hearts as does the rest of the verse. 

"In this world you will have trouble."  Notice that these words are not preceded by "perhaps" or "it may be."  They are not a possibility or even a probability: they are a promise.  As surely as our Lord promises "never will I forsake you" and "I am with you always," he promises that we will have trouble. Just ahead of this verse, in verse 20 our Lord, himself says "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve...."  Mourning and grief is a guarantee, not even but especially, for those of us who serve him.  Why then does it take us so unprepared when troubles come to us and shake our seemingly perfect world?

Last night I had a bit of spare, quiet time before bed and I used this time to research this verse.  I looked up "God's Promises" and the computer instantly brought before me page after page of websites with lists of promises made by our Lord.  I began to look through the websites, searching for these verses which promise trouble and grief and mourning.   I scoured countless websites until finally I found one site which  listed John 16:33 as a promise from our Lord to us. It is somewhat alarming that only one site among hundreds claimed this verse as a promise to us.  Without question, all of the verses on these sites were God's promises.  They were good, warm, lovely verses.  They were verses pointed out to bring comfort and hope to all who know Him.   The lists are accurate ..............yet not all-inclusive. 

In our society, a country of abundance and prosperity, where medical intervention is at our fingertips, we tend to think of tragedy as something that happens to someone else.  When suddenly devastation strikes and we face job loss, medical crisis, or we have to bury our precious children, we find ourselves wondering why.  Why us? Why not someone else's child? What did I do to deserve this? What did I do wrong?  Why would God allow this?  I cannot deny that I have asked these questions more times than I can count.

 "In this world you will have troubles."  These words from the scriptures are God breathed and infallible.  God does not make mistakes nor does he change his mind.  In our humanness it is natural to want answers and to ask why.  Christ himself asked "Why" as he hung on the cross.  As we ask our questions, as we try to comprehend the reasons for troubles that come into our lives,  I wonder, is it possible for us to accept the clear, simple answer that was given to us long ago?  Can we find rest in the assurance that God made a promise and he always keeps his word? 


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not So Happy Halloween

Tonight Jade and I drove into town.  The streets were filled with gleeful, costumed children running door to door.  We saw Spiderman, Cowboys, Princesses, Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Lady Bugs and Butterflies. We looked at them with longing, aching, wishing.   There is something intrinsically wrong about seeing this when you are driving to the cemetary with a pumpkin engraved with the letters L. A. Y. N. E. E, to place upon your little girl's grave. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heartless

My thoughts and emotions have been jumbled and chaotic for the past several days.  My heart has much to say but it's not all neat and tidy, in fact, it's completely contradictory to the life we try so hard to live.   On Sunday the faith of each member of our family was tried.  The motto that we have held fast to since the accident was tested.   The words that I have written numerous times on this blog suddenly seemed empty and flat and we questioned whether such words are true for us. 

The topic for Sunday's church service was "God is good............all the time."  It began with a beautiful report of praise as one sister in faith, a two time cancer survivor, was given a positive, cancer free report after a scare last week.  I knew of this situation, had prayed earnestly for this woman, a friend whom I respect and love dearly.  My heart rejoiced with her, her husband and 4 beautiful children, as well as other family members.  The service continued with one of our ministers, who happens to be this woman's brother, delivering the message. At one point he proclaimed that God is good and even if the results had been different,  God would still be good.  And so it was that with these words "God is good," the enemy of souls launched a vicious attack on our family, right there, in that holy place, surrounded by fellow believers.

 The point is not about who happened to be speaking that day, or who's prayers were answered in the affirmative that week.  This post is not in any way directed personally at anyone in particular.  It is about the enemy and how he can take the absolute truth and mix it with lies to leave us doubting and questioning the faith that we rely so heavily upon.  The truth, "God is good" was spoken over and over during that service and each time it had the effects of a knife through our hearts.  At the words "even if the results had been different, God would still be good,"  I fought the urge to stand up and say "maybe so but it would be a lot harder to see it."

The service continued with reading from Mark 7:31-39, about the deaf and mute man who was made to hear and speak.  Jesus told him not to tell of his miracle but, of course, he did because he was so amazed.  Just before this passage is told the story of a woman who asked that a demon be cast out of her daughter and Jesus granted her request.  This deaf man and this mother-- they couldn't NOT tell what Christ had done, they were amazed.  The adversary said, "of course they were amazed, they were part of a supernatural intervention,  but what if the woman's child had been struck dead instead?   "Would God still be amazing?"  The truth is that if God had granted us a miracle and breathed life back into Laynee, you better believe we would be shouting it from the house tops.  But he didn't, and it is really hard to continue to say and believe that God is good all the time.   If there is ever a time when the words "God is good" seem out of place it is in the shadow of a suddden and untimely death of one loved so dearly. 

At the end of the service the minister asked for a show of hands from those who, in the last week had experienced, firsthand, how amazing God is.  Several hands went up and then a few shared the good and amazing things that God had worked in their life that week.  This "God is good, God is amazing" began to feel like overkill. I felt left out and I was tired of hearing it.  All the great things, all of the answered prayers were beginning to grate on my nerves as I pondered the tattered pieces of my family's wounded hearts.   All of these things were a testimony to the power of prayer and yet, it was this same church family, these same prayer warriors, who prayed when Laynee was pulled from our pool.  The adversary dangled this before me and fed me the lie that our prayers were somehow less powerful.   In a sanctuary filled with people praising God and proclaiming his goodness, our family came to understand the meaning of lonely.

I was blindsided by this attack.  That morning I awoke feeling somewhat refreshed and ready to face the day.  This experience left me struggling to regain my footing and get back on course.   Since the day of the accident I have said the words "God is good" out loud, in writing, and in my mind.  I admit that the last few days have left me struggling to grasp these words as absolute truth.  I am grateful that my head knows it, even on the days that my heart does not.  As I have wrestled with the emotion of the past few days, as the weariness seems to drag me even deeper into griefs darkness, I have come to understand a very important fact about our adversary.  I have known this all along, but never have I had to live it in the same capacity that I am living it now.  He is without heart.  He is no respector of persons neither is he a respector of places.  There is no level too low for him to stoop.  No one is exempt from his attacks. He plays dirty, driving his fiercest blows when we are at our weakest point.   He so cruelly entered into the one place that we should be able to find comfort, the pews within the santuary of our church.  He used the praise reports of those who had been touched by God's mercy, those whom we love and care about,  in an attempt to drive bitterness into our hearts.  He used the words "God is good all the time,"  the very words that have sustained us throughout this agonizing journey, to cast doubt in our hearts.  He is ruthless and heartless and will stop at nothing to see us fall.   

Throughout the week I have struggled with tunnel vision.  This grief serves as a dark screen over the window of our life.  We have been blessed in so many beautiful ways.  God has shown his absolute goodness in every aspect of our life.  But the grief tends to cast a shadow over all of the beauty of our life and at times, it is difficult to lift the screen to allow the light and His goodness to shine through.

I am grateful for that our God is so patient.  He patiently waited while I entertained myself with self pity but He did not let go of me.  God IS good, all the time.  Sometimes it's hard to see it and even harder to say it but that does not make it any less so. 

God was good when he created the earth
God was good when Eve ate from the tree
God was good when Joseph was sold into slavery
God was good when David sent Uriah out to die
God was good when he sent his son to earth
God was good when he allowed his son to hang on the cross
God was good when he gave me each of my 6 children
God was good when Ann had cancer twice
God was good when Ann's test came back "cancer free"
God was good when he gathered Laynee into his arms, leaving us with broken hearts
God is good...........all the time.

 Be sober, be vigilant;
 because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, walketh about,
 seeking whom he may devour:
I Peter 5:8