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.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


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


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


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

Sunday, November 14, 2010


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


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