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 1, 2009


On February 2,2007 a beautiful little girl came unexpectedly to our family through adoption. We had previously kept other newborns under special circumstances while they awaited adoption so when our caseworkers name came up on our caller ID, we knew our life was about to be turned upside down for a time. This situation was different in that the child did not have a family waiting to adopt her. The baby, whom the nurses had been calling "Angel Grace" was born on January 30, 2007. She had a heart defect and Down Syndrome and her birth mother had signed adoption papers right after the birth. When we got to the hospital to see her the first time, the nurses had cut out pictures of angels and taped them to her isolette saying "we think she's a little angel." She was a beautiful baby and I was instantly struck by how she looked like my own biological children at birth. We agreed to take her home with the promise that we would consider being her forever family. We named her Jalayne Grace and a week later agreed to adopt her. Laynee was a beautiful, content child and she won our hearts instantly. She had a small atrial septal defect and a large ventricular septal defect in her heart that would someday need to be repaired. In April at about 2 1/2 months, Laynee went into congestive heart failure and needed surgery much sooner than expected. On April 24 the surgery was performed by doctor Fortuna at OSF. 10 days later the rhythm of her heart was still not able to synchronize and a pacemaker was put in her tiny heart. From that moment on, Jalayne's heart was paced 100% of the time.

Laynee blossomed in our home and family and touched the life of nearly everyone who met her. She was full of joy and happiness almost all the time. She rarely cried or fussed. She was strong willed and determined and radiantly beautiful in her pure simplicity. She was the perfect example of love without conditions.

On Labor Day weekend 2009, Jim decided he wanted to take Grandma Glueck to southern Illinois to see "Fat Man's Squeeze" at Giant City State Park. Grandma and Grandpa Glueck and our family spent a beautiful weekend together with Miss Laynee being the center of attention most of the weekend. Grandpa Glueck toted Laynee around on his arm most of the time and on Labor Day she learned to call Grandpa "PaPaw." We returned home on Monday Sept. 7th, 2009. After dinner we all went outside, Jim to his shed, Grant to hunt, Jamee and I to the driveway to wash our cars, Brock was working on homework and Jade and cousin Garrett were playing "chase" with Laynee. On one of the trips chasing Garrett and Jade around the house Laynee stopped to play in our soapy bubbles in the car wash bucket. With a soapy beard and a big grin she ran off to follow Jade and Garrett again. I was just finishing drying off my car and told Jamee we needed to make sure of where Laynee was so that I wouldn't run over her while putting the car back in the garage. We soon discovered she wasn't with Jade as we thought and we all began the search for Laynee. I, assuming she had followed Garrett to his house next door to see her beloved "heehee's" (horses), walked across the pasture to my sister Karla and Marty's. Laynee wasn't there either and panic instantly wrapped around my throat. The gate leading up to our deck surrounding our pool was open and Jamee was looking for Laynee around the pool. Instinct told me to pull the solar blanket off. With Jamee's help I pulled one section of the blanket up and there was our precious Laynee with her pink shorts and blue shirt boasting "it's good to be me" face down in the brilliant blue water. I pulled her out and frantically began trying to save my baby. Marty was there in an instant to help. Jamee called 911 while Marty and I did everthing in our power to make Laynee breathe again. Laynee was rushed to ER but soon after our arrival the doctor informed us that while the pacemaker was working, her heart would not respond. Our precious Laynee Grace had gone to be with Jesus.

Our life, which had been so beautiful all weekend, was turned upside down in a matter of moments. Time seemed to stand still, nothing would ever be the same without our little ray of sunshine, our very special little girl.

Losing a daughter, a sister is something we all think happens to someone else. The unthinkable has struck our family. The pain and sorrow is incomprehensible. We all, in our own ways, struggle to know how to handle this thing called "grief"


  1. Aunt Karol-

    Thank you for relieving those horrible moments to give us readers a glimpse of what actually happened. I feel as though since we were in TN that I missed out on providing the support and love you all needed in those days right after the accident. Prayers were all I could offer, and I like to think that being way up on the mountains God was able to hear my prayers even better :) So, despite the fact that we were not there to give you words of comfort, know that we were asking the Almighty Comforter to hold you all near! We love you and thanks again for starting this blog!

  2. Jim, Karol and kids,

    Everyday I want to call and see how you are doing and yet I don't want to interefere on the daily journey to heal. What if you are having an okay day and me asking "how are you doing" makes you sad. I want you to know that I am here for you at anytime and that if you need anything that you can call me. I love this site and I think it is an amazing way to know how you are doing.

  3. This breaks my heart all over again... and I still pray for you all often. Every time I think of Laynee and your family I find myself hugging on my girls a little longer, being a little "over"protective for a while before letting them go and play again. I cannot imagine that day, the memories, the pain, and now the emptiness.

    I don't know how you feel about music and if it ministers to you, but I heard a new album this weekend and thought of (and cried for) Laynee and your whole family as I listened. It's a beautiful and poignant testament to one family's honest struggle and questions yet their insistence upon believe their God is still always there for them. They have walked in your shoes, lost their precious girl as well. I kept feeling like I should share it with you, but I wasn't sure how...then you posted on iVillage with a link to the blog. In case you are interested at some point, you can hear it here. http://www.rhapsody.com/steven-curtis-chapman/beauty-will-rise

    Many blessings, RK
    (Braskasmom on iVillage)

  4. I saw your comment on Meredith's blog and just wanted to say with you, I know your paina nd heartache. One of our 3 yr. twins was dx with a childhood cancer Dec. 06 and went to live with Jesus 1/23/07. It was a very short battle sad to say. The hole we both feel is so deep, so dark and there is only One that can penetrate it, our Jesus. The only way I have even begun to find life after this is in His Word. It breaths life to my seemingly lifeless heart. Now after 2 1/2 years, the tears still fall easily, the missing does not cease but His grave has been so beautiful. We will never get over this but I like to picture it it like this, His Words of scripture are like stepping stones and as I hear truths and comforts through the Word, I stand on it until I read and hear another one and then get on that one and so forth and now here I am 2 1/2 years later. Its a day, a truth at a time. Keep in the Word and may His Spirit of Truth fill you with His Presence.

  5. Karol,
    I have read much of your blog and want to just say I am so sorry about Laney. She is such a beautiful little girl and I can imagine the pain you are going through missing her. I am almost 9 months without my little boy and I can tell you that I miss him today as much as I did the day he died. There are better days and worse days but this is a journey that I will ride for my lifetime so I have a long ways to go. Your outlook is amazing and I am glad you have your faith and your family to lean on. My faith has been shaken and I struggle with it all the time. My husband and I have talked about it a lot lately and it helps, but I don't know where it will lead.
    You have a beautiful family with some accomplished kids whom I know you are proud of. I wish for you peace and continued love.

  6. I found your blog because you found mine (Waiting for Morning www.aubreyandellie.blogspot.com) I am Aubrey and Ellie's mom. I read Laynee's story and my heart is broken. I am so sorry for your tragic loss. I know the grief of losing a child and it is unbearable at time. I have leaned heavily on Jesus to carry me through, but will admit that at time even that did not feel like enough. I will be praying for you and your family as you heal. Healing is possible, but it takes hard work. I speak from experience when I say that healing is a choice...this will be a battle for you. I also want to encourage you to be honest about any feelings of guilt or shame you might be carrying. For a year and a half I hid away my feelings of guilt about the deaths of my daughters. I truly blamed myself. It is a long story, but I have found healing in that area as God's grace finally broke down the walls I had put up to punish myself. What happened was not your fault, it was no one's fault, and as painful as it is you will heal (as best you can this side of heaven). In the meantime Laynee is perfect in heaven, waiting for you, playing with my girls, wanting you to find comfort in this life until you are reunited in the presence of our amazing Heavenly Father. If you need anyting email me. aubreyandellie@gmail.com. I am a good listener and a very real person. I refused to sugar coat my grief process and sometimes it is refreshing to just get it out honestly to someone who can take it. Sending my love your way. And also, I love that name Laynee. I have it on my own list of baby names.

  7. Karol,

    Thank you for your comment on my blog (hannahshonor.blogspot.com), firstof all.

    I am truly speechless after reading the story of sweet Laynee. Speechless. I can't imagine those moments when your world changed. Forever. I can't imagine the devastation of her siblings. I can't imagine.

    I can pray for you, and I will. I will pray for you and your family and ask God to continue to carry you and fill you with peace.

    I am so sorry. I am here if you need someone to talk to.


  8. Karol,
    I read your sweet comment on Nella's birth story, and wanted to find you to tell you that I will be praying for your family. I can not imagine your loss. My daughter is now almost 10 years old. We actually tried to adopt another child with T21 a few years ago as we wanted more of their sunshine. The adoption fell through. x

    I have often losing a child who has T21 would be like losing 2 children. The child themselves, and then the Down syndrome... it IS such a way of life.

    I have a friend whose daughter drowned in 2008. She had autism. It is such a tragedy.

    Much love and many prayers.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful and precious little girl. I lost my baby girl 10 months ago after 13 days and I know the grief is devastating. Lifting you up in prayer tonight.


  10. Karol,
    Another sleepless night...How many children do you have?...Only happens to others... So many of your phrases are so familiar and bring about such memories. Oct. 13, 1998 our first son, Joshua, died in a drowning accident in a small pond near our home. He was 13 mo. old. Now 11 years later, our other son, Gabriel, was killed in a motorcycle accident here in Haiti where we are missionaries. Gabriel was 5 yrs. old and we just "celebrated" his 6th birthday March 12. I appreciated your comment on facebook. God is faithful. As we go down this road of grief yet again, we have such mixed emotions. Knowing the faithfulness of God, we know we will make it through this time of intense pain to where it settles into just a dull ache, but we continue to dread all the "firsts" such as birthdays, holidays, and other days filled with memories of happier times. I do so appreciate your ability to write candidly what you are going through and expressing the pain and sorrow in word pictures that give people a little insight into what you are going through. May God be ever near you one step at a time. Looking forward to the "someday" in heaven when all will be right again.

  11. Although we are going through our own grief of losing our sweet baby girl 2 months ago, I cannot imagine what this day was like for you. Thank you for sharing this and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  12. I just found your blog through another blog. I am crying reading the story of your precious girl. I hope the days are becoming more bearable for you. I can't imagine. My children are grown and gone and I am a grandmother. I still think of my adult children as my babies. May God continue to comfort you and your sweet family!

  13. Someone posted your blog on my son's Caringbridge site. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my 3 year old son in March 2010 (He was our second child to pass away...we lost his brother in December 2004 at the age of 2 years) I am speechless. I don't know what to say. Please know I was touched by your story and your daughter.

    God Bless,
    Veronica Wallace

  14. This is a very touching blog. I am Preslee Sullengers grandfather and was kinda blogging around reading comments on Preslee. I was drawn to your story about Laynee. These tragic events forever change families. Laynee for sure is a very special person in God's eyes. You are blessed to be her family. Thanks for being such good people.

  15. my heart goes out to you all. I can't imagine what you must be feeling. I pray God will hold you close and comfort you.

    PRAYING 4 a MIRACLE 4 Jeremiah!

  16. thank you for the comment on my blog. i'm so so sorry for the loss of your precious Laynee. she is a doll. it is evident that she is such a lucky girl to have such a big, loving family. thank you for sharing her story with all of us. ((hugs))

  17. What a wonderful forever family Laynee has. Your bog has touched my heart tonight. Thank you for sharing her story. May God bless you and your family.


  18. I happened to see your comment on Ashley Sullenger's blog. I have randomly read a few of your posts. Thank you. Thank you for your beautiful words. Thank you for reminding me to cherish every single second with my daughters. I would hate for an angery moment to be the last memory I had with one of them. Thanks for helping me to be a better Mom. Laynee's sweet sunshine glows through her pictures. What a sweet angel! I will keep you in my prayers, always.

  19. your story caught my eye because i also have a laynee who has a heart defect they also told me she had down syndrome but them test were wrong that is why i started to read your blog just today! my heart truly breaks for you i cant imagine walking in your shoes i really dont know if i could i live with this fear daily what would i do without laynee i have a older child who would keep me going but i dont know if i could be strong like you are may god bless you all your truly amazing