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.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where 2 Are Gathered

Jim and I have always had what I consider to be a strong marriage.  We have our fair share of disagreements.  We've had some bumps on the marriage road but all in all it is good, very good.  We' ve weathered some fierce storms together.  When Jamee was just a baby Jim decided to go back to school.  I worked third shift for several years and stayed up days so that we didn't need babysitters.  When we were expecting Brock, Jim was laid off of his union construction job which eventually led to the formation of our own residential construction business.  I encourage anyone who thinks they have all of life's answers to start a business.  I assure you that your number one lesson will be just how much you do not know.  As business owners, many times we have gotten up only to be knocked down again.  As parents of teenagers we have experienced the same things that viritually all parents face during the lovely adolescent years.  All of these are essentially normal challenges that many couples face in varying degrees. 

Soon after we built and moved into our new home,  Moise came.  The challenges we had faced prior to his arrival suddenly seemed trivial as we faced the barrage of medical complexities that he brought to us.  Unexpectedly, our neat and orderly life was turned upside down by one after another medical crisis.   We faced the possiblity of losing Moise to life threatening illness. Together we struggled with the decision to adopt a child who would not grow and mature and learn as most children do.  We sacrificed sleep for several years as we cared for our fragile son.  Moise's place in our life, our family, our home has stretched us emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. 

Through all of the joys and struggles of life and marriage, Jim is my rock.  He is solid and steadfast.  He works hard but more importantly, he is full of compassion.  Jim stands firm in what he believes and he has proven that he will make great sacrifices for the sake of love, respect and protection of myself and our children.  Jim is a man like few others in his love for children whom life appears to have been unfair to.  I am keenly aware that few men would be willing to sacrifice, to the extent that he has, to care for children with disabilities.  Jim is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  Like all of us, he has his share of faults and imperfections. Nevertheless, he is a rare gem,   I know it and appreciate it.

This journey of grief that we are on together has been the most horrific and, in some strangely sad way, the most beautiful jouney of our lifetime.   We have been warned by many of the effects of child death on marriage.  Statistics prove that many marriages cannot withstand the gale force winds of losing a beloved child.   I clearly understand this.  We are tired and sad and often irritable.  Life's small frustrations are somehow amplified in the face of tragedy, often causing great stress and short fuses.  We sin against each other, we get angry with each other.  It seems we constantly find ourselves asking for and extending forgiveness toward one another.  We grieve in dramatically different ways and while we try to respect these differences, sometimes it is hurtful and frustrating. 

When we remember back to the day of the accident there is all sorts of blame that could be placed.   We could say to each other, "why weren't you watching her closer?"  "Why did you take you eyes off of her?" 
"How could you just assume that the kids had her?"  But we don't.  Never, not one single time have such words of blame been uttered in our home. The truth is that when we all went outside that evening after dinner, there was an unspoken understanding that we all would do our part in watching her.  We would work together as a family because that is what we do.  As parents and siblings of 2 special needs children, everyone plays a vital part.  No one is exempt from helping out.  It is knowledge of this truth that relinquishes each of us from placing blame.  As we examine the situation, we each take our pointed fingers and turn them toward ourselves, wishing that we, individually,  had done differently.   Grant said it perfectly once when he stated that "I know that just 5 seconds of doing something different could have changed the entire course and the result of that evening."   This lack of blame is a powerful gift, a gift of mercy entended not only by our Lord, but from and to each other. 

 I am the one who does all the writing on this blog because it is healing for me.  I have found it to be a most effective means of expression.  Jim does not blog but he hurts.  People seem to be very aware of my aching mother heart, often forgetting or minimizing his broken father heart.  While our grief and pain is different, as our parent roles are different, the intensity of the pain is essentially the same.  Jim, like many men, has always had an awesome sense of resonsiblity to protect his daughters.  He cherishes them as priceless treasures. Laynee brought a smile to his face on difficult days.   On stressful days, her soft laughter and warm hugs helped him to keep life in perspective.  The loss of his precious, littlest princess has left him with a wide gaping hole in his heart.

As we travel this painful path we draw closer and closer together.  We spend our nights in each other's arms as the pain ravages our body and soul.   We draw comfort and strength from each other's presence.  While other family and friends are invaluable, it is Jim who holds me up when I cannot stand.  We are both very weak right now, but together we are strong.  We come together daily, crying out to our Savior to carry us through this valley.   Our souls speak in the only way that they can, through rivers of tears.  As the tears flow, they mesh, they mingle, they become ....not mine, nor his, but ours.  We have weathered storms before.  However, this time as I look into the face and eyes of my husband, whom I love more than life itself, I see an exact, mirror image of my own desperate pain.  It hurts to know his pain is so reflective of my own.  It is painful.  It is beautiful.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth;
 for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken


  1. Karol, I am so glad you wrote this blog. I often wonder how Jim is doing. I will never forget how strong he was at the visitation and his words into me & Jill's ears, "It is what it is." I knew inside he was broken, but those words ring through my soul EVERYDAY. Please let him know that I love him and I pray that God continues to hold you both up in His loving arms. Stay strong together, because you are a beautiful couple with an amazing family!

    Amy Gayle

  2. beautiful, Karol.
    we pray with you quietly, begging the Lord for each of you to have the strength for each minute & each day.
    so glad to hear your beautiful expression of a couple being sweetly strengthened through grief.

    Sonya Hillrich

  3. I so admire (and envy, quite honestly) your ability to truly rely on each other, having differences and yet never questioning the place of the other in your lives. I often pray for Jim specifically when I pray for you guys...I try to pray for all by name...but I feel like sometimes Jim comes to mind for some reason, maybe because his hurt is less visible for those of us far away. For whatever reason, God reminds me often not to forget that he lost his precious princess. No one knows better then our Heavenly Father how it hurts to lose a beloved child, and it is only through HIM that Laynee's daddy--and her mommy--will be able to continue on, trusting the Father to carry them when need be.

    Thank you for this very special perspective.

  4. This post is magnificent...as all of yours are. You describe the same endearment that I feel toward my own husband over the grief that we share in losing Mark. The bond that we have formed is something that isn't necessarily visible to all, but beautiful to the two of us...a gift from God that He has given, rising from the pain.

    Laynee was so blessed to have you two as her parents while she was here. I can imagine what beautiful souls your other children must have as well.

    Praising God for you and your husband,


  5. Karol--so very well put. I, too, have felt melded together in this pain with my husband. We were warned often of the statistics of couples who hvae lost children but we never once thought about that for us. We leaned on each other from the beginning and have helped each other get through it. My husband does not blog, either, but he reads what I write and it helps him....sometimes what I am writing is for him mostly. We are on the same journey but some times we are on different paths. But we are never very far from each other and can get back to where the other one is in a heartbeat. I am so glad you and your husband are there for each other. I can't imagine if he wasn't.