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

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Hardest Part

There seems to be a unanimous assumption among people that "the first year is the hardest" after the death of someone we love.  I've heard it said in many ways.  Before the first year mark it was "this first year has to be hard,"  "you have to get through the first year,"  "I'm sure all of the firsts will be tough."  Now that we've surpassed the infamous year, to my befuddlement, I am hearing things like "you made it through the first year,"  "now that the first year is behind you,"  and "it should get easier now."  Regardless of wording the point behind such statements is that the first year is the most difficult part of grief.  I harbor no manevolence toward anyone who may have said such things. I know and am compassionate of the fact that people do not know what to say.   In truth I too have held out a small glimmer of hope, that maybe, just maybe the first year is indeed, the hardest and that it will be smooth sailing from here on out. 

Yesterday, as I was driving home, pondering a statement that was made to this effect, I found myself trying to find words for how I would describe "the hardest part."  Since Laynee's passing I have come to know, on a heart level, many who are walking this painful journey.  While we all have unique and individual experiences,  we are much alike in many ways. Though I cannot speak for all, I think that many would say that the "hardest part" is knowing how to go on.

"Going on" began within the first moments of those dreaded words, "time of death."   Those three words signified the end of life as we knew it.  They devoured the hope of seeing a miracle performed before our eyes.  The words were loud, crushing and irrevocable.  From that moment, 7:25 pm September 9, 2009, we have been searching for a way to "go on."  That first night we had to go on by allowing our children to say one last goodbye to their baby sister.  "Going on" meant walking out of the hospital with empty arms.  It meant putting our heads on the pillow, knowing we did not tuck her in and kiss her good night.

We have made daily choices to "go on" in spite of the fact that we have no idea how and often lack the desire to do so.  The hardest part is facing each and every day without her and ending each day, knowing I just completed another day without seeing, hearing and touching her.    The hardest part is seeing little girls her age and wondering what she would be like as 3 or 3.5 or 4 year old.  Everytime I see a person with Down Syndrome I must, once again, figure out how to go on without having that extra chromosome to love.

Going on means finding direction and purspose for your life when the idea of what you thought God wanted for you is devastatingly altered. It's unspeakably difficult to go to a job each day, knowing that, had the angel of death not visited your home, you would not be in this position.  The hardest part is finding a desire to do anything at all when you really want to retireve the love and joy that has fluttered away like an angel's breath. 

I struggle daily, even hourly, to go on in faith.  In this, the hardest part is retaining the belief that our Lord is one of love, mercy and compassion when heart, mind and soul are invaded by the memories of what seems anything but merciful.  It is continuing in the hope that He can and will work all things together for God when everything seems inherently wrong.  I must hold fast to the belief that God does have a plan for my life, even if I cannot begin to comprehend his purpose for such great pain.  The hardest part is continuing on in this life when, suddenly, heaven is your greatest desire. 

This hardest part, this going on, is not present only on the first birthday or first Christmas without them.  It does not magically disappear with the first angelversary.  When I awoke this morning the pain was no less than it was a few weeks ago, before the one year mark.  The hardest part stays with us each and every day as we remember, as the clear picture of her smiling face begins to fade from our minds, as we make the choise to go on despite the fact that we really do not know how.  No one can tell us how to go on.  No one.....not our parents, our pastors, nor those who have already walked this path can tell us how to go on. 

We go on because the clock does not stop ticking, the earth does not stop spinning.  We go on, even though we don't know how.  We make choices daily.   Contrary to what we wish were so, we cannot change what has happened.  We cannot bring back those who are gone from us.  The hardest part is going on without them in a way that honors our God.  We know that we will see Jalayne Grace Holmes again and we can't wait for that day.  In the meantime, the hardest part is asking and finding the answer to the question "what will I do with the time that's left?"  The hardest part is going on.

For in Him we live and move and have our being
Acts  17:28


  1. I couldn't have said it better myself.

  2. I get a bit fustrated when people ask, "So is it getting easier?" Depending on my mood, sometimes I just give a little smile and kind of walk away and sometimes I tell it how it is. NO! It's not getting easier, if anything it is getting harder. Kristen was my life. I was with her every day for 24 years. My heart seriously hurts. I seriously wonder if I will ever enjoy life again rather than just enduring it.

  3. Why is a death considered something to be "gotten past" and "moved on" from? And least of all, for a mother to "get past" the death of her child!

    Apparently people want to believe that "time heals all wounds." While I will easily grant that Heaven and eternity will heal all wounds, the idea that wounds are all healed on earth is quite far from what the Bible promises.

    It seems that very little time elapses before grief is expected to lessen. A friend of mine lost her dear husband, and it wasn't more than a month or two before she was being told it was morbid for her to talk about him; she needed to get busy and put her mind on other things.

    Clearly, such advice comes when there has been no deep, personal loss. "Everyone can master grief 'cept he that has it." (W. Shakespeare)

    I'm thankful for "blog world," where you can put your thoughts down and share your heart. I'm glad of everyone who knows that you will not, on this earth, ever "get over" losing Laynee - nor would you want to.

    Yes, you are living, putting one foot in front of the other, doing what needs to be done. That is not the same as wanting to live without her.

    And I vote a resounding YES - along with many others, I'm sure - to say that you ARE honoring God very much by your perseverance. You can be sure you honor Him more than you know.

    What a day it will be when we see them again - "When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me Home, what joy shall fill my heart!"

    Bless you for your honest, faithful writing, Karol. Your love for Laynee is truly beautiful.

    Cathy in Missouri

  4. I have no doubt,that you will find "what to do with the time that is left" because I have to believe that what is to be done,is all part of his plan as well.Believing in there being a purpose to all of the tragedy and heartache that I have witnessed,is the only way I can move forward.

    Sending you peace and prayers as you find your way through each day,through each moment of missing Laynee.