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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

My sweet Laynee Grace,

Happy Birthday, baby.  You would be four years old today but instead, you are having your second birthday in heaven. What a special day this would be if you were here with us. It's hard to imagine that it's been four years since you came to us.  You were so very tiny and so sweet.  We weren't really expecting you but we fell in love with you right away.  So much has happened in those four years, so much happiness and so much sadness. 

I'm going to bake a birthday cake for you today.  I will make it pink and purple, just how I think you would want it to be.  We are going to send balloons up for you in heaven too.  We will celebrate but it's just not the same without you.  I know that you celebrate every day in heaven. I hope that you are getting to show Jamee and Grant's friends, Mike and Celine around heaven.  I'm sure you celebrate every time someone new comes to heaven, even though it makes those of us here so sad. 

I haven't forgotten about your other mother here on earth, the one who gave birth to you.  I think of her all the time, but especially on your birthday. I think that her heart must be a little sad too.  I always thought she and I would get to meet someday because she would want to see how beautiful you are.  I guess that is probably not going to happen now so I will just keep praying for her.   I'm glad that you can watch over her from heaven. 

We miss you so much.  I wish that I could hold you close to me and feel your arms around my neck.  I  wish I could smell your sweet little girl scent. I want to dance in the kitchen with you and hear you laughing.  I never new that it was possible to miss someone so much, for so long.  I never knew that anything could ever hurt so much. 

We are all doing okay here.  Time keeps going on here, even without you.  We do all of the things that we have to do.  The kids go to school, mom and dad go to work.  We try to be happy but it's just so hard to be happy when we are so sad.  Someday we are going to get to see you again and that makes us happy.  We know now that the hurting is not going to get much better while we are here on earth. We are going to miss you all of our days here. 

I try to imagine what my little girl would be like now that you are four years old.  It is getting more and more difficult to picture in my mind how you would be.  I do know that you would be beautiful because you are our princess girl.  I also know that you would be so smart.  You would probably know your letters and colors and numbers by now.  I think that you would have a beautiful sining voice too.  I wish I could know and not have to guess at what you might be like when you are four. 

I found some special things for you at the store for your birthday.  They are not the kind of things I really want to give you for presents, but they are good for a birthday girl who lives in heaven.  I found little flowers and butterflys to stick in the ground they dance around when the wind blows.  I also found a cute hanging thing that says "Princess of Everything." I laughed a little when I found this and knew it would be good for your birthday. Oh............ and I found the perfect birthday hat for my birthday girl. 

I love you so much Laynee and I wonder, can you tell me, "Why do I love you so much?"  I still think you are the prettiest girl in the world.  I am going to come see you in heaven someday.  Wait for me baby girl.  I want you to hold my hand and show me all the things that you know about heaven.   Until then, I will keep loving you with every beat of my heart.  I will keep missing you with every breath that I breathe. 

You are our forever love Jalayne Grace Holmes. 
I love you

P.S  Here's our favorite song.  Let's dance to it okay.  Because you're the prettiest, 'kay.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Last Friday I found a treasure, a big, priceless treasure.  I suspect that it will be the last treasure of it's kind that I will find.  I had searched for and wondered about this treasure for quite some time and had given up hope of ever finding it.  This treasure brought with it a myriad of emotion. 

For many months I have puzzled over the fact that we had not a single picture in our posession of Laynee's second Christmas nor her second birthday.  This brought much anguish as they were not only her second Christmas and birthday, they were her last.  The knowledge that she only got to experience two of these joyful events brings a sickening twist to my stomach.  I had searched through piles of photos, discs, flash drives, and computer files, always coming up empty handed.  Those who know me well, know that I am always taking pictures.  If anyone needs pictures of an event that I attended, it's almost a guarantee that I will have some.  After searching endlessly for these pictures, I had taken to tormenting myself for my own failure. I loathed the only explanation I could come up with; that in the busyness of life and the hubbub of 6 children, I had forgotten to take pictures of these two very special dates in Laynee's tragically short life.  Words cannot describe the sorrow I felt for not having something tangible to help me remember those special lasts.

As you might have already guessed, last week I found the coveted pictures.  This Christmas Jim bought me a wonderful photo printer so that I can process my own pictures.  Having set it up on the desk in our basement, I headed down to print some pictures.  The computer there is one that was not included in the sale of Java Junction.  The kids use it for school work and there are a few Java files saved as a business precaution.  I never even think to use that computer for anything.  With flash drive in hand, I set out to upload the photos I wanted to print but noticed that there was a file of photos.  A bit confused as to why there would be photos on the old Java computer, I opened the file.  There, before my eyes, appeared photo after photo of my sweet, beautiful and missing baby.  My hands shook as I realized that I was seeing Laynee's last Christmas and birthday, the events I so desperately wanted to remember.

As so often happens since Laynee left us, I was flooded with an onslaught of conflicting emotions.  I was overjoyed to realize that I didn't forget to take these pictures and even more elated to find them.  Soul seering agony tore through me as I longed to have her here with me once more.  I was awed by God's timing, that he should give me this gift on these difficult days leading up to her second birthday in heaven.  My breath caught as my eyes took in how stunningly beautiful this child of mine was.  I felt humbled for having been her mother and, at the same time, cheated that she was taken too soon.

 There, amidst the photos are 6 beautiful videos of Laynee in action. As, one by one, I viewed the videos, my heart felt like it was being ripped from my chest with longing for her.  Some of the things that I so desperately missed were captured.  One of the videos was of her last Christmas morning.  She had received a sing a long CD with our favorite song "Daisy, Daisy."  I always changed the words to "Laynee, Laynee......give me your answer do.  I'm half crazy all for the love of you." Laynee and I danced and danced to this song but in this particular clip, I am filming while Jade dances with Laynee in her arms.  Jade and Laynee's faces are filled with joy; the innocent, carefree joy that our family once knew.  I'm singing into the microphone and it's quite hideous but I can deal with that to see the pure happiness of two of my girls who loved endlessly.  There are videos of how she loved her baby dolls and how she walked with one arm swinging behind her.  There is one in which she had a few tears, which was so rare for this precious child. It makes me sad to see that always happy face, turned upside down, yet in some strange way I'm thankful that I have it.  There is one of Brock and Laynee "chasing" and my heart slammed into my chest with the awareness that it this was the game she was playing with Jade and Garrett when the fatal miscommunication took place.  There are videos of her annoying Moise and he, in turn, pushing her aside.  They capture her smile, her sounds, her expressions, all the things that we loved so much in our little girl.  They are a treasure, worth more than all of the things that money can buy.   These pictures and videos tell a story, the main point being that this child was so very happy here, in our home.  She loved her life here on earth. 

I have no idea how these pictures came to be on that computer.  I do, however, have suspicions that I could not get them uploaded onto my own computer, for whatever reason, and took them into my office at work.  My dear employee and young friend, Coryell, who was always so patient with my technological impairment, very likely uploaded the photos without even glancing at them.  The how and why of this situation is unimportant. I have them now and will cherish them for the rest of my days.  I know that moments of discovery, such as this one, are dwindling.  The little unexpected findings have become few and far between and soon will cease to occur.  There are no more treasures hiding in unknown places.  The pictures and mementos that we have in our possesson now will have to sustain us until we see her again.  And so........for now, I will ration these beautiful photos and share them a few at a time.  My heart bleeds, my eyes swell because I know that these are the last little pieces of Laynee that I will have the pleasure of sharing with you. 

Look closely lest you miss the sparkle and joy that exuded from my precious child.  Surely, heaven is made brighter by her presence.  It has to be!!!!!!

      In the picture below, even though she's turned
     away, you can see her joy. It is there in the rise of her
    cheeks and crinkle of her beautiful almond eyes

Stunningly, achingly beautiful and radiant

This one hurts my heart.  Laynee and her papaw Glueck.
Oh how she loved her Papaw .  I think he liked her too

Her first baby.  It had a passy that she loved to shove,
none to gently, into poor baby's mouth

Daddy bought her a princess sleeping bag and night mask.
Her face looks "goopy" becasue whenever we were home
we coated her face with an ointment to combat dry, chapped

This book from grandma Holmes was her favorite.  It had
soft, fuzzy ducks and kittens.  It was this book that I tucked in beside
her before the casket was closed.

This photo is fuzzy and yet it's there.  The joy and happiness
that Laynee brought to our home is there in the smiles and eyes of my
children.  How we adored her.

I'm quite certain that my heart skipped several beats upon
seeing this picture.  My beautiful tomboy princess in her
her boots and dress.  She was such a show off in these boots. 
She thought she was the envy of the whole world when she had her
boots on.  Along with her duck book and her hee hee in her hand,
these boots are now beneath the earth with her beautiful, perfect little body.
Notice also her arm swinging behind her in the way that was so special and
uniquely Laynee.

Oh Laynee Grace, we miss you so much. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tremont's Tragedy

Tragedy has struck our small community today.  Early this morning, our girls basketball team was on their way to a basketball tournament when a truck going the opposite direction spun out of control, hot a trailer and was thrown across the median, hitting our bus head on.  Aside from a few minor injuries, the girls on the bus are okay physically.  Later this afternoon we received word that the people in the truck were also Tremont teens.  Two of them are Jamee's classmates and friends of both Jamee and Grant, they were pronounced dead at the scene.  Mike and Celine have left a hole in the hearts of many.

So much heartache, so many broken and wounded souls.  Please pray.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Laynee Clouds

This morning I got a very heart warming text on my cell phone.  It was from a young lady who is a freshman in college and works with me at the doctor's office.  The text read..........

"Laynee clouds" (what I call pink clouds)  are filling the sky this morning.

I really have no words to explain the way that this made me feel.  There was a surge of excitement at unexpectedly seeing her name written by a hand other than my own.  I felt a sense of awe at the reality of how great an impact a 2 year child managed to leave on the people that knew her.    I smiled, knowing exactly the type of clouds she was referring to, the same pink clouds that always make me think of Laynee dancing around heaven with a pink paint brush in her hand. I felt honored that a busy, life loving teen would think of my little girl and I when she probably has so much on her mind. Above all, my heart filled with joy at the knowledge that Laynee has not been forgotten, her memory lives on in the hearts of many.

Awhile back I posted about what to do and not to do when someone you care about is grieving.  Kristin has set a perfect example this morning of something that you definitely should do. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Love This

A while back,  a friend sent this picture to me.  It was taken on a camping trip with a few other families.  I positively melted when I saw it.  Above all else, the thing that made Laynee so..........Laynee, was the fact that she had Down Syndrome.  Laynee's physical features of having an extra 21st chromosome were not always very evident, especially when she was really little.  Often when people would see her, they would have no idea and would be shocked when I would explain that she has DS.  People liked to say "She must have very mild DS."  Well, in truth, this is a very incorrect statement.  There  is no such  thing as "mild" Down Syndrome.  One either has it or they don't, there is no in between.

When we looked at Laynee, we did not see Down Syndrome.  We saw a beatiful little girl with lots of spunk and more energy than anyone I ever knew.  A little girl who brought joy and sunshine and laughter to every single day of our life. 

Now, as I look back at pictures.  I find that my favorites are those in which the look of Down Syndrome
is clearly evident.  This picture is one of those and I adore it.
I would give everything I own to kiss those chubby cheeks, just one more time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Private Pain

Does there come a point when I have said enough or maybe even too much about this journey that we are on?  Is there a line across which the jumbled thoughts in my head and the deep feelings in my heart become too private or personal to share with others?  Is this continual grieving more information than anyone really needs to know about? 

I have come to understand that there is an ebb and flow quality to grief.  It has been this way since the moment that we were thrust into this chapter of our life and I suspect that it will continue until the end. I feel as though I am stuck on a pendulum, swinging from one strong emotion to another, with precious little time in between.  With each swing of the pendulum or each cycle through the stages of grief,  the pain is driven deeper until it inhabits a part of myself that has never before been occupied.  It is a place so deep within my heart and soul that, until now, I did not know such a place existed. 

 There is a time and a place for all things and with the passage of time, there are few times and even fewer places where grief is appropriate and accepted.   As I become more fully aware of this, I have become expert at compartmentalizing those things which occupy my heart and mind.  This compartmentalizing is necessary for the sake of carrying on.  I know that I cannot stay stuck in grief forever, but all memories of her, whether happy memories of life or horrific memories of death,  have varying degrees of sorrow attached to them.   In order to function without the burdensome weight of sadness, I find myself making a conscious, deliberate choice to push her memory into the back of my mind.  And then, when I find myself alone--in the quietness of the night, in the car, or in the shower--I am hit by an agonizing torrent of emotion, so strong that I seriously doubt my ability to persevere. 

I have found comfort here as I have shared some of my deepest thoughts and sorrows.  However, as the pain and sorrow become ever more deeply rooted within me, the pain has begun to feel intensely personal.  My own grief has become too private to share publicly. I have expressed it in every way that I know how.    I have made the decision to use this site only for sharing occassional pictures or special Laynee memories.  I have chosen from this point forward, to share the grief, the pain, the sadness  only with My God and the few close friends who have stood strong in this storm with me. 

Thank you to all who have walked this journey with me.  Many  have read every post, shed tears, and whispered prayers.  Thank you for the words of love and encouragement that you have shared.  As I reflect upon the many blogs that I have written here, it is my prayer that you all will remember one very important thing.


I love you so much, Laynee Grace.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

The year 2010 has come and gone.  A year of immense sadness and great change.   A year without Jalayne.  It came and now it has gone..........without her.  Last year has proven that the pain of grief is  not alleviated by the passage of time.  Though I was not aware of it at the time,  at some point during the night of Laynee's accident,  I stepped across a threshold that would separate one part of my life from another.   The part of my life that had already been lived was dramatically different from the part that was yet to come.  2010 was the first full year of living this side of the threshold, the side on which I am mother to a child in heaven.  I often wonder if I would recognize the woman who lived the other part of my life, so different was she than I.

It is certain that this year, like every year, will bring joy along with sorrows.  It will be the beginning of life for some and the end for others. There are events that, even on this first day of the year, I look forward to.  One of which is my firstborn graduating from high school and embarking on a new and exciting chapter in her life.  However, I look forward to such events with the knowlegde that I will not experience them in the same way that I would have in the other part. 

"Suffering breaks our world. Like a tree struck by lightening—splintered, shaken, denuded—our world is broken by suffering, and we will never be the same again." ~Nathan Kollar

As I reflect upon the closing of this first year without her, I am stuck between two absolute truths.  One brings deep sorrow, the other, great hope.  Both are irrefutable. I am one year farther away from her. I am also one year closer to seeing her again.