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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why, God?

Tonight my heart is restless.  I've spent the better part of today trying to make sense of things that just do not make sense, cannot make sense no matter how I look at them. Of course, much of this comes from the fact that today is Laynee's birthday.  That, in and of itself, creates restlessness.  It is wrong, so inherently wrong, for a five year old to not be with her family on her birthday.

I struggle to know how best to celebrate her life, the 2.5 beautiful years that we had with her, without dwelling upon her death.  People tell me all the time that I "need to remember her life, not her death."  Well, that's a really nice thought.  Truly it is.  But it's not realistic.  She died, she is not here anymore. To remember her life IS to remember that she died.  The two cannot be separated.  I cannot miss my child without recalling her death.  But while all of these things are true, I do believe that there must be a balance, to remember but not to dwell upon.  Therein lies one of the greatest challenges that we face at this point in our grief. 

I baked a cake, I wanted it to be special for her.  As I stared into the cupboard at ingredients for cake,  I realized that I can't make her favorite cake because I don't even know what that would be.  We tend to go pink for nearly everything where Laynee is concerned, but would pink be her color?  Truth is, while we all loved to doll her up in girly things, this one was about as un-dainty as a girl could get. In the end, I decided it really didn't matter and went with pink.  Jim came home and asked "are you making Laynee's favorite dinner?"  He asked because that is what we do on birthdays.  But because it was a gorgeous, warm, sun shiny day I grilled out, not for Laynee, but for those who are still here. Her grave site glitters and sparkles tonight with  hearts and butterflies and birthday hats, all put there to remember the life of the little girl who lit up our world.

In addition to today being Laynee's birthday, the past several days have been filled with sad and devastating news.  Our little community seems to get hit hard by devastation and  I can't help asking "Why?"  "Why, God?"  A young father of three, and a fourth baby on the way, with an inoperable tumor on his spine.  A wonderful father, a man of God and he and his wife are faced with decisions that have no easy answers,  options with no great outcomes.  And I wonder, how, even in the big picture that I cannot see does, this make sense.  And tonight news came of another, this one from our church family, also young, too young for such a diagnosis. His body is ravaged by cancer.  Months of treatment, countless prayers,  but the cancer has grown and multiplied.  Then another, a man who has seen his children and even his grandchildren raised, but his tests come back "NO sign of cancer spreading."  I rejoice and I praise God for this result but still I wonder. "Why?'  Prayers have gone up on behalf of all these men.   Why are the requests of some granted but not of others?

There are no answers and for those of you who are prepared to send me emails or comments or messages (because I know there are many thinking this very thing) telling me that "we can't question God."  That "his ways are higher than our ways."  Don't.  I'll save you the trouble. I already know. I know, on a cerebral level, that His ways are perfect.  I know that God is good and that he does good.  I know that God is a god of love and mercy and compassion and that "all things work together for good"  I know all of these things in my head and, on good days, even in my heart.  I know it but I cannot understand.  I cannot understand why children are abused and unloved, all over the world, but my child is not here to celebrate her fifth birthday with those who love her desperately.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I still will not understand but I will whisper "I trust you God.  I know that you love me enough to die for me, and I trust you"

Although the fig tree shall not blossom
neither shall fruit be in the vines, 
the labour of the olive shall fail 
and the field shall yield no meat
the flock shall be cut of from the fold
and there shall be no herd in the stall
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
I will joy in the God of my salvation. 
Habakuk 3:17,18, 19

Sunday, January 29, 2012

5th Birthday


Oh how special this day should be, a day of excited anticipation. A day filled with cake and candles, balloons and presents........ because 5 is a very important age. 5 is the year of leaving toddlerhood behind to become a little lady. 5 is for learning....  to read and write and tie your own shoes, maybe even ride a bike.   5 is for dance classes - tap, ballet, gymnastics or maybe T-ball instead. 5 is for kindergarten and school buses and new, special friends.  5 is for so many wonderful things.  But, for you, 5 was not meant to be. 

I know that you're happy, you will never know sad.  You're not missing these things so you really don't mind. Your heart's not been broken as badly as mine. I haven't seen you for such a long time, forever it seems,but I know that for you it's been no time at all. I miss you sweet baby, my prettiest girl.  I can't wait for heaven, to hold you once more.  I love you sweet Laynee, I always will

Happy Birthday in Heaven, my 5 year old girl. \


Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Am Weak

I struggle, more and more it seems, to find a way to stand beneath the relentless weight of sorrow.   My faith has been severely tested in ways that I would never have thought possible.  The pain, it seems to have no end.  Time moves on and the expectation is that we move on, step away from grief and live, get on with our life, so to speak. 

And so I try.  I try so hard to find ways to numb the pain, to bury the sorrow, to go on living.  My default coping mechanism is and always has been to stay busy.  For the past several months I have found myself digging deep into a busy lifestyle in an attempt to deflect the pain that so often threatens to consume me.  I work more hours, clean more, run more, write more, do more; all in an effort to deal with the hurting that will not stop.  I have no passion for any of these things. They simply occupy my time and divert my attention.  All of these things pale in comparison to the job I had as Laynee's  mommy.  At the end of each day, what I find is that the pain is still there, my heart remains sorrowful and my arms still ache with emptiness.  No matter how much I do, it is never, ever enough.

One of the most difficult aspects of this grief is coming to terms with the reality that this our life.  That grief is forever.  At times, this one irreconsilable truth threatens to get the best of me. I wonder, truly wonder, if I am going to make it.  Will there be enough to do for the rest of my days to keep me from being devoured by this? 

And then God speaks.  He speaks in that  still soft voice that is barely discernable to us as humans.   He says "I'm here."   "My grace is sufficient for you."  And I know. I know that I cannot do this  alone.  I cannot hide from sorrow beneath a load of busy activities.  Not now and not ever.   I am weak.  I need help.  I need God's grace.       

  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
 for my power is made perfect in weakness."
 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
IICorinthians 12:9

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Year.

I am a bit late in posting about the beginning of a new year, but only a little I suppose.  I find myself wondering if it can really be that just a week ago we were still in 2011.  Truth is, I've come here a few times, even written a few lines but then I delete them.  Usually I end up just looking back, reading old posts, staring at the pictures of my girl, and shaking my head at the reality that is our life. 

The dawning of a new year seems to be a time of taking inventory.  It is human nature to look at where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.  As I look back at the posts I have written in the last year, grief's ebb and flow is evident.  A measure of healing has clearly taken place and I suspect there will be even more healing in the coming year.  The pain is now like a dull throbbing headache with frequent sharp pangs that continue to take my breath away.  My arms continue their aching for her yet they seem to have grown accustomed to the emptiness.  There are still times when I awaken in the night with her name on my lips and crushing weight within my chest. Nightmarish images frequently rear their ugly head but I've become adept at putting them aside and replacing them with thoughts less painful.   And so it goes, a little more healing, day by day, year by year.  Now.  And Forever.   Until heaven.

Looking ahead at the coming year, I cannot help thinking that she should be almost five.  Five years old, a glorious age when life is exciting for little sponge like minds.  How great would be the anticipation of that magical date, her birthday.   Would we have a party with little friends and party hats?  With a five year old it should be a year in which sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and juice boxes are a staple.  Would T ball fill up our summer calendar?  Would she go to kindergarden in the fall?  I wonder all of these things about the year 2012, though I know on a cerebral level, that these things were never meant to be a part of her life. 

I look forward to the new year with a mixture of excitement and dread. I am well aware that a year can hold much excitement.  Yet I know also that a year can bring devastation so great that it washes all else away.  I do not know what the new year will bring but I do know that my God will reign sovereign for the entire year.   And I rest in that awareness.