There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Still here

Where to begin? I am still here. Trying to stay as busy as I possibly can...and these days, that isn't difficult. Working full time and trying to keep the house running smoothly allows me little time to wallow in my self-pity.

My mother passed away on July 16. She had been fighting breast cancer since 1997 and her death came more quickly than any of us expected. I cling to the hope that the second that she took her last breath here, that she was gazing into the face of her Lord and embracing Mark with joy unimaginable. Oh, the thought. How I wish I was there.

Her passing leaves holes in my heart much different than Mark's death did. I miss her dearly, but it is all so very different. In so many ways, I am able to cope in ways that I wouldn't have been able to had I not lost Mark. For that, I am thankful. Even if it is all that I can be thankful for. It is difficult to find anything to be thankful for from such losses.

Our baby girl...not such a baby anymore, has turned 2 years old. What a difficult birthday for me. Such a celebration that she has blessed our lives so tremendously in the time that she has been here. So bittersweet that we celebrated Mark's second birthday and then a month later...he was gone. Oh, how we all love her. How we all dote on her. How I wish Mark were here to be her big brother.

Our other girls are doing well. Maryanna is in the 6th grade...braces and all. I am so jealous of her beautiful teeth! I think that I will get braces next. :)
Madison, future Kindergarten teacher, is in 4th grade and Macy, our child who will climb on anything that stands still long enough, is in 1st grade. One of these days I will post pictures of them all. That is, as soon as I can get a good picture.

You may have noticed that I mostly blog when my days have been rough. I do have good days...I really do. There is laughter in the house and there is joy in my heart so much of the time. But, it really does exist along with the sorrow. The deepest kind of sorrow and pain. So, bear with me if I only account for my grief. It is why I started the help me through it all. Maybe I will come to share some of the happy memories. There were so many, but I hate it that they are memories.

The years since Mark has been gone have blurred together. How have 3 years come and gone? It really does seem like he was just here yesterday. Everything is defined as either, "before Mark died" or "after Mark died". That is our timeline and that is our reality. Life changed...never...ever...the same.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday son

Dear Mark,

Happy Birthday sweetie pie! I don't seem to know what to say still all seems so unreal that you aren't here with us. We are having a hard time focusing on the 2 short but wonderful years that you were here because your absence is overwhelming.

Your Nana will be there soon. She has fought and fought and it is finally time for her to go home. We aren't ready to let go of her either, but she has suffered enough. Call her name, run to her and wrap your arms around her when she gets there...

Until we get there...

Love you with all of my heart,


Sunday, May 22, 2011

How much faith?

Dear Mark,

There isn't even an hour that goes by that I don't think of you. I get up and you are in my thoughts. I drive to work and I hear you in every song. I see you in each little boy and in every toy that you would have loved. I even cried for you when a dinosaur show came on TV the other day...I could just picture you sitting on the couch, loving every minute of it.

As long as I had tried to avoid it, I had to go through some of your things from the hospital. Stacks of papers and pictures that children had drawn for you. Your hospital bracelet. The locks of hair that the nurses cut and tied with blue ribbons for us to take home when they knew that you weren't going to come home with us. All of those things...they had to be moved. From the place they had been since you left.

Grief is like walking with one foot in normalcy and one foot in madness. Just one thought of the accident, or what it was like to hold you after you died; to think of your little body lying in the grave or to see your picture and feel my arms hurting because they want to hold can take me over the line. Most of my daily energy is spent in trying to move on. Trying to live with purpose for your sisters and hanging on for the day when we all will be together again. It is a daily choice that I have to make and there are some days when it is just too hard.

Daddy and I have learned how to let so many things go. We are emotionally bombarded all day long in one way or another, but we try to just roll with it all the best that we can. However, lately, it has been difficult. Many of those we know and even many that we don't know have tried to make a case regarding God's healing, protection and will for our lives being dependent on our faith and what we as Christians give God "permission" to do.

We believe that if prayers and true faith in your healing could have saved would have. There isn't a person walking the face of the earth that can tell me that our lack of faith kept you from staying here with us. I will never, ever believe it. But, they are trying to tell me that. Telling me that faith isn't believing what God can do, but what God will do. How can that be? How does that apply to us? To you? We believed with everything in us that God would heal you...we never believed any differently until you died. Healers came to lay hands on you...people came and spoke in tongues over you and there were even strangers that came to find us to tell us that God had told them that you were going to get up out of that hospital bed...fully healed.

We have heard that God will protect us and our family if we just ask it of Him. The truth is, I prayed for God's protection over you and your sisters all of the time. It didn't keep God from taking you. Does that mean that my prayers weren't heard? Was my faith too small? How can you quantify how much faith it takes to "manipulate" God into doing what you want done? How many people have to pray with real faith in order for God to decide to heal someone? How many times do you have to pray for protection until God decides to keep you and your family from harm? It doesn't make any sense. It isn't even Biblical. We can't take the verses from the Bible that show healing and blessings and forget the ones that don't. All of Jesus' martyred disciples might agree with me. God didn't protect them from a horrible and painful death.

I encourage anyone that feels that God's blessings in their lives are so dependent on how much faith they have to try and put themselves in our shoes. Better yet, just imagine if their most precious loved one were to die in a terrible, unexpected tragedy...would they say the same thing? Would it all still apply if those prayers had been prayed and believed and they didn't "work"?

No Mark...Daddy and I believe differently than many. Our definition of faith is believing that God is in control...that He loves us and died for us...and that He brings joy and pain to us for His glory alone. I have never been so confused in my entire life, and yet, I think that my faith is stronger than it ever has been because nothing makes sense, and yet I still believe. We know that God took you as part of His plan and for His glory and there isn't anything that we could have done to keep you here. God doesn't need nor does He want our permission to act in our lives. He gives and takes away and we will continue to praise Him through it all. We may never understand why, but I will always have the peace knowing that it was through Him that we lost you and not because of us.

Wish I was holding you...I love you,


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What a Day, Glorious Day That Will Be

I may have already posted this picture a while back...I didn't check.

I've been stuck on this picture specifically lately because it perfectly captures the image that I have of Mark in my mind. Smiling through his pacifier and just happy.

He had just had his first haircut and I can remember how amazed I was that he looked so "grown up" all of a sudden. How I want to reach into the picture and just hold him. My arms still ache just for him.

Grief has become my constant companion...expected each day and all day, but managed. Mostly. I am overwhelmed at least once a day at some point because anything and everything reminds me of him somehow.

No pity party here...just sadness that is common to all of us. Our problems and pain all come in different packages, but are real to each of us.

What a Day That Will Be

There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come-

No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.

All is peace forever more on that happy golden shore.

What a day, glorious day that will be!

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,

And I look upon His face-the One who saved me by His grace.

When He takes me by the hand and leads me thro' the Promised Land;

What a day, glorious day that will be!

There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear,

No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there.

And forever I will be with the One who died for me.

What a day, glorious day that will be!

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,

And I look upon His face-the One who saved me by His grace.

When He takes me by the hand and leads me thro' the Promised Land;

What a day, glorious day that will be!

Mark, I am so glad that you have met our Jesus. To be honest, if I was given the choice, I would still choose to have you back here with me even though I know it would be wrong.

I long for the day that we are all there with you and with HIM. I long for it with all that is within me. Every day...all day. My smile will never be as genuine as it was with you here and my joy will never be as full without you.

I will keep facing tomorrow because HE lives and because HE has you safely in HIS arms.

I love you big boy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

You know who YOU are

Writing the following post goes against my better judgement, but I have had enough. I have heard comments that are ignorant, read comments left by self righteous people who have no clue and now yet another comment directed toward my friend Karol and the loss of Laynee. I have had it!

I sincerely hope that "anonymous" that left a comment on "Loving Laynee's" blog is reading my blog right now. Not only you, but anyone else who has ever thought that we should have been watching our children better at the time of their tragedy. Anyone else who wants to blame us for their untimely deaths...ANYONE who feels that they are so perfect and without fault that they have the right to cast a stone at us! Who do you think you are!!!!!?????

If it hadn't occurred to you already, we do and will feel guilt for the rest of our lives for our child's death even though there was NO willful neglect on our part or anyone else who was responsible for the child. But, you wouldn't know anything about the pain of all of this, so I guess that you thought you had to remind us. Do you really think that we intentionally stopped watching our child...and all of the other people who were watching our you think that they all stopped and thought to themselves, "Hmm, I don't think that Mark needs to be watched right now." No! It is called an accident! You know, when things happen that aren't planned? Do you have any children???? Have they ever cut their finger or fallen off of a chair or skinned their knee? Why weren't you watching them? Have you been able to keep yourself from ever getting hurt? Do you feel guilty when you hurt yourself? Do you blame your parents for any accident that happened to you as a child? These all DO fall in the same category. You cannot think that what happened to our children was any different than what happens to anyone on any given day...the end result was different, but nothing else.

The truth is that even though the consequences of our tragedies are so much greater than a minor cut or a broken all happens the same way. It was an accident. The circumstances surrounding our tragedies were just normal, everyday activities. That is what is so disturbing...that you can be doing the same thing that you do every single day and then something terrible happens. In fact, in our situation, Mark was being supervised by several, very competent and loving adults who were doing a wonderful job. You know what happened? Distraction! Things that you don't expect and CANNOT plan for. Any of us parents who have lost a child due to an accident...especially one that was seemingly avoidable...would have given our own lives to save our child! All of us were doing our best! We love our child more than life and you have to right to even utter a word of blame.

Another thing...we can speculate and blame all we want to when it comes to accidental deaths of anyone. But, are we even in our control? Does God really leave it up to us...flawed human be in charge of when someone dies? I'm not sure that He does. It certainly appears to us that we are the ones who are responsible for our child's death due to our imperfectness, but, ultimately, God is the one in charge. Why don't you take it up with Him. We sure have. We feel more helpless and confused than anyone can imagine. Do you know why???? Because we ARE great parents and we WERE doing our job...despite what happened and despite what you think.

So, if you don't have children...I suggest that you don't have any because things happen...accidents happen. If you do have children...then you have a big problem with self esteem by trying to put the rest of us down to make yourself feel better. I don't think that there is a parent alive that could tell me that their child never got hurt or that something didn't "almost" happen that could have been terrible. It happens to EVERYONE! It just so happens that in most cases, the worst doesn't happen, but there is always that doesn't mean that we were doing anything different or worse than any other parent on the planet.

Go spend your time examining your own self...your own flaws and imperfections. Focus on that. Also, please read John 8:1-11. And, while I do not consider our "lack of supervision", as you would call it, as a sin...this passage applies. It would also be good for you to read since you might have the same attitude toward those who willfully abuse their children, abort their children, neglect their children or kill their own children. Despite the vileness of such actions and the pain it causes to think of children being hurt, it still doesn't give anyone the right to judge those parents either. Not unless your perfect, that is.

The bottom line is that those of you who want to blame the parents of children who die tragically in accidents do so in order to make sense of it in your mind. You don't want to think that something so horrible could happen to you or your child and so you want to think that we were doing something wrong or different than you would do as a parent. The truth our case, Laynee's case and most others...we parent just like you...we love our children just as much as you do, and could happen to you. No matter how great of a parent you are. We are all imperfect. Period.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I don't remember what I used to worry about before Mark died. What did my mind obsess about at night when thoughts wouldn't go away and was there something in particular that bothered me when I got up in the morning? I really can't recall.

What I do know is that now my mind never rests. Thoughts about Mark are ever present and though sometimes is still doesn't seem real that he is gone. Sometimes it doesn't seem real that he was ever here. But then, there are those pictures...always his sweet face looking back at me and so real that I can almost hear his voice.

Mark's death has launched me into a perpetual state of worry for the safety of my other children. It is overwhelming and exhausting. This morning, I couldn't help but wonder why Maegan had slept so soundly during the night. She usually sleeps all night, but there is always a cough or movement that wakes me once or twice. Not last night. I awoke to terrifying thoughts that she must be dead in her crib. What would I do? I kept picturing myself walking in to her room and finding her there...wondering how I would handle the situation. I so traumatized my oldest daughter after finding Mark in the water by screaming and kicking that I wouldn't want to do that again. Would I send them all outside so that I could scream and cry and hold her lifeless little body in my arms? I could even envision what she looked like dead. Why? Because I have seen my own child dead. Lifeless and losing the color from his skin while I hold him. The biggest blessing of the day was running to Maegan's room, opening her door and seeing her chest moving up and down with every breath. I even had to touch her and feel the warmth.

This is the ugly truth of grief...of the entire process. It makes most of life seem so trivial when your mind is occupied with such painful "what ifs" and the truth of what has already happened. The worst part is that I know what it would feel like if it happened again. I could imagine it and feel it as a real occurrence.

A few days ago, my children and I were listening to a song in the car that had to do with God's miracles being all around us in our daily lives. I could tell that my eight year old was bothered by something and so I turned the song down and asked her what was on her mind. Very matter-of-factly she stated that "There was no miracle when Mark was in the hospital...God didn't give us a miracle then." Then, she just turned her head and stared out the window. I said nothing. She was right.

Where does all this lead? Trust in God? The Bible commands it and I fail every time. I know that trusting God with my children doesn't mean that He won't take another one from me. It didn't keep Him from taking Mark. It means that I am supposed to trust God in all of His decisions and know that they are right. I do because I have no choice. If I didn't trust in a plan and purpose there would be no point in going on at all.

Is it supposed to keep me from having obsessive, disturbing and worrisome thoughts? Maybe. I'm working on it. The process is much harder and longer than I could have ever imagined.