Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Sure Miss You

Here's a song for those of us who miss our loved ones.
Hang in there as it begins,.....
there's about a 30-35 second intro which doesn't go with the song.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 Years Out

I recall when Jae had been gone only hours and days, I clung to every other mother who had lost a child and asked them "Will it always hurt this bad?"
Almost without exception, the friends would comfort me with thoughts and words that I really did not believe. The reassurances they gave did not seem possible.
How would this agonizing physical, emotional and spiritual pain get better?
The idea that life would get better was preposterous.
Jae would always be gone, therefore I would always hurt.

Another thing that always made my stomach lurch was when moms would tell me that they had lost their child (so many) years ago. The mere thought of living "years" without her was unimaginable.
Facing the next hour was too hard,...how could I look ahead into the coming "years"?

People often asked me early in my grief "How are you doing?"
It's a typical casual greeting given to people often every day, but I swore that for as long as I lived, I would never say "Good" again.
I would say "Fine" or "OK" or "All right", but "good"?.....never!

Now that it's been 5 years, I find I have learned to wear this coat of grief and have even grown accustomed to it. It is an internal garment and although it's not comfortable, it is as much a part of me as my skin.
I can not get out of it.
I can not take it off.
It clings to me.
I hate it, but I accept it.

My heart broke today and I had to work crazy hard at holding tears back. I watched a beautiful wedding picture/video of a friend's daughter and much of this beautiful young bride's pictures reminded me of Jae.
All the people watching the video beside and with me would have never thought I was missing Jae Lynn. They weren't thinking at all about my loss of Jae. Of course they would not think of her!
But I was painfully reminded that I would never have the opportunity to create such a beautiful video for Jae wedding. Her daddy will not give her away, her younger sister will choose another maid of honor, I will not help her pick out a white dress, she will never know romance, I will never hold her children, etc.....
The grief coat suffocates me for a moment.
It's normal that no one would notice.
Still,....it's lonely that no one notices.
If they did notice, they would not speak of it because it would be,..well,..awkward.

One of my patients spoke of the fresh death of his wife of 67 years. (!) His wrinkled eyes were wild with pain as he said "I am selfish. I wish she was still with me".
I think not.
It's not selfish to wish for wholeness.

I watched a friend of mine sob as she lovingly caressed a photo of her mom who recently died. The coat is too big. Too much to bear. She knows it is a pain she will wear for the rest of her life. It's an overwhelming reality.

What do I say to these dear ones who hurt so bad?
I have lots of experience,..but they are skeptical that it will be the same for them.
Yet,..like I did, they hold out hope for the day when their heart will not ache so bad.
Hold on.
It does get better.


Til then, I'm here as a 5 year survivor telling them that life can indeed be once again,...."Good".
God still performs miracles.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Will Miss You The Most

This is one of the very first entires I wrote in my personal journal after Jae's death.
It is dated in May 2004.


I will miss you the most in the summer, I think.
Watching lightning bugs and listening to the whipporwills. I recall the night you got up and I could see you silhouetted in our bedroom doorway
crying that “the wisperwillers” were keeping you awake.
Our whippoorwills left when you did and have not come back.
I will miss you when I look up into the starry night sky at Buffalo River and
then sleeping head-to-head with you in our tiny camper.
I will miss seeing you in swimsuits and sunglasses and smelling all like suntan lotion.
Us comparing our tan lines to see who was darker. (ME!)
I will miss seeing your cute feet in sandals.
I will miss getting you ready and off to cheer camp and the early morning cheerleading practices at the end of summer.
It occurs to me that no one could sing the “poor sick penguin” like you and I will miss that you will never make me laugh by singing it again.
I loved watching you work with the preschoolers in VBS and I will remember your talent each and every year and wish that you could work it again.
Yes. I will miss you in the summer.

But I think I will miss you most in the Autumn.
The ambiance of a Friday night football game will forever wash over me and remind me of you.
I will miss your daddy talking to you through the PA system and thanking all the bases when they caught you after a stunt.
I will miss you when the weather turns cool because I will recall how beautiful
you were in turtlenecks and sweaters.
I will miss you at bonfires and after-game parties.
I wish you would be here with me to notice all the changing leaf colors around our house.
I will miss seeing what interesting and unusual character you decided
to be each year for Halloween.
(Oh wait. Of course. You would be a pig.)
You won’t be there to plan and anticipate the upcoming holidays.
Yes, I will miss you in the Autumn.

But I think I may miss you the most in the Winter.
The times you spent shivering in our living room complaining of the cold.
It always confused us as to why you would choose to freeze
by wearing a sports bra and soffee shorts.
I will miss you crawling into our bed and sleepily whining to us about how warm and cozy it was compared to yours. And now, there’s no one except me at our house who understands
how wonderful a two hour bath can be.
I’ll miss you terribly in our Thanksgiving prayer circle before our meal.
I’ll wish you were with us when we go to the malls the day after Thanksgiving.
And then at Christmas, when our family carols to our friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve, our song will miss your sweet warbly little voice.
On Christmas morning, our bed will still be warm and cozy but I will long for it to be crowded with your presence as your daddy reads the Christmas story.
Oh! How I will miss you in the Winter.

But I think I may miss you most in the Spring.
You and I both loved to pick flowers, but neither of us had any interest in tending them.
Jonquils will forever remind me of how you picked a huge bouquet to brighten your room
on the very day before you left us.
I will miss cheerleading competitions and holding you together during the week of try-outs.
I will miss all the yearbook signings and the proms that aren’t to be.
Spring is the season of new life, but from now on, when I hear the birds singing their first song of Spring, I will I recall how sad they sounded the year you left.
How did they know?
A grim anniversary now reminds me of things other than new life.
I will always miss you in the Spring.

I will miss you in all seasons and in between all seasons.
I will always wonder what jobs you would have had and what profession you would have chosen. I will miss watching you love a man as much as I love your daddy and I was looking forward to watching you love a daughter as much as I love you.
I think I will always long for you when I see Casey and Abby alone or enjoying
themselves together.
A family of four just seems wrong.
Your death has left the same type of frustrating pain as a song that ends abruptly just when it was reaching it’s most beautiful crescendo. I expected much more life and beauty from you and then your death came at the peak of your song.
We almost had a glimpse of what you would be like as an adult, but now
we will forever strain for that vision.
My life, my outlook, my personality, my past and my future are all different now.
There is much I do not understand about all of this.
One thing I do know is that I will miss you the most in the
Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I've been absolutely starved during the past few days to sit in my sacred place where I slow down to study God's Word. (That, by the way, can be anywhere, but is usually at my kitchen table).
Because we are at the Easter time of the year, I chose to study the events which surround the resurrection.
My first church service to attend after Jae's funeral was our Easter Sunday Morning service. In retrospect, I should not have gone.
The worship music and sermon was all about death, victory over death, life after death,...etc. Those are all fine things to focus on unless you have just buried your very heart and soul.
I wasn't feeling very victorious over the grave.
I would have classified myself as utterly defeated.
Our Easter pictures are just plain bad ugly.
Teary eyes, pasted smiles and mementos of Jae on our lapels.

In spite of that one in 2004, I think Easter is my favorite holiday. I have found that it is not the emotional mine-field of other holidays.
Our family gatherings and crazy photo shoots will always miss her, just like they miss our other family members who are gone.
Jae's Easter basket still gets filled and left on the kitchen table but now Ralph and I eat the candy without feeling guilty.
We both will cry.
I will sit in the Easter Sunday service and sing the worship songs about death and graves and life.
Unlike I used to do, I will now pay more attention to the words as I sing each song.
And I will cry.
I will listen to the sermon for sounds of my hope.
When I hear them, I will cry.

In Matthew 28:8-10, the story is told of the women seeing the angel in the empty tomb and then given the directions to "go tell the disciples about Jesus being risen from the grave". Then, as they left with the unusual mixture of fear and joy, they run smack-dab into Jesus Himself. (Isn't that just like God to make a great thing better?)

What was His first word to them as they wrapped themselves around His feet?
I can just imagine Him smiling and laughing as He peels them off of His feet.
"Hurry!! Go and tell my brothers that I will meet them in Galilee!"

I notice first of all that He appeared first to the women. (Go girls!)
Then I see His words are filled with comfort and plans for those that loved him most. His disciples. Now remember,...most of them had not conducted themselves nobly and faithfully in those past few days.
But Jesus knew that His disciples were scattered, grief-stricken, broken and confused men. He was eager, and can I say desperate, to get to them?

He feels that way about me too.
And you.
He sees us looking at the graves of our loved ones and wants us to remember that there is a resurrection morning ahead of us.

"Rejoice!" is not the word that always comes to my mind when I'm at Jae's graveside, but I can take comfort from the message that He has given me through His word:
Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints.
In the message translation, it's written like this:
"When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love Him"

My journey through Grief has given me a desire for Heaven that I never had before.
At first, It was for selfish reasons. I wanted to see Jae.

Now, however, I look forward to wrapping myself around Jesus feet to thank Him for such an incredible plan to save our lives.

Life begins when we die.
Only God could have planned such an ending.
Only God could have planned such a beginning!