Thursday, August 28, 2014


From the very early days of Keely's death, I wanted people to know that I wouldn't give back the time we had with her to take away the pain.  Her life MEANT something, to us and to many others.

I want to say how very lucky we are.  We've had our downs.  Obviously, if we could have all of our children in our arms, we would.  But that isn't the hand that was dealt and still?  We are very blessed.

I read the following on Facebook today....  "Life couldn't possibly get worse."

That's like tempting fate, if you ask me.  It can ALWAYS get worse.  Nothing negative ever came from counting your blessings.

I am beyond grateful for my children.  Even though we buried one of our beloved, we have 4 beautiful living children and 1 beautiful angel.

For every mother who's children fight tooth and nail constantly, there's someone wishing their child was there to throw toys around the living room.
For every mother who's buried her child, there's a woman wishing she could get pregnant at all.
For every couple struggling with infertility, there's a woman wishing she could find the love of her life to try with.

There is always someone praying for what you already have.

I have moments of ingratitude but I hope that my legacy as a whole, both to my family and to strangers I pass on the street is one of gratitude and love.

How's that saying go?

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind always."

(thank goodness for google or I'd never quote anything right!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


There isn't much I get to do for Keely as her mother.  I can miss her with every ounce of my being every day of my life and I do.  But, there is more.

When babies and children die, their legacy is quite simple.  Babies don't discriminate.  Babies aren't jealous of the neighbor's house.  Babies aren't worried about the clock or the number on the bank deposit.  Babies have an agenda, though.  A very simple agenda.  Love.

Jesus called us to be like the little children.  Jesus called us to love.

In Keely's honor today, and every day, I will love.  I will love my children more than words can say.  I will love my husband beyond the boundaries of this life.  I will love my neighbors, strangers on the street.  I will love.

It isn't always human nature and oftentimes I fail.  But every day I will try a little harder.  Another gift Keely gave us; a desire to love more.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

What will I do with today?

We've spent the better part of our adult lives working towards our "forever" house, building a place that our children will grow up in.  We've spent a lot of time saying "after the house is done" or "after this baby comes".....

And now we're here, in this sweet place in life where we are comfortable and very, very blessed.  We have a home we love, a school the kids love, jobs we love.

Now we are in this place we can sit back, appreciate our blessings and remember our girl at peace.

This is my place to talk about her, miss her, remember her and think about how life would be if she had lived.  It might feel sad to read at times.  It is sad.  We miss her with every ounce of being.

But we HAD her.  She is ours.

I would do it all again just to have that little bit of time with her.  She's an integral part of our family, just as each of our babies are.  She is with us always.

Grief is daunting.  In the beginning, the shock is overwhelming.  There is no preparation. Then you come to a point where you realize that grief is a part of you that will follow you always.  It's overwhelming to think that if I live to be 110, that ache for my child gone will still be there.

To look forward in early grief (which is a different time for everyone!), it's daunting to think about a sadness haunting the rest of your days.  I'm here to tell you that the missing, the sadness, the hole is always there, there is happiness too.  There will come a day that you aren't taken aback by laughter or be genuinely happy.  Genuine happiness isn't lost to the bereaved.  If anything, I feel like it runs deeper.

I remember a saying that I clung to in early grief.  It was a part of Keely's 1 year birthday celebration.

Our joys will be greater, 
Our love will be deeper, 
Our lives will be fuller
because we shared your moment.

Soak in those words.  They are so, so, so very true.  Keely gave life a deeper meaning because she reminded us how very short it might be.

If you're in the early days of grief, do what you need to do to get through the day: cry, scream, go on a long walk, watch The Food Network, talk to someone.  It's different for everyone.

But know you'll feel happiness again.  It isn't that you will forget or move on, it isn't that there won't be tears behind your eyes for your little love not there Christmas morning or all the missed birthdays, but it's that you're grateful to have had that little bit of time at all.

Laughter will come again.

So now that are lives aren't as fast paced and hectic as they have been at times, I can reflect on our blessings and thank God for another beautiful day.  A day I have to do something kind in memory of our Keely and a day to relish the hugs, kisses, and love of our living children.

I hope today is a gentle day for all the bereaved.  I hope the sun shines in your windows or on your face or that the sky cries with you, whichever you need more.


"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." ~Steel Magnolias

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another goodbye, but of a different kind.

The posts on this page are few and far between now.  It isn't for lack of words or lack of thought.  It's a part of bereavement so heavy, even the veteran bereaved don't mention it.  It's a weight we'll likely carry til our own passing of this life.

At some point, which is different for everyone, the shock wears off.  It sounds like a good thing, but it isn't.  The shock is protecting us from the grim reality that this. is. forever.  Never will we have even a single photograph of all of our children together.  Never will we see a child at each stocking hung at Christmas.  Never will the question "how many children do you have?" not send a lump into our throats.  Never. Never. Never.

When the shock wears off and we realize these nevers, there's a heavy burden that our heart carries.  Yes, it scars over and we have our new normal but never (there's that word again) does it not ache.

It seems too much to mention that to newly bereaved.  They'll all know it eventually anyway.

When other sad things on earth happen, I can go to my grief.  We're well acquainted now and it's almost a comfort.  I know what I'm doing there.  So when my heart is called by worldly sadness, I can go to my grief of missing a child and know that what is weighing on my heart and mind isn't all that bad.


I grew up in a lovely house in an apple orchard on the top of a hill in southern Indiana.  My parents built the house a few years before I was born.  The house sits on property my family has owned for generations and 120 years.  Also on that property is the family home.  It was purchased by my great great grandparents and passed down through the generations.  My aunt lives in it now but that time is passing.  The house will likely be leaving the family in the very near future.

It's a day in my life I never thought I'd see.  It's going to be/already is a hard goodbye.

It was a place that, throughout my childhood, housed many different members of my family in different stages of their lives, through happiness and heartbreak, through struggles and comfort.  Through generations and passings, it has been the heart of our family.

It was the meeting place for many, many family reunions, Thanksgivings, Easters, and Christmases.

I have known harder goodbyes in my life, of course.  The unexpected are always the hardest.

Friday, April 11, 2014

In the sweet by and by

We will meet on that beautiful shore.

I'm lost for words today.  7 years have passed.  So long and gone in a blink.

She left us a beautiful sunset last night and a beautiful sunrise today, only to give way to the rain.

All our love, little one.  Always

Monday, March 31, 2014

A long time coming...

I have been putting this one off for awhile.  It's nothing groundbreaking.  It's something that people, parents, have faced since the beginning of time, the beginning of bereavement.  But I've put it off in order to accept it myself and while I still am not sure that has happened, I think I'll feel better to get it out.

There's a heaviness.  This weight comes every year as spring starts to form, a day here and there of warmth.  These are the days Keely was alive.  This is the time of year we had so much hope and just as the sun started to warm us up for the year, we lost her.  It's inevitable that this time of year brings on emotions, good and bad.  But this year is a turning point, I think.  It is at least another phase.

I can look out at my future, whatever it may bring and have at least one certainty.  If I live to be 100, I'll still miss her.  I'll still wonder.  I'll still look at girls/women the age she would have been and see if I can catch of glimpse of what she'd be like today.  To accept that fact is overwhelming.

Open letter to the newly bereaved...

An old friend of mine was sitting at a red light today and in a split second, her whole life changed.  Her 2 year old son was killed when another vehicle ran a red light.  Like so many people around her, from her past or even those who don't know her, I want to DO something.  I want to help ease their pain somehow, when I know all too well nothing can be done.

My mind keeps wandering back to them.  It's hard to imagine on this chilly yet sunny day that someone's entire world is crashing around them.  Not one or two people but many, many lives were touched by this little boy and now, by his death.  These are their darkest hours.  Nothing can be done.

My immediate response is to reach out, to let her know that I'm here if she needs me.  Without a doubt they are in shock right now. covered in people and questions, caring for their other child who is still in the hospital.  I know they need time and that time will come when all these people surrounding them will go back to their lives and then, the bereaved are left to their grief.  Their fresh grief.  It seems so daunting, but nothing can be done.

I want to write something that will help guide the newly bereaved.  To help them know what to expect, to help them understand don't bother "expecting".  I just feel the need to write.  Maybe one person will tuck this away in their head or one person who needs it will read it and the ripples of Keely's waves will continue....

1.  Every journey of bereavement is different.  Every mother, father, sibling, friend will be affected by the death of your child.  Everybody affected will react in a different way to each day.  You have to carve your own trail and look deep within yourself.  Your feelings are okay.


I wrote the beginning of this post 6 months ago.  To be honest, I don't know why I didn't post it.  It sat in my draft box unfinished for all this time.  Maybe I felt it wasn't my story to tell or that it was too soon.  Maybe it's still, after nearly 7 years of my own bereavement, too fresh for me.  Any time I hear of someone losing their child, it comes back to me; those dark early days.  Unthinkable before and unspeakable after.  Those early, dark days.

But I will finish my open letter.  And anyone bereaved, feel free to add your own in the comments if you so wish.

2.  The road will get more smooth.  Sort of.   No bereaved parent ever wants to hear that their grief or pain will go away, to give it time or that you'll feel better.  And nobody EVER wants to hear that from someone who isn't bereaved.  But, I can tell you that it changes, it evolves.  It becomes a part of you in a way that I can't put into words.  It will always, always be there but over time, those darkest hours will become less.  The dark time will rear its ugly head and you'll face it again.  But not every day, not every hour.

3.  Your child will not be forgotten.  Seriously.  That was one of my major concerns. I wanted to make sure she was included.  In my number of kids, in my parents' number of grandkids.  I was afraid if I didn't make it happen, it wouldn't.  I was vigilant.  I still am, but I don't feel the constant pressure that I once did.  I have found a lot of comfort in the ways other people remember.  They really do.  Even if they don't always mention it, they remember.  Not everyone, but a lot of them.

To be continued...