Tuesday, December 22, 2015


At this point eight years ago, I was probably trying to get some sleep but failing miserably because of the anticipation of your arrival. It may have even been around the time your grandpa was sleeping sitting up in the room. I know both your grandmas were up and chatting and trying to pass the time. I am pretty sure your Aunt Rachel was there, ball cap on and coffee in hand. Your Daddy was sprawled in the recliner to my left, leg crossed over one another and probably trying to rest, too. At 6:23 this very day 8 years ago, our lives would all change. You came into this world and you were placed into each of our arms-and left the biggest imprint on our hearts. No one here could have ever comprehended the journey that would be started a short 3.5 years later. It's been hard and it's been moving.
This year has been different then the others. I feel as a family unit, we all have grown closer. I know it's a cascading effect from our experiences with you in our lives and our experiences learning how to continue on with you in our memories. Your Aunts and Uncles welcomed in new members of the family. It was with you that their closest and truest forms of learning to love something so little started. It's carried on into each of the kisses and hugs they give your nieces and nephews. I know my kisses and hugs to them is sweetened with your memory. In those kids, your legacy grows. Your great grandpa joined you this year. His passing was a shock to all of us. For me, it's still sometimes a surprise that he isn't here. I find him on my mind more then I thought would happen. His life and passing is another reminder of how quickly life is-and coupled with all our experiences of having you leave physically, I think made us all revisit what matters most. You get the new great grandpa experiences at this moment and I can hear his laugh at all your antics when I close my eyes and imagine.
We all have had separate and intimate moments with God this year, most are internalized but the start with the relationship change was built upon your life. For me, my whole heart is strengthened as our family joins together under the cross. Your Daddy and I gave Jake his first Bible recently. Your brother has grown so much as a little first grader this year. From the beginning, I wondered what role Jake would play as he stepped into oldest brother/second born. You would be so proud of him. I am. He is such a smart little boy. You should see him with his newest love-Legos. He is getting to a point where talk is easier with him as he can comprehend more. It may lead to harder questions but I know it will be met with true answers. The care he gives your sister is much like what I know you would have shown Andrew. How you did show Andrew in the too few moments you had with him. Your littlest brother has boomed this year, too. I know you would have probably kept him contained in all his crazy-or maybe encouraged it! Andrew continues to be sour and sweet. The emotions that radiate through his little body is exhausting but his heart is so big. Sometimes I wonder if you have a hand in his little caring heart. Your sister continues to be a light to anyone she encounters. It's becoming even more evident recently. Just in the past few days alone, I have had multiple people exclaim how special she is. And she is. She really is. There aren't many little sisters that get to have 3 brothers-one who already knew her before she was gifted to us. I think-I know-there is a part of you in her that radiates from the inside out. It was my prayer, after all, that she always know you and knows her special role in this family. I think deep within her, she does truly know who you are. It may seem that I focus on her so much, but in her, I can see and feel God's grace. She was a gift we all didn't ever know we needed. Your Daddy and I continue to experience healing and growth. It isn't always easy and when the hurt does come, it really hurts because we love and miss you so very much, but together, we do it. I know you would be so proud of us and the bond we have. I love your Daddy so much. 
This birthday, I think it's setting in more of how long you have not been here with us. Eight sounds so old. I think of the milestone years I have yet to encounter and it seems so daunting. Scary. But, here I do sit with another birthday year enveloping my mind and I am making it. This year, Jake and Andrew started learning about others. We collected a Christmas Child box in your honor and tonight we get to sit under the majesty of a Christmas celebration at church. It really will be the perfect way to honor you and your life. Without God's promise and gift of His son, I-we-would not have such a emboldening assurance of everlasting salvation and eternity with you. In the worst of worsts, in the dark and hurting thoughts, that still shines brightest. I know for me, as I celebrate and witness such a testimony to Jesus' birth, your birth and life will not be far from my thoughts. After all, God gave me you as a son to save me. 
I love you with every bit of my being, sweet boy. You will always be my Dan man, monkey man. My first born. My promise of goodness and light.
Happy birthday, Daniel. I love you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


It has been a ridiculously long time since I have stopped long enough to consider writing. Some of  this is the busyness of working and mothering 3 young children. Some of this is not wanting to explore my thoughts so closely. As always, however, it eventually comes to a head and leaves me sobbing in bed next to Ryan. (Which, truth be told, has been a first in a long while that I have openly grieved) This year I thought October and Fall would pass and I wouldn't have the moments of intense longing and missing Daniel. That isn't to say I never feel the nagging and pushing as it edges in around other moments and thoughts, I just really thought at 4 years out I could handle it better. It's always the same, though. It starts with feeling displaced and irritable and unusually moody. Looking back, there are always signs pointing to the need for an intense cry and grieving session, but I don't ever see them for what they are until later. 
It eventually leaves me sitting at his spot with fall decorations placed a month later then I intended, awing at the fact the police car remains and angered at the idea that I have not dreamt of him in 2 years. It never feels like a terribly difficult request. I just want to see him and hug him and smell his boy hair. I want to be able to have him present with his cousins and not have to settle with his sister wearing a necklace to represent him. It's in those moments when I am the most honest with myself, that I sorrow the hardest. It's quite amazing what the mind can do to protect itself until the air of vunerability is present. 
Sitting there, I let my mind focus on the part of the feelings I had been sequestering for so long. This year, the part that hurts the most is that the more I move away from the time with him the more it seems like he was more a dream than a reality. It is an awful, awful feeling. It's like talking about a character in a book and the relationship only going as far as the end of the book; it is so real during and the once the story is complete, the character isn't as relevant. Daniel is not as tangible as he once was and this is by far the worst part of the grief process. There isn't a memory or smell or video or picture that can conjure up all of the parts of him as vividly as before. 
When I spoke of Daniel in the dark intimate setting of our bedroom, saying his name out loud shocked me. It was more then my duty as a Mother to preserve his name and presence with the kids; I was mentioning him to his Daddy and it felt so much more private. For Ryan's sake I don't mention the secrets of my heart; I grieve so differently then him and my emotions are always so much more raw it seems, but I had to utter the whispers of my heart-Daniel doesn't seem as close anymore. That was probably the hardest sentence I have ever had to say. It was a really dark moment for me.
And then tonight I read this:
"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen"
And my mind races with the moments I have had between uttering my worst fear and reading such a big promise. Andrew lying on me and feeling his little blonde boy hair and 4 year old feet. Jake's stories and assurance that Daniel lives in him, Emma's sweet face and eyes and baby warmth.  Sharing his story with someone new and having them "get it". Watching his little baby face grin at me from behind the camcorder. Seeing him dance and stick toys under his hat like his favorite Imagination Movers characters. Watching our last Christmas together and remembering the excitement Ryan and I had over gift buying. 
Suddenly, Daniel doesn't seem so far away. He is now just presented differently. He lives in his brothers and sister. He peeks through in Emma's eyes and smile. In Andrew's hair and profile. In Jake's memory. He is even represented in that little police car that has weathered almost 4 years of changing conditions and continues to remain present. He tugs at my faith and reminds me to carry on in God's grace. That these hard moments are just that-moments. That the longest and best time is so much bigger then any hard times on Earth. It's in these times where I am reminded to look at his pictures longer, harder. Memorize each detail. In doing so, I am able to put on the armor of protection from the scary fears I have because I can recall more of him. 
Fighting grief is such a hard and barbarous process. A heart can take many hits during the course of the battle. But it's such a strong muscle. With each emotional break, it can build back stronger and more sustainable. 
I only need to continue putting into practice what I learn and received from God. His peace is present and dwells in me. He will always guard my heart and strengthen me as long as I leave it open for fixing. As long as I remember His light is present in the darkness. In those times, I can recall my special verse:
I remain confident in this: I will see the Lord's loving kindness while I am here in the land of the living...be strong and take heart.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mountains and Valleys

It's been a long while since I have really committed to thinking and writing about life after Daniel-year 4. It's like mentally there is a hard stop in my brain and I can't formulate a thought, let alone get the time to type it all out. This month, however, the thoughts and the emotions are fizzing to the surface and the ever constant reminder through it all isn't allowing me to just push it down and address it later. There are pictures and words I have written in the past, a bystander walk through with another who is visiting the freshest parts of grief, and most recently a service dedicated to lamenting. 
I have come along way since those moments where I did scream out in pain-a Mother's heart ripped from the very chest where her child had lain his head. I have walked a path that was filled with somber hurt, numbing thoughts, fear and failure. I have been at the very base of a mountain and in the deepest of the valleys. I have moved 4 years farther from time with my son and 4 years closer to him in the same seconds. I have ebbed and flowed in my nearness and distance with God. Never forgetting where my strength comes from but sometimes thinking I was strong enough without that power source. 
It was the words written by David in Psalm 6 that I heard last night with ears longing to catch what my mind could not formulate. 
1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 

2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. 
3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? 
4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 
5 No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave ? 
6 I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. 
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. 
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. 
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. 

10 All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
While this was probably written when David had a physical ailment, have I not suffered the same bone agonizing pain and felt my soul cry out? Physically, mentally, spiritually I will never be the same person I was 4 years ago. I have read the condemnation of people, I have grappled with the guilt of being a parent who felt like a failure and I have wondered why God would take a child. Last night I heard words that 4 years ago would have pissed me off. That would not have made sense to me. I only knew enough to know whatever I was going to encounter from there on out was going to be hard and I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere on my own.  It was like there was this innate longing for someone to take me and hold me up and give me answers. It was the building of a lifetime of encounters with God-known to me and unknown to me-that was preparing me for the moments where I would hurt the deepest and cry the hardest. 
As I move into year 4, I am getting the chance to reflect on years 1-3.  As I sat in that auditorium, words that I had been trying to formulate in my mind, were being spoken by a pastor. 
"Pain is preparing for service"
"...believing in advance what will make sense in the past"
"it's not the load that breaks you, it's how you carry it"
And he finished with Matthew 11:28-30
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
This verse was one of the very first verses in my newfound faith that rung the truest to me. I remember sitting at Dorsett Village with my infant Daniel at my feet and thinking, "this is a God who can make my life right". I wrote this in May of 2008: 
"There couldn't have been a more perfect sermon this Sunday than the one my pastor gave. Each week I am in awe of how God's word seems to speak so closely to me-and it was no exception this Sunday. Pastor Mark talked on the "school of life" and the required "courses" we take (life, death and judgement) and our "electives" (choosing our way of life, what to do with Jesus and our destination). 
We are required to live, to die and have judgement called upon us. What we choose to do with our lives is strictly up to each and every one of us; and I have chosen to live my life for Christ. I have opened my door to receive Him and call on Him and place my burdens in His hand-to rest my soul. I am never ceased to be humbled in all that He does for me every day. 
Thank you Lord for gently guiding me in my decisions, for watching over my
family-my entire family-for giving me the chance to live for YOU"
Over the course of the years from that, I did wax and wane, but it was the initial opening of my heart to Him that allowed Him to flood me when I was most damaged. 
Year 4 is here and so is my story. His story. Daniel's story. 
I will use this pain and this growth to show how joy can last in the midst of suffering. Suffering that doesn't have to always be bone crushing but can be a whisper-and can still be overcome.  
I miss you. I miss you everyday. It sometimes hurts to hear Jake talk about you, but it's so healing, too. I know that you are part of this family in every moment. I wish I could have had every moment of your lift captured so I could look at it and hear it. But I take consolation in that I have so many people that love you and talk about you and don't shy away from your memory. It sometime feels like it's going to be an eternity until I get to see you, and then I remind myself I get that eternity with you. Until then, I will keep improving myself, my faith and my relationships for you. You gave me so much more than a title; you gave me a chance to be something bigger then all of this. To live for something bigger then this. I love you, baby.
Until then...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ABC of me

A blog I follow who follows another blog did an "ABC of me" and I thought, "why not?" I haven't been blogging as much as I used to and I do enjoy answering questions about myself.

A: age 29
B: biggest fear: losing another child
C: current time: lunchtime!
D: drink I last had: water
E: easiest person to talk to: My Mom
F: favorite song: "Roll to Me" I have a ton of favs so this is the very first I can remember labeling as a fav
G:grossest Memory: having to do wound cleaning on a patient whose wounds tunneled one into the other
H: hometown: St Louis
I: in love with: Dunkin Donuts. It's bad
J: jealous of: people who can travel often
K: killed someone: this is a weird question. No. But plenty of bugs
L: longest relationship: My best friend, Rachel. 18 years and counting
M: middle name: Rose
N: number of sibs: 1 brother
O: one wish: To see all my kids together
P: person I last called: Mercy for an induction
Q: question I am always asked: "Are you the nurse?"
R: reason to smile: my lady, Emma
S: song I last sang: "Roll to Me". It's now stuck in my head
T: time I woke: 5:30
U: underwear: red
V: vaca destination: I'm choosing to answer this as where I really want to go: Ireland
W: worst habit: leaving my dinner dish on the table
X: xray I have had: just of teeth
Y: your fav food: tacos
Z: zodiac: Leo

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Andrew is 4

This post is a bit late in the day but it's fitting in that Andrew was the main reason it hasn't been done. Well, and Emma. Both have needed attention today. Plus, getting Andrew to be still in one spot for more then 30 seconds is terribly hard. 
You turned 4 today. Even though we celebrated earlier, you still got to choose breakfast, dinner and dessert and got a new Paw Patrol toy. Daddy and I still don't know how you learned about Paw Patrol but it is your new best thing. Right up there with Power Rangers. 
I use pictures of the past year to help jog my memory when I write these posts and the most common picture I see of you is one that shows big smiles, tremendous energy and goofiness. I never knew pictures could display so much in a still image, but with you it's entirely possible. Daddy and I often use your name as an adjective; mostly in describing you. How else can we talk about Andrew without just saying, "he is so Andrew"? You have the biggest and brightest smile and your whole face lights up. And while your mouth can produce the best smile ever, it also produces the most noise ever. Sometimes you just need to scream. I really think if you stay still for too long it just bubbles out and you have to release some energy. We are constantly reminding you which voice volume is appropriate when. 
You've reached a stage where you can be very jealous of your sister and attention drawn away from you. It's been a bit harder dropping you off at daycare and it requires extra hugs and kisses. This past week you spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's and wanted to sleep in the pack n play in their room and specifically asked if a pink dinosaur was Emma's and when Grandma answered in the affirmative, you wanted it. Daddy and I try to make special times for all of you and you especially make it known when it's going to be an Andrew only day. I fear for you in the middle child roll and I know I've placed you there sometimes. I consciously make sure I acknowledge your growth with counting, writing and letter recognition in school and praise you and look at only you. And try to recognize when you need a hug versus when you need hug and a few more minutes in a hold. Physical touch is very important to you.
You are still just as stubborn and determined as ever. You get a look to you when you are stuck in your way and you can lace a statement with some barbed words if you've been hurt. You've gotten very good at crossing your arms and pouting. But completely on the flip side is your ability to still give what you have and think of others and help out. I've witnessed you giving up a treat to share with Jake and you've volunteered to help me and always want to help Grandpa with cars. You always want to get a gift for Jake and Sophia when we buy you a little something; it may be with our money but it's the thought :)
You are also a bit set in your ways. Shorts have to be just so, there are certain shirts you have a preference to wear and we must always fix your socks because the ribbed part near the toes bothers you.   it can be a bit tiring dressing you in the morning. 
You play hard. Whether it be as a superhero, or riding your bikes or playing ball, it is done with much enthusiasm. I sometimes wonder if you'll be involved with theater since you are so theatrical. You really do love to be surrounded by people. You still really can't play by yourself for very long. are also a great staler. You will find just about any excuse to get out of bed and when going back almost always take the long way around. You sleep crazy, too. Once, we found you under our bed when you were sleeping on our floor and another you got stuck at the bottom of your sleeping bag and couldn't get out. Thankfully, you've stopped taking off your pull up in the morning and climbing into bed with Jake sans bottoms.  
This year we will start preparing you for Kindergarten. I know this is going to be another period of big growth for you and I hope your Daddy and I can grow you up accordingly. You are my bigger then life child and the most dependable one for a cuddle or hug. I know this next year will be busy and big just because you're in it and I look forward to watching you become a big kid. Love you, Andrew Thomas. So much. 

What is your favorite number?  
Who are your friends? 
Elena, Austin, Caleb, Advaith, Josh
What is your favorite toy? 
Paw Patrol Marshall Firetruck
What is your favorite food?  
Cake and Pizza
What is your favorite color?
Green and blue
What is your favorite thing to play outside? 
Play with my helicopter
What is your favorite car? 
Green car
What is your favorite book? 
Paw Patrol book
What is your favorite animal? 
Monkey and Zebra
What do you want to do when you grow up? 
What is your favorite thing to do at school? 
Play with toys
Who are your favorite teachers? 
Ms Elena

Andrew is 3

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jake is 6

Jake is 6. While it truly feels like the kid should be turning 7 this year, just thinking about his growth and his little boyness now choked me up in the middle of Target today.

Jake, this year you have truly gone through so many new experiences. You started big kid school and got to ride the school bus, you had your first big kid play date without me, you welcomed in a new sister, you lost you first tooth-and then 4 more after that!-you experienced a "man haircut" at the barber shop, you learned pulling down your pants at the teacher gets you sent to the Principal and you got to see your fair share of letters written home about behavior. You also learned about math and reading and finished all 16 readers well before many others in your class. You worked on spelling and learning about punctuation and how to navigate through your school. You got to experience buying "tray lunches" at school and also found out how Mommy and Daddy can learn if you bought a meal without telling us. You had your first "girl friend" and announced in class she was "as hot as a blow dryer". You did vehemently deny Kelsey is your girlfriend all the while smiling through it. Now, she probably is a distant memory since she isn't even invited to your birthday party. You also got 3 new cousins and you love to name off all that you have. 

This year, we learned more about how to help you succeed in the classroom and not get so many letters sent home. It took awhile, but it has mostly worked. I learned this is not uncommon for young boys to have transitional behavior issues but it was still enough to make me cry and want to scream at the same time. Especially the flippant way you talked about in school suspension when you got to experience that for half a day. Outside of all of that, your flourish in school. You love learning about letters and words and numbers and making new sentences and rhyming. You also vocalized how you want to play trumpet in school because you love your music class. Going to the library each week was so exciting for you and we learned how to take care of school library books. You were in your first school Christmas musical this year and you thought you were cool stuff. You can't wait for summer school to start and want first grade to get her so badly. I am excited for it, too. I love learning and it's so awesome that you enjoy it, too. 

Your little personality has shaped a lot more this year. You have definite likes and dislikes now. You are quite obsessed with Dinosaurs and can name off quite a few and some of their habits and what their eating preference was. You schooled Aunt Em a little bit in them, too. Power Rangers Dino Charge started the fascination and then you just took off with it. Cars is another. There is a computer game you love to play that involves racing and advancing to a new tier. You've gotten to tier 5 now and your car garage has expanded exponentially in the game. Your favorites right now are Chevy, Mustang Cobra (your prized car) Audi and Nissan. You doodle the car emblems on top of picking them out and talking non stop about them. Literally, you will talk non stop about them. You have quite the anger streak still and stomp your feet, pout and cross your arms when you don't get your way. Or whine. It's so annoying. But it's still leaps and bounds better then when you were little so I will take it. On the flip, you are so gentle with your sister and love big. I mentioned on Mother's Day you show great affection to those you include in your circle and it's completely evident who you include. You love your family so much and never forget to include Daniel into it. That makes my Momma heart happy. You have a funny way of sounding like you're a know it all when really you are just self assured in yourself and what you have to say. You also think you're the most hilarious person ever. You have a new favorite show and it's like a little kid sitcom; Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn. It cracks you up. 

We've also had some good discussions about God and Jesus and you ask good questions. You've been especially interested around Easter time and how Jesus died on the cross. We went to a Catholic Easter service and you noticed the wounds on Jesus' hands and the crown. I pray this is the foundation you need that grows into something more. 

This year, I cant wait to see you start baseball and first grade. To learn more from you and make more special memories. You are a great big brother, s sweet son and a funny kid. I love you so much, Jakey. Happy 6th birthday. 

What is your favorite number?  
Who are your friends? 
Allie, Jacob R, Jason, Rex, Levi, Tanner, Tommy, Josie, Alena, Caden, Cheyenne, Lexi, 
What is your favorite toy? 
Dino charge gun, Dino charge sword
What is your favorite food?  
What is your favorite color?
Red, yellow, black
What is your favorite thing to play outside? 
Power Rangers 
What is your favorite car?
Mustang Cobra
What is your favorite book? 
The Three Billy Goats (we named them after Daniel, Jake and Andrew)
What is your favorite animal? 
Cow. Because you get milk
What do you want to do when you grow up? 
Drive cars
What is your favorite thing to do at school? 
Who are your favorite teachers? 
Ms Morris and Ms Debby

Jake is 5
Jake is 4
Jake is 3

Sunday, May 10, 2015

To my kids on Mother's Day

You made me a Mommy for the first time. We weathered a road where everything was new for both of us. You challenged me with your curiosities, your Houdini like moves, and your boldness. You were the reason I reflected on my self and the kind of Mom I wanted to be and allowing God into my life. You and I did a lot of growing up together and I know there was many a night where I went to bed feeling like I failed you. But I know with 100% certainty, there isn't a person on this Earth who loved you as much as me and would have fought for you as hard as me. You are now one of my protectors and you are evident in each of your brothers and sister. Through them, I can continue where you and I left off until we do get to meet again. I love you every day, monkey man, and especially on today when I have the chance to reflect on being your Mom.

My only brown colored, curly headed child. You are one of the smartest kids I know. And one of the most  talkative. Together, we get to experince a lot of firsts. Each day I am amazed at what you talk about and your skill set. And your ability to absorb information-especially about cars and dinosaurs and words. I find myself learning a lot from you. While you are very much into you and what can benefit Jake, you love hard for those that you chose to share yourself with. Especially your sister. You have such a kind touch with her and are the only one that can make her laugh the hardest and biggest. I am constantly evolving how to parent you and am learning some of the things that work better for shaping you. There have been days where I have cried for you; for how you speak to me about missing your brother, for trying to understand how to get you to understand good behavior, for wishing I could give you more of me. And then there are all the times you have shown me that I must be doing it because you are quick to tell me you love me and think of me often when you're coloring at school and for making me special trinkets. I love that you challenge me with all of your questions and I hope you always see me as someone you can ask anything to. I love you, Jakey, my special little second born big boy.

Oh Andrew. You are bigger then life. You are intense with anything you do. Loving, playing, fighting, sleeping. I find myself daily asking for grace and patience and often-too often sometimes-needing more of it before the day ends. You are unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Your biggest love language is touch and you crave physical contact. You give the best hugs and are one of the most helpful kids. You are one determined kid and speak your mind often. There isn't much one can do once your mind is made up. I love that about you; your strength. I used to call you my Samson because of your deep desire to love and your uncanny strength. I can't help but laugh at you sometimes when you get worked up and start talking; you little jowls start shaking and you try to form words but your emotions play so hard into your speech.  You are my comedic relief with a lot that you do and say. I don't know how I can love a kid so much and feel so worn out at the same time at the end of the day, but with you, bud, it's possible. I love you so much in spite of the challenges we face together, Andrew Thomas.

You are my littlest child, my only girl and my last baby. You make my heart sing. You are entertaining and talkative and give the biggest and best smiles. I'm sad when I have to drop you off at daycare and I cannot wait until I can pick you up again. Frankly, I'm surprised you can entertain yourself for a hour or even move because I never want to put you down. You are the most dear promise of healing and hope and I prayed often over you to have a kind and gentle spirit and to know your worth. Saying I love you to the moon is back doesn't even describe the distance of how much I care for you. I look forward so much to the bond we will have and I hope it's much like the one I share with your Grandma. You are bringing bit of sensitivity to your brothers and I know they are giving you a thick skin and together, I think you will do wonderfully. I love you, Emmy, to the moon and back. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A date only a Mother would know

February 19 marks the moment your feet have been placed longer in Heaven then here in my arms. 3 years and 7 months you have been gone. 3 years and 7 months I have learned to live without your constant questioning, silly-and often- tiring antics, your superior communication, your thick and unruly locks, your crooked toe and freckled shoulder, your chubby fingers and the way you could size up a situation. In 3 years and 7 months I have learned more about grace, true love, heart ache, faith, fear and revival then in any of my other years. A hole in my heart was carved so deep July 19, it felt like it could never be filled. In 3 years and 7 months, that hole not only grew smaller but the walls encompassing it grew sturdier. God's grace surpassed anything I could ever hope to posess and as I approach 3 years and 7 months, I am reminded of my journey and the fight for clarity and acceptance and release experienced throughout. Really, My words have never truly been mine. I serve as a canvas for God to shine through in the fear, bitterness and sadness. There hasn't ever been a moment where in my deepest point of grief, I couldn't reach out and feel His embrace. If there can ever be a truer moment for your life, it is in the fact you helped me live to gain the best life. In the moments that were the hardest, God was using them to bring the most precious moments glory.

“Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence.” --Augustine

In 3 years and 7 months your brothers and sister are growing into their own little person but you are delicately woven in.
Jake possesses moments he shared with you. He has your ability to be a handful and be quiet in one day. Jake cares for Emma the way you stepped up as a big brother for Andrew. 
Andrew has your mischievousness. He gets to claim your hair and profile and crooked toe. 
Emma has your heart. In her eyes I see into Heaven and see you. She is my truest healing and my world is made ok by her. She is my Psalm 23:17. 
Really, your passing made the Earth stop just long enough for us to get a grip on what's important. People were saved, relationships were made better and family became more then just a name but a life line. You changed all of us, Daniel. Without you, not a one of us would be better. God's purpose for you is so much bigger then I could have ever hoped for. Truly,I am not defined as a Mother who lost a son; I am a Mother who got to hold a piece of God's promise close. I got to feel the very little hands that are helping change a nation. My only hope continues to be that I can honor the gift I was given and never forget how important it is. How important your life is and your-our-story. This is the year for it, sweetheart. This is the story God has been orchestrating and writing and it's time for it to shine. For 3 years and 7 months, I have been growing and healing and learning and relearning and reaching clarity that is only found in someone who has hit bottom and I am embracing the journey and the sorrow to bring about the joy.
I will always remember the little boy you were. Until I can hold your hands, you hold a piece of my heart.
Until then, sweet boy.