Friday, February 28, 2014

The pain of choosing joy

I'm at a crossroads right now.

No longer writhing in pain I feel like I am at a point where I have a choice in which direction I can go (there are people who will read this and say 'I told you so' but two years ago there was no choice there was only survival).

The pain now is not so all encompassing as it once was. There was a time when it physically felt like my skin had been flailed by many whips and was open and raw and bleeding and the whipping continued...there was a time when I honestly thought it would hurt less to stick a knife into my chest and carve out my heart than to breathe another day without Eva. I can honestly say I don't hurt like that anymore. Yes, there has been healing. I no longer want to carve my heart out, however nor is everything rainbows and unicorns that leads us on...

I can go down the road of being angry all the time and descending into a pit of bitterness at the mighty loss of my daughter. Or, I can intentionally (and not without pain) choose joy every morning while embracing my daughter with my whole heart.  It is so hard to choose that. 

The truth is, it is easier to be sad than it is to be joyful. In normal land it is easier to be joyful than to be sad but in the mirror land where you live without your child and everything is the same and yet is backwards, sadness comes all by itself which is why I have to choose joy every morning. 

I have to choose it every single morning and even several times a day because I just miss my little girl so much and, even now, I'm weeping as I type a post about choosing joy. How backwards is that?

But. I need to get through this because I have been thinking about it for awhile now and even though I may not articulate it well I want to put these thoughts out there.  

I keep thinking about Jesus and the mighty gift of the cross that he has given to us and I know that my joy can only come through him. Eva has given me the gift of yearning and longing for heaven in a way I had no idea existed before she went there ahead of me. 

I can and will grieve Eva every day until I am blessed with death but until that anticipated day arrives I am trying to choose joy every morning.  I say trying because sometimes no matter how much I try to choose joy, the sadness is just there and I have to embrace it for a day or two and spend time fully grieving and weeping for my precious daughter who I long for so much.

And yet, I am reminded that His mercies are new every morning. And there is (at least some) joy every morning as well...

So if you see me around town smiling, know I still miss my girl so, so, so much and my joy has been chosen by me and bought with the blood of Jesus.  I have chosen joy in that moment even while pain bangs around in my heart.

I am not all better. I will never be all better but I am choosing joy. Don't judge me, and don't think I don't care about the empty spot where Eva should be anymore. Don't think that I don't know exactly where she would be sitting in our van. 

The pain of choosing joy is still better than the taste of bitterness.

The flowers Mike gave me for valentines because they were the closest he could get to sunflowers in February. Thank you Mike. I love you so much.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Joy journal 8

The best part of today was our lovely visitor who came and read to the kids. We so appreciate other people investing in our children.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Playing scrabble with some friends yesterday and your name popped up. It felt like a little visit, a quick caress. Fleeting and precious, like your life. Missing you always, everyday. In the mundane and the are always with me, carried in my heart.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Joy journal 7

The best part of today was building a solar system with my kiddos!

And eating m&m solar systems...

Voila, the finished product!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Graceful and Compassionate.

Someone I respect has told me he stopped reading my blog quite awhile ago because he didn't agree with many things I wrote. 

Okay. Okay?

I wish I didn't respect him. It's easier to take criticism from those you don't respect to start with...

He also told me it would be nice if I offered the same amount of grace and compassion to those who haven't lost a child as I do to those who have.

Thing is...Losing Eva has shaped every single aspect of who I am now and I am able to offer bereaved parents grace and compassion BECAUSE of my journey of losing Eva, not in spite of it. 

Truth is, I have to admit that I, too,  sometimes wonder where my compassion has gone...

But the other truth is that there were so few people who came alongside Mike and I in our lonely black early days of grieving Eva and offered us grace and compassion. So few people who could empathize because the reality is that very few people experience the death of a child in our culture today. So few people...and now, if I am able to be that person who can offer grace and true compassion for another bereaved parent then that is where my priority is. 

If you've just had a baby, have a backache, a broken leg, relationship problems....there are likely many people who have walked that road before you and can bring you a meal, offer you a shoulder to cry on or clean your house. 

I am sorry I am not that person and that I am, perhaps, not graceful and compassionate enough. 


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ten months one day.

10 months 1 day. 

Nathan lived through yesterday. Every moment he lived today is longer than our Eva ever lived here on earth. 

It was a mixed bag today. I imagine i will get used to Eva's little brother being older than she is, as time passes. But, right now, it's hard. Why, oh why did she never get the chance to see the other side of yesterday...

A friend of mine once said about her daughter's life is that her life was perfect only 100 years too short.

Today, that's how I feel about my Eva. The perfect life. Only 100 years too short.

Miss you and love you so much my precious daughter. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Little brother

A few people have asked, really asked how I'm doing as Nathan's ten month birthday approaches, on valentines day.  

People seem to think I'm worried about Nathan. I'm not. Of course it's always there a little bit...but not more so than on other days...

The truth is I'm okay. I'm not expecting him to die. The hardest part is reliving Eva's last days, only two more tuck ins and there would never be another for my little girl and I. In three more days Nathan will no longer ever be the little brother. 

He is already heavier than Eva ever was and moves more and eats more...but in three more days he will have lived longer than his big sister ever did on earth. And that hurts. Even though I wouldn't want him to stay the little brother...of course I want him to grow but, thing is, I want her to. I want my sweet little big Eva too!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Joy journal 6

The best part of yesterday was watching my big boys come down the big water slide by themselves and swimming with them as they progress into real little swimmers.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Joy journal 5

The best part of today was watching the continuing story of Anne of Green Gables with my friend Carolyn. Laughing and crying together.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Joy journal 4

The best part of yesterday was going through old photographs with my mom. And when I say old I mean early 1900s old. Love you mom.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Store up your treasures...

As more and more things from the time we had with Eva fade away or crack or break or get tossed for some reason or another I realize how fleeting this world is. How fleeting this life is. 

A couple of days ago I grabbed some instant noodle bowls for the kids to eat. I didn't realize quite how old they were until the kids refused to eat them cause they were so stale. I rarely let my kids give any of their food to the dogs but this, this they could not eat. I found them something else to eat and jokingly told Mike about it later. He said he was surprised we still had those around. They were from the holiday trailer. The holiday trailer. The holiday trailer we hadn't been in since our very last holiday with Eva where she first got sick. The holiday trailer we've since sold because it always felt, to me, like she died in that trailer. So, I knew exactly how old those noodle bowls were. 2.5 years old. And that's when it struck me how this world gets stale. This world gets old and worn, dusty and cracked, and stale. 

The things from Eva's time are aging, cracking, getting old and stale. Time passes here but my love and my yearning for Eva are as fresh as they were 2.5 years ago. I don't notice how the 'things' from the other kids' get old because they get new stuff but Eva's time...Eva's things are finite and I can see them growing old and stale. 

Do not store up your treasure on earth where moths and rust destroy but store up your treasure in heaven, because where your treasure is there your heart will be also, the bible tells us in Matthew 6:19-21. I can tell you that now I much better understand that verse. This world grows stale. Money, couches, all grows stale and there is not one earthly thing you can take with you so, my dears, store up your treasure in heaven because where your treasure is there your heart will be also. 

This life is not for keeps but heaven is forever. I anticipate the day. 

My treasure and my heart is in heaven.  

"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" - Jim Elliot. 

Joy journal 3

The best part of today was watching my big boys and their friends at martial arts today.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Joy journal 2

The best part of today was driving with Mike to the airport holding hands at 4 o'clock in the morning. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Joy journal 1

The best part of today was a sermon that didn't turn a blind eye to pain and suffering in this world but still kept Jesus as the anchor. That and a great nap in the afternoon while the boys made a fabulous Lego creation on Eva's table.