I’m still here

I’m still here. Still angry as I was the days after just losing you Ella. I’m still here, staring out the window and glimpsing the little necklace with two pieces…one is with me, one is buried with you. I’m still here crying at the little, big, and unfulfilled thoughts of you. I miss us. I miss carrying you in me. I miss dreaming of the future you were going to have. I miss the old me so very much.

I find myself in a new town. Emotionally I’m a new resident here…and even though you died in 2012, it still feels like yesterday. The clock for me really stopped that year, and every year since I grudgingly accept with mild denial. So many unspoken thoughts, only heard, responded to and kept by myself and by my God. So many quiet questions. So many hidden hurts. So many.

There has been change and joy too. But that is not where I am right now. Right now I feel angry again…angry that I’m angry, and angry you are not here. I also feel so very alone. This burden of carrying your unlived life with me is so lonesome. I often feel I am the only one thinking of you in the whole wide world…and how that should seem special…but it doesn’t. I am resentful in my loss. Why did it have to be me? Why did it have to be anybody? Really having you leave us, leave me– very specifically, has separated me. I have never felt so misunderstood…and really UNKNOWN as I do now. You and I both know I would NEVER want to be able to relate to someone else’s death of a child…so there is a complicated thing. No one in my family or close friends has dealt with the death of a child…that really puts a wall in between all of my vital friendships, and connections. No one understands, I wish they did, but I would never want them to. Paradox. Honestly, it’s the smallest most mundane things that make me miss you. For some reason, folding laundry always makes me think of you…I have no idea why, but it makes me sad. Sometimes I want to just throw it all away. When your sister Rowin is asleep I always do a double take…she looks like you to me, and then I fear I’ve lost her too and I’m glimpsing death again. Nothing is certain to me. Only my love, and then the fear that tries to rob me of my love.

I drove past the cemetery today and I slowed down, tried to glimpse your plot–and I wondered if anyone had been there. No, probably not I thought. I never got to celebrate your last birthday with lanterns…it was too windy, then your sister was born the day after your birthday–which for some reason I feel you know already. Then your dad and I were going to celebrate you on your due date, but your cousin Hattie came on that day. Another girl. All my sisters and I have had girls first…but most people have to really try to remember why this is true for me. That’s impossibly hard. There is a very big vortex like hole you left–but it’s very quiet and I feel I’m the only one most times who feels the crushing of the weight and walls.

Whats kind of crazy for me is that I vividly remember everything about you, your birth and life…and the anger, depression, and darkness that followed. I remember the darkest days, moments, thoughts and triggers. I don’t feel the same way I did back then, but when I remember those days, and times I feel the pain all over again. I wonder if I will ever forget? I don’t think you can forget pain like that. Pain like this. It’s all still here underneath my skin–existing at varying depths. Sometimes right on the surface, sometimes buried deep in the ribs of my heart. I coexist with myself. The memory of who I used to be, the me that knew you, and the me that I am becoming because of you. Feels a little crazy.

In a way I’m really thankful for this deep mourning I’ve been feeling for the last few months…it makes me feel still so connected to you Ella. Because I haven’t cried or felt this profound sadness in awhile…and it feels good to feel it again, even though it is lonely and really hurts. Even though you have a sister, our family will never be complete here. We all miss you Ella, and I know in my head I will see you so soon, like the blink of an eye…but this heart does not understand eternity yet. I wanted to post some pictures from your funeral…I see the love on every ones faces…and I needed to see their tears again as I cry and carry my own alone now.

© Dan Stewart Photography© Dan Stewart Photography

© Dan Stewart Photography

© Dan Stewart Photography

© Dan Stewart Photography© Dan Stewart Photography© Dan Stewart Photography© Dan Stewart Photography







Almost three years after the death of my daughter and it feels like all the kid gloves are off. People don’t walk on egg shells anymore. People don’t ask about my grief…much. A new kind of grief and ache sets in and I am no longer the zealous mother who needs everyone to recognize my hidden and secret pain.

I’m pregnant for the third time. My second girl. I have cried for my little Ella more times then I have smiled for my new baby. It’s still very hard. The emotions are still very real and raw. I’ve gotten so good at making others think I’m ok most of the time. I don’t know when I started pretending…but it was in the little things. I stayed silent. I pursed my lips into a tight painted smile. I said nothing. Only to myself did I silently acknowledge my own pain, then as quickly as I thought it– I sent it flying. Changing the subject in my mind. Only in solitude do I allow myself the full gamut of my emotions, in the privacy of my own grief. Hidden in morning rituals of putting on clothes and makeup. Tears that fall freely, and quietly at the end of a long day. I tuck away all my silent frustrations, exclamations of “ouch” that hurts, to be felt and dealt with alone, later. Maybe I got tired of being the weak one. I’m sure I did. Maybe I felt bad for making others feel bad, or uncomfortable or sad. I’m sure I did. I’m sure I do.

After all, there is nothing anyone can say anymore. It is what it is. It’s sad that she’s not here, its tragic really…but no matter what we say or acknowledge it won’t change the fact that it’s over. That she is someone who is not with us right now. That she is silent. That she stays silent. I still hear her silence as I watch my son play. I thought maybe once he was here, I would miss her less. I don’t. I miss her more. I wish she was here to watch out for her little brother. I wish they could play together. I wish he could know her. I wish I could know her. There are lot’s of little things and ways that I try to keep her memory alive, but sometimes they feel so hallow.

I have her things, her clouds, her hair ribbon, the songs I sing about her–but I don’t have her anymore. Ella is and was more than just a memento, symbol, or article of something she left behind. But I don’t know what that more is. I know I’m not saying anything new here, grief still stings, and it still sucks.

I just feel less able to communicate the pain and sorrow to anyone in person really. It’s lonely, and I know now that there isn’t a conversation, or phrase, or kind word that will make it less so. This is the reality that I have to live with. Sometimes I wish I had the luxury of being honest again…of saying “you know this is all too much for me to handle suddenly.” I know I seem ok. I’m not. I’m scared. I’m scarred…after all this time I’m still confused and angry at times.

And strangely, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m tired of the same reactions, the distant stares, the sad eyes, the cliches of hope we cling to. It doesn’t matter anymore if everyone knows my pain, or recognizes it–because recognizing and knowing it hasn’t changed it. I don’t want anything from anyone anymore..I just want to know that it’s ok if I’m not so heart on my sleeve vulnerable anymore. I can’t really take it. Feeling the need to express my sadness has circled back to anger for me. I’m angry because I’m powerless. I’m angry that I can’t speak up anymore. I’m angry that all I have left of my daughter are things. Not memories…things. I’m angry that there should be three children in my home and there isn’t. I’m angry that I have to feel these emotions at all. I’m not thankful for this grief right now. Its not tidy, predictable, or safe. Its confusing, hurtful, tragic, hopeless and sad. I don’t see much meaning in it right now…and that has to be ok.

I’ll leave you with a few ideas/lines from a song I’m writing called Histories.

Looking at each other we can’t always see the places we’ve been…we can’t see the loved ones we’ve left behind–but we’ve all got history, the parts of us that they don’t see, if you look back you’ll see the ghost of me…and what might’ve been. I carry all my history, like petals pressed and sweetly kept…the secrets known, the tears I’ve wept. Oh we’ve all got histories, I carry all the dust with me, from where I’ve been…


I Feel Your Pain

I am sharing this post as part of a blog series I guest write for– an organization called STONES. I was asked to share about my journey through grief. In case you don’t know what a STONE is, I am going to give you a quick recap.  A
stone is a physical representation of hurtful words, self-defeating mindsets, insecurities
and personal tragedies. We all have STONES, although we do not get to choose which
ones life throws at us–like in the case of personal tragedies.

Until two and half years ago I didn’t have many stones in my life. I was a pretty confident person who felt like she could do anything. I didn’t really struggle with poor self-image, anxiety, or debilitating fear. That all changed after a world-tilting loss. My husband and I lost our firstborn daughter unexpectedly in utero. One day she was alive, the next day she was gone. I will never forget the moment our Doctor told us there was no heartbeat. My heart literally stopped, and the wave of emotions hit my husband so hard he almost threw up. That’s the raw stuff of life, and our hearts were splintered into a million pieces.

Maybe you are like me and you must live with a new reality; you carry the stone of grief
and like me you will never forget when your world was shattered.

At first I was too afraid to talk about this Stone, because grief often makes me feel alone. I often buy the lie that no one else has deep pain from personal tragedy or that I
shouldn’t make people sad—because that’s all I’d be doing by being real. But then as I
was lying in bed thinking about what I wanted to say to YOU, my little sisters, I thought
of the few that were BRAVE enough to share with me their own personal tragedies,

stories of deep loss. Some of you lost a friend to suicide, some of you lost siblings to accidents, even murder. I listened as you broke open your hearts and shared with me the most precious parts of you. You shared the love you had for your friends, siblings, parents. That courage will never get old to me, and because of your pain I feel I must remind you, you are not alone.

Thank you brave, young woman for speaking out about the pain that you feel. I know
how hard it is to be perceived as a “downer.” I know how out of control you feel, and
maybe you even unfairly blame yourself for this tragedy. Maybe you have picked up
self-harming habits because your pain is so great and you have NO IDEA how to handle it. Your stone of grief is a very HEAVY and COMPLICATED one. You carry it day and night, and until you find someone trustworthy and compassionate enough to help bear the load, most of the time you are alone.

I will share with you how my stone of grief had so many layers, and still does. Before life threw this Stone at me I never had anxiety or near panic attacks. But now this has been my daily struggle to overcome. The anxiety usually comes from feelings of lack of
control and incredible fear that I will lose someone else close to me in a horrible way.
This is so “normal” for those of us that carry this stone. Another way this stone has
really crushed me is my self-image and security. All of the sudden I found myself so
profoundly uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt like a failure to some degree, and the
weakness that I couldn’t help exude seemed to scare people away. I began to shut
down and go inward in social settings. I just wanted to disappear. But I didn’t
disappear…Thank God!

Sadly, I’m not here to tell you that you can leave your stone of grief and just walk away.
No, some stones, believe it or not, stay with us our whole lives—and this is one of them. I am here to share with you how I have handled this stone, and for those of you who haven’t had a personal tragedy I can hopefully help you help a friend in need of a loving ear.

Because this stone is so foreign and new, I often times wish there was some kind of
guidebook for how to handle the stone of grief. I don’t have a book recommendation, but I can offer some advice from my experience. The first advice I would give would be to surround yourself with people who love and care about you. This may sound silly, but
it’s really quality over quantity. Before my daughter died I had many social type friends,
but after she died, most casual friends found it very difficult to handle my grief. They
didn’t say anything, and if you’ve lost someone you know that the worst thing someone
can say is…NOTHING. So I lost a lot of friends, but the ones that I kept were people
that were not afraid of my grief. Sometimes you may feel that people are afraid of
“catching” your stone. They may avoid you, talk about you behind your back, or make
you feel awkward. Maybe they even make you feel like it is your fault. It’s not, and you
owe it to yourself to gently remove these people from your inner circle. Your heart has
been broken and you need to protect it from people who are truly too selfish or oblivious to care.

The second thing I want you to know is, it’s not your fault and whatever you are feeling
is ok. I spent so much time beating myself up over feeling certain emotions. Emotions I
had NO control over. If I was happy, I would beat myself up that I wasn’t sad enough. If I was sad, I would beat myself up over not being happy. You must learn to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling.

The reason that I can still get out of bed in the morning after my daughter died is
because I FEEL and FELT it all. I didn’t bottle it up, hide it, or avoid my stone. I didn’t try
to bury it. Instead I used all my pain and wrote songs, and pages and pages of music
about my daughter and the anger and sorrow I felt over losing her. These songs turned
into music videos of my story—and now they are being watched all over the world by
other parents who have lost children. That is the power of sharing your grief.

Maybe it doesn’t look like that for you. Maybe instead it’s going to a grief support group
and finding out you are not as alone as you feel. Maybe it’s following a blog of someone
else who has experienced a similar tragedy. Maybe you channel your pain into
something beautiful, like starting a 5k in honor of the one that died or writing a poem or
painting a picture.

There are still days when I wake up very sad and even depressed that she is not here,
and nothing will be able to fix that feeling. I just have to feel it, because I loved her
deeply and I still do. I have learned to live with this stone—sometimes it feels like a
boulder, other times like a tiny pebble.

Time does not heal all wounds. But time does change them. They get more bearable in
time. This does not mean they go away or the pain is not as deep. It’s just different.

If you carry this stone of grief like me, know you are not as alone as you feel. You
cannot see what personal tragedies people have gone through by looking at them—but
more often than not, you may find that your stone of grief will be a LIFELONG bridge,
connecting your broken heart to another broken heart.

I know mine has.


The Stone of Jealousy

So true


SinkI was exhausted. After a long night of studying, I sat down to take my Government test. The sound of pencils tapping on desks created a nervous energy. Occasional sighs echoed through the room, and the tick-tick-tick of the clock served as a reminder that time was running out. As the bell rang, I turned my test into the cold wire basket. I felt relief that it was over. It was a tough test, but I felt pretty darn good about it.

A couple days later the teacher returned the tests.

“How did you do?” asked Chris. He was a good friend out of class, but in class he was my academic nemesis. I was always trying to get a better grade than him.

“An 88,” I said reluctantly. I wasn’t thrilled that a B was sprawled over the top of my paper, but I was confident I did better than Chris…

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Sometimes you feel a little crazy after your daughter has died. How is it- that I can have a day go by without mentioning her name to anyone? I think of her, of course I do…but how? How can life keep going on? It feels like emotionally things and feelings get swept under the rug of my heart. I can’t live everyday in the lowest of places. The river still runs wild, but I can’t access it everyday. But I want to. I want to immerse myself in her short life again. I want to replay the days I had with her over and over again. I want to relive the awful days when we delivered and buried her. She was SO real back then. She was SO relevant. She was so current, and now she’s in my rearview mirror.

How can it be that two years have made such a difference? I’m the same traveler with the same heart, but so many of the deep things have gone deeper inside of me. I’m learning that it takes a great torrent of emotion to bring the smallest recollection and willingness to ponder out of me. Like I said, it’s all still there, but sometimes I don’t know how to access it. Sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I don’t have the time, or the energy…or even the support.

What I wish is that I had memories with her. But maybe if I had them, I would wish I didn’t. But would I? It’s that whole cliche of better loved and lost then to have never loved at all. I never understood those words until now. Honestly, I don’t know what is better for the human soul. A lovely mom I follow named Mary lost her son to cancer 6 months ago…from what I gathered he was only six or seven years old. Now that I have a child who is living in my care, I cannot fathom that kind of agony. I can understand my dead classmates father killing himself. I can at least imagine. Such compassion. Such pain.

In the end everything is what it is. I can’t change the fact that I only was privileged to carry Ella and be with her for 22 weeks. I’m thankful, but I’m always wanting more time with her. She is fading from me. In a way I can’t wait to be pregnant again, because that is the time I remember what it was like the first time–with her. Those butterflies, and dreams and first kicks, the cravings, and every little detail of those first 22 weeks are crystalized in my minds eye. Sadly, I spent so much time worrying–I don’t remember much but pain, grief, and anxiety with my pregnancy with Beck.

How can I meet someone new and not tell them about her? How can I have so many casual conversations in a day, but weeks go by without her name touching my lips? Most of the time, when a wave hits me I’m alone, and it’s brief. I simply say, I miss her Lord, I miss you Ella. I imagine that she is getting a little glimpse of me going about my day–broken and missing her so. I imagine that she is seeing my undying love for her. I imagine that it touches her…but I don’t know. In heaven I get the idea that you aren’t exactly worried about who is missing you . You are complete and you miss no one.

If I had to use one word for how I feel this two year anniversary of her life and death, it’s numb. There are so many layers now, one piled on top of the other…but the outer shell is thick out of necessity. Life is for the living. I have to go on. I cannot continue to torture myself daily with the WHYS,and the IF ONLYS. I HAVE accepted her death. I have relinquished control of knowing the why. I HAVE removed God from the court of my judgement. The anger is still there, the pain is still there, and the confusion is there as well–but it’s not my dwelling place anymore. Acceptance.

What I want to do for Ella is to bawl my eyes out and weep. Or maybe thats what I want to do for me. You have no idea how much I crave that utter desolation and brokenness. But the numbness has set in and I’m so tired of feeling like I’m weeping alone. To NO fault of anyone else, but thats the nature of life. We go on. We celebrate birthdays. We make plans. Go on vacations. Buy groceries. But sometimes I wish all I had to do was think on her beautiful life cut short and revel in the sadness and mystery all over again. So tonight, with my many tears, and looking at your pictures…and yes maybe drinking a glass too many–heres to you sweet girl.

You are still the light that keeps burning in my heart. You are still my girl. Happy Birthday in heaven. Pray for me, and have Grampa play you “You are my sunshine” on his heavenly gibson. I’m trying Ella Rae to stay the course, and make it to you with as many people that I can. I’m trying to live for heaven and remember that I am an alien..Thanks for making my perspective sooooo much better. I now know that things are just useless piles of crap and shit, and owning and working for stuff is an utter waste of time. I’m chasing the sun, the truth, the light, we all are. Thank you again for sharing your beginning and end with me. I’m FOREVER changed by your life and your love which is now SO complete in every way. Jesus is holding us all. I love you. Daddy loves you. Beck loves you, and I know Otie does too (our pug). As well as Gigi and Boompa, Bitty, Beamer, Uncle Ty Ty, Lukey, Cam,Gma, Nonna and Poppa, Grandma and Grandpa, Great-Grandma, Dan, Liz, Aunty Beth, Jacky, Jennifer, Aunt Linda & Uncle Doug…so many, but not enough…

This is my latest song about Ella…seems I can’t write anything without thinking of her. She pretty much inspires every song I write…I had to make this one a bit more universal and vague, I think my fans are tired of songs about my loss…



I have driven past the cemetery where Ella is buried countless times since my last visit. Part of me is ashamed to say I don’t remember when I last stood there and looked down at her stone, her name etched in granite. Jason and I even bought some metal flowers to put at her grave two weeks ago, and we still haven’t gone. A few times Jason has even asked me if I wanted to go, and I’ve always replied, I do but not now. Its hard to explain the way I feel about losing Ella, and about this second year without her. All I know is I feel different.

I find myself saying cliches a lot more. Life goes on. It sucks that she’s not here but it is what it is. I find myself accepting her absence. Part of that acceptance is REALLY hard to swallow for me. Maybe I’m in some sort of denial or shock again. Lately there has been two cases of infant death and stillborn –two sets of parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings lives that are changed forever. When I heard about the first birth I cried. I felt sick all over again. When I heard about the second one, I just froze. I thought about this sweet baby and family constantly. Quietly angry and annoyed. Annoyed sounds strange, but that the only word I can use to describe my very agitated state. I could not cry though. I still haven’t really cried. Part of me really wants to dig in deep to the grief that is forever a part of my soul…part of me wants to move past it…kind of like moving it from the forefront of my perspective and life to the background. It will always be part of the incomplete picture of my life, just no longer the focal point.

I remember when I was still in the very beginning of my grief journey and I begrudged parents who seemed so callous at the loss of their babies…I wanted them to stay in that devastated place forever–with me. Because thats where I was, I didn’t understand how they could really laugh, or how a day could go by without tears. Now, I understand to a degree, but I don’t really want to.

What I am comfortable with is breaking down. Being raw, weeping. Missing Ella so bad it hurts. Looking at her pictures and her footprints. Writing sad songs about her.

What I am not comfortable with is NOT thinking about her every hour of every day. Going days without tears. Not mentioning her name to my husband daily. Not feeling some sense of righteous indignation. Not feeling anything much. Not feeling angry. Accepting. Moving forward…not moving ON.

Having my son Beck is part of my journey. He is the reason I can no longer immerse myself in mourning for my daughter 24-7. He makes me smile. He fills a hole in my heart only children can. He genuinely brings me joy.

I don’t want Ella to only be thought of in tears. That’s so hard for me these days. Almost like a sad chapter to our lives that is over, and people just remember it as a hard time, that has now passed. When an unborn baby dies, or even a young baby part of the devastation is that you have no memories with their faces in them. Only sad ones. Only memories of eyes closed, skin cold, heart stopped. It makes remembering and honoring them very painful and difficult. You have no heartwarming phrases of “remember when she used to do this, or she loved puppies, and ice cream.” No one can say remember when. Only me. I am really the only one who knew her weight and her person. I, and I alone carried her in life and death. That is such a loneliness. The magnitude of my desire to remember her, and love her is at the highest velocity emotionally. But I don’t know how to deal with it right now. Part of me wishes to be immersed in tears and sadness…it was good for my soul. It felt natural and comfortable to me, as strange as it sounds. Life going on, and no tears feels unnatural to me.

When you are young and have not experienced loss, you say to yourself if my parents died, I would kill myself…or I would become an alcoholic and not know what to do, or how to handle my grief. Then you get married and you play out the same scenario in your head, and you think maybe you would just drop off the grid, become a hermit, and possibly lose 40 lbs from grief. You would tell yourself you would waste away to nothing. Then you have children, and you say to yourself, I would SURELY die from the agonizing pain of losing my child. I would possibly lose my faith, I would isolate myself, I would never get out of bed again, and yes I most likely would self-medicate my imagined unbearable pain by becoming some kind of addict.

But this is what I have seen. My Grandma wakes up every morning without the warmth of my Grandpas body beside her in bed. She eats without him. She carries on without his presence…she goes on living. She fights to keep her joy. But the sun is still rising and setting, and she has to go on living…not just existing without him. She has to make her life count still by serving her family and loving the best way she knows how. And she loves immensely. My mom goes on living without one of her parents there to cheer her on. She was most like my Grandpa, and he lives on in her intense personality. She raises children and now grandchildren without her father looking on in pride. She loves the best way she knows how, and she loves immensely. I wake up every morning without my daughter, in her place instead a son. A son who would not be here without her death. A fact my mind can never reconcile. I eat, exercise, pray, talk, laugh, and enjoy my son without her presence here. How can that be possible? The young me, the old me would not know the woman I am today. And thats what is so difficult for me. I want to always identify with and feel the intense loss of any parent who loses a child. But I cannot stay there anymore. This makes me so sad. Acceptance is harder to feel than agony and anger.

Once again I’m not sure if anyone will be able to understand this mess of words and heart–but I hope it touches someone. And maybe this clumsy articulation will be the words that you’ve been unable to speak, but always wanted to say.


I don’t play that song anymore…

The other day I was thinking about Ella, and the song Tears in Heaven came to mind. I remembered that is was about Eric Claptons son, but I couldn’t remember exactly what had happened and where the song came from. My curiosity led me to his wiki page, and I read the tragic story of a sweet little boy gone too soon. At the end of my reading I came across a quote from Clapton–and his explanation for not playing that song anymore. He said too much time had past and he didn’t feel he could convey the song in the same spirit in which he wrote it. He was devastated back then, and he wasn’t so much now. Loss of a child thirty years later…He also said he didn’t want to go back to that place.

I’ve thought about this a lot recently. The two songs I’ve written about Ella are now played far and few between. They bring me back to a very dark and sad place, a place that I don’t really have the luxury of living in now that I have another child to care for. The other night I got a request to play climbing clouds, and I actually turned it down, I said it was too sad and I didn’t want to go there. Its very strange to me that we can choose to “go there” when it comes to grief. The mind can lock things away and put walls up around certain memories and thoughts that are too painful to feel constantly. My grief for Ella is always there, but I do not always choose to dwell on it.

Recently I had a heart-to-heart with a very close family member, during which she told me that she was confused by my appearance of being ok, and this blog where I continually confess I am not. She didn’t understand how I could feel both. How I can function and smile, and be in so much pain underneath the surface. I am a complete paradox. If you have not experienced a life-shattering death…I can understand your confusion. To put things bluntly, sometimes I don’t want to think of my daughter and be sad. Sometimes I don’t want to think about what happened at all….but I do think about it all the time. I am resentful of my grief at times, while at the same time thankful for the opportunity to love. What I am struggling with is the definitions. I don’t want my daughter to always make me cry. I don’t want her name to illicit tears of sorrow and remorse. I don’t want to think about her helpless precious body….

I wish I had funny stories about her. I wish I could say “remember how she always used to do this…” I wish that there were other ways of feeling close to her. That is what I am struggling with currently. How do I love her and honor her and think about her and smile? I want to. There was a time that I would’ve slapped myself silly for thinking such a thing…but I am realizing that I don’t want Ellas life to just be something sad that happened in my past. How do I carry her on with me in life? Not only death…

Even when I smile, even when I laugh, even when I see pink tutus and hear a little girls voice speak momma–there is a current of unfulfilled desire. Sometimes I can handle it, other times I can’t. But she is always here with me in my heart. This is new territory for me…and it’s scary. It’s acceptance in a lot of ways. It’s faith. Faith that this is not the end of the story. I haven’t been ready for that faith or perspective until now. I am desperate for it. I will never understand why she is not here, but I am thankful that she wasn’t taken from me in a brutal way. Ellas gift to me has always been compassion…I know there are FAR worse ways to lose a child.

My words aren’t exactly coherent or graceful now, but I feel the need to begin to unpack some of these realizations, and fears. Not a lot of time has passed, not even two years since her death. But so much has changed. Our family has changed. Seasons have changed, and I have changed. Ever since her death I’ve not only mourned for her, but for myself. I mourn for the person I used to be. The woman who didn’t lay in bed every night playing out every scenario you can fathom of all the horrible things that could happen. I miss the old me so much. I miss my carefree spirit. I miss how oblivious I was. I miss not worrying. I miss being able to live in the moment. Mentally I haven’t occupied a single moment in the present…I’m bound to look behind and wonder why, and bound to look ahead in fear. I can’t go on like this, missing out on the joys of the simple things in life that make it worthwhile. I see this about me, but I don’t know how to change. I just know that I need to. Because time is flying….and I don’t want to look back and realize that I spent my whole life living in my past, and worrying about my future.

So I’m navigating. Learning to be grateful. Learning that love is always constant, but does not always surface in the same ways. I am realizing how very human I am, and how my need for a great big God is the all encompassing desire of my heart.

I am missing you always Ella, and I am learning to celebrate your life in joy and seasons. I still miss you terribly. You are the tear and sigh behind every smile, but I want you to be the smile behind every tear and sigh…You are both my sweet darling daughter. I love you, and I am learning that I don’t need to prove that anymore…