3

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…

2

The times that mattered the most…

For all of my grief journey I have been carried by love. God has sent angels here on earth to comfort us (Jason and I) as we mourn the loss of our firstborn Ella. We have received this love and comfort like beggars starved for bread. It was and is essential to us, like the air that we breath. This love, understanding, and compassion has fueled our empty bodies and sown up our broken bones so we can go on living, and running our race. There have been countless times when I failed to realize, either blinded by my own grief, or blinded by my own neglect of who was truly there all along. Past blogs have been about the incredible hurt, rejection and disappointment I felt from the few who could not give me all that I asked for. Why did I focus on them? Why could I not see the MANY people who grieved with me, and listened to me, and helped me along? For whatever reason, my perspective has shifted and I feel morose for all the time I spent on being disappointed in the few people who could not understand my pain. My past perspective was most likely inevitable…but I  share this with you because maybe for you it doesn’t have to be. When you are disappointed and hurt by someones inability to love you in the way that you need, focus on the people who do get you, and Do love you. I failed to do this fully until now. It is a perspective that time has given me.

I have compiled a list of people, too many to count, and pictures of the times and instances that mattered the most to me. These actions, words, and gifts meant literally the WORLD to me. It would be a fallacy for me to walk on and never acknowledge the actions and love that YOU have all bestowed upon a broken couple. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not fearing to feel your own heart break. Your compassion is courageous.

The Times That Mattered The Most

-when you sent me two ornaments, one of a mom holding a girl for Ella, and the other of a mom holding a boy for Beck
-when you sent me flowers every month in honor of Ella’s memory
-when you bought me a jar of 1,000 white buttons just like the song I wrote
-when you made a daisy flower crown in honor of your niece, and when you wear it on days you especially miss her
-when you randomly buy me white roses from the grocery store when you can tell I’m having a hard day
-when you told me about your miscarried sibling and how you long for the day to meet them
-when you text me ever so often and simply ask how I am doing, for real
-when you made my songs about suffering and loss so beautiful-you moved my soul
-when you call my mom and ask her how she is doing
-when you called me and left many messages of encouragement…you never spared me your own tears which are so precious to me
-when you continually listen to me pour out my heart and you never judge me
-when you told me you understand my sadness better now because of your healthy children
-when you left flowers at her grave
-when you cried over her grave
-when you wrote a beautifully vulnerable email to my husband sharing with him your life’s greatest loss
-when you made a dozen clouds and gave them to me…full of inspiration and love
-when you went out of your way to tell me on your wedding day that you missed her too, and when you placed a rose on your table just for her
-when you sent me flowers on her angelversary, and how you always tell me it’s ok to feel whatever I am feeling
-when you let me dump all of my ugly thoughts and feelings on you time and time again over the phone
-when you texted me after you had your little girl, and you had the sensitivity to ask me how I was doing
-when you showed me the bracelet you made and wore with Ella’s name on it
-when you helped heal my body and spirit with your guidance through yoga
-when you reached out to Jason and I and let us stay in your home, and blessed us with many gifts…a keurig and some amazing books about still birth to name a few
-when you told me I was brave
-when you shared with me your wisdom on life, grief and eternity
-when you took my story and made it into the most beautiful art
-when you put yourself in my shoes and envisioned exactly what I felt when I wrote my song kerosene
-when you sent me such a powerful and personal painting inspired by my song and by Ella
-when you, so many of you share your precious babies brief lives with me
-when you care about my grief amidst your own for your teenage daughter gone way too soon
-when you kept reaching out to a stranger via fb, then eventually meeting me and listening to my heartache
-when you always curl up on my lap when I am feeling completely devastated
-when you buy me little angels from the thrift store, they are Ella’s angels
-when you shared your poem of your own despair and questions regarding Ella’s death
-when you carry our sadness despite your own depression, mental illness, and homelessness
-when you made me a photo album of pictures of when I was pregnant with Ella
-when you send little gifts and tokens that remind you of Ella
-when you had custom made decorations with lyrics from climbing clouds on them
-when you two helped me make my memory wall with Ella’s clothes and blankets
-when you sent me a collection of bible verses about grief that I look at every day
-when you cried the tears that I couldn’t cry when I was in shock
-when you mention her name at every family gathering

-when you made a custom piece of art for Beck’ room and included a white rose for Ella

-when you choreographed a beautiful dance to climbing clouds in honor of my family and Ella

-when you made dozens of precious clouds for my album cover and let me keep them all-each one reminds me of her, you gave me a precious symbol I will treasure my whole life

Image

Image

Image

photo (9)

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

IMG_4818

IMG_4637

IMG_3949

IMG_2896

Image

6

Numb

Dear Ella,

I don’t know if I have the courage to be honest right now. In fact, I know I don’t. I am consciously blocking thoughts of you out of my mind…because I fear my worst fear happening all over again. Does this make me untrue?I feel so cheated, and ill-equipped to cope with the life I have been given. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I hit, or thought I hit “pause” on my grief button. I entered a strange survival mode. Survival mode is a lot like living like a robot. I wake up each day and force a lonely emptiness on my mind, as I will my consciousness to a barren and wasted mind-scape of nothingness. The first thing I see everyday is your cloud hanging above my bed, then I see the dress you never wore, and the quilt that never kept you warm. I see, but the eyes of my heart are dead and unregistering as I begin to will the pain, acceptance and even reality away. I build my wall of resistance and I try to defy my grief by convincing myself it is better to feel nothing. Numb. I’ve become numb after growing so weary of feeling every little thing so intensely. The pain of feeling constantly judged, the pain of feeling like I’m never enough, the pain of my pain going unrecognized, validated or even spoken of. I have grown so tired of the pain of not having my should be almost one year old baby girl here with me. Death denies me my motherly right everyday, would you fault me for wanting to deny it back? My pain and tears have been replaced with numbness and fear. My mind oscillating between the two as I try so very hard to feign indifference. I don’t know how to function when my only frame of reference for being a mother is birthing and burying a dead baby.

And I think to myself, Ella…I wish I could have heard you cry. But then I realize how selfish that is, and that your first breaths were not cries–in fact I’m sure you opened your mouth and either a song came out, or a laugh. Not here though. Why is it that the thing we do after we draw our first breaths is to cry? It seems sometimes that there is nothing more to life than that first cry. These walls and this “get through the day” mentality will all come tumbling down in a matter of time…with the birth of your brother. I see the tidal wave of hope and also of renewed despair and grief. A wave that will haunt me for all that we’ve lost again..but that will also soothe with new life. I hate living in this almost realized paradox of life and death. Soon the floodgates will open, and my heart will be open again to feel the intense love for another one of my children. I know I cannot keep it out, and I do not wish to–but for now it’s all damned up. I am broken. I am surviving. I have lost track of how many times I have spoken to the silence, and to your dad “I just want both of them.” I want to have my little Ella, and I want my little prince. I miss you Ella…and I know I am going to miss you in new ways that I didn’t think were possible when Beck is finally here. I am so scared to miss you more…but I want to. I am afraid I will not be able to stand what is coming…so for now I wait and watch fearfully and numbly…I know that this will all change as the new waves of joy and grief are coming. 

 

Image

1

The Sound of Silence

I’ve been meaning to write for awhile now, but my continued fear of others and myself has kept me silent for too long again. This sharing never gets any easier for me. Fear of hurting people and fear of being misunderstood can keep people in a lonely silence. I want to share a journal entry I wrote a few days ago on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving I wasn’t feeling particularly thankful…After examining myself, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t sad, or depressed…but that I was standing back at angers door. I had to remind myself again, that its ok to be angry. Anger is an acceptable emotion when your child, your hope, your daughter has died. 

Jason and I feel so keenly aware of our empty home, especially lately. We were so ready for a life change with Ella, and we had planned and prepared for the next stage of life. Laying on the couch tonight, Jason commented that he feels cheated…cheated out of being a father in the way he expected. Cheated out of all this time without our daughter. If I’m honest I feel I was cheated too. The silence of her birth and death has only grown and gotten louder for us, not quieter. As we see other babies grow, our longing for the hole that only Ella can fill deepens. The empty room, quiet hallways, hassle free life, date nights, clean rooms, good sleep, and clean floors only remind us of all that we have lost. Even as we anxiously await the birth of her brother, I cry and mourn for the relationship they will never have here on earth. We hear the silence at all times, and we are keenly aware of it’s presence. Sometimes I wonder if others hear it too.

 

I know I should be grateful, but I don’t feel very thankful

Thinking about my little girl, she should be here now

Two Thanksgivings past without her

She has made me so lonely

She was born in silence, and the silence has remained

It is deafening

Do people realize or hear the silence of our home?

Oh it aches, we try to distract ourselves and make some noise

But we will never hear her song

I’m angry again, I didn’t realize it until now

I’d almost mistaken my lack of tears for apathy

Attributed my silence for time gone by

But all the while I’m boiling underneath again

I’m so angry, and the anger doesn’t go away–often comes out and is misplaced

I’m angry she’s not here

I’m angry at the silence I feel we are forced to live with 

The emptiness of our hearts and home is evident to us

The sound of our silence is the only sound we hear

 

 

 

Video
7

24

Tomorrow we are at 24 weeks. I have been avoiding my blog the last few weeks like the plague. Afraid I’ll go on another rant, or find myself sobbing at the computer screen as I try to figure out how I feel. In fact, I’ve been avoiding a lot of things in my life lately. Avoiding awkward situations that I simply don’t feel capable of handling. Avoiding writing my feelings. Avoiding talking about them. Avoiding looking at little girls. Avoiding dreaming about the good things that can come from this new baby. Avoiding listening to the songs I have written about Ella. Avoiding watching the music video that is plainly our life. Avoiding her empty room. Avoiding opening up these very present and real wounds again. I’m sure it’s normal. All I can say is that I’m tired of being broken. Tired of being afraid. So damn tired of crying and missing Ella so bad it hurts every fiber of my being. I am avoiding myself…

So much of this pain is psychological…my last post was about the doppler. Well I have only used it a handful of times. This might be surprising but I find that since I have it, I don’t need it. When I have a moment of dread and panic I simply wait. I don’t do anything really. Just sit and breathe with my hands on my belly and wait. Baby always complies..usually within minutes. I feel bad sometimes for putting so much pressure on Him. I think that this whole charade is something about the control. If I at least have the illusion of control then I don’t have to use it.

Anyway…back to the avoiding. From 19 weeks to about 22 may have been the darkest time for me. I felt like I was “relapsing” which sounds ridiculous because I definitely should know by now that grief comes in waves, and you just keep going around and around. But it surprised me. The anxiety came back…and the sorrow…the sorrow so heavy I felt like she had been ripped from me yesterday. I think grief is so odd and beautiful.

Within that time period I also released my first single off of my new EP called Climbing Clouds. The single was released with a video that is entirely and incredibly autobiographical. Releasing that into the world so to speak was incredibly freeing, terrifying, healing, disappointing, and a myriad of other emotions. To say that things have been a bit tense with exposing myself in this way is a huge understatement. The need to retreat and hideaway has been the primal instinct ruling most of my avoidances. In between releasing the video I have also been touring a bit more, and with that–playing my songs for the public about Ella. Make no mistake, being an artist–someone who writes and communicates to connect is exhausting. I feel so burnt out and tired of being up front. I feel like I am exposed, needy, weak, naked, broken, and that I must continue to be these things in front of everyone regardless if I feel like it. This is my life. To share songs, and my life with others who are lost and hurting. Lately though, I really wish it wasn’t. The bottom line is I’m tired of being vulnerable. It’s getting harder. I am tired of being so blatantly honest to the many, many people who ask me if this is my first child. I’m tired of having bad days. I’m tired of sharing my story and I don’t know why. Other than the fact that being vulnerable is scary. Sometimes vulnerability and honesty are met with awkwardness and rejection. That’s a really hard pill to swallow when all I really need is love and acceptance. I know that by putting this all out now, at midnight no less–I am uncorking myself again. Opening up again. Releasing. Unclogging. Speaking honestly…but even as I type this I don’t want to go there.

Every morning for the past few weeks when I wake up and go to the bathroom I look across the hall and see Ella’s room..with the door wide open. Jason keeps opening the door every day…and every day I close it. It’s actually physically hard to close–the door gets caught on the carpet every time, but I close it every day nonetheless. I don’t want to look in that empty space. I don’t want to look my loss in the face. I don’t want to think about what could have been. And I don’t. I angrily close the door. I know that this action is a small manifestation on what is happening in my mind and heart internally. I don’t know what to do about it at the present. I don’t feel like sharing will make it better…but I guess it can’t make it any worse. My mom came over today and asked me how I was doing, and I just brushed her off and said I was fine. I might have been fine, but I don’t really know honestly how I am because like I said..I am avoiding myself. You know how I avoid myself? Distraction and busyness. I make sure there is never a moment I am alone with my thoughts and feelings. There is always constant noise, constant stimulation, constant fixation. Online shopping…work….pinterest…emails..facebook…youtube…cooking shows. It all leaves me feeling terribly empty and dissatisfied. Come to think of it, I’m avoiding God too. I don’t really want to think about Him at all. I don’t want to talk to Him, and I don’t want to tell Him how I feel, or what I want, or even what I need. Every prayer I have uttered for myself since Ella has died has felt like a small victory to me. It’s hard to talk to God. I don’t feel like I know Him anymore, and at times..most of the time I don’t feel like He is safe anymore. I’m afraid to admit this…but I think I must diagnose my true beliefs and be honest with myself..and probably with God too. Life has really lost its luster. The small things that used to bring me joy now seem pretty meaningless…with the exception of my husband and this baby. Baby has brought me little folds of joy…little quiet glimmers. I don’t think anyone but God knows how special they are to me, and how feeling him move inside me really brings me a little piece of heaven. I need that heaven, and with every day I abandon myself to the joy as much as I can. I’m pretty sure that is all I can do for now. But it’s all so sacred still. I really can’t be free to rejoice and smile and laugh and plan and think about the future with the world, family or even friends. We haven’t bought anything yet, decorated, or signed up for any classes…we will cross these bridges when they come. I know at some point I will no longer be able to avoid doing those things..but maybe avoidance has a time and place. I will try to avoid worry about the future and be content with the day I have been given. Ha, way easier to say than do. Anyway, I am going to share the video with you..because this is the time and place. One thing I can’t avoid is my undying love for my daughter…here is Ella’s first song…one of many.

3

Still Loved

It has been over a month since I have written really anything, here or otherwise. The passing of time has been really stifling to me. A few mile markers have past. June 11th was the 8 month marker from the day Ella died. Her gravestone marker also came in, and that brought on a mix of emotions from sadness and anger to guilt and fear. My Grandma actually was the first one to see it, because Ella is buried next to my Grandpa. For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to see it right away–then I felt guilty for not going. I finally went with Jason, we looked at it, and I fought back every morbid thought with the knowledge that she wasn’t there anymore.

I’ve actually been avoiding my blog because my last post caused a lot of strife and hurt, and I felt afraid to be honest. But this is my safe place to express, and if someone is reading this for ammo I will be sure not to give them any. This has never been a place to do anything but grieve for my daughter, and process my emotions. I can honestly say I have a clear conscience. With that being said, I’m not going to be afraid anymore, and I wont ever be silent about my daughters impact. I miss her so much these days…

This grief now plays with my imagination. I walk into my kitchen and I think she should be there in a high chair, smiling at me. I continually mourn for the time I never got with her. Its no longer a thought like, “she would be here in two months,” it’s “oh she would’ve been four months old today.” The utter unfairness of it all is what baffles me.

I’ve been incredibly busy with my music, and my video projects–and as they are coming to fruition and completion I feel an incredible tidal wave of fresh grief. Two of these songs and videos are about Ella and the incredible void she has left. I will have to reenact our story. The joy, the disappointment, the hopes and dreams being dashed all over again. I am sort of dreading this,but at the same time every bit of my heart is pushing for it. I need to tell this story with every fiber of my being. To honor her, to break the silence, to say once and for all here the truth is…you cannot pretend this did not happen. I need to do this for all the mothers who cannot express their sadness.  This Thursday is the day, the props are gathered, costumes set, storyboards finished…now all that’s left is to go back to that innocent time, then watch my world crumble again.

 

This past weekend was incredibly rewarding and draining. I had a big festival, played seven slots and probably met a couple hundred people. There were a few bittersweet moments that really touched me. One of these moments took place at my merch table. I was signing an autograph for a little girl, and when I asked her name…she said Ella. I then told her and her mother that I had a daughter named Ella, but that Ella was in heaven. I wanted to cry, but at times like that you kind of have to hold it together. The other bittersweet moment was backstage at the artist tent. Jason and I were taking a break from the heat when we ran in to two band wives that we knew. They were both pushing strollers and both had an adorable baby girl. Sometimes when I run into these kind of situations I push Ella and my loss to the back of my brain and I kind of enter robot mode. If I were to truly express my grief and sadness in that moment, I’m afraid of what would happen. Being polite I asked their names, and that was when mom number two told me that they had actually named their daughter Jetty. Even though I avoid holding baby girls this little Jetty was the exception. I held her for awhile and she brought a little peace and love to my mothers heart. When I left, I burst into tears…Ella should’ve met little Jetty.

 

My weekend culminated at my mother in laws birthday party. My adorable niece was there. Seeing how big she had gotten, and how much joys she brought to my family made me ache. I locked myself in a bathroom and cried. I cried because although I am functioning and living, I couldn’t remember the last time I had truly laughed. I’m missing that carefree joy. Im missing the little girl who should’ve brought it to me. I’m missing the little giggles, the smiles, the hair bows, the dresses, the beach toys, the sunblock. I just can’t even imagine how amazing it would be to hold your daughter, and have her hands hold you back. Thank you KV BIJOU for sending me this beautiful ring.

 

Image

5

Friends & Suffering

This period of my life has sort of inevitably and unconsciously sifted out friendships and people that used to hold pieces of my heart. You really learn who truly cares when you are in grief. Grief has a way of making things like returning phone calls, or making dinner plans seem like the last thing on earth that matters. These tasks would require me to perform a certain way that would be deemed “socially acceptable.” Most of the time grief throws those mores and performances out the window–whats the point anyway? The people that have been there for me has been surprising. My friend–let’s call her “Sam” has been through an unspeakable amount of suffering, physically, relationally, and emotionally. She has become one of my best friends after Ella died. She still texts and calls me daily–and regularly acknowledges the fact that I am not ok. Her example of love has changed me, and set my own bar for friendship pretty high. The next time I have a friend who is experiencing death and grief, I will grieve with them and be there for them in a way that is so personal. I won’t expect anything from them. And I will do my best so just be in the depths with them. I probably won’t say “I’m here for you,” or “I’m praying for you.” I will cry and grieve with them…I hope I will.

Part of me has wanted to tell so many people from my past and present that the old me has died. If a friendship continues–you have to acknowledge that. You have to acknowledge that something as simple as a dinner date or a phone call is sometimes a lot for me to handle. Family and “friends” have ignored me, let me be, neglected me, and then expected me to respond the same way. The old me didn’t need as much. The new me does. For my own emotional wellbeing I have written off people who fail to realize we are still suffering and we are still broken. A conversation without this monumental realization is quite pointless to me.

I’ll give a little example of what I am talking about. This past Christmas we received countless picture cards…none of them acknowledged the fact that maybe Jason and I would be having a hard Christmas without our baby. People I thought would remember or care simply signed their names and wished us a “Merry Christmas.” Needless to say it was a very painful holiday, and all of those cards ended up in the trash. One card stood out from the rest though, a cousin of mine asked me if her card with her pregnant belly on it would be too much for me to handle. Thanking her I told her yes it would be too painful. She will never know how that little consideration and thoughtfulness blessed me. Now I understand that people forget. I get that. That used to be me. But the new fact is that I live life with a wound, and that wound is tantamount…it IS my life right now.

Some people in my own family have inadvertently made me feel terrible for my grief. They have sort of silently threatened me to act, to put on a happy face–so they don’t have to feel my pain. I don’t know why this is, I surmise that it makes them feel uncomfortable and sad, and afraid. Perhaps to deny my grief is somehow making sure it won’t infect them? Not sure. Maybe it simply is oblivion. I’ve had to choose to forgive many people for their lack of concern and for their insensitive remarks. Like I said, I used to be like that too…and if I’m honest I still am. We all let each other down as humans.

As a human being we can only carry so much. I carry grief and loss, and I don’t want to carry bitterness and unforgiveness in my load. I want to share an incident that also happened around Christmas that took me some time to forgive, and apply grace. I am still choosing to do this today. A family member and I where talking, and during that time they said they had to protect their newborn baby, and they weren’t sure if they wanted to be around us at Christmas time. This person also informed me that the maternal instinct was to blame, and it was hard for her to explain to me. Hard to explain to a mother of a stillborn who had no power whatsoever to breath life back into that little frame? I was devastated. That conversation literally left me speechless. I’m glad that God did not allow me to say what I was thinking or feeling. It would have been explosive I’m sure. Understanding where people come from, and assuming the best is always the key to letting go. It took me a long time to forgive her, and I’m sure to this day she has no idea how much she hurt me.

I wish that, that time was the only time I had to feel low on account of a family member or friend, but we do this to each other all the time. We are all selfish, self-consumed, and thoughtless. I want to share these accounts because I feel like it is an important part of my refining. For awhile I really damned up my heart, and made myself cold. I didn’t want to let God continue the refining that he started in me the day we lost Ella. There is a constant battle to keep my heart tender and right. A constant battle to look at my own inadequacies and failures. A constant battle to bestow grace that is and has been bestowed on me. This is so hard to do. Sometimes I want to be bitter and mean…and blatantly honest.

I get random texts sometimes from people I knew when I was eighteen, saying things like “When can we catch up?” But they haven’t been here with me in this fire, or on this journey. We are different people now. Catching up involves me opening my wounds up and being honest about who I am now. And I am quite certain that most people don’t want that, because if they did–they would’ve been here with me in these seven months. My mom had a vision one day, and she said she saw me, and Jesus..and He said “She’s coming with me.” She had the impression that I was going on a different path, and that most can’t go with me on that path…it is ours alone to take. Friends and family with young babies and daughters can’t expect me to go on their paths with them. I am mourning, and in death…and they are celebrating in life. I think this is the best way of putting it. We are on different paths. We are different people. So this is me releasing old friendships, old expectations, and old ways. This is me embracing others emptiness and brokeness. This is me not pretending. Seven months later and I’m still mourning. RIP the old Me.