I've survived a year without Kristen.

There have been days that I have been emotionally knocked to the ground, unsure if I would make it through the next hour.  But, I have survived.  There have been days that I've been just too sad to do much of anything.  Even so, I have survived.  Too many nights, I have cried myself to sleep and awakened with swollen eyes and an aching heart.  Yet, I have survived.  There have also been days that I have smiled, even laughed.  Those days are special and remind me that it won't always be like this.

As I spoke recently with a friend who lost her husband a little over a year ago, she said, "They say it gets easier, but I think they lied."  When our hearts are so very tender, it certainly doesn't feel easier.  In fact, there are days that I feel like for every step I've taken forward, I'm moving two steps back.  Grief is definitely not a static experience.  It changes everything.

There's a reason that they call the family members of a deceased person "survivors."  We endure the circumstances that change our lives forever.  It's taken just about everything I've got to survive, but I have.  Actually, it's taken me giving everything to God to survive this past year.  He has been there, even when it felt like no one else was.

Thanks be to God, I have survived a year.

That ache...


is back.

That awful, terrible ache deep in my still-tender heart - the one that drops me to my knees - is back, yet again.

I am missing Kristen so very much right now.  A year ago she was here in my arms.  A year ago all three of my sweet girls were here together under one roof, the older two giggling as they lay on the living room floor with their baby sister, watching her respond to them.

As each day goes by, I seem to be swallowed up a little more by the great sadness that has taken up residence here.  The tears are very close to the surface, yet again.  The nights come with restless sleep, and the mornings are difficult to face.  I am just so very sad.

I anticipate that once I get past this anniversary, the pain will ease.  I certainly hope so, because right now I feel like I'm being crushed beneath the weight of it.

Still trusting that God is completely in control, but missing my baby so very much,



Thanks to all of you who kept us in prayer last weekend.  The trip was very long, but my mom's service was nice and gave me the opportunity I needed to say goodbye to her.  It wasn't easy, but it was good.  I'm so grateful to my dad for going with us.  Since he and my mom divorced over 30 years ago, my dad felt a little awkward about going.  Understandable.  But, my mom's family really wanted to see him (and his oldest brother is married to one of my mom's sisters).  It worked out well, and it was nice to see family that I haven't seen in many, many years.  Through the CaringBridge book I made a few months ago, I was able to share Kristen with them.  And I was actually able to respond to the question, "How many children do you have?" with a smile, no tears, and a proud, "I have three beautiful daughters."

Something inside my dear husband snapped while we were in Iowa, and he gave the okay for a dog.  And not just a dog, but an INSIDE dog (I'm still in shock)!  The girls are beyond excited, and frankly, with the sadness that has blanketed our family this past year, it's a welcome change of pace.  We visited the puppy this week (a miniature schnauzer named "Max") and will bring him home in about a week and a half.
Maxwell the mini schnauzer

It's with a certain amount of dread that I've anticipated the month of August this year.  Kristen left us on August 17; my mom on August 21.  Perhaps it will be that the days leading up to those dates will be harder than the days themselves.  I feel like the emotional roller coaster has started again with the twists and turns that often leave a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Nothing will ever take away the memory of amount of activity, no puppy (no matter how cute), nothing.  But if this little creature can make the days ahead just a little easier for all of us, I will be thankful.