One year later

A year ago this past week our life changed forever.  While it is indisputable that the parents we know and love will eventually die, at our age I think it’s normal to assume or expect that they’ll still be around a while.  And when they do pass on, we hope we’ll know it’s coming and have the chance to say goodbye.

When Chris’ dad didn’t return from his hunting trip last January, I waited for the logical explanation.  His mom and I prayed on the phone and talked to pass the time as the evening got later.  I was certain, in my optimism, that he’d pull in her driveway any minute.  Logical answers didn’t come and neither did his dad.  As I watched my husband throw warm clothes on and packed him food for the long drive to join the search, fear crept in.  I hugged him long and hard and tried not to cry.

I tucked kids in their beds and started to ponder the possibilities.  My sister, then pregnant with my niece, offered to come over and sit with me.  I did what I tend to do and said no, that I was sure I’d be fine and everything would be okay.  Two hours later, past midnight I said yes, please come.  She tucked herself into my bed and we sat.  We waited as sleep eluded us.  We prayed in silence.  Mine sounded more like pleading, begging for just two things…..Let his dad be okay….If he’s not okay, please don’t let Christopher be the one who finds him. I whispered and whimpered the same prayers all night long.  My sister had to leave in the morning to get back to her son.

And shortly after she did, a five word text message (that was the only way he could communicate with me at the moment) told me that both my prayers had gone unanswered.  It was the most gut wrenching moment of my life.

The ache that followed for all of us was unbearable, we were overtaken by the shock of loss.  The hole that had been blasted open in one moment was a gaping one.

People cared for us and loved us in every imaginable way in those following days.  My parents who’d been at my ill grandmother’s bedside, not expecting her to live, were across the country.  They flew home immediately.  Incapacitated completely, I watched in a cloud as other people stepped in and ran life for me.

The months that followed were walked out in a tender, raw way.  We both knew that our hearts were in pieces and we could not tolerate harsh words or bursts of anger – so there simply were none.  We process loss in very different ways so we held one another with mutual respect and did our best to let each walk the journey as needed.  We’re still doing that because it just seems the only way.

It was in those months, knee deep in grief, that I began this gratitude list on Monday’s.  As I questioned my faith and really the very nature of God for the first time in my adult life, I began to read a blog that pointed my heart in a different direction.  I took her challenge to join in and to start keeping track of what I could choose be grateful for.

#339 – learning how to say yes to help

#340 – resolving that there will be some questions left unanswered for the rest of my life

#341 – the beauty of memories

#342 – the sovereignty of God in all things at all times

#343 – the extra year my grandma was gifted (and the gift it was to all of our family in turn)

#344 – living out the choice to embrace the small moments of greatness

#345 – how it feels to be loved well

#346 – the way tears cleanse the soul

#347 – the way pain can open your heart to so much more love when you let it

A gift beyond measure

She’s not missed any big life event despite living a couple thousand miles across the country.  In fact to look through my stack of photo albums you’d think she lived here.  And you’d also think she sure has been some neat places.  And that she has a great smile, a truly great one.  She has delighted in so much of life with us.  She surprised me by flying in for my first baby’s shower.  Thus she was also here when, a few hours after that baby shower, my water broke and my first babe came 5 weeks early.  It is her name that we gave as our daughter’s middle name.

She came out just as often as the “great-grands” started to arrive.  She snuggled and enjoyed them and we relished watching our children have the privilege of knowing their great-grandparents.  Though they’d traveled most the world over, dined with dignitaries and stood boldly for causes they believed in…these time watching her love my kids have been my favorite.

Last January we thought she would soon be gone, literally as we walked through the sudden loss of Chris’ dad, she faced tremendous health challenges that seemed insurmountable.  Truly beyond anyone’s expectations, she made it through.  A bonafide miracle I’d argue.   Not able to travel however, we wondered when we’d see her again.

When my mom told me she was flying back east to bring Grandma out for the month of December, it seemed too good to be true.  I think we all held our breath till she got here.  But she did.  “My soul needed to be here” she told Grandpa on the phone shortly after she arrived.  Not highly mobile, we knew we’d need to drive to her and plan our gatherings around what would work for her.  We did.

Tea parties, gingerbread house decorating, Christmas cookie making, present-opening, lots of great food and just as many wonderful smiles.  Crazy boys running around or building legos by her feet.  Dressing up like princesses or Rylee sitting reading to her.  The weeks were packed with sweetness.  My advent plans along with many other holiday plans fell by the wayside.  But somehow it was okay, it was more than okay it was a treasure.  Talk about treasure, she told me shortly after she’d arrived and was talking about her family “I am so rich, to have all of this, all of you”.

The day after Christmas we spent the evening with Chris’ family, our first altogether gathering since his dad’s been gone.  Hard.  So good to be with one another but emotions were barely below the surface.  My mom called on our drive home that night to tell me that Grandma had had a stroke.  She was in the hospital but stable.

The next morning things changed quickly and I called my husband in tears to come home right away so I could go be with her and my family.  We sat around her bed and the moments that followed were holy ones.  My mom read her favorite Psalms.  We sang her hymns.  I could not utter a word but just stroked her silver hair and wept as I watched love pour from Grandpa that I’d never seen but known existed.

Things stabilized again for a couple days but it was clear the end was very near.  I asked my grandpa at one point how long they’d been married.  While many things are foggy for him at the moment, this was crystal clear, he exclaimed before I’d finished asking “Why 63 years and 2 months!” and then shared little bits about their early life together in Kansas.  I bit my lip to not cry and thought I want to know the months and years when I’ve been married that long…goodness, I just want to be married that long! What a legacy.

We all took turns sitting at the hospital with her, holding her soft hand and sharing memories.  Looking across the bed at my own mama, more than once I thought about how someday I will have to do this with her…then realized, someday I hope I get to do this with her.  To sit with someone so very close to the door of heaven, truly felt like hallowed ground.

Thursday morning as my kids and I were just heading to Costco, my mom called.  “She’s gone, it happened so fast.  I was here with her, just me.”  I sat outside my car in 25 degree coldness crying warm tears into the snow.  I drove home, passed the kids all off quickly and went to my parent’s house.  Eyes kept filling up and voices were broken but oh the hope and peace of knowing she is in the perfect place.

Grandpa kept saying “She was where she wanted to be…what a place to spend her last 3 weeks!”.  Though not at all what we expected or planned, I can’t help but feel like we were just given the most precious, sacred gift in getting to share this last bit of time with her.  We just didn’t know exactly the gift we were receiving until now.  What a joy-filled sendoff to eternity!  What a load of sweet memories we have stored up!

If there’s been any theme for us this year, the year that I declared the “year of JOY” as I rang in the New Year, it is this:

Life is fleeting.  We do not live with some guarantee of tomorrow.  Today is a gift.  Don’t wait for whatever it is you’re waiting for to treasure the life you’ve been given.  It will always be complicated and it will always hurt.  But there is beauty in the unlikeliest of places and there IS joy to be had even when nothing seems to be working out.

14 ounces of love

From the moment we found out we were expecting this fifth baby, I was gripped with fear.  It was beyond what I could understand.  I was not willing to speak it out loud as that made it more real to me.  So it has been carefully tucked away in my heart for nearly 5 months.  In our 8 years as parents, we’ve walked through big changes and encountered many different kinds of loss.  These of course culminated with the incredibly tragic death of my husband’s father in January of this year.

The fragile and uncertain nature of human life stared me in the face like it never has.  It left my heart broken and my legs shaky and all of me uncertain how life would move on.   The whole world moved forward and I felt like our life stood still.  For months.

Debating if I would still believe in the God I claimed to love, I wondered how He could have let so much hurt seep into our life.  Some seen and some completely unseen.  In tender and quiet places filled with puddles of my tears, I chose Him.  I chose to believe the truths that were crashing around in my head even though my heart said it was all too much and it would be understandable if I was done.

We took life one day at a time.  We still do.  We held onto each other for dear life when just 2 years ago we were grasping for straws and trying to put a broken marriage back together.

So I suppose with the freshness of loss still lingering in my heart, I was strangely pessimistic and felt like this gift of new life might just slip between my fingers.  Earlier in the week, I wept out the words as I prayed “No matter what happens, you need to know that I know you are still good.  I don’t want anything to be wrong, but I trust you, you have never failed me.”

I could hardly breathe as the technician scanned my belly and gave us our first glimpse at this little baby.   Though I had felt for weeks certain and sure movement every day that told me “I’m in here!”, I still struggled to believe it was for real.

Weighing just 14 ounces, this babe moved so much it was hard to get everything measured.  We counted fingers and toes.  We watched a tiny perfect mouth open and close.   I breathed in and out and did not pass out like I’d imagined I might.  Peace overcame.  My heart slowed down.

I was undone and spilling over with thankfulness…

#258 – a healthy growing fifth baby blessing

#259 – sunshine for days on end

#260 – a perfect pumpkin patch adventure

#261 – frosty cold mornings

#262 – warm pumpkin scones

#263 – an empty washer, first time in 6 months or so being caught up on laundry!

#264 – peace

#265 – believing He is the same regardless of my days, my attitude, my success or my failure

#266 – a cousin kiss

#267 – a baby on a baby bump

#268 – making applesauce

#269 -being married

…yes, I know it’s not Monday, but I decided that was okay!

The way life mixes up

Though sometimes I think it would be nice for life to stay peachy and lovely for a long, long time…it never does.  Every single day life is a mixed up mess of good, extraordinary, crummy and terrible.  At least mine is.  Sure there are long seasons of darkness and heartbreak that seem like they won’t end.  And there are several days in a row where kids don’t argue and calamity hides.  But mostly, it’s just a big mix of everything.  Every single day.

Part of the way I’m finding my way past the ‘months long night’ that I wondered if it would ever pass – is in a daily decision to be grateful.  Grateful for what has been.  For what is.  And for what’s to come.  Joining in with Anne Voskamp in the practice of thankful list-making has radically changed my perspective on  this wife/mama/teacher/cook/driver/planner/mediator life of mine.

Upon opening his birthday card yesterday from my grandparents, our 4 year old shrieked with glee “He’s alive?  Really?  Grampy isn’t gone?”.  I gently explained, again, that it was from his great-grandparents, not from Grampy.  But no words can express the heart pain in trying to make that make sense to a hope-filled little boy.  I wept and his face crumbled.  Grampy is still gone.  And it is no less tragic today than it was that cold, rainy January day when our life changed forever.

My wise mother did her own gentle explaining to me last month over coffee.  As I questioned and doubted most of what I believed, which she assured me was okay, she said:

I think you’re waiting for it to make sense.  For answers.  You want to understand.  You need to understand in order to move forward.  But things like this kind of loss will never, ever make sense.  You won’t find the answers and you won’t understand.  You have to let go and trust what you know to be true about who God is.

That is, in essence, just what I’ve done.  It’s sort of like of  learning to walk with a limp I would imagine.  There is a piece of us that is forever altered by the deep mark of pain.  Every life is marked with some kind of very hard thing that shapes and molds – either for good or for bad.  I read in a magazine just this afternoon that suffering is a universal language.  So after spending months in a place of waiting for some grand epiphany, with timid and slow steps, I am choosing to walk again.

Even if it’s a different walk.  Even if it still feels foggy some days and I still wonder why.  Even if little moments that come from nowhere bring me to my knees.

Life, in all sorts of forms around here, beckons me onward.

The hope of the God who has been nothing but faithful to me for many years, beckons me to walk with Him.

#109 – promises, beautiful promises

#110 – plans and prospects

#111 – the exhilaration of saying yes

#112 – time to have a real conversation after children are all sleeping

#113 – God’s continued provision

#114 – the sweetness of a secret kept

#115 – watermelon juices dripping from all appendages of a clothes-less little girl

#116 – one cool room in one sweltering house

#117 – being called a princess by two little boys in one day

#118 – the utter, complete miracle of this verse and how it’s becoming real to me in a whole new way:

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:3

A Tale of Two Mothers

Yesterday:

Chris was gone to a meeting and I was home with sleeping ones.  As they awoke and scattered around the house and yard, I played with Audrey in the family room.  Boys were outside, where boys are happiest.

But they had found where their Daddy set the fishing poles from the mornings’ inaugural fishing trip.  Silently they took them where I could not see them and played “going fishing” from the top of the playset.  They knew better.  But they were having a grand time I’m sure.

When I came out to peek on them, I flipped a lid completely.  They had tangled and undone the fishing reel and made a mess in their illicit fun.

I yelled “Get your butts inside right now!”  May not seem like much but using that term for the behind is like a swear word in this house.  I was red-faced mad.

So mad that I sent them to bed.  At 6:00.  They’d just finished dinner.  They should have had hours of play ahead of them.

My reaction had little to do with fishing pole lines and everything to do with who last wound the reel.  These were Grampy’s fishing rods.  And he’s gone.

I did not speak to them the rest of the night but to say “Stay in bed.  Go to sleep.”  I did not address what they’d done except for my irrational spew of words as I saw them out the window.  I did not forgive them.  They were more bummed they got busted than remorseful at their poor choice.  They did not grasp the emotions that lay under the surface.  They simply saw crazy-mom totally lose it.  It was not a high moment.

Today:

We were getting ready for the day, putting away jammies, finishing breakfast, letting chickens out…when Caleb thought it would be a great idea to tie Maggie (35 lb dog) to the wooden play kitchen that my Grandma bought for the girls for Christmas.  Then he spooked her and she ran.  Pulling the 30 pound kitchen over with her.  Dishes flew everywhere.  Part of the door cracked as it hit the floor.

I run into the room, see the dog, the kitchen, the mess, the boy whose face instantly tells me he is broken too.  He is saying “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry Mama” over and over.  I am overcome and kneel to assess the damage, I start to cry and whisper “Great-Grandma got this for the girls….Papa put it all together…”.  He knows.  And he runs to his room weeping.

I walk to my own room, weeping too.  I shut the door and sink to the floor.  The fishing poles are sitting next to me.  Just looking at them literally makes my heart hurt.

It isn’t about the cracked kitchen or unwound fishing line.  It is all about the sacred things that mean family.  It is about how my heart broke watching my husband unpack his dad’s tackle boxes.  It’s about the fact that Great-Grandma is old and her making it to one more Christmas to pick out something for my girls is not something I have control of.  No matter how I cling, life is out of my control.

I force myself to get up and open his door.  I’ve seen him this sad maybe a few times ever in his 6 years.  He looks at me and I see him wonder Is she mad?  What’s she going to do? I open my arms and he melts in.  We sit and cry together for a long while.  I try to explain that it’s not about ‘stuff’ but that some things are meaningful and that especially after someone dies, their things that we have are a way we cherish them and remember.

After at least ten minutes of silence and two soaked cheeks touching each other, he looks up and says “I think you are going to not forgive me.”  I hadn’t remembered to actually say it even though as soon as I walked into his room, my heart did it.

I say it out loud.  I tell him I mean it.  That forgiving means starting over fresh.  That no bad choice he could ever make will change the fact that I love him.

We open the door after at least a half an hour.  Rylee, ever intuitive seven year old, had kept the other kids busy and they had all been coloring pictures for me while they waited.  They somberly each handed me a stack of pictures and I wept again.

So we start over.  And I’m so struck by the fact that I could get it so wrong yesterday and so much closer to right today.  I’ve said it before but today is a good reminder:  being a mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Thank goodness for second chances…

Watching life unfold

These little spider babies just hatched this morning on our playset outside.  I could watch them all day.  Flying in the wind, spinning thread and leaving their little home – just like the Charlotte’s Web story that always makes me cry.

Even more excited than spider-watching we have had the adventure of a baby robin nest in the front yard with newly hatched babies that have been knocked out of their nest by crows and aren’t old enough to fly yet.  With our neighbors, we’ve been trying to help them survive long enough to fly away on their own…this is particularly special for me as I have the fondest memories from my childhood rescuing birds with my mother.  We had large glass windows that birds often would fly into and get stunned and they would rest in our bird cage until they could fly again.  So bird-helping is in my blood I’m quite sure.  It was only natural that we would do the same with these cute little fellows…

Maybe it sounds cliche but the words of that song by Sarah McLachlan come to mind watching all the spring signs of new life unfolding –

Isn’t it remarkable?
Like every time a raindrop falls
It’s just another ordinary miracle today

Birds in winter have their fling
And always make it home by spring
It’s just another ordinary miracle today

It is these ordinary miracles that propel our life forward as we continue to figure out how life looks without someone we love.   Despite hearts that are still broken we have a daily choice to see the remarkable in our everyday or to miss it.

Three months later

It’s been just over three months.

Three months since my husbands’ dad didn’t return from a hunting trip.

Three months since he hopped into his car to go join the search crew.

Three months since my pregnant sister came in the dark of night to lay in my bed with me and wait.

Three months since I dropped the phone on the floor and screamed when the text came.

Just four words.   But they said everything.

The rest of the world moved on.  Life crawled forward.  Each of us is processing differently.  Very differently.

One wants to talk.  Another doesn’t.  One cries.  One doesn’t.

The covering of sadness still rests here regardless of the joy we have experienced in the meantime.

I have no idea how long it will stay.  I think for a while longer.  But there is no manual for this.  No map of what is ahead.  Just one day after one day after one day.

We can choose to remember or we can choose to forget.

We can choose hardness and anger or we can choose tender softness even though it hurts more.

We can choose to turn inward or outward and let someone hold our hand.

We can fuss and fret over small stuff or we can let things go and be thankful for what we’ve been given.

Life.  Health.  Beauty.  Love.

Seems to me that we are in a constant state of choosing.

Just when I think the kids don’t think about it….one who’s only 3 prays at the dinner table “please God, let Grammy live forever, don’t let her die too”….or I find the kids in the family room “playing funeral Mama, I’m pretending my baby son died”.   I let them be.  We have not forced anything with them.   We have offered space to process and feel in all our different ways.  Just listened and loved and answered question after question as they walk the path with us.

One sure thing is we aren’t the same.  We won’t be the same.  Love and loss leave a mark.

I think it’s largely up to us to choose what kind of mark.  One mark of bitterness or one of grace.

Winter pruning

Last spring I had the treat of attending a day long gardening workshop with Christine Sine in Seattle.  She and her husband Tom work with Mustard Seed Associates (MSA) which is a community of Jesus’ followers all over the world striving to create the future one mustard seed at a time.  Christine also blogs regularly here.

As the kids and I spent last Thursday with dear friends who live an hour north of us, Kim opened the book we’d received at that garden workshop and reminded me of Christine’s words on pruning trees in the winter:

“Why, I wonder, do we prune our fruit trees in the winter when they seem so bare and vulnerable?  Or probably more to the point, why does God insist on pruning our lives during the difficult winters or suffering that we all endure?  Winter pruning, like autumn planting, encourages roots to go down deeper and strengthens the tree.  The harder we prune, the more vigorous the spring growth and the greater the harvest.

God often plants us in places where winter is coming or prunes us during the frigid seasons of struggle and pain, when the branches seem bare and our souls feel most vulnerable.   If we really want to be fruitful during the seasons of harvest that God allows us, then we need to be willing to be pruned and shaped not during the times that life is good – when we can handle a little painful cutting – but during winter when we feel spring will never come again…

My mother has always reminded me that struggle and challenge in life produce character – and more than once I’ve told her “But I don’t want any more character, I think I’m done.”  It may sound prideful now, but at the time all I meant was this is too hard…I don’t see how I’ll make it through…it simply hurts too much. In Christine’s workbook (now an ebook), she includes this quote from Jean Vanier as she writes about winter:

We must go through winters of suffering, through times when prayer is hard and people no longer attract us, but spring is not far away.  A death in the family, a failure at work, a sickness which brings a new way of life, an unfaithful friend, all these are wounds to the heart that take us into a period of darkness.  The darkness is important.  We must learn to accept this winter as a gift from God and we will discover that the snow will melt and the flowers come up.

I needed that reminder.

Three years ago we walked through some serious darkness – a winter that seemed to last a couple of years.  And now since experiencing healing and restoration that only God is capable of, it has felt like a long season of promise and new growth.  No where near perfection.  But somewhere closer to grace.

The cold air of winter may be blowing on my face today.  My heart feels like it’s been taken apart at the moment.  But my head (and good friend) remind me what I know to be true.

God’s goodness and His unfailing love do not depend on the season we are walking in.

Little life lessons

As we meander through our days, we’re learning new things along the way…

Like choosing Charlotte’s Web for our movie selection as the kids snuggle in my bed and I answer phone calls and emails was probably not the best choice for such a week as this.

Although it would seem to me that Kyler is relatively unscathed by the sadness surrounding him, as he watched a movie he’s seen and enjoyed many times, his response told me his little 3 year old heart is hurting too.  Rylee described it all to me later in the day:

“Mama, first he cupped his face in his hands.  You know, during the part of the movie where Charlotte dies?  Then he started weeping with tears down his face.  And then, he was weeping loud and I had to come and get you then.  He was so sad.”

Sweet little boy, I cradled him a long time and we shared some serious love.  No words.  Just lovin.

I also learned that when the heart is in agony, the stomach is very unhappy as well.  Cheese pizza from Costco is surely the worst thing to feed a stomach when one’s heart is hurting.  It may sound good.  But it is a very bad idea.

In general, Costco on a busy Saturday when life seems to be crumbling is not the best place to be.   A bottle of wine, one of my father-in-law’s favorites, nearly undid me and tears were so very close.  I started to recall the conversation we had just weeks ago about screw top wine bottles versus corks.  The recalling brought tears and I hid my head as I recognized someone I know but don’t know well enough to want to cry with in the wine aisle.

And as if I needed another reminder, God gives the sweetest little gifts in the midst of great pain.  As we were perusing dinner options, I heard my sister say “SHUT UP!”  but in a good way, as in I-can’t-believe-this-NO-WAY!  She ran into a precious friend who was only in town from out of state for 2 short days who she wouldn’t have otherwise seen.  They caught up for a bit and it was wonderful.

As my sister talked with Rylee who was struggling to understand why we were still sad, she reminded her that in a few months she would have a new baby cousin to play with.  It was a beautiful reminder of how life works and that there is great joy in our life as we anticipate the arrival of a new member of the Jorgenson family.

Rylee, our question asker, keeps asking questions.  They are sweet and tender and repetitive and hard to answer.

But she needs to ask them and we keep answering.

Even though we don’t have the answers.

The power of presence

It was July 2006.

I had just become the mother of three.

Kyler joined our family July 6 and we were just settling into our new life together.

He was a peach of a baby.  Mellow, sweet and beautiful.

A few short weeks after he was born I opened my email folder and read an email that broke my heart.

I could blame it on post-partum hormones or any number of things, but I sat immobilized at my computer and wept.

It was from a dear friend, the friend who when I described her to other people (she lived just north of the border in Canada) the words I always used were “She’s pretty much the sweetest person I’ve ever known in my life”.  And that summed it up nicely.  Shauna had quickly become someone I loved spending time with in college when I went to school in British Columbia.  A pending wedding brought me to finish school down here.  In 1999, she stood with me as a bridesmaid in that wedding of mine.

Fast forward a few years and we were still emailing and writing and meeting halfway for coffee and peanut butter pie.

So when she emailed me in July of 2006 to tell me that her father had died instantly of a heart attack while golfing, I was shocked and couldn’t imagine what that would feel like.

Despite the fact that Kyler was just a few weeks old, I asked Chris if I could go to her dad’s funeral.  It would involve flying across our state, renting a car, crossing the border into Canada (which is tricky sometimes with a new baby and without that baby’s dad), getting to a hotel in a town I’d never heard of before.  At the time, none of that seemed to matter (now it sounds just a little crazy!), I only knew one thing –  the service would take place on a certain day and I simply had to be there.

You see a couple of years prior I had experienced something very painful that left me with an indelible mark on my heart.

When my grandparents died, they lived very close to us, and almost no one came to their funeral from the church where my husband pastored at the time.  Virtually none of our friends came.  I had no idea it even mattered to me that they would be there.  I would have told them “Don’t come, don’t worry about it” had they specifically asked.

But in the moment when I walked in the door behind my grandfather’s casket – 6 months pregnant with Rylee – I was sad.  Not just sad from missing him but sad because people that I loved weren’t there to witness with me and honor the memory of his life.

I realized in that moment how much power there is the presence of people sharing in the important things of life together.  There is something deep and meaningful that is communicated by simply BEING somewhere with someone you love who is hurting.  Even if you didn’t know their grandpa, you know them.  Even if you have something else you’d rather be doing.  Even if you have no idea what the right thing is to say.

So I went with my new baby northward to a darling little town called Nelson, BC where I discovered they roasted great coffee and where I could live out love to my friend.  And I will be forever glad that I did.  Very few of her friends were able to come because of how far away it was from where she lived.  Getting to smile at her and hug her and share the experience of that day with her made it all worth it.

—————————————————————————————-

Thank you to each one who is sharing this journey with us.  We feel like we’re headed somewhere but we don’t know how to get there and we didn’t have a choice in the destination.  Such is the nature of grief I suppose.

We are forever grateful for your prayers and kindness.