Saturday, October 16, 2010

grief is not a neat little package

Sometimes my breath catches. . .

I see his little face in picture frames. . . he was really mine? I really held him? 

I hate the October 15 Cleanup sign at his little resting place.  I didn't want to take his little fire truck away, the flowers, the kids bubbles, the pinwheel that moved so his grave wasn't so quiet, the glowing little lights that lit up the night there. . . 

So much more joy, lately.  I'm thankful.

So much less oppressing grief.

So much more hope.

But that yucky reality of Gabe gone is there.

I've been subconsciously thinking that at some point maybe maybe maybe I could wrap up the grief and heartache and pack it away

and finish the last thank you

and put his huge green bin of stuff in the attic instead of moving it around our bedroom

and write the perfect lines for his stone. . .

. . . and then the hope that has been seeping into my soul will just burst open wide and we will be miraculously healed and then God can give us some other little chubby person to love and we will be happy again.

If only it were that simple.

It's not a neat little package to put away, though.

It's part of us.

Even if I can be happy and block it out for a moment, an hour, an evening, I have to answer the weeping of a three year old. . . I'm crying cuz Gabe can't breathe.  How do you answer that? 

I cringe when JD tells my friend  you can lay your baby down upstairs if she's tired. . . we won't let her die.

And today, I wish God would give us a baby and that it would just be His plan to let it stay with us and not go to Heaven.

Jacob, mulling over the fact that Gabe is free to do whatever he wants in Heaven. . .can he grow whiskers, then?

Cambria, understanding why I don't want winter to come . . . Mommy, don't cry.  Gabe won't be cold, he's in Heaven.

I get knocked to my knees by things I can't change.

I cry out for wisdom, for strength, for answers to my little people's aching questions.

I am realizing that I can't compartmentalize it all.  {wise words from Deeann - Walmart rug aisle 1.5 hr chat therapy session} I can't put Gabe away and move on to the next house project or the next Bible study or the next season or holiday or the next ministry opportunity or even baby #4. 

Gabe's whole story. . . his birth, his life, his death. . . it's a part of who we are. It's woven in and out of life as we know it.  We have to choose life through the pain. . . .  not stuff the pain away and then pretend to live.

Gabe has changed how I look at life.

Gabe has changed how I look at death.

Gabe has changed how I look at our kids, our jobs, our house, our focus. . .

what I do

what I hear

what I say

what I laugh at

what I hurt for

is all filtered through the lens of the last year.

God has been doing so much in our hearts.

I keep trying to write it all but the awesomeness of what He is doing just defies words.

He is still good.

He is still good to us.

He is still a loving Father.

He is a loving Father taking care of my littlest man.

I think that's okay. . . .


  1. I just found your blog through firewifekatie.

    I need to 'catch up on you'...
    Sending you prayers... for everything you are going thru...
    'when you pass thru the waters HE will be with you' ... What a promise...

  2. Hayley -
    This post is so full of a wisdom that left me speechless and tear filled. Truth to every single word. I learned alot this morning as I read this over my coffee. The growth that we have been privileged to observe in your family is phenomenal!! - And as I have prayed and hoped to bless you, I have been blown away, encouraged, over the top blessed by YOU.

  3. Oh Hayley... So much wisdom and healing showing through such very honestly heartfelt words... Continuing to pray for you. Thank you for sharing from the depths of your heart and your healing.

  4. I think Wendi said it all. Your wisdom leaves me speechless and teary eyed. I am blessed to know you and pray for you daily. I am so glad you have people in your life to point you in the right direction and to speak Truth into your life.

    And as you once said something like, "All great projects start at walmart" - now maybe you can add "and so do some major revelations!"


  5. This left me in tears. You are just one of the many I know now who has lost a precious little one. And each time I read about another, I cry a little more. I pray a little more. And try to believe that we'll all be healed when Heaven comes to pass.

  6. wow. I just found your blog on "a prairie girl in california". I love it. I have read on it now for like an hour! You are an inspiration... I will pray for you.... Rachel (a prairie girls sister from CO)

  7. Hayley - you don't know me.... I just "happened" onto your blog through someone who commented on a friend's blog (actually, I see that it was
    Gretchen, above, whom I also don't know! But I'm so thankful to have wandered over here after seeing her link to your laundry detergent post.) I just spent about the past hour or so learning about your family and the difficult path that God has taken you on. Thank you so much for sharing it - and I thank God that He's carrying you along. I can't imagine the pain, but thank you so much for showing us what it's like to lean on Him.
    Praying for you,
    Lori McCracken

  8. Hayley-Your a beautiful poet, a writer of God. Answers to your questions...there are none, but yet, you seem to answer them all by yourself. Guided. Full of wisdom, full of emotion and feeling. You love life, God, and family... We love your posts. Your beautiful wisdom, touch, feeling, sharing--you are needed...Compassionate Friends would adore you.

  9. A very honest and pure post. True, words would defy all that you want to express, yet you have expressed all of it without even writing them here. In the past one year, I too have lost many people around me and it has changed the way I look at life and death.

    My prayers are with you and your family.

    Love and hugs!

  10. Oh hon, I lost my Husband to cancer at the age of 24 we had been married 5.5 years and the last 3 were really hard. I just now am feeling safe enough to deal with my grief...3 years later. I tired to put it in a box and just keep on living but it didn't work. You are a wise woman, I can't wait o see what you have written more recently.

    If you want to write

  11. i was led to your blog through a friend of a friend--i think. we buried our baby boy in May, just shy of seven months. we had him home for three weeks. i struggle putting the grief into words (although I try at as well as it's a weird world, that's for sure. malachi is so intricately woven into every aspect of my being--as much as i would like to "pack him away" and "move on". thanks for your post.