grief is everywhere


Today marks 6 months since my sweet friend Amy lost her husband, Jim. 
I've thought about her constantly over the last few weeks, mostly cause my heart ached remembering what the 6 month mark felt like for me. Probably the darkest place of my life.

This past weekend for the holiday, we did our annual trip with my parents to Kentucky for a family reunion, then stopped at King's Island on our way home. This was one of the few trips in my adult life that I got to take with my brother, Brian. The trip just isn't the same without him there, and I ached for his son who came with us, because I know how much he misses his dad. And even though it wasn't a conversation we had out loud, I ached for my parents and the grief I know they still struggle with. Since we didn't go last year, this was the first time back since he died.

Grief has been present this week, but oddly enough, the majority of it wasn't my own. It made me recognize that grief really is everywhere. And even though in theory we all know this, when I really step back and take it all in, it can be overwhelming and humbling. I wasn't able to see anyone's grief but my own. Now, it feels like I absorb others. 
My friends. 
My parents. 
The devastated families in Oklahoma. 
My nephew. 
My children. 
People on the news I don't even know.

I am not the only one on this journey of grief - which is oddly comforting to know, but awful to understand. 

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."


and baby makes EIGHT!

Little poppy - officially due November 30th!

It's been several weeks now since Steve and I announced that we were pregnant with baby #6. I've been wanting to sit down and write ever since then and for some reason (plus 5 other reasons), I haven't been able to.

Lemme start by addressing the very rude comment I received after we posted the video:
"we don’t love the idea of having 6 kids"
If you cannot financially afford another child, please do not do so! Seriously, I do not want to pay for your baby. Just because you can, doesn't mean you shouldnt. It won't fix things. Filthy.
I hope things work out for you :)
First of all, I love the smiley face at the end...like it's supposed to undo the hurtfulness that proceeds it. I also love how this person who continually writes ridiculous comments (most of which I delete) can never quite figure out their grammar or how to spell properly. When we addressed having kids in our Q&A last year (you can read it HERE), we were both on the same page about not being ready to have more kids. But before I go into detail about how that all changed, I would like to point out that our decision has nothing to do with finances, and I'm not exactly sure how anyone thinks they are paying for OUR children! Our decision to have a baby was not to 'fix' anything, but rather to celebrate our family and our relationship. It was not a decision made it haste, but one that came through a lot of prayer and discernment. If you also read in that answer, I talked about someday wanting to adopt, so adding another person to the household was never really off the table. If you don't want to live at my house with six kids...well, you're not invited anyway, but you certainly don't have to! You make your own decisions and I won't judge and how about you offer that same grace to others, ok?

I won't continue to waste any more breath on that comment. The only reason I even published it was because I know others (who are much less rude) were also curious as to how we came to a place of not wanting more children to embracing the idea of one more. Now that is a topic I am happy to talk about.

Ever since last year, Steve has always mentioned the idea of having another baby. I chalked it up to the fact that he LOVES babies and always wants to be holding one (sometimes he borrows friends' babies at church just to hold them), or the fact that we are both curious what it would be like to have a child together. We love our children and we think they've blended really well together, but we always talk about redeeming my last pregnancy and giving Steve the opportunity to experience the pregnancy of his child the way a father and husband is supposed to, since he really missed out on a lot of that before. But again, I continued thinking this was playful banter.

But then Super Bowl Sunday brought us to a friend's house to hang out, and another couple from church brought their brand new baby girl along with them. I kid you not, Steve held that baby at least half the time we were there, maybe more. And it suddenly dawned on me that maybe Steve really would love to have another baby. The drive home really felt like Deja vu....so much like the drive home from Canada when Jeremy and I talked about having baby #3. I cried, I prayed, and I had to open up my heart to the possibility of having another baby. Because it was a door I never really opened, I had some grieving to do. Grieving for the fact that I might have a child that would not be associated with Jeremy, and grieving again the loss of experiencing this journey without him. But as Steve and I talked and prayed through everything, my heart leaped at the exciting possibility of creating life with him and walking through this journey with him, and with our kids....who at this point, had been begging us to have more kids!

I won't lie - I am scared to death of being pregnant. I am terrified to reliving the past and losing everything. But I know I cannot let fear captivate me and keep me from living life to the fullest. I told Steve as long as he could be patient with me and handle my PTSD, I was willing to venture into this very scary unknown. After I found out I was indeed pregnant (btw, once we decided to go for it, I was pregnant within 2 days...CRAZY!) I couldn't sleep for a few days. I get anxious when Steve is away from home and I don't hear from him for awhile. I worry that once I hit the 6 month mark, I may be a hot mess. But then again, maybe not. Watching Steve get excited, and watching our children get excited has eased so much anxiety for me....and it's contagious. I AM GOING TO HAVE A BABY - this is good news no matter what kind of package it comes in!

We are thrilled to bring our family together in a solid way that no one can take away from us. We are honored that God has given us the privilege to once again care for another one of His children. Our kids could not be more excited...they kiss my belly on their way to school (yes, even the oldest!), they ask me constant questions about how I'm feeling, how little poppy (the baby's nickname) is doing, praying for us both every night...it really is the sweetest thing.

I really couldn't think of a better Mother's day gift this year than to know the love I receive will be getting multiplied by one more beautiful miracle this year!


When two worlds collide

So much of my life has changed since Jeremy died.

I live in a different house, a different city.
I drive different vehicles.
I shop at new stores that weren't around just three years ago.
I have super long hair, which Jeremy has never really seen.
I have some new, amazing friends.
I've lost some friends. Heck, I've been lifted out of some of my own support groups.
I have new family.
I got re-married.
I am a different parent than I used to be.
I've had new experiences that have changed me.

For crying out loud, I have more of Jeremy's children now than I did when he was here!

It's safe to say that things look very different. But what I find so frustrating and yet so odd is how much I hate that he is missing the very things that are only in place because of his death. Experiences that I was only able to have because Jeremy died, I ache for him to see it, to talk to him about it, to celebrate/laugh/cry with him about it. Only, my two worlds will never collide. The irony is not lost on me.

Somewhere, in a land created of 'what-ifs', there's a place where I get to talk to Jeremy about Steve, where I get to see his reaction to a new song that came out, where he smiles and celebrates the milestones in my life I only get to have in light of losing everything. The opportunities that were created out of his loss are the very things I want him to witness. I would never have been able to move to this home if Jer were still alive. And yet, it feels like he's missing here. I would never be able to claim Zada and Reagan as my beautiful daughters if he were alive, but I want so badly for them to know each other, for him to love them like I do.

I try not to venture into the land of 'what-ifs' very often, cause it generally just leaves me exhausted and unsatisfied. But every once in awhile....

....I would just love to see my two worlds collide.




No matter how many times I've come to expect it, grief still manages to catch me off guard somehow.

Last week, I watched my 2 year old get the biggest kick out of a whoopie cushion at Mamaw & Papaw's house. He was jumping up and down on it, literally laughing himself silly. When you watch a toddler laugh like that, it's impossible not to join along. And then suddenly, like a flash of lightning, my laughing came to a halt as I choked down tears. 4 days before Jeremy died, he had bought the kids a whoopie cushion and took a small video of each of them on his phone to capture how hilarious they thought it was. And realizing that Carter never got to be a part of that or never will be a part of that overcame me. I almost had to get up and leave the room.

I read about how well the Toronto Maple Leafs were doing this season, and I ache. Not because I care about hockey much, but because Jer waited his whole life to see this day, and now is missing it, and it somehow makes ME emotional. My mother posts a picture on Facebook of my son looking exactly like his daddy and it tears me up inside. I see my daughter finally start to outgrow the shirt that her daddy bought her, and it's too much to know so much time has gone by and she's grown so much without him. I still can't sing his favorite songs at church, because it hurts (not to mention, sung at his funeral and my brother's funeral) and the words cut through me like glass.

No matter how much time goes by, no matter how content I am with my life now, grief always finds a place. I know this, and yet still get mad at myself for not anticipating it better. Darn you sneaky grief, I'll figure you out somehow.

Oh wait, grief doesn't really work that way. Dang it. Guess I'm along for the long haul.


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