For the long haul

I am tired, thanks to late nights and early morning tosses and turns. I thought I would take a little nap right now but lo and behold, as soon as I lay my tired little noggin on the pillow I started blogging in my head. I’m sure those of you who blog know how it goes….you get these thoughts running through your head and you think they (sorta) make sense. You decide maybe it is worth sitting down to capture them – and then they are gone. LOL.

So…umm…where was I? ๐Ÿ™‚

I was thinking about how I am getting a bit weary of the whole deal. I have been though the ups and downs, I have wrestled with questions about what my relationship with Jenna should look like now that she is in heaven. I have wondered about God’s plan for redemption even in the midst of such tragedy. I have felt the urge to speak about my girly-girl at the most inopportune times, and either felt bad because it changed the tone of the conversation, or sad because I had to keep quiet so that it wouldn’t. I have felt the immense gratitude of unexpectedly hearing someone mention my little girl’s name with love. Every mom wants her child to be noticed and remembered. I do too.

My emotions have run the gamut in the last almost-5 months, and as I lay there on my bed a few minutes ago, I wished I could say to Jesus: ” OK, I get it now, I have seen much and experienced much and learned much. So…um…can I please have Jenna back now?”

I realised though that this is a long-haul thing and that I have to run this race until the end. Jenna is not coming back, but we are going to where she is. We quoted this verse on her memorial leaflet: “…and a little child shall lead them.” Jenna has gone on before us, and leads the way. I can make it if I remember where I am going, and the One who is running right beside me cheering me on.

My sweet Jesus knows just how to pick me up when I get weary, and when I turn my focus from this sad mess and look to him and where he is taking me, I am very much encouraged. And I am not talking about heaven only, friends. “I would have fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13) .” His goodness will be abundantly clear, not only when I reach heaven, but long before. The end of this thing will be better than its beginning, of that I am sure.

Jenna’s birthday is soon upon us. It is a day that I have anticipated with some tears already. The 27th of July, Christmas time, and the 17th of February next year are days that I expect will be difficult ones for me. I am trying to think of ways to make them a celebration of Jenna, to make these days ones that will honor her and enable us to rejoice in the precious gift that she was to us.

For Jenna’s birthday, I innitially planned a picnic at her graveside. It is mid-summer though, in Florida, and it would have to be in the afternoon after church. I am thinking we will be too wilted from the heat to really celebrate Jenna’s birthday well. (Unless we could take along a slippery-slide and sprinklers etc – could you all picture us having a party like that at the cemetery? ๐Ÿ˜€ )

I am thinking about how we could celebrate…and I would love to hear your ideas. One thing I want to do is invite friends to send Jenna a birthday card, and to read them to Jenna on the day. If any of you would like to bless Jenna (and her mommy) with a birthday card, please email me at sumi@nwe-usa.com for my address. I would gladly give it to you!

Anyhow, I have an hour left before we have to leave the house and perhaps I could turn off this brain for a while and catch that nap after all. A snooze sounds sooooo good right now.

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15 responses to “For the long haul

  1. I was thinking that Florida is a hot place in the middle of summer but if God can make the ice at the north pole dissapate couldn’t he cool Florida down for a day? If you go through with the plan to have a picnic at the cemetary, and I hope that you’ll be able to do this with all who love Jenna, then I’ll be praying that the day will be a pleasant one, sunny but not intolerable.

  2. I don’t know, the Slip-n-Slide in the cemetery might be fun. :oP

    We had a wonderful family picnic and released balloons that we had attached notes and letters to Hannah. There was an unexpected rain storm right afterward that lasted *just* long enough to make a rainbow and we knew Hannah had received her balloons.

    Whatever you choose will be perfect! :o)

    HUGS!

  3. You don’t know me. I found your blog via a comment you left on baby Cate’s blog. I’ve since read alot of your archives. I am so sorry for your loss. I just wanted to let you know that little Jenna’s life helps me see Jesus in my every day life on a regular basis. So, even though we don’t know eachother and will never meet…your story inspires me to hold on to the blessings I have and rejoice in the sorrows because they all lead me to the same place…Jesus Christ our Lord in Heaven.

  4. Dear Sumi,
    I know that you have posted to my blog a few times lately. I have been able to finally sit down and spend some time reading about you and your story. It’s about 1:00 a.m so pardon me if I sound weird.
    First let me say I am so sorry for your loss. I went back to try to read everything I could and seeing the pictures of Sweet Jenna touches my heart. She is so beautiful!
    Second, thank you so much for choosing to trust God and hang on for dear life. Your choice to praise Him through this horrible circumstance is just so beautiful, it encourages me to do the same so much.
    Also, thank you for reaching out to me. To take the time even in the midst of your own grief and to pray for me and my friends…well it means the world.
    I will be praying for you. God is using you and your family in a mighty way. I will praise Him for Jenna, sweet precious Jenna.
    With love in Christ,
    Kim

  5. Popscicles or ice cream are always refreshing in the heat! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Sweet Sumi,
    I just spent some time catching up on your blog. And I have to tell you, every time I visit, I get something major from you.

    I read where you are storing many of your posts and feeling pressure to write more profound things. Your simplicity is what is delightful.

    And your honesty is what is so amazingly profound.

    I would love to do something to help you celebrate Jenna’s birthday. Please send me your address Lysa1@Proverbs31.org

    Wishing you didn’t live so far away so we could meet for coffee sometime. Maybe one day.

    Until then, I’ll keep reading your blog and loving you from afar.

    Blessings…

  7. OH Sumi, my heart just continues to ache for you. I will not begin to pretend I know the pain you feel, but please know that I am lifting you up to the King. Sumi, for some reason He has entrusted you with this loss perhaps for much gain. Gain of the those who follow Jenna into the Kingdom. Those who before reading your story had no idea of who Jesus is, but wonder how you can continue the chase of Him after such a great loss and their curiosity soon turns them into fellow God chasers.
    I wish when things happen that there was some kind of agreement with God that He had to show us the “why” of it all. As I leave my comment here, these words are the words that came to my mind: Keep seeking.

    Keep seeking Him Sumi.
    Be an Esther and risk it all.
    Be a Paul and speak of Him.
    Be a David and cry out to Him in your darkest hour.
    Be a Hannah and give your Jenna to Him.
    Be a Martha and want your loved one back.
    Be a Jenna and live everyday for Jesus to the fullest.

    Praying for you sweet sister in Christ.
    Blessings & Hugs,
    Lelia in Nebraska

  8. Hi Sumi,
    I have not been keeping in touch with my online friends as I should. I want you to know that I think of you and sweet Jenna almost daily though. I am in awe of your love for Jesus in the midst of the grief. It’s good to witness your strength and your weakness as well because it makes you human. To be human is one of the greatest ministries Gods children can have. People need to find comfort and strength from others who have been through their pain. And that is most likely the real reason for this comment. As I was reading I began to see the possibility of a great ministry for you that would be such an honor to your Jenna. You and your family just may be the perfect family to help others who have tragically lost a child, learn to let God heal and comfort them. In so doing, you may find that it helps you along your healing journey as well. I know that all things work for the good of those who love the Lord. And I know that a wounded spirit can light the path of another wounded spirit to lead them to Christ where both can find healing.
    I pray blessings upon you, your husband, and your children. And yes, for Jenna as well. She is in Heaven. She has seen the glorious face of our Lord Jesus and she has sat upon His knee and told Him all about her family on earth. I bet she told Him that she can’t wait until her Mommy can sit on His other knee along with her. She is leading the way girl. Just keep holding on to Jesus’ hand.

  9. Sumi,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I saw a post from you on the SCC blog. I was captivated by what you had said and thought I would check your blog out.

    I’ve been blown away by how you have praised Jesus through the loss of beautiful Jenna. I read through your back post and looked through the precious pictures of her. I wish I could have known her, but through your descriptions and how much life radiated from her in the pictures, it’s like I did-and I do.

    My heart breaks for you and I’m so very sorry. I’ve been praying for you and your family. What really struck me as sad was when you felt you couldn’t mention her. Something my mom and I have always said it was we always want to talk about our loved ones after they have passed. They lived and we loved them-no one wants to be forgotten or not talked about. Not that we forget, but we should be able to talk about our loved ones regardless of how others feel. I’m sorry you have felt that you couldn’t speak up.

    I’ll be continuing to pray! I would love to help you celebrate her birthday!!

    Cynthia Y.

  10. Hi Sumi, I was going to ask the same question on my blog too. Nicholas and Olivia’s 1st birthday is on July 18, and they actually share a birthday with their dad.

    We’ve decided to have a potluck get-together with our friends and family, but I’m looking for things to do too that will make our gathering meaningful as well as a time to remember them. Releasing balloons is very meaningful to us, so we will do that, as well as the symbolism we used for each one at their memorials – lots of tealight candles for Nicholas, and lots of pink carnations for Olivia. We also anticipate some bringing gifts to donate to the Children’s Hospital.

    But I don’t want to recreate the memorials, I want to host a birthday party. Of course, the enemy immediately plagued me with thoughts of how depressing this gathering could be but through God’s grace my friends and family have supported us wholeheartedly and have said they wouldn’t miss it.

    Anyway, I pray God’s leading in the best way possible to celebrate the wonderfulness of Jenna and the blessed day she was born.

    May you surrounded by those who will lift up your arms when you’re weary. (((Hugs))) from mom_of_3

  11. HI Summi…….I have just read a wee bit of your blog, enough to know that you and your husband are among my heroes of the faith. I wrote a post entitled “abandoned to the battle.” I had people like you in mind when I named my blog “Scottish Warriors For Christ.” Ok so you guys may not be Scottish, but you are warriors. I think it was in that post that I wrote about warriors who would get hit by an arrrow in the midst of the battle, pull it out and keep on fighting. You guys got struck bad, but you got and and kept on fighting. Heroes of the faith? People who know how to depend on Jesus and have “resigned,” their lives into His hands. This is what it means to “fight.” God bless you, tonight I will shed a tear for your loss(I lost my first son) and then I will think about your re-union. Oh the sweet mercies of our faith and trust in Him. How do other people do it without Him? I have no idea……………..Frank

  12. Hi Sumi,

    Your post resonates with me.

    It’s been almost 8 years since our son’s accidental drowning. We have gone on to have 4 more children since his passing away.

    On January 27th, we were celebrating our son’s b-day and all the kids were singing and happy——and I could only sing half sobbingly with tears running down my cheeks both in the preciousness of having had him here with us and with the sadness that accompanies the separation of not having him here.

    I will be thinking and praying for you and you’re family on the 27th of July. (that is the 3rd b-day of our daughter who was named after her brother who passed away)

    By the way, where in Florida is Jenna’s grave? Our son’s cemetary is in Florida too. (we live in Japan though)

    I pray that He will cover you with grace as always.

  13. My heart goes out to you as a mother who lost her son after a 2 and a hlf year battle to Neuroblastoma cancer in July 29,2007. My son Kody was 3 years,4months and 13 days old when God took him home. I know if it wasn’t for my faith I never would have survived his illness nor his death. Losing a child weither accidental or to a disease is still hard no matter how you look at it. For my son’s 4th birthday (March 16) we had friends from all over the world, per Morgan our 5 year olds request, send messages and balloons to Kody. As a family we visited his grave, decorated it and also sent balloons. It was a bittersweet day. Knowing that Kody is in Heaven with God and pain free. He is a whole soul. There are days when I cry non stop and don’t want to get out of bed. There are days that I talk non-stop about Kody and the joy he brought to our family. He was an amazing, strong little boy, who fought with all his might and lived life to the fullest.
    Losing a child is not easy no matter how strong your faith is.
    I too pray to God to give me another child, not to replace Kody but to help heal that raw hole that is left with his absence.
    I pray for your continued healing and strenght.
    hugs n prayers~ Kristi-Proud mom to Angel Kody dx.Stage IV high risk Neuroblastoma cancer at 14 months old(05-17-05)Joined God’s Heavenly Angel’s at 3 years, 4 months and 13 days old(07-29-07), Mom to Cole-14,Dalton,13-Waytt-10 adn Morgan-5,Wife to Chris
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kodycannon

  14. Sumi, your post leave me speechless. I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel.

    I would say to do whatever you feel in your heart is right. It should still be a day of celebration. We will be remembering Jenna (and you and your family) on her birthday.

  15. I will certainly remember those dates right along with you. Our Jakie passed exactly one week before his birthday…we spent his birthday scattering his ashes into the ocean. I can’t imagine what we’ll do this year. You have my prayers. I’m delighted to read your fog is lifting.

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