Something tangible

I recently had a conversation with some precious, sweet friends who had the impression that giving Jenna a birthday party would be a difficult thing for me. They thought that it would open the door to feelings of grief and sadness on that day. They think I am tormenting myself unnecessarily and that it is understandable having a party now since my grief is so fresh, but that it probably isn’t advisable for me to continue celebrating Jenna like this in the future. I tried to explain to them, and I don’t know how successful I was, that simply doing nothing for Jenna on that day would be infinitely harder.
Not doing something tangible for Jenna would be more tormenting for me at this point.

I love my girlie girl. The fact that she has left us to go and be with Jesus does not take that love away. Love is a verb and it always seeks expression. God loved the world so much that he gave…

I love my muffin so much that I want to give something, DO something to show it. Since I can’t hug her and kiss her and shower her with presents I want to do the next best thing: surround myself with some of my best friends and have a fun day in her memory. I might be proved wrong, but I don’t envision many tears on that day at all. (In my experience, the tears will probably come a few days prior, as I anticipate Jenna’s first birthday without us. But on the actual day, the grace of God will carry me though.) We will have a cake and balloons for Jenna and we will send her some love in the form of birthday cards, but we will not mope around and entertain morbid thoughts about what could have been. We know she is with Jesus and that she is happy.

We are going to rejoice in the precious little princess that Jesus gave us, and we are going to express our love for her in a tangible way. We would do it if she were here, why not do it for her still?

My middle son made a comment to me the other day at the cemetery that I felt was very true. “I always feel so at peace here, mom,” he said. I feel that way too. Somehow I can sit there next to her grave and rest in the fact that she is with Jesus. I feel close to her, and to Him, there. Cutting the tall grass around Jenna’s grave and arranging her flowers and trinkets around it is therapy for me. It’s a mommy thing to want to do something for our children and making Jenna’s grave look pretty is one thing I can do for her. I think it makes her smile as she looks down from heaven and sees that her mommy has not forgotten her.

Perhaps the day will come when I will no longer need these tangible expressions of my love for Jenna.
Where I will just be able to love her quietly in my heart. I am not sure I want that day to come though. In the Christmasses to come I think we may find more joy in hanging a special ornament on the tree for her, or stuffing a stocking full of ‘love-notes’ than doing nothing at all. As a family, we will always know that one of us is missing on special occasions like these. I think filling that void with a special token of love might be akin to “putting on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”.

Remembering Jenna fondly and with joy is something I hope I will be able to do for the rest of my life. I don’t want people to think I am holding onto my grief just because I choose to continue loving my little girl. Love comes from God himself and my love for Jenna cannot be severed, even though our earthly relationship was. I find much more healing in allowing my love for Jenna to flow out in tangible expressions as opposed to throwing up walls around my heart and keeping my thoughts and feelings inside.

15 responses to “Something tangible

  1. Big (((HUGS))) you just keep doing what you are doing.

  2. I am like you Sumi, I can not imagine NOT celebrating our little ones Birthdays and in some way acknowledging them as we celebrate other holidays. I am driven in my heart as well to want to DO things for Joel unto this day. We are there mothers so that means it is in us to want to continue the nurturing in ways that allows my grieving to process whether it be through buying things that remind me of him on these special occasions or as simple as writing on the blog memories or I like to write simple poems at times. Unless one KNOWS this path, sure these things seem rather strange, but to us mommys it is comforting and who but God himself said we are to remember his son through the taking of the elements, the bread and the juice, so to remember our little ones and to demonstrate that with celebrating birthdays is one way we can do that! Of course Joel being a twin, it is much easier to celebrate because we have to have a party for Josiah, but we acknowledge Joel and I even bought a gift for Joel and let Josiah open it and told him he could take care of it, and on Joel’s heavenly birthday is Hosanna’s birthday so we too acknowledge Joel and incorporate him on her day too. I think your planning a wonderful day and your right the tears were more before, grace was so abundant on THAT day!! Praying for you!!

  3. Having something to look forward to on those special days makes it much easier for me, like a balloon release on her birthday, the butterflies on her heaven day, a special tree at Christmas. The tears and sadness come in later days when I contemplate the fact Han wasn’t with us physically to share in the day.

    I think what you are planning is spectacular and look forward to reading about the beautiful day! :o)


  4. Prayers that you do have your celebration! I’ve been so overwhelmed that I didn’t get your address Sumi so I could send you a card for Jenna but I will still do so if you’d like! I have some beautiful butterfly paper here that has been waiting for a reason to be used.


  5. Hello sweet Sumi friend – I’m so sorry again I couldn’t help out this past weekend and I’m full of regret that I can’t make it to the party. I need to go back and relieve my brother. However, I have the PERFECT card for Jenna! I’ll give it to you this week.

    Dan’l’s mom sent some pictures from his brother’s wedding. It was SO strange seeing all the festivities and more so the family pictures without him in them. I’m sure they did something to ‘include’ him, you know. . . to help take some of the sting away from his physical absence.

    k- I’ll see you soon expecting a BIG hug – as usual!

  6. I think it’s wonderful…your ideas for showing your love for Jenna!

  7. WOW! I always love what you have to say. I think it’s wonderful that you’re doing all these things with and for Jenna (she is still with you, though she’s with Jesus).

    Keeping you and your family in prayer daily!!!!!!!!

    Love you!

    Cynthia Y.

  8. (((hugs)))

  9. Christy from IA


    I’m not sure how I stumbled in on your blog. But I’ve only begun to read through the archives.

    My heart skipped a beat when I learned that your Jenna died in a drowning. My Lauren died in a drowning. Our circumstances are different – of course – but my heart goes out to you. It’s a long and seemingly lonely path to walk. But He is there. There are people who care. And the days so get brighter.

    Please let me know if you ever want to talk.

  10. Alot of people just don’t understand. And I know I push that so much, but, it is the truth. They try to shy away from things that make them uncomfortable. What outsiders don’t understand is that to our families and close friends, this is comfortable to us. Just like you honor a mother or father’s memory, us mother’s need something tangible like you said. We can’t hug them kiss them or give them something. This is our way of giving them something. Balloons or bubbles that reach up to heaven. Reminising and precious memories shared on that day is like our little ones are standing behind us listening in and smiling that we are able to live and remember and laugh even though they are not with us at the moment.

    This is why my friend Stacy picked a day that was all our to our self. Just for Johnathan. It was like in life we gave him so much of ourselves. He was our everything. How could we not give him a day that was just for us. To remember, to tell him new memories, just to sit and remember how our friendship came to be. That day is our day. Mine, Stacy and JT’s. Our day to be together and that much we can give him.

    I hope your pool party is rockin and I know Jenna will be dancing up in heaven celebrating with you. Maybe she will invite JT and they can laugh and clap and party with you.

    (((HUGS))) my friend.

  11. Thanks for the comment Sumi! I needed that. And in case you weren’t 100% sure, I was referring to you as one of my greatest encouragements right now. If you ever want to have contact other than through our blogs, please feel free to email me at
    I also pray for peace and comfort for your heart during this time!

  12. me again- did I tell you what we decided to start doing every Christmas in memory of my grandmother (and grandfather too, but this is just since last year when she died) . . . they were always both so active in the community and volunteered a lot of time, etc. so we decided to provide a Christmas meal to a needy family or two and also give toys & presents for the children. It’s a random thought, but all of us celebrate our loved ones at specific times of the year in special ways that remind us of them. You’re not alone.

  13. I think your Birthday Party for Jenna is a great idea. I know there will be moments of sadness and grief. But there will also be lots of Love and Joy! You expressed yourself perfectly in sharing that you need to so something to show & share your love for Jenna. Big (((HUGS))) for all of you! I am praying for your family.

  14. Sumi, always follow your heart. Your daughter is still alive!

    We recognize our daughter’s birthday every single year, and we still hang her stocking at Christmas. I’ll never stop doing this. She’s alive, with God and the saints and angels in heaven. If we continue to celebrate Jesus’ birthday I don’t know why we can’t celebrate for a loved one if we want to. There can’t be too much love.

  15. P.S. I guess I should clarify (since this is my first comment here) that we lost our daughter eight years ago, after a prolonged illness. The anniversary of her death is coming up; but I much prefer to celebrate her ongoing life.

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