The missing

It has been a glorious day. We had the kind of weather that stirs something in me and makes me want to grab the kiddos and go to the nearby historical nature preserve, to soak in the outdoors. My kids would probably groan and roll their eyes at me, long nature walks are just not very exciting to them. Sigh. How did I end up with such city slicker kiddos?

They do enjoy going to a national monument near our house, because the trees are so climbable. In the past, when the weather turned beautiful like this we would often grab a picnic lunch (read: McDonalds 🙂 ) and go and enjoy the trees and the tranquil view of the river there. The boys would only eat a little bit of their lunch, itching to kick off their shoes and tackle the trees. Not to be outdone, Jenna would try the trees too but they were too high for her. She would beg me to lift her up on a tree, and then sit there perched like a little miss madam. Until she got bored with her spot and wanted to try another.

We haven’t been back there since January. Or if we have, I don’t remember. Much of last spring is a fog to me now.

I was pulling out of Walmart this morning thinking about last night’s post. It brought back memories of a precious conversation with pastor Rob, who had lost his daughter tragically a few years ago. It was our first face to face conversation with someone who truly understood where we were at and it made such an impression on hubby and I. Rob’s eyes sparkled as he spoke about the precious deposit that he now has in heaven, and how Rebekah’s presence in heaven makes him want to go there all the more.  He spoke about knowing Jesus in a deeper, more intimate way through his pain, and his face shone. “It’s just the missing”, he said, shaking his head. “The missing hits me every now and then.”

He said ” the missing” as though it should be written with capital letters. The Missing. As if it is some familiar beast, worthy of a name.

I have been experiencing days of great normality recently. Every day contains a few moments where somethings sparks a memory of Jenna. It always unearths a deep sigh of longing or brings a smile to my face. But they are normal days, with normal challenges and normal emotions.

Then, unexpectedly and unbidden, The Missing steals into my life and makes me sit at my computer for hours and weep. I don’t resent it. Actually, part of me welcomes it, because it reminds me of my sweet little muffin, and my love for her. The missing brings acute memories and makes me feel close to Jenna. It’s bittersweet.

I have found that if I allow myself to miss Jenna for a while, to cry over the loss, I am so much better equipped to stand up again, sword in hand, and be normal again for a while.

Perhaps the missing will visit less often as life goes on, though I am certain it will pop up even many years from now. But you’ll notice I am not writing it with capital letters anymore. I’m doing it on purpose. There is one whose name is worthy of capital letters, and that is Jesus.

The missing may have it’s night, but joy will come in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)


19 responses to “The missing

  1. “The Missing.”

    Perfect way to describe it…I feel we are in similar grief places right now (hugs) to you tonight!

  2. Just wanted to let you know that I stopped by. I continue to find such hope and encouragement through your blog. I have also found greater trust in our Lord’s faithfulness through your sharing of His faithfulness to you and your family. And I am kinda glad that you don’t blog each day. I look forward to each new entry, but don’t feel like I miss so much that I can’t catch up if I am unable to stop by for a few days!

  3. The Missing. That’s it, isn’t it?

    Isn’t it funny how each of us seems to struggle with how to describe what is in our hearts, and find others (you, Sheye, Steph) who so eloquently state it for us? I’m glad I could help you when you were at a loss, for you certainly shared with me today.

    Oh, my friend, what a journey we have been on, and what a road we have left to travel. You are always on my mind and in my heart and prayers. Big HUGS!

  4. What a great way to explain it. Your words are beautiful. I wish none of us had to walk this path, and yet I can’t imagine how I would get through it without the examples, support, and strength of my mommy friends like you.


  5. The Missing! What a great way to see our children that have gone before us to Heaven and stand at the very Throne of Grace! It has been almost three years since Samantha has passed to the other side and is held by the very one who loves each of us. Though the grief has calmed I still find moments when I miss that silly, lovable teenager whom I loved to rock on the rocking chair with for so many years. But what hope each of us has that we will one day be reunited and hold their hands again and stand before our majestic King and sing His praises. And yes, heaven looks even better…

    I’m so glad to hear that you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with grief and and when that wave has backed off, back out into the ocean of sorrow, you pick up your sword and stand tall and put your face toward the the Light and find strength to put one foot in front of the other and continue on the road of life.


  6. Beautifully said, Sumi!!

  7. “The Missing” reminds me of “The Great Sadness” that Mac, the main character in “The Shack” talks about. I think that would be a wonderful book for you to read–it’s by William P. Young.

  8. Hi Sumi, I found your blog on Songbirdy’s blogroll. My highschool best friend named her daughter Sumari-Sumi, and that’s why I decided to look at your blog! It was nice to find you’re also a SAc expat.
    I’m so sorry about your loss, I have no words to comfort youb-but you know where to find it.
    I don’t know whether you can read Afrikaans, although I did see you mention “ouma” somewhere? My sister posted a poem my brother wrote after his oldest little girl was killed in a rollover, nearly 20 years ago:
    Your postings reminded me about that.
    May God continue to comfort and bless you and your family, especially during this first year of remembering.

  9. Sumi,
    I have loved reading your last few posts. They are so real and explain how I often feel. The missing is especially a good description. I had Mary Grace for 7 hours and you had Jenna for much longer. I can’t imagine the missing feeling you must have at times. The pictures you post bring tears and a smile to my face. The one of Jenna sleeping with her brother is priceless and beautiful. What a precious angel you are blessed with, she is forever with you!
    Thinking of you and continuing to pray with love,
    Kim Summons

  10. Sumi,
    Your blog has helped me to more fully understand the loss parents experience when they lose a child. My sister lost both of her children. One at 18 months old, a little girl named Terrie Marie. She lost her second child, a boy when he was a few days old. Because she was so sick and in immense pain she never held him.
    It makes me appreciate her quiet strength and her great loss.

    I believe you will always miss Jenna and rightfully so. I am glad you can cry. Sometimes our grief won’t allow us those tears we need to share.

  11. Sumi,

    Thinking of you today!


  12. Ahhhh, Sumi. This does my heart good. What a wonderful way to describe something I have felt countless times… It is also such a blessing to hear from others in these comments who have experienced such loss. There is something so special in knowing that we are not alone. Thank you all for that.

  13. I love that you write “the missing” with lower case letters now eventhough i cannot imagine how intensely you miss your jenna. thank you for your continued ministry on this blog. i think of you and pray for your family often.

  14. Hi Sumi,

    I have checked in on your blog off and on over the past few months, but never wanted to get to “close” as my daughter has been battling cancer over the past 19 months, and I felt the need to distance myself from someone who had lost a child. I held tightly to the belief that it wasn’t really gonna happen to me. Sadly, my precious 7-yr old Chloe, lost her battle with cancer on September 16, 2008.

    I stopped in again today (I’m having a strong day) and your post about “the missing” was so appropriate for my day ~ I found it very encouraging and uplifting. I have never wanted to get to heaven sooner than I have over the past 2 weeks. And I know that I will be experiencing “the missing” alot in the future.

    However, I do still have another daughter to take care of, and it’s nice to hear that, with time, there will be “normal” days again. Thank you for being so candid with your life and emotions during this difficult time. It is encouraging for the rest of us, who have joined you in the journey of forging ahead in the wake of such a loss.

    Blessings to you and your family,

    Michele J. Parker

  15. Sumi,

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now and figured it was time that I comment.

    I think of you often and lift you up in prayer each time that I do. I discovered your blog just 2 short months before our family vacation this summer…the same vacation that we came close to losing our Mia to the ocean. As I sat and held her after my husband found her in the water, in tears….as I was thanking Him for sparing her life….I immediately also began to pray for you. Pray that you may feel peace at some point in your life. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be in your shoes. My heart aches just thinking about it.

    I’m glad to see that you are having better days. I guess you could say you are adjusting for your “new normal”. I have no words to say that would make you feel better….may you continue to find strength in Him.

    Thank you for sharing your heart here….as it is such an inspiration to so many others. You will remain in my prayers.


  16. Not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I am so thankful that I did. Ended up reading through some of your past blogs about your sweet little girl. She is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with such honesty and hope. I think that we may have a common prayer that heaven will come quickly. I would love to put your blog on my website if you wouldn’t mind. Thanks again for honoring the Lord in the loss of your love.

  17. Thank you for this blog. I wonder myself if the missing will happen less often or if I even want it to! Sometimes this grief journey seems so hard…yet worth it…yet no way around it. I hope to say that my faith has been proven no matter what. Praying for you.

  18. I know what you mean…I am hoping however that the days of normalcy would be more and The Missing could be less, I never thought anything could hurt that much…

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