I was sitting down here trying to wrote a lament. You know a post that is replete with phrases like: it-is-not-fair-that… or why-should-it-have-to-be-like-this… I decided it sounded too negative and that it might create the wrong impression. I am really fine, but some circumstances lately are just driving home Jenna’s absence and I am missing her.

We went to an office Christmas party tonight where I had to answer the inevitable question about how many children I have, from perfect strangers. It is a dilemma. Sometimes it is just easier to answer: “Three boys”. It doesn’t rock the boat, and it keeps the conversation light and simple. There is an inner twinge when I answer the question in that fashion though, because it doesn’t honor Jenna and her place in our family.

Then there are the times I tell people straight out about my 3 boys and my little girl who is with Jesus in heaven. The person who received that answer yesterday immediately clouded over. I could almost see her mentally kicking herself for forgetting about Jenna and feeling uncomfortably unsure about how to proceed with the rest of the conversation, until I made light of it and changed the subject.  

Tonight’s questions set me on a downward spiral, which was only made worse by a family tree project that my oldest son is working on for school.

I started crying when he needed my help to fill in our family history. It was heart wrenching to see him type up his siblings’ names and add little Jenna Anne’s name to the list, only to have to type out in black and white, for the whole world to see, a death date next to that sweet sweet name.

And so I lament.  For now. Tomorrow I will laugh again, but right now my heart aches.

It aches for my oldest boy, who doted on his sister so, who now has to fill in her death date on a scrap of paper for school.

It aches for my youngest, who shows how he misses his sister sometimes by using her voice and her intonation to say things.

It aches for my middle son, who thinks that people are starting to forget his sister because no-one talks to him about her anymore.

It aches for Jenna’s daddy, who doesn’t get his exuberant welcomes from his little girly anymore as he comes home from work.

It aches because this mommy-heart doesn’t know how to appreciate the Christmas lights this season. It has always been my most favorite part of Christmas but Jenna and I oohed and aahed over them so enthusiastically last year that every lit-up house reminds me that she is gone.

Why are there so many lights this year? Don’t they know that Christmas should just stay away? How are we going to enjoy Christmas without the blessing of living it vicariously through a toddler’s eyes this year?

I told a lady at the Christmas party tonight that Jenna would want us to celebrate and we will. I’m so ambivalent about it though.

I wish we could fly to a cabin in the mountains or go somewhere totally different for Christmas. I don’t really want to face a normal Christmas with an absent Jenna.  

Lament over. A few more tears, and then I will smile again. I promise.

31 responses to “Lament

  1. No hurry. No need to smile before you’re ready. That first Christmas is far too painful for words, much less smiles sometimes. I am so sorry your heart is aching, but I absolutely understand why. You have much to be thankful for this Christmas, but also so very much to miss.

    Hugs and prayers to you.

  2. i honestly, HONESTLY, don’t know how you do it. i am amazed. maybe we all do it and don’t realize it. i saw john walsh on tv today and even after 27 years tears of grief and loss were apparent. i will pray for you EXTRA HARD these next few weeks; my heart still breaks for you and your precious family. you deserve a lament – but your ability to “chin-up-it” is amazing. i pray that you’ll find special blessings and little miracles in the lights of the season. God bless!

  3. Sumi,

    I just caught up on your last two posts! First I wanted to say thanks for leaving me a comment. The way that you found me was that I found you first and left a comment and then you visited me. 🙂 How fun is that?

    Now, regarding your post before this one…
    I know exactly what you mean! I was very shy at times growing up, and then very reserved at other times. Definitely reserved for my whole adult life. But lately I’ve been experiencing the exact same freedom that you talked about! Do you know what I think it is? I think it’s that the worst has happened and we survived! We have nothing left to fear. That horrible, gut punching loss that we always dreaded did actually happen and God’s grace truly was enough, and will be enough should we face more loss. Pretty amazing.

    Regarding your lament…
    Amen, sister. I completely feel your pain. If it helps at all, know that there is a little tiny house in Montana that is totally dark on the outside. We do have a tree up, and we are trying to make Christmas special for Ethan, but I think my husband cried for the whole day that I decorated. Everything does have something of a flat feel. So lament away. I’m sure tomorrow you will be singing. This is the rollercoaster that we ride!


  4. I completely forgot. I also meant to tell you that Ellie’s name was Elizabeth ANNE! How neat is that?

  5. Oh how I wish I was there to hug you… I feel your pain… I know some people may not think it is the same but my mom passed 8/28/08 and I am having such a hard time. I cry a lot.. I do better I cry.. today (Tues) I cried many times.. it is my birthday and she didn’t call me 😦 some days I just fall apart.. I know I should be happy that she is no longer in pain… but I miss her in the physical so much.

    Sumi… I pray you make it through the holidays.

    Hugs.. Joy

  6. There are things about this world that I do not understand and this is one of them. How can any particular word comfort the void left from a loved lost one. A word can’t, our savior can and He will. Day by day my friend.

  7. Oh Sumi!!!! I’m so sorry. Yes, you will smile again because you love the Lord and you are faithful. But my heart aches as I think of you and your family this christmas. Hugs you.

  8. Sumi, thank you for putting into word the lament I’ve held in my heart. I went shopping for the kids for Christmas the other night, and I had tears in my eyes the entire time because not shopping for my daughter hurt so much. The ambulance I saw headed to someone’s home that night trigger the overflow of tears. Yet… we have to celebrate Christmas with the kids. They keep me moving forward and they help me smile and laugh. Teaching them about Christmas has helped me remember that it is about Jesus being born so He could defeat sin and death for us. I have found in that something I can turn my thoughts to and even rejoice in, even in the midst of the pain of missing my girl during this holiday.

  9. Sumi (((hugs))) You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I wish we were closer. You are so precious to me.

  10. I haven’t commented in a while but I stop by every day to read and pray for you and your family. My heart is aching for you during this season. You will smile again. God will continue to give you comfort and strength. These times will be good again. I pray all of you find peace today. You are loved! Big hugs and blessings to you.

  11. I have been thinking of you a lot during this season. I have been praying for an extra dose of God’s loving comfort for you.

  12. I’m so sorry you are having a difficult time. I lament too, for all of you who have lost loved ones. May God use your memories to bring comfort as well as pain.

    I am thankful that you are moving forward and are thinking of the boys as well as your husband. May this loss bring you closer as a family.

  13. I’ve known about families who spent their first christmas without their child in an out of normal or ordinary way. It’s understandable to do something different or go somewhere different. The pain is so great.

  14. I remember last year’s Christmas. I didn’t want to do it. I still don’t want to do it this year. I feel like so much is missing. Even though we have so much to look forward to. But, the loss is still there. I play the what if and if only, and what would he be doing now game too much and I need to stop that.

    You’ll smile again. You’ll laugh again. It just comes in spurts. Today sucks, I don’t like knowing the date. I can’t get past that 17.

    ((HUGS)) I am going to be praying for you and your family.

    Love ya!

  15. I DREAD the “How many children do you have” or “Is she your only one” questions. I HATE them. How do you deal with it? How do you leave out your precious angel, and yet, it brings *such* a pall to conversations. :sigh:

    Last year I was where you are. I really had NO interest in it, but knew I *HAD* to for Lily. There’s joy there this year. Who knew? Who knew there could be joy in such sorrow?

    You’ll make it through. When you feel like you can’t go another step, see one more set of lights, we’ll all be praying for you, lifting you up, seeing you through it.

    Big HUGS.

  16. I think it has a lot to do with Christmas. I wish I could go to sleep and wake up when it is all over…but I have other children and that will be no good to them. Just know you aren’t alone. ((((Sumi))))

  17. Last Christmas (our first without Loren) we did go away. And though I didn’t want to and didn’t have the heart for it it turned out to be a blessed day. My sister and her family and my parents honoured Loren’s memory and it meant a lot to Dirk and I.

    This winter the live Christmas tree we used for Loren’s first and last Christmas has died. We’re in a new town and new house. I still don’t have the heart for Christmas, but maybe I should use the opportunity to create new traditions that include Loren’s memory.

    I’m the same when people ask me about my children. Sometimes I’ll just mention the two who are alive and other times I’ll blurt out that we had a third little boy. Whatever we say, our children in heaven remain part of our families and their memory will be a part of this Christmas and every one to follow.

  18. I am so sorry for you r loss. I will keep all of your family in our prayers. We include you during our advent devotions. i wish I had access to a cabin somewhere:you would be welcome to it!

  19. ((((((hugs))))))

  20. yeah. I’m with you. *hugs*

  21. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Sumi!

    Feel free to use all of the ideas you’d like! I’m glad some of them spoke to you. I did a number of pillows for family members this year for Christmas (which means my quilt is on the back burner). It has been therapeutic for me and will be special for them. As far as cutting up the clothes goes… it wasn’t so bad for me. But one of John’s aunts who was helping with some sewing, would not even think about cutting them. Everybody’s different. I had been planning on getting rid of the clothes because I didn’t want a big box stuck in the attic making me feel sad. So I had already kind of let go of the idea of them as clothes. I’m also kind of prone to seeing the big picture. I just kept imagining them as a quilt or pillows, and seeing that in my head made it easier. Plus, cutting things up allows the clothing to go soooo far. I could use some for my quilt and for a number of other pillows and still have fabric to spare. I’ve also found that there is no need for the actual clothes because when I touch each little square, I can picture the top or pants or dress in my mind’s eye. I find it extremely comforting. The first cut of the first piece will probably be the hardest. Maybe pick one of your lesser favorites to start with? Or have someone else help with that part. I have had help. For me, I hate sewing the little squares together and found many family members with willing hands. I love the quilting. One thing I would suggest – get a quilt cutter and mat. It’s a large mat with a guide and then you place the fabric down on the mat (which has grid lines on it) and line the guide up and use the cutting wheel to make a nice straight cut. It’s magic! Sorry, I’m throwing all kinds of info at you. Let me know if/when you would like more details. I have figured out a lot by trial and error!

    Thanks again for your sweet comments!

  22. Please never apologize for laments, okay? No one is expecting you to be all smiley and a-okay. I think it is good you are still posting here and just being totally open and honest. I am sure it helps with your own healing, and I know it must be such a blessing to those who are walking this same road. I know that in my own life I am encouraged by how you are clinging to Him and finding Him ever faithful.

    May the Lord wrap you up in the sweetness of His embrace and may He not let you go…no matter how much you may wiggle…may He hold you until you are able to just rest fully and feel released from any expectations, especially your own.

    Praying for you.

  23. You have been on my heart a lot lately. Please know that God loves you and He’s always reminding others to continue to pray for you…even those you’ve never met and haven’t suffered a loss like this. I had mentioned before that I had miscarried, but that doesn’t compare with sweet Jenna. Sometimes God leads people to intercede, even if they can’t completely relate.

    Also, Psalm 121 is quite comforting. 🙂

    I’m praying extra hard for you and your sweet family that God would make His presence known in a mighty way and that you would once again feel joy and not feel as though you have to ask forgiveness for feeling your grief.

    I love you!

    Cynthia Y.

  24. Dear Sumi,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Your words tell how precious little Jenna was to you, and I hurt for you, your husband, and your boys. Your all in my prayers. Let knowing that precious little Jenna is now a beautiful angel get you through the upcoming holidays.

    much love,

  25. HI Sumi
    Yes, there are good days and then there are days that the tears just fall. We will never get over it…..we will forever be their mommy’s. May the Lord give your heart extra grace right now!

  26. on the 31st of this month it will be 14 years ago that Paul died. at dinner today a woman asked. how many children do you have. i had the same feelings today, nearly 14 years after, that you had… i simply say three and tell something about each of them including Paul Scott who is with Jesus.

    Christmas has never been the same but then nothing has been, but there are things today that bring smiles and joy that were not here 14 years ago. a son in law and a daughter in law and 5 grandchildren. Paul is missed as much as ever, sometimes i think more than ever. I am so proud of your honest grieving and you honest sharing. you always make me long for Paul but you also make me thankful for the years we had and the memories we hold. and you make me care, care more.

    Thank you for writing. your family is loved and covered by friends you have never met. i still wonder what the lights are for…

    your friend.


  27. In reading your post, I cried. Your grief and joy comes in spurts as Bobbie said. I wish I could offer you more than prayers. Know that your friends here love you and your family and we will always be willing to listen to you for the good and the bad times. (((hug)))

  28. I wanted you to know how much I missed Jenna at the Christmas Show last Saturday. I could just see her dancing and singing along to the music! She is missed so much!

    Love and Friendship Always,

  29. I wanted to make sure you know I am thinking about you during the Holiday Season along with your family. May God richly bless you with many wonderful memories as well as comfort you.

  30. PRAYING for you and your wonderful family!!!

    May the Lord bless you and surround you with His love, strength and joy!

    Cynthia Y.

  31. precious mama…i am praying for your lament…holding you with my lips to His ears,

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