Category Archives: grief


I should be in bed. It’s late and I need my beauty sleep. You can bank on that. ūüėČ

So, this will be short.

I am simply grateful tonight. I want to celebrate this gorgeously balmy spring weather, which sings out a resurrection song. It seems no small co-incidence that Easter and April happen around the same time. (In the Northern hemisphere at least). The new life budding and sprouting in the trees and expressed in the humble praise songs of the birds, is just the reflection of a deeper stirring I feel inside me.

I am grateful that our personal winter seasons don’t last forever. At some point, the cold and barrenness make us cry out to God, and true to form, he comes. He never fails to turn up when we ask him to,¬†pouring his life-giving rain on our hearts and making everything new.

This is where I am tonight. I spent a good amount of time in his presence at church this evening, and have walked away from the experience with new hope. With a new sense of his beauty, his glory, his love.

I surrendered Jenna to him again. I told him it’s OK. I am OK with her being with him. My heart is still broken, but at moments like these, all I know is the most indescribable peace. It truly defies words.

Like the delicate spring blossoms on the trees outside, that remind me so much of my delicate, pink-loving little girl, I too feel like there is a new life pulsing through me. One that promises great things, and fruit to follow.


Stocking s(t)uffer


So, Christmas is officially over and I haven’t written you a note to stuff¬†into your¬†stocking¬†yet. Yes, I had a run-around day on Christmas eve. Yes, I fell into bed, exhausted,¬†at 4am. It’s been a happy, blessed, busy time. And you were missed, sweetie pie.

But something in me balked at sitting down and writing you that note. Last year I was driven to do it. This year, I just didn’t want to be reminded that it is all I have to give you this Christmas, and many more to follow.

I don’t think my house has ever looked¬†as good, or smelled¬†as lovely as it does this year. The Christmas tree is gorgeous. The boys and I lovingly decorated it with the same ornaments that you helped me hang so industriously¬†on your last Christmas with us. I remember your pudgy toddler hands, and your intense concentration as you hung them precariously low, all in one spot at your own eye level. I had to space them out a bit later on. ūüôā

The tree now sports some ornaments you never knew Рlittle mementoes of you, sent in by friends. Tom, the cat. Ballet Slippers. A handmade ornament with a robin on it. A treasured dragonfly embossed ornament that came from a mommy whose little girl left her in much the same way you left us. I pointed them all out to granny and she stood before that beautiful, fragrant tree with tears in her eyes. You still light up our world, muffiny.

I found something at Walgreens and had to buy it. It is¬†not the prettiest ornament, but its words¬†grabbed me. It says: A daughter is yesterday’s dream, today’s delight, and tomorrow’s promise. ¬†

It is the promise part I like. Somewhere in my tomorrows, you are waiting. The promise is sure. The same Jesus whose light shines so brightly in all my darkness, whose light is everywhere this Christmas season, adorning houses and making this christmas tree sparkle, is keeping you safe with him until that day. There is hope, and there is plenteous redemption. (Psalm130)

But sometimes that wait seems so long and notes like these are just a bummer to write.

Still, I have decided to stuff a little love letter to you in your stocking every year, and I like to think that one day, years from now, perhaps you and I can sit down and read them together.

Words elude me tonight, they have been doing it a lot lately.¬† I’d love to write you something eloquent and poetic. But all I can say to you my little precious girly, is that I miss you, I love you, and you will always be in my heart.

Until that day,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Your mommy.

Out of the cocoon

I don’t know how to start my blog posts anymore! I’ve been absent so long, it feels like I need to explain, or play catch up or something.

I really should write more, because there are moments in my day that I want to capture, that will be forgotten if I don’t write them down. I always wish I had written about Jenna more, recorded her sweet sayings and her milestones. AH well…

The boys provide lots of amusement around here. My middle son learned that he could burp on demand recently. So yesterday, while we were alone at church, waiting for hubby to print out the song sheets for the worship service (he led worship last night), the boys enjoyed hearing themselves sing over the microphones. Middle son, of course, had to try out his burping technique – and belched out a hillarious rendition of “Jesus loves me.”

I attempted some beat boxing. I had this misguided impression that I would actually be quite good at it. Alas, it was not the case. I sounded scary.

Teaching has been hard this year – or at least, harder than it seemed last year. I think there are many factors that play into that. I have added an extra (high-maintenance) class, my son is in three of my classes and it definitely affects the classroom dynamic, plus I do not have the luxury of having a weekly cleaning lady this year. (Last year a sweet friend paid for me to have one.) On Thursdays and Fridays the boys are home and supposed to do their home school work, but they manage to drag it out over the whole weekend. All of the above make me feel like I am not making ends meet, time wise.

Today, the boys and the hubby were out for a good chunk of time to get haircuts, and I could clean/de-clutter to my heart’s content, whilst playing my music as loud as I wanted. It was bliss. But I am disappointed by how much I actually got done, and how much work this house still needs. It seems an impossibility to get this place in pristine order. (Nevermind keeping it that way.)

I have been quite emotional lately and missing Jenna acutely. I was trying to figure out why when I realised: there doesn’t have to be a reason why. I don’t always need to explain why I am missing her more at some times than at other times. The fact that Jenna isn’t here with us is reason enough for any missing that I feel. That I can carry on living and laughing and loving life at other times is pure grace.

I was telling a friend at church (who is grieving the loss of her younger sister and her bestest friend) that now, 21 months later, it often feels MORE painful, and the realization that Jenna was here once and now she is gone sometimes hits me like a gut punch. It seemed at first, that Jenna was all I could think about, and I was constantly clinging to God and trying to make sense of what had happened. I was wrapped in a cocoon of grace then and I was full of hope that everything would eventually work out beautifully, to the glory of God. Now there are so many other things that crowd in, that sometimes thoughts of Jenna catch me unprepared, outside of that safe place that I was wrapped in at first. Sometimes those thoughts take my breath away.

My friend responded and compared this new place that I am in, to a cocoon unraveling. We can’t stay wrapped up in our protective cocoons forever, at some point the covers need to be stripped away so that Jesus can continue to do a fresh work in our hearts. Hopefully when I finally come out of that cocoon it will be as a butterfly and not some ugly moth. LOL.

I am off now, to go and take a long, hot, soak in the bath. I’ve given up on cleaning the house for the time being. Part of me wishes that I could just skip church tomorrow and get things done around here for a change! I know that I never regret going to church though, it is always refreshing to worship God with my church family.

Wouldn’t a three day weekend be nice?


Our dear, sweet friends from Bolivia are here again for a visit. Pablo lived in our city years ago, going to Bible School day and night, and eventually returned to Bolivia to become pastor and teacher at our bible school there. God has blessed the work there, and knitted our hearts to those of the Bolivian people, even those whom we have not met yet. Pablo is like family. His sister, Carolina, is a dear friend. His wife, Pamela, is a sweetheart. I have been looking forward all week to their arrival and hugged them with joy as soon as I spotted them this evening at church.

(I must admit that part of my anticipation in seeing them again, has to do with having Pablo play piano on the worship team. Man, that guy is gifted. I never fail to be inspired to get off my lazy behind and practise playing piano when he is around. He is not only talented, he is a worshipper – and his music is pure ministry to God’s heart. I long to be able to play like that.)

When Pablo lived here, he was a twenty-something bachelor. Now he is married, and father to the two cutest little dark-eyed, chubby-cheeked, curly-haired children.
I met his eldest, Valeria, two years ago when she was a contented little baby a few months short of her first birthday. Jenna had fussed over her with all the maternal feelings that a three year old could muster. I can still see her bending over Valeria’s carseat, “talking to the baby”, whilst stroking her cheek. (Pamela left some comments on the Jenna page, you can read what she said about how Jenna loved on Valeria at comment number 9.)

Now Valeria is a gorgeous little madam, almost three, who has her mommy and her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

I am in a quandry as to how to handle Valeria. I can see that my hubby is too. In one sense, we want to stare at her and lap up all her toddler sweetness, because we are missing the unique little mannerisms and movements that so many girly-girls around the age of three have in common. Did you know that little girls have a similar way of tilting their heads when they are intent on charming you, they have this singular little bounce when they run, their hands are often poised in quite the same way? I try not to stare at toddlers, but sometimes I can’t help it (hubby says sometimes he wonders if people mistake him for a pervert when he cannot help but stare). I see Jenna in girly toddlers, so often.

I saw Jenna in the body language of Valeria this evening, as she tried to coerce her daddy into going somewhere with her. And later, as she threw a temper tantrum. ūüôā

To stare or not to stare. At some point, staring too much either alerts people around me of my longing or causes feelings to rise to the surface that are best controlled in public, so I have this very ambivalent response. Stare, or ignore. And whichever response I choose, I cannot help but be painfully AWARE.

Oooohhhh. So I sit here tonight, having been reminded by another sweet girly girl, of the little one that isn’t here with us right now. And as the tears roll down my cheeks, I post this little lament. I miss Jenna.

I reach for Jenna’s picture and stare at that sweet little smile, look into those expressive eyes framed by those gorgeous eyebrows. I smile into them and as I always do, I remember that she is very much alive still, just not in a place where I can touch her and draw her close. So I do the next best thing.

I take her picture, and cradle it close against my heart.


You’d think by now that we would be getting used to the change that came into our lives so abruptly on February 17, 2008. For the most part, we look like any normal family doing normal things. (Although, perhaps calling us normal looking might be a bit of a stretch. We are a peculiar lot. ūüôā )

Still. Life will never quite be as ‘normal’ and simple as it was before. Sometimes it gets downright complicated.

I have been bitten by the redecorating bug, and am in the process of reorganising the tv room, which formerly doubled up as Jenna’s playroom. I want to turn the room into a cozy den for hubby and I, or for the kids and their friends, and since color is the thing that speaks to me most when I am decorating, I have wanted to move everything that ‘doesn’t go’ anymore, out.

I am grateful to be able to pass Jenna’s big pink dollhouse on to her bestest friend Joseph’s little sister. I didn’t want to pass it on to a stranger. I am really OK with letting it go, though it took hubby a little longer to agree.

It is the colorful plastic drawers that I moved into the walk-in closet in that room that bites. It would be so fine if I could reorganise the stuff in those drawers to make space for the the pairless socks that I stubbornly hold onto, or the growing pile of sheet music that hubby drags home after each church service. It could hold a sizeable chunk of all those other little odds and ends that spill out of their baskets or off the shelves and cry out for better organisation.

It bites, it really does. I am not ready to empty the contents of those drawers, or even to move the contents into another space. They contain the teaset and slice-a-rific sets we had given Jenna for her last Christmas with us, the dolls that went with her dollhouse, a miniature princess castle that enamoured her the moment she laid eyes on it. I pulled open one drawer, and at the very top was a teacup she had played with a few short days before she left this house for good, the inside still encrusted with sugar.


I sat on the floor and sobbed. Part of me was angry because if Jenna were here with us I would have no qualms about moving her stuff around. But she is not, and I am so torn between wanting to keep everything the way it was and moving on. Seeing her things spark memories, and I don’t want them to fade. If Jenna were here her things would mean little to me, but now they are all I have.

I am letting go, little by little. There is a bag of soft toys downstairs that I will be taking to Goodwill soon, but I arranged them all together in groups and took their picture before dumping them in the bag. For memories’ sake.


I will be taking pictures of her teaset and dolls and castle one day. But right now I am not quite ready. And part of me wishes that I was.

She talks with her eyebrows

She does. Like her mama.

I used to be so enamoured with Jenna’s eyebrows. They were the perfect frame for those big blue eyes, and I loved staring at their exquisite¬†shape¬†when she was asleep next to me. But most of all, I loved them because they could talk. Those eyebrows said a lot. On the video that a sweet friend took of Jenna and I at a park day a few months before she left us, I noticed that my eyebrows talk too. Go figure.

I like to think that Jesus is just as enamoured with little Jenna, including her eyebrows, as he spends time with her up in heaven.¬† Perhaps she tells him things that he already knows, just like any child tells his/her parents, but because he loves her and loves being with her, he arches his eyebrows and says: “Wow! That is so cool! Tell me more.” I can’t imagine what heaven is like, but I know that there are relationships there and I am sure Jenna and Jesus are enjoying theirs.

I sat next to Sarah at the back of church yesterday and watched her ‘talking’ with baby Zoey. Here was Sarah,¬†in her grown-up fullness, totally capable of having scintillating and eloquent conversation with her peers (when she isn’t making fart jokes, that is ūüôā ), taking the time to¬†reciprocate the adoring gaze and precious coos of that helplessly dependent little¬†girl on her lap. It was such a picture to me of our great and glorious and mighty God who steps down from that lofty place to meet us face to face and who takes the time to whisper sweet words in our hearing. And he delights when we return that gaze, and smile up at him.

So I did just that. Right there in church, sitting next to my Sarah friend, I turned the mental gaze of my heart to Jesus and smiled at him.¬† I could feel his pleasure in that simple act of worship, as he smiled back at me.¬†Oh, sometimes¬†I get so complicated and think I need to do this or do that to win God’s approval. But at times like these, I realise that his eyes are on me, his little sparrow, and he¬†simply longs for me to have a relationship with him in spirit and in truth.¬†And he knows every quirk about me, and (gasp) even likes me for it. He is probably enamoured with my eyebrows too. ūüôā

What a precious God we serve.

OK, I am seriously musing now. My intention was simply to post a happy birthday greeting to Jenna. And to tell her that I miss her eyebrows. I miss her.

I cuddled the two younger boys in my big king sized bed this morning. As we lay there, the youngest piped up and expressed something a friend told him at church this weekend. He thought it was weird to celebrate the birthday of a little girl who is not getting older here on earth. I told him that we are not celebrating how old she is, we are celebrating that she WAS born, she WAS here, we were blessed to have her.¬† (We celebrate Christmas, don’t we?) I went on to tell the boy that just about everything is weird about losing a little girl so young. Her things are here, she is not. Her friends are growing up before our eyes, she is conspicuously absent. There is nothing normal about that.

I suspect there are people who think we are making too much of a fuss on Jenna’s birthday. Whatever. We would be remembering her today anyway. I’d rather do it with laughter and ice cream and friends, than alone in sackcloth and ashes.

So, we celebrate. We praise God for a little girl who danced into our lives and sprinkled laughter and love and plenty of pink into our home. We miss her, but we are glad that she came.

Happy birthday, my sweet little Jenna girl.


And so, I blog

It’s been almost two months since my last post. Whew! I am askeered to look at my blog stats. ūüėÄ I think I am staying away from that page for now.

It’s Jenna’s 5th birthday tomorrow and I am experiencing the familiar roller coaster of emotion that precedes a big Jenna day.¬† I announced at church this morning that we’ll be having ice cream in her honor at a Baskin Robbins tomorrow afternoon,¬†and I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing as I did so.¬† It surprised me. Once again I have misjudged the way this thing sneaks up on you when you least expect it. I felt fragile and teary all through the service, so much so that I had to leave my seat next to hubby in the front and go and sit at the back in order to compose myself.¬†

Still, I am really, really OK. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes it feels like my heart is ripping in two and the pain of missing Jenna¬† is searing and sharp. But I am OK. I will be OK. The acute, searing pain is temporary. Underneath it all is a peace I cannot explain which carries me.

We have had a long , hot, lazy summer here. I feel slightly ‘consternated’ (I just like that word, even though I don’t expect to see it in a dictionary, so there) because¬†the remaining weeks¬†of summer are starting to slip through my fingers at an alarming rate. Once again I didn’t do half the things on my wishful thinking¬† to-do list. Soon school will be in full swing and will consume my time. Why didn’t I use my summer time more wisely? It’s the story of my life!

I did have fun though – going to a waterpark with the boys and a friend, playing canasta with girl friends until the wee hours of the morning, reading some interesting books, painting a room and furniture, visiting with sweet friends.

I appreciate all the sweet little notes I have been receiving from you all, to check in on me and see how I am doing. A friend asked me at church why¬†I haven’t been blogging. When I told her I feel like I have nothing to say, she told me that I ALWAYS have something to say. Hmmmm. I am not so sure anymore. My life is what it is and it has become pretty un-profound lately. Nothing new, just me pressing on and trying to walk with Jesus. Boring, actually.

I do sometimes feel as though I have a book churning in me. It is not about Jenna. I might share what it is about some time. ūüôā

Well, there you have it. I haven’t written in a long time, and here¬†I sit, wondering what to say. I think I will end this post, but first I want to share two things. First(ly), baby Stellan needs your prayers again. He is back in hospital and his SVT is dangerously high, his little body is growing tired of it.

Secondly. We went to see My Sister’s Keeper last week. I am surprised that I even went. It promised to be a disturbing movie, after all that we have been through. As it turned out, it was sad, but cathartic in a way, and the story was sufficiently dissimilar to ours to not spark too many painful reminders. (There were a few.) I HAVE to share with you the last few words in the movie though. It is somewhat of a spoiler, so if you want to see the movie without knowing what happens in the end, don’t read what I am about to type, OK?

The movie ends with a narration by the younger sister’s character:

I had a sister. She was fantastic. I know I will see her again. Until then, our relationship continues.

I could so quote those words:

I had a little girl. She was fantastic. I know I will see her again. Until then, our relationship continues.