Category Archives: loss

Spring

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

To¬†Jenna…

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?

To Phyllis

Thanks girl, for asking me how I was doing yesterday. And then, for replying to my perfunctory “I’m doing well”, with a flat out denial. You told me that no, you could tell I was not alright,¬†so I promptly burst into tears and called you a¬†“sharp” girl.¬† Thanks for making space for me to sit down next to you on the bench and tell you my woes. Even more than that…thanks for praying for me as much as I now realise you have been doing, despite the fact that you are going through such a dark valley yourself, being¬†racked with pain constantly.

I realise you probably don’t read my blog. Still, I just want to put it on paper this computer screen that even though there was this part of me that just wanted to run and hide and not be vulnerable, you were the hands and feet of Jesus to me yesterday. I felt his soothing presence washing over me as you allowed me to open my heart and pour its contents out in your hearing.¬† You are one strong woman, Phyllis. You reminded me yesterday that it is a good thing to press in and allow the Jesus inside us to minister to others even when we are in the midst of our darkest trials. May he bless you for your faithfulness, and may you find your healing soon.

Love, Sumi

 

Yeah…so I had a low week. I have been facing a battlefield in my mind which is quite unrelated to missing Jenna, but it has triggered an acute case of¬† “the missing”¬† in me.

In the middle of¬†this battlefield though,¬† I keep seeing glimpses of Jesus and of his faithfulness and I hear him telling me time and time again: “I’ve got it. Don’t you worry. Do you realise how much I love you and how much you can trust me? ”

So I bow and say, “Yes Lord. I will trust you. I KNOW you are a merciful God and you have my best interests at heart.¬†I will walk through this valley if you want me to.”¬†

And I praise God for all the sweeties in my life that he has so graciously surrounded me with. For real people who love me and pray for me and allow me to cry on their shoulders once in a while.

Phyllis is not the only one by a long shot.

Cracking open the door

I went through a dry spell there for a while. I noticed that I seemed to be going through the motions a bit as far as my walk with God was concerned, and that reading my bible or spending time in worship had lost its lustre. There’s nothing like being in the presence of God, where he whispers sweet things to your heart and you discover treasures in his word. In his presence is fullness of joy…

I started missing being in that place and as I lay on my bed one night,¬† rediscovering my ipod and listening to old favorites, I could feel the Holy Spirit gently tugging at my heart. I’m all for being straight-up with God and telling it to him as it is, and so I told him that my heart was dull and I didn’t know how to fix it. I wasn’t even sure that I really wanted to.

Then my favorite worship song started to play:

…wonderful Saviour, my heart will know your worth,
so I will embrace you always, as¬†I walk this earth…

Be blessed, be loved, be lifted high
Be treasured here, be glorified
I owe my life to you my king
Here I am…¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

I was undone, and as the tears started to roll, I saw a glimpse of my own heart. It’s broken. It hurts. I had been protecting myself from the pain and vulnerability of¬† having raw, exposed grief.

It is precious how generously Jesus met me as I opened the door of this battered heart of mine. I cracked it open just a little, but he crammed as much of his tender compassion and soothing peace in as possible. I know that he will fill all the room I make for him, and so I aim to be as real and as open as I can. I want to swing that door open wide.

It does expose the pain, but in him there is ultimately no sorrow, only a glorious peace. In him I can step into eternity for a moment and see that all is well, all will be well.

In his presence is fullness of joy.

Oh happy/crappy day…

I am not a happy camper today.¬† I have suspected for a while that I am due to crash soon, and it happened last night after bible school. Our friend Holland was showing us the pictures of their sweet new baby Zoey on some gadget that he was carrying around. (Hahaha, Holland, I know it was not a phone, but I am oblivious to gadgets. To me they are all ‘watchamacallits’ belonging to a generation younger than I. I am resisting hubby’s suggestions to buy a phone with a built-in gps. Why rely on a satellite to direct you when it’ so much more fun finding – or losing – your own way? ūüôā )

I looked at that sweet little baby face, so similar to that of Zoey’s older brother and Jenna’s best buddy Joseph’s, and I had a flash back to a time when Joseph was little and I was pregnant with Jenna and the world seemed so simple and uncomplicated.

I also remembered the phone call I got from an exuberant Sarah when I was in South Africa to inform me that the doctors had made a mistake,  and that the little boy she was due to deliver a month from then was in fact a girl! Having a little girl was something Holland and Sarah had both hoped for, and I think Jenna had a lot to do with that.

Jenna was the quintessential little princess and Sarah enjoyed her girliness almost as much as I did. It was Sarah who had encouraged me to stop feeling guilty about my desire to dress Jenna in gorgeous clothes. She had told me that I should have fun indulging Jenna’s girliness while the muffiny would still let me! (Thanks for that advice, Sarah. I am glad I listened.)

Anyhow…rabbit trails…we were looking so forward to having baby Emma in Jenna’s life. Jenna gave a big smile when I told her that Joseph was going to have a baby sister, and I am grateful that we were able to tell her the news before she went to heaven.¬† Jenna would have been such a sweet little ‘mother-hen’ over Emma…sigh. Jenna went to heaven exactly a week after Sarah’s phone call, and never met baby Emma.

Now Emma is little more than a year old and baby Zoey has made her appearance.¬† I am soooooo glad for Holland and Sarah’s sake…really. I don’t begrudge them their two little girls a bit. But seeing that picture last night made me miss MINE. As I looked at Zoeys’ picture I was aware that two of my friends from church were checking me out. It was that same surreptitiously scrutinous look that sometimes registers on my radar screen whenever I hold a baby on my hip or stoop down to chat to a little toddler. Did my face betray something?

I excused myself (mumbling something about going to find my hubby) and sneaked into the dark sanctuary to grab a tissue and try to compose myself.¬† It didn’t work. I have been pretty composed up until this point. Last night was the first time I really lost it in public.¬† I didn’t want Holland to see me cry though, because I really am so happy for him and Sarah and I didn’t want my pain to dampen their joy.

I hung back not wanting to be seen with my red splotchy face. New tears kept coming though. Hiding is not my strong suit,¬† so I decided to brave the looks and ‘be real’ and walked back into the bible school where everyone was chatting. I sat down and buried my head on a friend’s shoulder and cried.¬† I felt so vulnerable as the room grew quiet, and as I heard whispered questions and answers…what’s wrong?…ohhhh…the baby.

I have been a veritable fountain of tears since.¬† As I write this, red splotchy face and all, one of my boys is reading over my shoulder, the hubby is giving me tender looks, and another boy is tiptoeing around after I gave him an over-the-top response to his request to use the computer. (For which I apologised.) I’m out of sorts today, but I know enough to know that I will not be out of sorts forever. An hour or seven, or a day or two from now I will be fine again. Joy comes in the morning.

Can I complain a bit though?  Over and above missing Jenna, life is just stressful right now. Hubby totalled his car and while he searches for a replacement, we are down to one car. Driving one another to work and home and errands so that the other can use the car is time consuming for both of us.

My washing machine broke this weekend and laundry is piling up. Going to a laundromat is time-consuming too and besides, last time I went there little miss Jenna was there to charm everybody.¬† The person who blessed us by providing a cleaning lady for me once a week cannot do it anymore and my house is in bad shape. The floors have not been mopped in two weeks….ugh.

We are out of toilet paper (a trip to the grocery store awaits) and one of the boys clogged the toilet up with paper towels this morning. I had to clean a poopy toilet overflow earlier this morning.

My computer is dead and I have no access to any of the planning that I did for the rest of the year. Since I did the planning in February, I don’t remember anymore what I had done and I will need to re-do it all if the computer can’t get fixed.¬† I have an extremely busy weekend coming up with a special speaker at church and school commitments.

Complaining over. ūüôā Got that off my chest. Tomorrow night I will be playing for the school faculty against the girls basketball team.¬† Have I mentioned that I am from South Africa and that we don’t really play much basketball over there? Or that the closest sport we had to basketball was netball and that it was compulsory and I dreaded it sucked at it in school? Have I mentioned that I don’t have any ball-sense and that I doubt I could bounce a ball even once and keep up with it? LOL! It is going to be a hoot! I have a speech rehearsed in my brain which I wish I could share with the spectators before taking the field. It goes something like: “It takes a special kind of bravery to knowingly make a complete and utter fool of yourself. Henceforth, dear people, I will most probably be known as Sumi The Bravest Person Ever.”

Since I am on hubby’s laptop and the boy still wants to use it, I am not going to edit this post like i normally do. Love to you all…

Quick hello (warning: picture heavy post)

Yup, we are still here. My mom and sister (did I mention that she came along as a surprise?) are back in South Africa already and I have been playing catch-up with all the neglected school work. No time to blog, really. I did a half-completed photo blog on our visit to the cemetery on Jenna’s heaven day. I will merge it with this post and add it at the tail end. ūüôā

I MARVEL at the goodness of God. Something incredible is happening in my life, a dream I have given up on a long long time ago, is unfolding right before my eyes. It is too fragile and fresh to share here right now, but tonight I can say with everything inside me: nothing is impossible with God.¬† The thing that always surprises me when God steps onto the scene, is how EASILY and simply everything works out. No sweat. Just me standing back in awe, knowing that God has done in a few short weeks something that I couldn’t do for twenty long years. I just love him for it tonight.

Today a year ago we were learning to live without Jenna. Amazingly, we had times of laughter between the tears. I end off with two pictures taken that day, and will copy and paste my¬†unpublished blog entry about Jenna’s heaven day afterwards.

Oh…and before I go….hubby has this amazing thing to say that he has promised he would put on my blog. It’s been a while now, and I thought perhaps you all could help me beg¬† plead pressurize encourage him to post it.¬†ūüôā It is a sweet little revelation about Jenna that I think will bless others as it has blessed me.

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Fun with the cousins…

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Jenna’s heaven¬†day was a precious day.¬† My bible class and I enjoyed some of Jenna’s favorite snacks, and the school purchased an oak tree to plant in Jenna’s honor. We stood around the tree holding hands while the pastor prayed, and then released some pink balloons on which we had written some love¬†notes for Jenna. When we finished some 6th graders shuffled up carrying a gorgeous memory box that they had made for Jenna. It was soooooo sweet. I’ll post a picture, when I have taken it.

We went to the cemetery after school, and had some more Jenna snacks while the kids played.

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Our friends Holland and Sarah…

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This last picture is of a Valentine’s card that Joseph had made for Jenna last year. His mom had saved it until now to open it. The words made us cry. Jenna and Joseph were the bestest friends ever.

I don’t know how anyone can walk through this without Jesus. His wonderful peace and grace is a constant blessing. What a good God we serve!

I want to thank all of you, my sweet bloggy friends, for all the precious comments you left on my last post. You are all amazing and I appreciate you so much! May Jesus give you all a big hug from me…y’all deserve one.