Grief and Hope 

Grief. The word itself is ugly. It leaves an ugly black hole in the pit of my stomach. 

Grief comes from the Old French, grever, which means “to burden”.  It feels like a burden too, something we carry around on our backs like a heavy load. 

Some would think that grief gets easier with time, but really it only changes. 

My shock has worn down as the years have passed, but my grief is still as heavy and present as ever, and each passing year I forget more and more of the details. Like the sound of his laugh. Oh, how I wish I could remember what it sounded like. So, that grief, the initial shock of his death, morphs into grief for the loss of the details. I fear that eventually I’ll even forget his big bear hugs. 

I’ve written a lot about suicide since Will died, but it still needs to be talked about. Mental illness, depression, anxiety; these are all very real things. Until we, as a society, can get over the stigma attached to these things, then more families will continue to lose loved ones. And not just to suicide, but to things like addiction as well. 

I will live with my grief, carry that “burden”, and cling to the memories I have left until they, too, fade away. 

But there is hope as well. Hope that one day I may see him again. Hope, that by talking about these things another family may be spared the grief and heartache that we have experienced not once, but twice. 

Hope that someone may see this and know that they are loved and cared for and suicide is not the answer. 

And also hope in the Lord, for we do not have to carry this burden alone. 

Don’t wait to talk to your loved ones, don’t wait to talk to that kid at school that everyone makes fun of or the guy at work that keeps to himself. Your call, your smile or your hello could mean the difference between life and death. 

If you are the one suffering, please know that there is hope. You are not alone. 

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

J❤️

Already Enough


This is me. The real me. No makeup, filters or flattering photo angles. Hot and sweaty from watching my girls at cheer practice, before which I backed into my husband’s car (for real y’all). 

Tired, oh so tired. 

I am a daughter of the one true King, beloved and treasured, but I have a hard time remembering that. Remembering that my joy lies in Him and Him alone. 

I post this so you know that we don’t have it all together. I yell at my kids sometimes, and they are not always perfect angels. (The 4yo only made it half way through cheer before she had a meltdown). My house isn’t clean, I don’t cook gourmet meals, my kids are lucky if they have PB&J sometimes. 

Don’t compare yourself to what you see on social media. We all have stuff, no one is perfect. That photo I posted of my two sweet girls holding hands and smiling? It took 20 shots, lots of tears, and most likely a fist fight between the two to get. 

What you have is what you have, and what you have is already perfect because it’s yours. Live for the moment, because they go so fast. Put down the phone and spend time with your kids. I promise you will learn things about them you never knew. 

And LOVE yourself. The self you have now, not the self you want to be or think you should be. If you don’t love yourself now, you won’t love yourself when you get there either. 

You are beautiful, loved, treasured, important, intelligent, amazing. You truly are. 
“So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18

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I post this for and to myself. I need to put down the phone and stop comparing myself to other people, AND I am just as bad as the next person about only posting the good and “perfect”. I would hate to know that someone would see something I’ve posted and think less of what they have, when really they are only seeing half truths. I’m not trying to be preachy, I’m only calling it as I see it in my own life and mind. 

And again, you are already enough. YOU, reading this right now. You are loved, cared for, intelligent, strong, important, amazing. 

Don’t ever forget it. 

Until next time, 

Daughter

Oh daughter, sweet daughter that I have made, the one that I adore. I know your heart hurts, I know you are tired and weary. I know that you get angry in the waiting and wanting. That you wonder why I don’t just take these things from you like you know I can.

But daughter, you are not of this world. This instant gratification “privileged” world. I never promised that their wouldn’t be suffering, only that I would be there with you. I don’t take these things from you because I want you to see Me in them. I want you to look for Me in the heartache, to lean on and rest in Me when you are tired, and to let Me wipe away your tears. You know I love you, right? You know I have every tear you have ever cried, and I have always been there even when you couldn’t feel Me.

But with these things I also give you a promise of Joy. A promise of everlasting life in Me. A promise that, one day, the veil will drop and you will see this world as I see it, and you will see yourself as I see you. Beautiful.

So, beautiful one, do not give up on Me. Lean in, and listen. I am here always.

Left Behind

This girl.

Beautiful Helper

She looks so much like a man she will never meet.

The other acts so much like that part of me that’s made up of the same stuff that he was made of.

I mustache you a question...

I still remember the moment that suicide directly affected me. It’s something you always hear about, it’s always there in the background but never had it really hit home.

I was 8 months pregnant with Scarlett, sitting in the floor of her not yet put together nursery trying to assemble a night stand. My dad called and asked if I was sitting down. Will had died. He killed himself. That was September 9, 2010.

Fast forward three years. In bed 6:30 am, Adam rushes in, you need to see this. Scott is gone. Will’s little brother, Brad’s twin. He killed himself.

I will never pretend to understand what would bring a person to that point. I’ve battled depression since my teens, I’ve been in low places. I’ve had the, “the world would be better off without me”, thoughts. I was a cutter. But I’ve never been to THAT place. The one of no return.

What could we have done? What could I have done?

What can we do?

I did something drastic the day before our second funeral, the one where we buried one more son, brother, nephew, father, cousin, friend. I went into the tattoo parlor and marked a part of me that I will always see. 1mt 1mt, One more thing, One more time.** I will never give up. It’s a reminder to do one more thing than you want to do, one more time than you want to do it. Pick up your pieces and keep moving. I had their birth dates put underneath to keep them near me always, and to remind me to keep going when they thought they could not.

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November 23rd is International Survivors of Suicide day. It’s about recognizing the people that are left behind, left to wade through the pieces and pick up where someone they loved could not.

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photo credit: afsp.org

Please consider donating to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This is a very real and tragic thing, and it could be prevented. If you know someone who you think is struggling please reach out to them, if you don’t know how, then tell someone else that might could help. 50% to 75% of people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intentions.* Visit the AFSP’s site for more resources and info about suicide prevention.

Please, please take the time to reach out to someone you love today. You never know what internal battles they may be fighting. You never know when one conversation may save someone’s life.

Until next time,

J♥

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Note: I was not contacted or asked to write this post by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. All opinions and statements are my own. This is a subject and organization that is close my heart, I just hope to spare another family the grief we have experienced.
*Resource: afsp.org
** 1mt 1mt is credited to Josh Sundquist. He is a paraylmpic ski racer and an awesome motivational speaker. Check him out when you get a chance. 

Guilty

So I don’t typically like to post downer posts. I wanted this to be an uplifting blog about watching my children grow. But, I think I’m depressed.

I feel guilty about feeling this way. I have so much to be happy about, but still it seems like at the end of the day I’m so incredibly tired. I’m down in a hole in the dark with no light to find my way out. I’m short with my toddler when I know I should be enjoying what time I get to spend with her. Instead of embracing her idiosyncrasies I find them incredibly annoying. Again, this makes me feel so guilty. I realized that I have a 10 month old, a 10 month old (!), and that soon my baby will no longer be a baby. I think to myself, where have the last 10 months gone, and why have I not tried to enjoy every single second of them.

I often fantasize about how much better off my family would be without me. I know this is untrue and selfish of me, and again…I feel guilty.

I cringe at the thought of getting off of work and going home to do the same mundane tasks that I do everyday. Make sure the kids a clean, feed them, get on to the toddler about something, gripe about how dirty my house is, put the kids to bed, pick up the computer and….not write. Every. single. day. I set my alarm for an ungodly time the next morning to get up and exercise, since I’ve decided that this is the only time I have to do it. 5:45 rolls around and I turn the clock off and roll over. Every single morning. Then gripe about how lazy and overweight I am. I feel guilty.

But I have so much to be happy for, a wonderful husband, my girls, a loving and supportive family, and great job, the list goes on and on. I ask myself constantly, why can’t you just be happy?

I’m working on getting help, and I’m working on myself. Mostly I’m finally writing again, and it feels good.

Please mommas, wonderful loving mothers that feel alone and guilty, please know that you are not alone. I’m right there with you, and we will dig ourselves out. We will find the light and hold on to it with all our might. It won’t be easy, but nothing good worth doing, worth living for, ever is.

Until next time,

Jess