God Wins…but can I ?

A Mother's Journey


I’m trying…

You didn’t want me to be sad.

You’d ask over and over,

“Why are you crying?”

I’d say, “I’m not crying.”

And it was true, outwardly, I was not crying.

But you couldn’t be fooled.

You knew I was crying inside as I watched you suffer.

I’d respond with the words,  “I’m just tired.” 

It was a truthful statement.

And you’d say, “Well, get some rest.”

So like you – sharing common sense ideas.

Yet, you had no idea the utter exhaustion I experienced as

I served you during your illness.

You were such an optimist throughout your months of treatment.

Always positive and hopeful.

Any sense of sadness or pessimism

made you uncomfortable and anxious.

So, I held back my fears and concerns.

And held tears inside for you.

I do remember, a couple of times when you asked if I was crying, I said, “It makes me sad to see you going through this.”

So grateful I acknowledged this reality.

When I told you that I admired you because you were brave and strong,

you cried.

Learning that it’s okay to be real, through a terminal illness, was a process.

Today, I wonder how you’d respond to my emotions?

How do you think I’m handling losing you – more than two years after your passing?

Would you either be sad, happy, disappointed or proud?

Or, all of the above?

When I feel melancholy sometimes, I think,

“Leah wouldn’t like me being sad.”

I think you’d be pleased when moments of joy

enter my heart.

Moments when I’m laughing with dad and your brother, or enjoying a conversation with a friend, or excited about a garage sale find, or exercising to disco music.

Moments when that little bubble of freedom enters my heart.

I want you to know – I’m really trying.

I’m trying hard to enjoy this new life without you in it.

It’s not easy – especially as time passes.

Your name is spoken much less than it was the first year.

It’s almost as though you never existed.

And this reality absolutely crushes me.

I imagine some people think that they are protecting me by not

mentioning you.

It doesn’t protect me.

It adds to the grief because avoidance and not remembering are losses too.

I am learning that response to death is very unique and personal.

However others react, it doesn’t change my reality.

You will always be with me.

And the gift of you – and your love – is imprinted on my heart.

For loving you helps me love other people better.

Yes, my little miss, the truth is that there are days when

I get teary and cry because I miss you.

But, I’m living…trying to see good in the world and find joy again

without you.

Facebook_b-day flowers










Regret’s false face

If I gave you human traits, I’d say you are a reality TV celebrity.

You pretend to be genuine, but I often find out that you are not.

At first, you are energetic and interesting.

After the first few encounters, you are – oh … so annoyingly fake.

Your style draws me in because you are clever and make insightful observations about me and my world.

You may share a glimmer of truthful insight and feedback.

When you do, you inspire me to be a better person.

Sometimes I even learn from you.

Although, most of time, you are deceptive.

Especially when you start up a conversation about a special person or memory.

As I become vulnerable with you and share my story – you suddenly switch up the facts.

Tempting me with the thoughts, “I wish I said,” or “I wish I did.”

You take my past actions and create a sense of inadequacy.

Your critical observations often turn into prodding.

You twist my memories and take circumstances out of context.

On a bad day, if I’m in your presence too long, I start feeling sad and less than…

And when I do, you whisper, “You are a failure.” 

You are satisfied when I tragically believe these accusations.

On a good day, I wisely see the truth of your distortions.

And when I do, your whispers are rejected.

You are angry when I see you for who you really are –


Your are often a liar and thief.

Regret … I refuse to give you permission to take what’s sacred in my life and turn it around

and use it to hurt me.

Your version of reality is not welcome here.


Note: I have had moments of regret when I think about my behavior in current or past relationships. Especially, when I have memories of a loved one who passed away such as my daughter or parents. Some regret is rightfully mourned. Regret is helpful when it results in change and growth. Unfortunately, many aspects of regret are unproductive and very damaging.

As we suffer another national shooting tragedy, I have been thinking about the victims parents and siblings and the regrets that many of them may have about things they wish they said or did to show love toward their sons and daughters or brothers and sisters. I hope for these families that they won’t be plagued with unhealthy regret.

Regret in and of itself is a deceptive dead end. It may not lead to healing or restoration of any kind. True repentance offers a healing that false regret doesn’t offer. One desire for my life (and I hope for yours too) is that I carefully discern truth and don’t confuse regret and repentance. True repentance leads to closure, peace and healing. There is a regret that doesn’t lead us into the life God desires for us.










Awakening a broken heart

Blog_heart 4 stone

Seeing hearts everywhere started one evening in February. It was two years to the day that Leah passed away. I had to spend time alone and walk. My walks help ground me and bring me an element of peace.

After a couple of blocks, I looked down on the cement and suddenly glanced at the stone above. I did a double take. What? Is this the shape I think it is? Yes, it’s clearly a heart. Out comes the phone and I take a picture. “Oh, that’s cool, this must be a fluke,” I think.

My spirit was heavy and I felt so many different emotions on this anniversary day. I hate even calling it an anniversary. Anniversaries are supposed to be happy events…but, here I was feeling very sad. Missing my sweet girl.

As I walked, with my head down, I wrestled with God…and prayed. I wrestle with God a lot these days.

My faith in God has been strong since I was about 8 years old, but walking my daughter through cancer was something I never expected and quite frankly don’t understand.

Several steps later, I see another one – this time, it’s ground into the cement:

Blog_heart 2 cement

“Ok, that’s just plain weird,” I think. Just coincidences. As I continued to walk, I saw at least 10 more heart shapes. I began to think little angles were walking ahead of me and chipping out the hearts. “Ok, this is no longer a coincidence. I’m being sent a message,” I realized. I started to think that Leah was watching the whole thing and laughing with the angels.

I can’t tell you the comfort this experience brought me. I will always remember it.

Well, I thought the heart adventure was over. But it isn’t. Here’s a few more  hearts that I’ve noticed since that day in February.

In my strawberries:

blog_heart 5 strawberry

A patch of mud:

Facebook_heart 3

Basement cement mark:

Blog_heart 1 basement cement.jpg

And I saw this yesterday, spray paint:

Blog_heart 6 spray paint

Do you see them, or is it just me? It’s not as though I am looking for them. They pop up any time, anywhere.

As a contemplative person, I try to absorb these little blessings and wonder what God is saying through them.  I do believe these hearts are similar to little taps on the shoulder, or a gentle kiss on the forehead.

Reminders that in spite of my wrestling with God, He sees me.  He sees my heart is hurting – deeply. He hurts with me. But I believe He wants me to know He is with me and will not leave me, whether I am happy or sad.

And yesterday, I felt the assurance that no matter what – Leah will always live in my heart. Even though I can’t see her or touch her, she’s with me in another way.

We’ve all heard that we see what we are looking for. I do believe this fact to a degree. If we look for good in the world, we’ll find it. If we only look for the bad, we’ll find that too. I am seriously thinking these thoughts through due to my “heart gifts.”

I do not share this experience lightly or flippantly.

For this season of time, these little gifts are awakening my broken heart.

Hoping that if your heart is broken in some way, my words and my story of spontaneous heart appearances bring you some hope today.