"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Date

Dave and I went on a date, planned by me, last night.   I had so many ideas about how to make this evening special! Many of them were your suggestions (thank-you) but I also did some research of my own, and ended up with quite the list.  And to be honest, I ended up feeling kind of overwelmed with the decision. (yeah, I'm not the best at decision making) And some ideas didn't work out because I couldn't find a babysitter for that particular day. So.....I decided to do something simple, one of our old fall back dates, with a bit of a twist.  We ended up having a great time.  

Because just going out for dinner, the two of us, is pretty darn special!!  

I wrote out little rhymed poems to give him a hint about the next place we were going and he had to guess. (well mostly rhymed) And along the way, we answered questions from this book!

1st Hint:
"We ate this food for almost a year
In a country that became quite dear
This restaurant is not far away
Pick your favorite dish and I will pay!"

Answer: A nearby Chinese restaurant (very authentic food, almost like what we had in Beijing) For the last 5 or so years this is the place Dave *almost always* wants to go. But pregnancy and Chinese food for me doesn't mix.  And I just haven't felt like Chinese in a very long time.  Poor guy.  Our food was pretty good, ALOT of green beans - I think that dish was meant for 10 people! Next time, the Peking Duck.  We know they serve a ton of things that aren't on their menu:)

Dave wore an orange sweater in memory of the ratted Thrift shop one he wore to our first date! I have fond memories of him in that old thing:)
 2nd hint:
"When we walk, this helps us talk...And the place we're going to rymes with Larry Binds.
Walk one time around the loop, so we can walk off all that soup!"
Answer: Prairie Winds Park
(too dark for pictures)

3rd hint:
"This next place sells used things like clothes and books and rings
Buy me something silly to wear to make the others stare."
Answer: Thrift Store
(and I had to do the same for him)

Dave was nice to me.  He bypassed the pink wig (!) and chose a scarf and a yellow belt (the belt was too small though)
Here we are....at the last place.

4th hint:
"Let's take another walk down memory lane. Perhaps hot milk with candy cane?"
Answer: Second Cup (the place where we had our first real date, except now we're in Calgary and the first date was in Osbourne Wpg) The evening ended with me giving Dave a present that I had ordered online for us. And then we went home....to our kids already in bed! Wonderful.

Anyone want to buy a beautiful flowered shirt and scarf?? Because I think we're done with them now....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Just called Genetics to check in with them again. We're going to get a call back sometime today.  At first we were told that we would hear test results around the six month mark and now it's been 18 months.  It's a fairly new test so it is taking longer. Then there were a few mixups with the blood.  They took cord blood initially, then realized they needed more.  Rachel had blood taken a short time after birth.  Then many months later, when I called to ask about results, they checked the chart and found that they STILL didn't have enough blood, so we took Rachel in for another prick.  Not sure what to expect from their results. (if we get any) Not sure how I might feel or what use the information is to us now.  But I am still curious....and a bit nervous none the less. 

Sometimes in my more anxious moments, I think about what this might mean genetically for future grandkids.  Or for Ethan and Abigail - what if something is different about their own hearts and we don't know it yet?  I think of Ethan's kids too, but Abigail is the one who talks so much about wanting to be a mommy.  This morning as I was ironing her new curtains, she said "When I'm growd up, I want one of those......(ie. the iron).....'cept I want a new house!" I so hope that she can experience being a mommy too.  

I realize that my fears can so easily run away with me.  We know already that medical knowledge can only give us so much - it is still so limited.  And how much do we really want or need to know ahead of time anyway?? I'm not sure sometimes that I can handle more than THIS DAY alone. God is our Creator - He knows the number of our days.  And He loves us and is ultimately in control of what happens in our lives! Still, this morning I felt so overwelmed by all the possibilties of pain that my kids might experience.  I don't want to live there, in some abstract place ruled by fear.  So, I pray, and I cling, and I choose to rest in His promises for us Today.

Father God, our Good Shepherd, who numbers the hairs of our heads, help me to trust you.

*Spoke with Genetics at 2pm.  No news yet.  Results are still preliminary.  Could still take another 6 months.  Maybe that's ok.  I'm not sure I want or need to hear what they might say anyway.  They say that if I'm pregnant, they would fast track us, but I'm not interested in that option!....so....we wait. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

We Groan Inwardly while we Wait Eagerly

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firtfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons (and daughters), the Redemption of our bodies." Romans 8:22,23

Rachel would be 18 months old today...

...and I have big lumps in my throat today.  I miss that sweet little girl so very much.  I wish I could see so much farther than I do right now...

I gave a few of Rachel's dresses to Abigail to use for her dolls.  One dress really is a doll dress, given to us by a friend last Christmas.  (a matching girl and doll dress set) It is absolutely mind boggling to me to think that Rachel wore this dress. And kind of gut wrenching too.  The dress didn't close in the back but it was a near fit.  Her legs were quite a bit longer but she often had them curled up anyway.  (until much later) Just for comparison, here's an 18 inch doll next to a doll wearing Rachel's dress... 

Here's Rachel and Abigail almost a year ago. 

In Abigail's scrapbook I wrote the caption "Wake up sis! I want to play!" After I read this to Abigail, she thought this was so neat.  She ran around the house excitedly and said a number of times, "Rachel calls me sis!"
The last few days have been tough.  I sold Rachel's double stroller.  (kijiji buyer)  I had that stroller posted for over a week and I thought I was ready.  We didn't really have a place to store it anymore.  But it wasn't until after I hung up the phone with the prospective buyer that it hit me - I was handing over Rachel's stroller to a stranger who had no idea of it's history (nor would I tell them) and suddenly I felt sick with anxiety.  I almost called her twice to tell her I changed my mind......but in the end, I went through with it.  And it was ok - no long discussion, no questions - just a quick transaction, and it was gone. I thank God for His strength!!!

I cleaned out our stuff from beneath the stairs, which included boy baby stuff.  Came across a special sleeper that I had wanted to put on Rachel but couldn't find.  Thought how cute it would have looked on her.  Piled the boys clothes to be given away, in the basement.  I can't touch the girl's stuff yet.  I do hope to make a quilt from Rachel's clothes....someday. 

And yesterday....I peeled off the sheet from her basinet, and gathered up the blankets that I had left in her basinet...and put it all into the washer.  There had been one or two blankets that she had used very briefly before she died and we thought for awhile that we could still smell her in it.  So I gave it one last long whiff just in case - but the smell was gone or maybe it was so unfamiliar. I'm not sure I would remember her smell anymore.  I left the basinet standing though - that's one thing I can't do just yet...

I have been cleaning up her things, bit by bit because it doesn't feel much like her room anymore. Dave has been using it as his office and the kids, wanting to be near Daddy, had played with her toys and mussed up the bed and room.  And so I thought maybe it was time.  But I was surprised at how much these acts of cleaning up, took 'it' out of me.  I feel tired, fragile again.  That took me off guard, and made me realize that there is a reason to not rush into these things.  And there really is no particular timeline that I'm supposed to follow. 

So....lots of ups and downs still going on over here....

The kids are both in school. Dave is studying downstairs.  I'm going to go spend some time reading God's words.  I need to be soaked in something that is true. I need something real to hold on to right now.

But first, this is part of the Bible story that I read to the kids last night.  It was the last story in their book, "the Jesus Storybook Bible"

I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky: glittering, glowing - coming down! From heaven. And from the sky.  Heaven is coming down to earth!  God's city is beautiful.  Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire. Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut.  Where is the sun? Where is the moon? They aren't needed anymore. God is all the Light people need.  No more darkness! No more night! (no more bad dreams for Ethan, he liked that part!) 

And the King says, "Look! God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding.  No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying. (I cried at that part!) Because all those things are gone.  Yes, they're gone forever.  Everything sad has come untrue.  And see - I have wiped away every tear from every eye!

And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, "Look, I am making everything new!"

It was hard to squeeze all John saw into words.  And fit it onto a page. And cram it into a book. All the words on all the pages of all the books in all the world would never be enough.

"I am the beginning, "Jesus said, "and the ending."......

John came to the end of his book.  But he didn't write "The End" Because of course, that's how stories finish.  (and this one's not over yet)

So instead he wrote: "Come quickly Jesus!!"

Which , perhaps is really just another way of saying...To Be Continued...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

28 Donations

I just received a card in the mail from Compassion International. There have been 28 separate donations to the Medical Response Fund, in memory of Rachel Amariah Funk!!  Thank-you!!! It makes me glad to think about how her life will make a difference for others in this way.  I think she would be very happy to know this too:)

Btw, if anyone still wants to donate, I have more cards at home.  Just let me know and I will try and get a card to you. It has Rachel's name on it and the designation to the "Medical Response Fund".  I'm sure you could just send in a cheque with a note saying where you want it designated and it would work too:) 

New Book

I'm adding another book to the book list! The leaders at the Marriage/Ministry Retreat we were just at gave me a book called "Let me Grieve but not Forever" by Verdell Davis.  Her husband died in a plane crash along with three other friends.  (James Dobson's friends too.  In fact he would have been with them but he needed to bow out of the trip because of other plans) I am half way through and I want to recommend it already! Although our stories are still so different - I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my husband - but there are times when I feel like I can relate so strongly to her experiences of grief.  Have you read it? 

Dave and I still haven't gone on our date yet. But we have two planned! And we have played Sequence a few times in the evenings - and if I might add, I skunked him two times;)  Thank-you again for all your ideas.  We're looking forward to doing some of them!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alexander The Brave Brown and His Good Shepherd

This is the song we used for Rachel's slide show (at the memorial services) I posted it because I love the song and also because today I'm thinking about a very special little boy who would have celebrated a fourth birthday today. We love you Alexander and we know your parents miss you so very much! We know too that you are safe with your Good Shepherd and we will see you again one day! Oh what a great day that will be! 

Kendra Funk

November last year

I was able to work a bit on Abigail's scrapbook today.  I'm up to last Christmas.  And that reminded me about how early we brought out the Christmas stuff last year.  I think we wanted so much to enjoy Christmas with Rachel because we hadn't expected to make it that far.  And she did have several spells just before Christmas.  So glad we could enjoy being a family of five for one Christmas!

Both your legs are stuck in one sleeper leg but you are haaaaapppyy...with all the extra love and attention from a Rotary Flames House volunteer!

To the Staff at the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic

Just wrote a letter for the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic where we received the devastating news about Rachel's anatomy.   (and spent many more hours there in the following months) Not long ago, I found out that another mom (whom I have yet to meet) also received some very difficult news at this same place.  I was so glad to hear that she had the same Doctor Simrose that we appreciated so much.  It seemed as though she were God sent to us and I still remember some of the things she said to us that day.  Here is my letter:

To the Staff at the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic (Foothills),

In January of 2010, we came in for an in-depth ultrasound and heard the devastating news that our baby girl would likely live for only a short time – maybe a few weeks or at most, a few months. We were so thankful for the compassionate response we received from the staff and the support for our decision to continue the pregnancy. Thank-you! I know that in your field of work, you often hear just the first part of the whole story. And I want so much for you to know that we have never regretted that choice. Because our daughter Rachel lived 14 ½ months, surprising us all. She changed us in remarkable ways and it would have been a tragedy if we had never met her.
During my visits to your office and others, I often scoured bulletin boards for pictures of children that might also have lived short lives – because I think that would have given me comfort in knowing that I was not alone. And later, I often thought how glad I would feel to know that our daughter’s picture might encourage some other mother – because the difficult news she might receive today is not the end of the story.
I wrote a blog journaling our life with Rachel and it is open for anyone to read. Thank-you again for breaking the news with us tactfully and with compassion.
David and Kendra Funk

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dios te bendiga!

We just had a FABULOUS time with two of Rachel's main respite workers and their families! We haven't been all together since the funeral. Esperanza and her husband are from Columbia and they brought their two kids.  Jose and Patricia are from El Salvador and their son Melvin came too.  They made Mexican/El Salvador tacos for us and we had some Canadian rhubarb crisp and ice cream for dessert.  The kids put on a little show for us, dressed in costumes.  And we laughed and laughed.  It was so good, so very good. 

I feel richly blessed to know these beautiful people.  For a long time, I missed our daily ritual of passing Rachel back and forth, asking each other about our days (and nights).  We had the shared bond of knowing Rachel but we also shared each other's griefs and struggles. So very often I walked away from these conversations with a feeling of utter amazement.....at their JOY in the midst of grief (!), at how they sensed God pursuing them, and these conversations often inspired me to focus on what really matters.  Our story with Rachel may be on a blog but there are so many other stories too.....and what a priviledge it has been to have known their stories.  I learned so much from these friends.  And I love that God brought these specific people and us together.  I feel so full, so thankful tonight...

This is what we often said to each other as we passed Rachel, from our arms to theirs, at the end of the day.  Or rather - they said it and I mangled it! I'm not sure how to write it.  If you speak Spanish, you can correct me! "Dios te bendiga!" (God bless you!)

Buenas noches! (Good night!)
Patricia cooking up a storm for us!

Esperanza fixing Abigail's bunny - the ear came off.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cleaning up...

I went through the cards from the memorial services this morning.  Cried a bit, smiled as I read your notes and saw your names.  And I know that the cards alone do not represent all the people who have journyed with us.  Thank-you.  I found some money too! And a cheque! Wow - that was nice. Maybe we will put it toward the costs of the great marriage retreat that was so helpful for us.  Thank-you!!! We had opened all the cards shortly after the service.  I even read some of the Calgary cards outloud to Dave on our way to Manitoba.  But it was such a hard, crazy time and so I stuffed them all into a bag and stuck them on the office desk to read again...some day.  I am still planning to keep some of them to read again next year on Rachel's 'Heaven day'.  

I've got lots of projects on my mind these days.  Ones I have thought of doing for what seems like a looooong time.  One of them is moving Abigail into her own room.  I'm hunting for a used bed today. I would have so *loved* to make a girl room for both my girls, but I am thankful too that I have the joy of doing something special for my eldest girl! Yesterday at the dinner table, the kids were bugging each other, saying "Boys are better", "Girls are better".  And we said how glad we had one boy and one girl because we think they're both the best! Abigail corrected us by saying "no, you have two girls!".  True....

I am cleaning up some of the baby stuff we have.  I told Abigail yesterday that I was going to give the double stroller away and she said, 'but mom, what if we have another baby?' That made me sad to hear.  I would so LOVE to give her another baby brother or sister but I don't think that's in God's plan, at least not biologically.  I feel sad sometimes about that, but I am glad too for all the Good that is in our life right now.  So many ups and downs to my emotions these days....and I am glad for the better days!

Abigail's new room will be in the office.  A bit cramped but she is so excited about me painting and decorating it just for her.  This also means that I won't be using the computer after bed time hours for awhile! (until we decide to move the office downstairs) I think this will be helpful for both Dave and myself to be able to focus more on each other in the evenings! Hopefully that lasts and I don't have too many withdrawal symptoms;) I hope to still get some time to write and connect with some of you on the mornings when both my kids are in school. 

I have been rambling this morning, not too much to say.  Just that it is fun to be able to throw myself into projects like this.  And there are other dreams simmering too, like opening our home to international students again...and others I will keep to myself for now.  Thank-you God for new dreams and good days.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grils and Bog

On the day before Rachel died, I had a friend over at our house, with her three boys (or was it just the younger two?).  We had a great visit and I am glad that she could see Rachel on her last day with us.  Rachel was so content all day.  I remember how shocked I was at how seldom she needed to eat.  And she just seemed happy to sit beside us while we visited. 

The boys made a sign for Ethan and Abigail's bedroom door.  I think at first it was going to read "Girls not allowed" or "Boys only", something like that.  But after some tears (Abigail's) and encouragement from us, they were persuaded to write "Boys and Girls" (allowed)  The actual printing is more like "Grils and Bog"! The things that look like stickers are actually bandaids stolen from the hallway closet (of course!).  For weeks afterward, whenever I looked at that door, I smiled.  It is still on their door today because it reminds me of that very last happy day with our little girl.  

I think I might take it down soon...but I want to remember.....so here it is...

The God Who Saves From Death

Do you believe that God pursues you? That He is creatively using ways to speak to you? Simply because He loves you?  I'm usually pretty hard of hearing, too wrapped up in myself to pay attention. (and truthfully, a bit cautious when people seem to speak too freely about 'God speaking to them'.) But I think that skepticism can sometimes keep me from seeing what God is doing around me....and I don't want to be deaf to His voice.  I really do want to know Him.  I think  that's why I write sometimes.  I want to record times like this... so that I won't forget how we heard His voice in the dark times.  

Several weeks ago I had a nightmare.  I dreamt that I was dead but still able to watch everyone from my body.  It's hard to explain but the feeling was of being trapped, silenced, cut off - and it was terrifying.  There was one other time that I remember dreaming this - it was the night before we buried Rachel.  On that night, all I could think about was her body in the casket which was sitting on the downstairs couch, just a few feet away from our bedroom.  We had just made the long trip, 16 hours or so, across the prairies to reach my parents' place.  Stopping at McDonalds twice. Watching parents with their babies while mine was in the back of our van...in a casket. Yeah. That wasn't easy.  And the days and nights before we buried her, our minds were trying to comprehend this.  How could she be gone? And where was she? What had happened to our little girl? And at night, when my thoughts were cloudy with exhaustion and stress - I felt afraid, panicked because I didn't know where she was.  I know what God says about death.  But I had never had to lay my daughter's body in the back of a hearse before....

Then, the second similar dream happened a few weeks ago.  I got up to start the day, shaken.  Again I had that desperate feeling to know if Rachel was really safe, if she was really ok.  After getting Ethan off to school and the day was on it's way, I checked the mail box.  And found a card from a friend. This is the verse she wrote on the inside......

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death." Psalm 68: 19,20

wow. Did that verse come to me at the right time or what? I could feel the fear slowly dissapating as I read this over several times, and allowed it to sink in, deep inside.  God saves us from death! Rachel is ok! Death does not have a hold on her because of HIM.  And perhaps just as comforting to me was the thought that God, who must have known what I needed to hear that morning, directed my friend two provinces away to share that verse with me by mail.  Was it co-incidence? Now reading over what I wrote, it seems like it might have been.  But that morning, it seemed like this was His direct response to my battles with fear.  And the truth of those verses hit those fears where it mattered.     

Dave read me a quote this morning....and just because it kind of fits, I'm going to add it too.  Having just written about my fears of death - this was amazing for me to hear.  What would it be like to know God and trust Him like this?!!!

As one of you put it to me, when you were in the midst of a terrible, life-threatening illness and I asked you if you were afraid of death, you said to me, “Not really. When I think of all the trouble that God has gone to for me, all the tricks that God has used to grab me, all the traps that God has lain to catch me, I can’t believe God will let a little thing like death stump him.” -William Willimon, Conversations with Barth on Preaching, 133

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rachel's soother

I saw a little boy sucking on Rachel's soother today.  Of course it wasn't really HER soother.  But it's not one I see often.  A rubber hospital orange one.  And literally, just this morning I had finally moved the soother that was sitting on top of her last dirty bib, on top of the filing cabinet, in the office where she died - and put it next to the kitchen sink to wash.  It was time.  We felt ready.  I let my hands run over the stickiness left by the tylonol we gave her sometime in her last days and I said good-bye....again. 

A few hours later I was standing in the entrance to Abigail's preschool class and I saw this boy sucking on the SAME ONE.  And the father laughed, said that his little boy had gone hunting and found his baby soother and wouldn't let it go.  And a big....hard.....lump grew in my throat.  I think I opened my mouth, thinking I should say something witty back, or at least laugh. I think I managed to smile.  And then, the moment passed. And we went home. 

Later on today, I was at Children's place, returning some boots.  And there were so many babies.  And toddlers.  And it just kept hitting me again and again how much I would LOVED to have experienced Rachel as a toddler.  I stood in line, smiled at the mom with the baby.....and ached.  I watched the father scold his little girl for wandering off.  I heard the exasperation, the tiredness in his voice. And I ached.  Because I would love to be tired and exasperated by my little bratty girl. 

My eyes kept drifting over to the baby girl section where I bought the last item of clothing for Rachel - a pink sweater to dress her body for burial.  I am so glad that I could do that for her.....and I remember how I walked through that store when I was pregnant, wondering if I would even get to dress her up in a pretty dress.  And I thanked God again for the gift of knowing her, even for so short a time.  She made me feel so alive, even though I felt sad sometimes too. 

Just another day out on the town....

And I wonder - who else do I see around me, walking around with hurts in their heart - that are unseen?  There is so much more than meets the eye.  It helps me have understanding, it helps me be a little more patient when someone doesn't respond the way I think they should.  Maybe someone else has just seen something that reminds them of their loved ones....their 'orange soothers' and they are speechless too.....

God, thank-you for never leaving my side today.  You were right there.  You are right here when the tears come and I think...you are crying with me....

I feel like I can almost hear my Grandpa Kornelsen singing this song...."What a friend we have in Jesus! All our sins and griefs to bear.....Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.......In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

When she was really little....1 or 2 months old

"You are precious to me." says the LORD.  (I just read that in 1 Peter this morning but I can't remember the verses) It is so comforting to me, to know that she (and we too) are treasured by Him. 

Three months Later

Today marks the third month anniversary of Rachel's death.   

Some friends have said that things seemed to get a bit easier around this time.  In some ways, I know this has been true for us.  But in other ways, things have gotten more difficult too.  My emotions seem so erratic, so powerful.  Sometimes they frighten me with their intensity.  I am so angry sometimes, and so intensely sad.  Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to sit through a worship service again and not worry that I am going to 'lose it' in front of everyone.  (and I don't generally cry easily so that's un-nerving for me in itself) And then I wonder - shouldn't church be a safe place to weep? Maybe even profusely? Maybe it's my own pride that causes me to look for the all the escape exits before I sit down...and my own pride that keeps me from showing what is really inside me.  Because that mess scares me too sometimes.  I do know that it is such a relief to be with people who are ok with my tears.  Because all I really want is just for someone to sit with me when I fall apart.  I know that God is faithful.  I believe that Rachel is safe with Him. But I miss her here....and as Dave says, there is a part of us that was awakened by her that will never be awakened again by anyone else.   

A friend sent me this picture of a sand sculpture that they saw in Vancouver last year.  "The mother with empty arms".  I don't think it needs more of a description. If you can zoom up, there are tears in her eyes too. 

I have had a really hard time writing again since Rachel died. I'm not quite sure why that is.  But the other day a thought struck me.  Maybe it's this place, the office, this chair that almost covers the exact spot where she died in Dave's arms.  I wondered if subconsiously, I don't want to be here, because of that memory.  And it still seems so very real sometimes. I wonder too if the thought of sitting here makes me feel a little trapped because I spent so many hours sitting here with Rachel, daunted by the prospect of leaving the house with her because things could 'turn' so quickly. (And when you're feeding a baby every half hour, there isn't much you can really get done anyway, right?) 

I was so grateful for the online friendships I made during that time and it was so good for me to have an outlet to process what was going on with Rachel and to feel your support through it.  I am an inward processor and even Dave said a number of times that he was glad for the blog because it helped him to get to know me better.  But I have to be honest here - the computer also became a source of conflict between Dave and myself because I didn't know when to stop.  It was my escape from alot of things. (when I couldn't escape outside) And I am learning to set some healthy boundaries again and that takes time.  This feels a little strange to say because I would love to have a chance to sit beside my little girl just once more....but I do *relish* my freedom to leave the house whenever I want.  And I *relish* the leisure to play with my kids, to laugh with them and with my best friend again.  So you may see less of me in the future.  I am thinking of having a 'turn off the computer day' once a week and I will let you know when that is:)

I think another reason why I hesitate to write sometimes is because a part of me wonders if people are tired of hearing about my grief.  That's me talking, my own insecurities.  But sometimes, all it takes is one wayward comment to set us on a spiral of insecurity again, right?  A few days ago, I thought that I was ready to write again.  And so I went on this blog, read the great comments - and felt so encouraged and then I read the last one, by an anonymous writer. It was a criticism of a comment made by a friend of mine, which mentioned that this (death of a child) is the hardest thing for a couple to go through.  The new comment read "How would you know what the hardest thing would be to go through until you are 80 years old?"  Really? Was that comment really necessary? Does it matter that I might one day experience worse griefs? Why minimize my pain now? Why do we have this incessant need to rate everyone's pain? My blog isn't a discussion panel. This is my life!  These were the thoughts going though my mind, among all the other stuff in my head.  And I realized that sometimes I am just tired of trying to explain away some comments, trying to twist it around to see the good intent.  I want to be honest about what this journey of grieving is like for us - but I feel a bit fragile these days.  And as I write that, I wonder if my comment will scare away the people that I don't want to make nervous by that comment.  And so I think, sometimes, just the need to always edit my words can be a little tiring, daunting even. 

But today, I felt that need to write again.  I wanted to write for myself.  And I wanted to share with those who care for us, what is going on so you can pray for us.  And I want those who are hurting to know that you are not alone.  And so when the mood strikes me, I will be here.  

ok....so Marriage after the Death of a Child: 

What is the most difficult about this journey of grief is realizing the toll that the stress and trials of the last few years have made on our marriage.  That doesn't mean we didn't ever laugh.  There was alot of beauty too and times of closeness but we didn't have the time to work through relational problems the way we could have, had Rachel been healthy.  We just wanted to "Get through it." This is why the Marriage Retreat was so good, so necessary for us.  It was such a relief to hear someone say that it is not unusual for parents who go through the sickness and death of a child, to struggle with the things we have.  It was a relief to be given the permission to grieve.  I think I expected us to be over the worst of it by now, and it makes me feel impatient with myself sometimes.  I want to run ahead and bypass all this - try and distract myself with things, instead of facing the losses and the messes.  But we need to GRIEVE in order to HEAL.  

We had three private sessions with the retreat leaders.  And I was kind of nervous about them. We haven't always had the best experiences with counselors before.  But these sessions were so helpful. Another thing we took away with us was the encouragement (or homework) to start dating each other again.  They said that for so long we have had to pour our energy into dealing with sad and serious stuff - to the extent that we have forgotten how to have fun together and enjoy knowing each other - and that now we need to direct our energy into having fun together and getting to know each other again.  So true....

So we are taking up the challenge!  Dave and I are taking turns planning dates. (and trying to keep it a secret from the other) The only rule is that it can't be a dinner and a movie.  This has been our fall-back for SO long.  And in Rachel's last year or so, we had to take Rachel with us everywhere so it usually ended up being dinner, and movie at home. So......time for a little more creativity!!!  

Any great date ideas???