Friday, March 28, 2014


I've moved the blog. 

It's still me...I have much to say and show and do but doing it on this blog feels too much. New starts are often lovely and I hope this one will be. It will still be the family, childhood cancer awareness and my grief but after almost two years of living without that sweet girl I am beginning to remember all the different parts of Susanna. 

I'll jot them down...

Thursday, December 5, 2013


  Tonight we set up our Christmas tree. Chad strung the lights. Linley hung the few ornaments we have pulled together from friends and family and small budgets. Beck attempted to eat everything in his quick little path...and I watched. I watched through fogginess...through deliberate gratefulness and such large doses of sadness that my bones feel weak and my chest will pull unaturally. If you were to sit with me now on my couch in the dark hours, curled up and sobbing, you would see no evidence of the girl I gave birth to. No ornaments. No stockings. No artwork...simply nothing. She is gone in every sense of the word.

  Sweet eternity...she is there. I am not. 

  I miss my daughter. 

  This is the second tree we have chosen without her help. The second year where I have no need to look at what little girls would desire to see under the tree and no need to buy matching nightgowns for sisters who are both similar as well as vastly unique. No need...I miss that need. This year I am slyly being passed Christmas lists filled with rainbow looms and kindles and tiaras and I am prepared to walk through the little fellow section at Target...a few short aisles from the ones I once wandered. She is gone. She no longer has desires that this mommy can fulfill. She dances and is whole and waits for me.

  In the light of the day, I can categorize my grief. I can chant in my mind all the truths that I lean on so. I can read the encouragement of friends and scholars and preachers and be reminded that others have carried this and that I too, can. In the day I can have busy hands and hurried feet and plans and schedules and little ones with needs and spouses who are grieving and giving in and in those moments I have no space for myself. There is no compartment...I deliberately fill each up.

  But then the night comes and I am not so much tired as I am weary and my mind cannot block the memories that can both draw a smile and a sob. Over the rumbles of the man on the other side of my bed and yet miles away, I fight the noises that begin to rise in me and I swiftly find my way to the quiet couch. All the words and phrases my mind presses away in the day will come tumbling out and I will feel them pour down my cheeks. I will feel the enormity of what this life will feel like sans Piper.  And I will taste these tears and I will write the words that both choke and free and I will allow myself this. 

  I have learned quickly that grief is both what you feel and what you feel you must not give time to. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Piper/ kept loved and loving

  Little man Beck is 4 and a half months old. 

He's a whole lot of awesomeness but that's not the point to this post.  

Today, Beck chose to wake up at 1:30am, 3:00am, 5:00am and 6:00am. He didn't always want a bottle but always wanted me. And this made me a very tired mommy by the time my alarm went off at 6:50. I was able to put a smile on my face, surround the little man with pillows (since he finally wanted to sleep) and begin the process of getting Linley ready for school.  

I successfully got the girl to school and mentally cheered myself on for wearing pants to the carpool drop off.

And then I used an old gift card from Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. And then I went to Bible Study, though a nap sounded better, and promptly drank 3 cups of coffee. And then I made it home exhausted and tried to lay Beck down for a nap, hoping and wishing I could squeeze a little one in myself before leaving to pick up Linley...

And that little nap he took was exactly 7 minutes.

Nobody feels rested after 7 minutes of shut eye.

So I chose to pick up my firstborn son and rock him and sing to him. I tried all the mommy tricks and finally just settled into the couch with a bottle and a blanket and the choice to seize the moment and try to remember to nap when I get old and the kids are off with their own kiddos and life will be simple.


For thirty minutes I cuddled that sweet little fellow. He slowly and sleepily drank his bottle and played with my fingers. His head was soft under my chin and his chest rose and fell steadily and contentedly as he had what his little self wanted when he laid in my arms. His warm body was especially sweet to me in that tired moment...I wasn't sure why but I found myself thanking God for allowing me to stay in the moment. To enjoy. To love. To be.

A few short minutes after I had finished his bottle, I was checking Facebook and cleaning up spit up (always) and tickling Beck and watching him roll over and trying not to fall asleep on the job when I realized that Pipers story was published today. 

She was one of 28 children chosen to bring awareness by their diagnosis and life to Childhood Cancer month. Mary Tyler Mom, over at, had allowed me to share a tiny little bit of my girl...and can I tell you it took me over 6 months to write a 1000 word essay? Nothing easy about writing about death. Or tenuous lives. Or aches that grow or little girls who won't.

  I was blessed to lumber through this and even though I have read and re-read my words a million times since submitting them last month, I laid myself back on the carpet and I sobbed.

  Next to Beck and his giggles and spit up, I sobbed and snotted.

It's been seventeen months since Piper was warm next to me. I have since carried a son and delivered him and begun the process of raising him. I have held Linley and wept for what she misses and missed and will never be able to fully understand had happened to her world.  And yet, I can count on one shaking hand the times I have allowed myself to lose myself in the hysteria and ache of losing Piper. 

Each day is painful. Each reminder a kick in the gut. 

But it's these few times of losing the strength to sit up, when my mouth forms words I cannot even speak and my heart feels like it truly has cracked in two..those are the moments I most feel how significant my life has changed.

It's also the moments I most ache for my God...for eternity...for what I was created to desire.

  So today when I chose to keep moving my weary mommy body is when I chose to accept Beck and his desire to be close to me.  When I chose to not see him as a burden is when I was able to honor Piper. When I remembered how easy it is to be worn down by my role is when I was able to keep moving and loving and then when I remembered the days I truly should have fallen apart but didn't. 

  I'm thankful that God kept me today. 

  Kept me focused. Kept me on my knees. Kept me prioritized. Kept me loved and loving.

(I have no clue how to link Pipers article up...I do know to suggest a good old fashioned google search of Mary Tyler Mom, and Piper Jean.) 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beauty in the struggle.

Tonight I came across a picture of myself, Linley and Piper from St. Jude's...and I smiled while I wept while I grieved while I chose, once again, to be joyful.

And it struck me as I was remembering the exhaustion and fear and worry that raising and treating a child with cancer brings, it struck me that those were such beautiful moments. Moments that I struggled to smile for Piper while scratching her back for hours. Moments that I encouraged Linley to join myself and Piper in our tiny little room to play and be silly. Moments when I just wanted to curl up in a corner and shut hide in the run screaming down the halls in a panic because THIS WAS MY LIFE and IT WAS HARD.

So hard, my friends.

But I didn't. Gods grace kept me moving. He rested my soul when I was living on 3 hours of sleep a night. He gave
me a peace when I walked out of that hospital to join Linley and leave Piper for the night. He focused my attentions not on the depths of despair that I so wanted to fall into and wrap myself up in and give way God kept me.

I am thankful that even now, more than a year since Piper left this world, that He continues to show his nature to me...that tonight while just browsing pictures he showed me the beauty in a season I lump together sometimes as simply ugly. That sometimes when I am overwhelm with what he required of me, I forget that He was making moments that were beautiful.

And I would be a fool to not use this reminder in my little life today. No struggle I wrangle with will not blessed with an aspect of beauty if I allow myself to trust the author. I have to. I must. I am thankful that God continues to teach me...that Pipers life was not meaningless and that our struggles were not minuscule.

There was beauty. She was beautiful and my God will remind me of this when I fail to chose joy.

The picture is from less than a month before Piper died. And the song is one that has rattled me and resounded in my soul more deeply than I ever have been rattled.

(Shane and Shane "though you slay me" featuring John Piper)

Monday, August 26, 2013

3rd grade

How can it be? How could this little lady be the same little baby that I once rocked to sleep and read stories to? Her legs will soon match my own and she is the one who reads aloud at bedtime these days.

Third Grade is one step closer to independence. I think of this often as I raise Linley Coe...she is such a joy to have in my life and I am thankful to have the role of mother as I rear her as best I can with Gods sweet grace as foundation.

This year I am praying for her friendships. She is at the age where her peers are so important and I pray that she is as good a friend to them as she would want them to be to her. I pray that she continues to gain confidence. That she finally gets those math facts ingrained. That she learns to focus without losing her incredible imagination. That she continues to trust God in the little things because he shown himself faithful in her little life in the big things...I pray she can remember that.

I love you sweet girl. You've got this.

Goodbye summer

Linley and I wrote out a "bucket list" for this summer. Of course, with a newborn, I would have been totally contented to stay home and watch Beck while I played games with Linley but she is infinitely more social than her mommy.

And so...that is how we took our little crew into Atlanta to the World of Coca-Cola for the day. We had hoped to walk to Centennial Park across the street to play in the water fountains and have a picnic but this summer the rain rivaled Seattle and we settled on BBQ and a movie in bed.

This was do much fun. Beck was happy, Chad had fun exploring Linley and I'm just happy anywhere with my family.

3 months

I believe it has been established that my boy Beck is an amazing little fellow. At three months he has leaned how to roll from his tummy to his back. He loves to sit in his Bumbo chair and watch his family eat dinner. He loves going in the pool and kicking his legs and arms. He loves humming while sucking on his fingers, just like Piper did and he loves to watch people, just like Linley did and does. He has discovered his hands and discovered that he can bring objects to him mouth if he works real hard.

Like I said on Facebook a few days ago, "this boy loves everything"...but he does not dig waiting for bottles or being tired. He seriously gets ticked off when he is tired and fights himself from sleeping at nap time each time. Strangely, he never fights bedtime and we simply lay him in his bassinet about 9:30 and he dozes off with no help or fuss.

He sleeps from 9:30 ish to 4:30 ish, wakes for a bottle and falls back to sleep until about 8:00 or whenever I have to wake him to take sister to school. He is still drinking a 6 oz bottle every four hours during the day and he still smiles and laughs at anything and everything.

And although I am late posting this, the picture is from August 6 so I am at least getting that part on schedule...enjoy!