Thursday, April 26, 2012


Since Pipers death my moments of being sad and tearful are brief. While I may cry or allow myself to feel that ache in my heart multiple times a day there is inevitably something or someone who comes along and disrupts my train of thought. Usually I welcome this reprieve from the potentially steep decline into grief and allow myself to clamber out quickly.

But I cannot tell you how many times a day I hear my chirpy mommy voice talking about details of Linleys day while my mind remembers the way I struggled to kiss Piper little lips around the breathing tube. I will be eating lunch out and instead of following the conversation I will be missing the way Pipers cheek fit perfectly in the cup of my hand. Children make me tear up and for some reason they love me lately. Make up seems frivolous and food tastes only slightly better than cardboard.

My daughter is still gone and there is not a damn thing I can do about it.

Nothing is getting easier and in fact I am hurting more each day that passes.

Tonight Chad and I fought. Because it is us, it was a good fight filled with words and thrown pencils and hurt and anger. It was stupid, this fight, as they aways are and yet as I got in my car to leave I found myself hysterical. Sobbing so heavily that I had to pull over in the parking lot of a local church for fear of running off the side of the road even after 45 minutes straight of crying. And I realized that although I am hurt by Chad and I am mad at the way we continue to struggle with connecting and communicating, I really was just so very mad that so very much in my life is hard.

Marriage is hard.

Having your daughter die is hard.

Waking up in the morning and choosing to shower and put pretty earrings on and vacuum and do the dishes and drink coffee and do math facts and participate in the car pool and take a walk and plan dinner and meet up with friends and check your email and read books to 7 year olds and paint your toes and fill up the gas tank and make sure there are clean clothes for all who need them and watching Mad Men and blogging and breathing....

Over and over and over.

It's hard.

And I don't want to.

No, I want to stop this anguish.

And it's even more overwhelming to know that despite my best efforts at compartmentalizing, my grief and sadness are not fading but growing more difficult to handle instead. One can only wander Target so many times or meet up with friends for coffee so many times or drive with loud music pounding so many times before you realize that you are just about to burst and all in the way will see your core.

I wish grief were more like an exorcism. Where if I were to focus hard enough I would be able to spit it out on the floor and walk around it and right out the door. Purge myself of it, of you will. But it doesn't work like that... it goes on and on and on and on.

And it leaves me wondering how to deal with this huge gaping hole that Pipers death has left in my life. I truly do not know how to deal with the hard things in life because I'm still brought to my knees by just how very hard they continue to be.

My marriage is hard and hurting.

We deal with life in very different ways so it's no wonder we are dealing with death in our own styles. Chad allows himself to feel and question and be alone. I think a little too deeply and quickly rearrange the living room before the tears come. Chad rails and I simper. Chad goes as a slow pace through the day while I entrust my OCD to kick in and keep me racing.

With this thing called grief I see Chad allowing himself time. Time to cry or think or rant while I just want it all to go away. I want to busily avoid it when in reality, this depth of sadness only gets deeper when ignored. And despite how differently we are dealing with it we are both feeling it so much more than anyone else in our circle can imagine.

Most of all I allowed myself to have a five minute release which actually lasted over two hours and used up my normal yearly rate of tears. And it has changed nothing except serve to remind me that I am a hurting woman...that I am in a marriage that has been in the midst of a battle for 2 years and I am the mother to one daughter who needs me sober and upright and another who will never need me again.

This is why life is hard.

This is why I was not created for this.

Why I yearn for the eternity created for me and those whom also lean so heavily on my Jesus when life is hard.


  1. No words for you really. Having watched far too many of my mommy friends, from our days doing battle on the floor, endure these moments and days and yes years, I know there are no words. I watch helplessly as they navigate this life without their precious children and I stand with this odd survivor guilt, with nothing of value to say or do but merely stand shoulder to shoulder with them to listen and be still beside them. And I pray. A lot. I will do the same for you. for what that is worth in these unbearable moments as you are missing your sweet girl. I, a virtual stranger, will send you prayers of peace and strength for the journey.

  2. I'm clunking round in the corners of my mind in attempt to find something comforting to say, and I realise there is nothing. So, know that my face is wet with tears as well. My heart cries out for yours to receive healing. My arms wish I could hug you. My mind is often distracted in prayer for you. Thank you for being open, and honest. Grieve in your own process, but allow yourself time to move through the pain. ))HUG((

  3. Susannah,
    I want so much to say something uplifting, but honestly, if I were in your shoes, I don't even know if I could bear another kind word.
    If we were close friends and I lived nearby, I would hug you and cry and rant and yell right there with you. I really would. Heck, even if we aren't close friends, I would if you needed me!
    I am so very sad that you have to walk through this horrible, terrible, vicious thing called grief.
    I am still crying with you from afar and I am not definitely praying for you as well...
    Grieve in your own way, my friend, but grieve...
    You certainly have the right to.
    I hope writing all this was the right thing to do.
    I know that words are many lately, but none of us can truly know exactly what you, Susannah Needham, are going through.
    I really do wish I could give you a respite. To take your grief and carry it for a day. I really would do that for you if I could....
    I love you sister.
    In Him,
    Jen Bailey

    1. Oops. *MOST definitely praying
      What a terrible typo... :/

  4. I too don´t know what to say but cry when I read your blog. Just one verse comes to my mind and it´s: there is right time for everything....there is time for grief and there is time for joy...You have a time of grief now and I am sure there will come the time of the joy too someday. Gradually but it will come. For now all I can say to you that I´m listening. That´s all I can do for you. I read your blog and am listening to you.

  5. Sus, I love you and your little family and I've been honored (still am) to call you family and so thankful to you for giving us those two little fancy faces to love. I remember at St. Jude thinking every time I walked in that room with you and pj that I better not blubber unless you had tears because I didnt want to make it harder on you. I would sit there and watch you doze off while hanging on to any body part you could get to of hers, and all I could think is how much I admire you and how I couldn't imagine what was going on in that heart of yours. I'm so glad you opened up when you did because I felt like you were sharing secrets with me! :) I can't imagine how you feel because thoughts replay through my mind daily of those last few days and kissing that sweet little hand (or foot, or head, or anywhere else that wasn't covered in tubies) and it consumes me although I was just a bystander, not her parent. I've started rambling so much I forgot my point but let me just say, thank you for being you, for showing us you are NOT super woman but a sweet, grieving mother that needs us to continue to love you no matter what. I love you and I'm forever grateful to you for those 2 fancy fabulous girls you have allowed me to love and one you allowed me to "lose" with you. You are great and I love you and chad (even when he's just a silly man) !

  6. I don't think grief gets easy. Like the turmoil of diagnosis, we just at last realize that God has us in His lap covered with a blanket of love. We keep putting one foot in front of the other until we've made it through another day. Blessings sweet friend. And while you are down, don't let satan have ANY of you or your marriage or your joy of motherhood. Love, love, love you and praying hard for a little sunlight in your heart.

  7. As tears spill out I desperately want to help take away the horrible pain. You mean the world to me.
    I am praying for the grace to abound that healing will occur and the raw open seething wound of your heart
    Will find it's rest in our Saviour.

    1. You make me smile with your sweetness lady.

  8. Susanna,

    We have never met, but I have been reading your blog for several months through a friend of mine. I even went back to the beginning and caught up with what I had missed. I wanted to thank you for sharing every aspect of this battle you and your precious family have been in. I do not yet have children, and cannot fathom the intense pain you are going through. I type this with tears streaming down my cheeks. My heart aches with the heaviest weight for you and your family. My day is often interrupted with thoughts of you and the hurt you are consumed with, and I pray.

    Thank you for your transparency about your faith through all of this. I have been battling my own cancer and have in the darkest days doubted my Savior and the great promises he has for those who are hurting. I have been encouraged by you in ways that I can not express. To keep pushing forward. To cling to any sliver of hope. To not give up on the great and magnificent and glorious God we serve.

    I wish there was something that I could offer to soothe your hurt. But I know too well that only Jesus has the healing balm you need.

    Love and prayers,
    Lauren Hames

  9. Sometimes it seems better to say nothing at all, except that we are listening (reading) and grieving for your pain. Any words seem pale in the midst of your sorrow, but know Susanna that, just as you loved and prayed over Piper during her illness - we also love and pray over you...faithfully and fiercely, without abandon. Grace comes to mind. Grace to let yourself be human in the grieving process...grace to let Chad be imperfect in his grief. Praying that you will continue to turn to the One who has sustained you thus far and will continue to do so until His glorious return when we are all reunited with the ones who have gone before. You are loved Susanna, Chad and Linley.

    “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

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  11. I wanted to write and tell you how sorry I am for your loss. We lost our 29 year old son on July 2, 2011. I have been writing on another bloodspot
    I don't know if the writing helps me or dredges things up, muddying the water more than it need to be. Our daughter 26 is a survivor of Leukemia having been diagnosed at age 14. I thought that was the worst thing that could possibly happen to our family. I had no idea how bad it could be.
    Everything you describe is unfortunately a pattern I have heard repeated again and again by those of us who are grieving. The triggers and the difficulty communicating within the family. We are quickly approaching one year. I have found some help with the compassionate friends online chat - though we seem to be broken records - repeating our sorrow, how much we miss our children, and the need to try and understand why.
    I have ears to listen. Which is sometimes all I really want from others. There is no way someone who has not experienced this type of loss can understand. We can't expect them to. Take whatever peace and quiet you can from the day. When you do feel better I hope you give yourself space and permission to feel better for the short time it lasts. We have been given a life sentence. I wish it were different for both of us. Again. I am sorry.

  12. I have no fixes for you. Only recognition that all of this makes sense.... To love so deeply and work so hard for so long to care for Piper would, should and does leave a hole the size of The Grand Canyon. I only know that God does love you and that He promises that HE is the God of all comfort. So, "God, pour out your mighty spirit on Susanna right now. Give her the peace and strength she needs for these days of grief. Make your presence known to her." In Christ's name....Will keep coming here to listen to your heart...

  13. Dear sister in Christ, You don't know me but I have been following your blog and praying for you for months. Your loss is so enormous - I can't even try to come up with words to "help." There is no help. I'm just writing to let you know my heart is with you, and I will continue to lift you and your family to the Lord in prayer.

  14. No words...I will continue to pray hard for you and your family!

  15. Praying, praying, praying. And loving and holding you all close in my heart.
    Chris and I dealt with everything after Owen died so differently too. It was really hard. People don't really talk about that part. It's so hard on your marriage. But Jesus is there with you, holding you together, holding your broken hearts. He is holding all things together.


  16. I am friend of Nikki's (Cameron's mom) and have been following you blog. I have no words to comfort you as they all seem trivial and futile in the face of all you are experiencing. All I can say is that there are so many out there sending good wishes, virtual online hugs and love your way and hoping that this will provide a small moment of comfort. God Bless you all.

  17. beloved Susannah, this is just a friend of a friend here, another mother who is witnessing you in your grief and acknowledging the truth of your words. I hear your anguish. I hear you noticing how you and your husband are responding to each other and to this heartache. I hear you loving your angel daughter in every way you know how. I hear your wisdom as you recognize the child who needs you here. I see you, I feel for you, and I love you, mother to mother.