Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Memories and musings and no place for despair.

I've missed Piper a little extra today.

And by "a little extra" I mean that I am allowing myself to remember things that are both difficult and beautiful. Just like her little life was. And I am allowing myself to cry a little more than I usually do and I'm finding it to be good for me.

I'm often asked how my day is going and it's just not that easy. My days are fine...I'm sober and upright and frankly there are many moments that that even seems like too much. But I am.

It's the moments that catch me.

I'm fine.

I'm fine.

I'm fine....

And bam.

I'm walking down the stairs and remembering how many millions of times I held Pipers hands and took steps slowly with her and praised her her desire to be such a big girl.

Moments hurt.

The days and nights are too big to handle in theory and so I continue to just do the moments. Thankfully Pipers life, while difficult no doubt, was filled with beauty. She was a blessing to us in every single little way and her absence is a glaring void in my life.

Imagine losing a child.

Some of you have and my memories and musings scrap off the scabs of your own loss. Most of you haven't and while you fear and possibly fret over the possibility, fact is you will probably walk to Jesus long before your children.

As it should be.

But some of us are left to maneuver the living room when your minds eye remembered your two year old walking towards you with pride in her eyes, you shower quietly and wish you could hear your daughter plead to join you. You have to daily, sometimes hourly, remind yourself to not say "daughters" but instead to put your "daughter" in bed. When someone knocks on the door there is no sharp intake of excited breathe and the swift hustle of a toddler hauling herself to see who is visiting.

Pipers memories are everywhere. And on the brief moments that I relish the breeze and the sound of Linley playing and think to myself how good life is... there is the inevitable sucker punch of reality and the knowledge that Piper is gone. Never to return to my arms or my stairs or my living room or my shower or my bedtime routine.

That's a moment that hurts.

So imagine not having that child next to you. Today when going about your to-do list allow yourself to have no responsibility for one of your children. Make yourself think how horrible it would be to kiss them goodbye and never ever kiss them hello again, this side of eternity.

And when you feel like you cannot breathe for how heavy this feels on your parental soul, I want you to have the moment that relieves this ache because you do still have your beautiful daughter or strong son. I don't have this relief and I do have much sadness.

There is a verse that has soothed me since Pipers death. Each time I feel overwhelmed or hurt or angry, I force myself to refocus my emotions around the pit that is called Despair. If I despair I lose hope and if I lose hope I lose my foundation for survival. I just can't do that and make the struggles of the last two and a half year seem in vain.

So I rail and I cry and I sit quietly in each moment that comes. But I do not despair...eternity is sweeter with Piper leading the way for us all.

Psalms 27:13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.


  1. That is precisely the verse that rang in my heart over, and over the final few weeks of Piper's life. She is such a special girl!

    Through out my day I work on various projects and responsibilities, only to discover that my mind has been drawn away in prayer for you, Chad, and sweet Linley. This is not a conscious effort as often as it should be, but happens more times than I can count during any given day. I love you my friend, and wish I could hug your neck. I found a photo of the two of us enjoying a cup of coffee in a modernly decorated shop with Kristina in Philadelphia. I now have it on my board as a prayer reminder.

    I pray that you will see moments of the goodness of the Lord each day.

  2. Love you Susanna! Nick and I had a great time with y'all last night. Praying you will feel the Lord's presence during all those "moments" and sweet memories of dear Piper.

  3. Sending you prayers, for all of those unimaginable moments.

  4. Just praying and praying for your family every day!


  5. I heard about your loss through Billie Jo and am so sorry. I completely understand your comment about moments. We lost our son in Oct and I'll be doing fine - until bang - something hits me. I don't think life will ever be the same, but the days do get easier. Your family is in our prayers.

    Matt Willis

  6. Having your family in my thoughts and prayers! Hanna

  7. We lost our son in December. He had a precious wife, 3 yr old son and a daughter that he won't ever know this side of heaven. She was born in February. I feel your pain dear one. Life just isn't fair. I can tell you that it does get easier but right now you will hurt, a hurt that no one can take away. You know that the Lord will take care of you but it still hurts. As I continue to grieve myself, it will be a reminder to pray for your family. Please know that's a promise.

  8. Susanna, I have been following your story for a while now when your family was brought up during a prayer circle at work right after Piper's diagnosis. Though I know no one wants to be the "poster child" for what it is like to fight such a long battle and the passing of your sweet baby girl, your words, honest words and strong faith are such and encouragement. God is God, even in the tough time, who else would we want on our side! I tell the kids in children's church all the time that God does heal everyone, just the healing place changes, some on Earth, some in Heaven. Please know that even though many of us can not "feel your pain" we can hear your witness, unshakeable faith in a time where it would be easiest to hide your heart.

  9. I feel so unworthy to even comment on your blog, but I do want you to know that I continue to pray daily for you and for your family. I first learned of Piper's initial diagnosis from our mutual friend, Angela Hoover. When I learned that Piper had relapsed, I began following your blog. I prayed daily for Piper. I prayed daily for strength and grace for you, and Chad, and Linley. And I continue to pray.

    My heart feels heavy when reading your words, yet I draw so much strength and encouragement from what you are learning through this process. You are such an example of God's grace, His mercy, and the intricate - and often painful - journey that compels us to complete His ultimate plan for our lives.

    My situation pales in comparison to yours, but I lost my mother at the young age of 52 to pancreatic cancer in 2007. It was an extremely sad and difficult time in my life from the initial diagnosis until she passed away. Painful and heart-wrenching to watch. Terrifying to be brave. Living from minute to minute anticipating the dreaded moment - until it finally came. And even after, the anger and the questioning of "WHY, God? WHY?" all while trying to accept His plan for my mom's ultimate "healing," although it did not come the way I expected - or as I had prayed for.

    I know you are probably tired of everyone's advice or what might even seem as obligatory comments at times, but I would like to suggest that you find a grief support group. Other than God Himself, that honestly is what got me through the darkest period of my life after losing my mother. It was a safe place where I could sit among strangers and pour my heart out, cry, scream, be angry - and then leave without having to face any aftermath or wonder what they thought about me or my way of "coping" and handling things. They all understood. We weren't on the same level, but we were all GRIEVING. And we all understood what true grief feels like. I got involved with a grief support group with Abbey Hospice in Social Circle, but I'm certain that you could contact any local hospice for information.

    And I know that we are strangers, but we are sisters in Christ, and I hurt for you. And I love you. And I continue to pray daily for you, and for Chad, and for Linley. But especially for YOU. As a mother myself, I cannot even fathom what you must be feeling.

    Cling to God. Allow yourself to grieve. Love on Linley - and on Chad - as much as you can. They are grieving, too, and you all need each other. My prayer is that God will continue to grant you grace during this healing process, but moreover that He would grant you that sweet peace that passes all understanding.

    Philippians 4:6-7

    With love,
    Stacey Lane
    Monroe, GA

  10. Thank you for posting such truth that i need to hear.