Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One week today.

It's one week today.

I have yet to have the major emotional meltdown that I thought I would have had. And surely can deserve. Perhaps it's that I have little time. Perhaps it's that I have a seven year old who keeps me busy. Perhaps it's because I tend to compartmentalize things to an extreme and there simply is no proper place for hysteria when one needs to keep their life as orderly as possible.

I think I am feeling this loss in an odd way...One minute I am planning out a vacation to do list with my spouse and the next I am curled up around Pipers no longer necessary carseat and weeping. One minute I am watching Linley cannonball into the pool and the next I am throwing my whole self into the water in an attempt to not miss holding Pipers wiggly two year old self. And when we are asked if we need seating for "just three" I want to stop that person and explain why...although I have yet to begin to ask God why and am only able to survive by necessity. I can do this.

But I'm not sure how much longer.

Last night was so very fitful. I woke no less that 6 times just to look at the clock and reorient myself. When I finally woke for the day it was with the biggest sense of dread I have ever felt. I was certain I was full of lead as I drug my weary body from the bed and pasted a smile on my face for the family waiting for me in the kitchen. And the day has just gone on and on...pleasantly but still with that sense of dread and sadness that I cannot either shake nor deal with correctly.

Its this ability to compartmentalize things that has allowed me to cope with the past two and a half years. Some may call it OCD, some particular, and others will just smile and understand my need to keep as much control over as much as I can at all times. My child has chemo in the morning? Let's clean out the fridge. Tomorrow we move out of state? Let's paint a dresser. I realize I will never hear my youngest ever call me "mommy" again? Let's paint my toes.

I just cannot always deal with the weightieness of what has encompassed my life. I cannot do it. So I continue to deal with the little things around my house and with Linleys life and at one point I would have spent more time packing Pipers diaper bag with things to do for a whole day in clinic than I would even have allowed myself to think about why we were even going to be there.

Compartmentalize. Organize. Redirecting my emotions and plans. This is how I am coping. How I have coped for the past two and a half years. I am planning to force myself to remember and mourn and ache for the details revolving Piper and her sweet little life when Linley begins school again. When I can freely weep and possibly yell and most definitely miss her. Perhaps losing control, even a little, will help this process. Perhaps.

Until then I will keep my eyes from excessive pictures of Piper. I will only smile when her name comes up. And I will compartmentalize the details that I miss and throw myself into today.

And yes. I pray often.

Today I was praying while laying on the beach and I found myself asking the Lord for big signs of his love for me. For him to bless me with this or that or the next thing. And it dawned on me that what I really need is more of Him. Lots of Him. I need to be flooded with Him in order to not be flooded with fears and dismay... That while I begin the grieving process that I also begin the process of finding out more of the God who has carried me for the last few years. I want to know Him and love Him and then know Him more.

One week today. A lifetime left for me to miss Piper and learn to love this big God more. A lifetime seems too much.

For missing Piper, not loving God.



  1. Praying for you dear woman from Creston BC. You are doing your best and God will have to do the rest. And HE IS ABLE..Love from Jane Gray

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this most difficult time. I'm praying that the Lord will wrap his arms of comfort tightly around you...

    Your sister in Christ

  3. Life throws us all manner of events, some we want and desire, some we fear. God walks with us through them all. The key is to lean on Him, and trust. His comfort is our survival, His grace enough. My sorrow for your loss, and my prayers for your faith to be evermore strengthened. Blessings.

  4. When I read my daily devotional today, you immediately came to my mind and I wanted to share with you.

    Jeremiah 16:19, "Lord, you are my strength, and my protection. You are a safe place for me to run in times of trouble" (NLT).

    An old seaman once said, "In fierce storms we can do but one thing. There is only one way to survive. We must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there." Richard Fuller commented on the old seaman's words:

    "This, Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you. Reason cannot help you. Past experiences give you no light. Only a single course is left. You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may -- winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers -- no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm and hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness and his everlasting love in Christ Jesus."

    I realize that words don't offer the comfort you need. I pray that God's word and the prayers that have been and are continually sent up for you will provide you a place to unleash your grief and have hope in the One who is our Lord and Savior.

    Your sister in Christ, ~lm

    1. Wow! What perfectly written words of encouragement. Thank you for taking time to type this, so clearly the words of God.

  5. And He will not withhold anything of Himself from you. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. I am praying with you.

  6. Continuing to think of you and praying for you

  7. Sus, you have been so amazingly strong over the past 2 in a half years....you will get through this too, i know it. Please know that you have the love and support of your family and this SIL who loves you very much.

  8. You are amazing and there is no "how to" manual when it comes to grieving so do what you must. But do it while knowing there are tons if people praying for and loving you right through it. Especially me!!

  9. I want to know you and the power of your resurrection and the fellowship of your suffering. Why is it that suffering and knowing go together so often? In the darkest hours I pray He will reveal Himself to you.
    With all my love

  10. I have to apologize because I'm making some assumptions here, but it's in the effort to help-if only a little- so here goes, I'm just gonna put it out there:

    I've heard it said that God gives us the gift of denial to deal with things when we are able. I totally understand compartmentalizing. I can't begin to know what you are feeling, but I did lose a sibling when I was young. I feel for Linley and I wonder if she feels like she has to be strong because everyone else is. No, there isn't a guidebook you reference when you're grieving. Grief is grief. And it hurts, and it kills, and it makes your stomach sink when you wake up in the morning and realize the new reality of what, or who, is missing. It's awful. But yall are a family and you lost something so dear. When you are able, I hope you will give yourself the grace to fall apart, to be hysterical, to be angry, to hurt as a family and to rally together to make it through this. Together. As a family. It makes you no less of a mother to Linley to grieve Piper. You love Linley no less by missing Piper like crazy. It takes a lot of strength to face what I can only imagine to be overwhelming grief. But you can do it one step at at time because of God's infinite grace. Our God is bigger than this incredibly unfortunate and unfair tragedy; He is more than capable of handling your emotions (sorry, I may be repeating something you've already said). I would dare to say that He is waiting for you to lose control, so He can have it. Maybe then HE can begin the work to put the millions of pieces that your heart has broken into back together. One day...when you're ready.

    On a side note, have you ever heard of Rainbows (www.rainbows.org)? It's a grief support organization for children. Not sure if they have a program near Athens, but they do around Atlanta. I wish I had had something like this to help me through the loss of my brother, but I have heard that it is extremely helpful for children who have lost loved ones or gone through any type of trauma.

    Continually praying for you... Much love, kate

  11. praying you are flooded with Him. this 'stranger' is heartbroken for you but praying diligently for your sweet family.

  12. There are no words that can make things better, but just know I will keep on praying, praying and praying some more for you and your family.


  13. Sus,
    Thank you so much for your willingness to keep writing. To allow us to pray for you and weep with you. And for me personally, you are articulating things that I have and am still experiencing...except you have the better perspective that I needed 3 and 4 years ago dealing with loss and subsequent grief. Clearly, you are such therapy for me right now, and the only way I know how to reciprocate what YOU are giving me (the stranger reading your blog that you've never met) is for me to just pray for you. So know that my humble and grateful self is praying for you each time you come to mind, which is often.

  14. Thinking about you and praying for you often.

  15. I have a younger friend, Erin Cushman, whose first child died at 2 days old. About a year and a half ago now. She is now pregnant with their 2nd child. Out of her sadness and grief and her hope and knowledge that she would once again see Gwenny, she developed a ministry called, "Hope Mommies." "Hope Mommies exists to bring the Hope of Christ to bereaved mothers and families experiencing infant loss. If you are a Hope Mom, we would like to invite you to our group! http://www.facebook.com/groups/hopemommies/"
    She has a personal blog as well that might encourage you as she went through a lot of what you are expressing here as well...http://ourblessedhope.blogspot.com/

    You are in my prayers. I am so sorry your Piper is not here. It must ache. It has too. She brought so much joy to you. I am sorry that you are having to do all of this without her. I am so glad you will see her again. We grieve with hope but boy howdy do we grieve. Bless you today and tomorrow as you keep getting out of bed. May God continue to comfort you as only He knows how. Sigh....

  16. Oh my goodness...I love you, sweet Sus! I simply am in love with your family & you have become such a HUGE part of my family...you don't even know. Love you love you love you.............

  17. I have never commented because I feel my words are so inadequate, but I wanted to share a beautifully written expression of how I feel. This was shared on another blog I follow at http://aninchofgray.blogspot.com/2012/04/exquisite-pain.html

    "Grief, for those standing at a distance, seems too sacred to approach with common hands, and comfort a priestly duty. Consoling is utterly impossible, and surely a job for some expert who knows the flavor of agony, or some close family member who has a right to speak.

    That is how the outsider feels; but grief is a lowly, deep, and violent wound, and the pain so exquisite that every kindness has the potential to be, not consolation for such loss, but perhaps a cushion against the writhing.

    I'm so sorry. I wish there was more.

    Thanks for what you teach, what you share."

  18. I am here at the Target House. Going through the motions... day in and day out. I pray for you. I pray for each family I meet and grow to love. I pray for my daughter. I pray for a cure! It's NOT FAIR. I am terrified that after going through all of this to end up feeling the pain that you are feeling right now. I wish it was a bad dream. I hate that piper is not physically with you anymore! Heaven is where you will be together again. It doesn't help with the immediate pain you are dealing with right now. It's just not fair! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I understand the therapy of writing and getting it all out. Maybe you can't shout it out right now. But at night, when the house is quiet and no one is looking, you can shout it all out in your blog. Your diary. Your sacred place to share your inner most thoughts and feelings. I too am guilty of this. I am positive that I am dealing with our situation a lot like you are and have been. I have rearranged the furniture here in every which way possible in this tiny apartment. I'm sure I will keep changing it around. I think our way of grieving or dealing with what is our situation is very similar. I can't bring piper back. But I can keep praying for you... that God wraps his ever loving arms around you so tight you actually feel it. Breathe deeply and remember that time will help the hurt... even a little. I am so excruciatingly sad for you all right now. I can't tell you how many tears I have shed for you. It doesn't matter. None of it will help your pain. Just know that you are not alone. No one is judging you. Just go through it however you need to. You are an incredible mommy!!!!!!!

  19. I don't know you but I know your pain. I too lost my daughter to cancer. It was just Feb 2nd. When I read about you shopping for your dress for her funeral I relived the day I shopped for mine.
    Every feeling and experience you have shared I have gone through. It hurts so bad but you can do what you need to do even in your pain. I thought I couldn't live on but I have a son and husband who both need me and I live for them. We are Team Bradley and now only three but still Team Bradley. Our daughter would want us to find our happiness and not be sad. Even though your little girl was just that little she would want you to be happy too. It's hard to find that happiness but you will. I find it in moments. I need to find more of those moments.
    My first night without my daughter I could hardly go into my own bedroom to sleep. I started to have a panic attack. I had been sleeping with Kathryn since October to make sure she could get to the bathroom safely in the middle of the night and towards to end it was for her comfort and mine. I sleep with her baby blanket that she took every where with her. It helps. I couldn't sleep for weeks but now I am sleeping fine. The mornings are the hardest. I have to force myself to get up. I make all appointments as early as possible just to force myself out of bed. If I lay there in bed awake I am consumed by thoughts of her and what if anything we could have done differently. But we did everything. If not for us she would have died a year earlier.

    I do a blog too if you are interested in reading it. www.kathrypandabradley.com Kathryn was a volunteer at Camp Goodtimes which is a camp for kids with cancer. That is where the Panda comes from. All staff members have a camp name.
    By the photos I saw on facebook your dear sweet Piper was loved dearly by her family. I love the pictures of her and her big sister. They had a wonderful loving relationship. It really shows.
    I am so very sorry for your loss. Words can never say enough but know that you are not alone. I will pray for you and your family.

  20. Just rereading your posts...I choose to grieve with you and for you...I choose to think about your little family, I choose to pray for you, I choose because God leads me to. Still thinking, weeping and praying...always