Monday, April 9, 2012


We rolled into Athens about 3:00am on Friday morning. Up early a mere few hours later and then I promptly lied my way through 75% of the retail stores in town.

Looking for a dress for myself.

For my daughters funeral.

I answered "yes" when asked if I were having a good day. I smiled when forced to make eye contact. And I somehow managed to say that I was indeed doing okay when in actuality I was fairly numb and a little disoriented.

Thankfully I saw no one I knew.

I'm certain I would never have held it together if I saw pity on anyone's face. I found a lot of comfort in the anonymity I had throughout the day. I survived while going about my errands and found something I deemed appropriate for something that I never wanted to do. Unfair comes to mind.

So that day passed and Chad and I attempted to keep ourselves together while still allowing Linley to see us hurt. She is tough...more tough that I wish she were. I fear she is like me as she speaks little of her feelings and redirects questions about her thoughts and such...I pray she will allow herself to cry soon because I am willing to cry alongside her sweet, strong self.

Pipers Celebration of Life service was beautiful. Our desire was to both recognize the fabulousness of Pipers shirt life and to point towards the great Hope we have. And we do. I cannot fathom the depths of despair I would feel if not for the knowledge that eternity will enable me told hold my Piper again. And again and again.

Each moment that goes by without Piper can be either difficult or filled with with this severe numbness I need to keep moving. Memories abound as we settle back into our home. Her play kitchen is sitting unused in the corner and her stuffed animals are collecting dust. When I peruse notebooks or coloring books on the counter I am struck with little scribbles she made for me. My cabinets are filled with the specific snacks Piper liked and the bowls and sippy cups she would go and retrieve when we prepped for dinner. And it's so quiet. Too quiet for my soul...not only are my arms empty but my ears ring when the quiet permeates.

Again. Unfair comes to mind.

And when I say unfair I mean it. This entire process is painful and unfair. I'm sorely disappointed that this is how Pipers story has gone and yet I am so blessed to know that God is not phased in the least bit by my disappointments. Oh, I do believe that He cares and that He loves me and hurts with me but I also believe that He wants me to be totally honest with Him...not that He doesn't see my heart and love me anyways. He loves me as I love Piper.

Fervently and sincerely.


  1. Reading your blog... I love you, sus

  2. Between the smiles of sweet memories, the tears of longing, and the numbness needed to simply "function" each day, know that you and your family are loved and prayed for. --a neighbor

  3. W. Birdwell read your post....

  4. Still praying, and sending much love...kate

  5. This does seem unfair. But I also know that because He loves you, He gives you nothing but for your good. He knows exactly what losing a child feels like – and of all the things, Christ's death was unfair – but He is always just, because He never changes. True fairness would be so much worse than life on earth. True fairness would be hopelessness because in all fairness we should still be estranged from God and have no hope or love in Him. And you have abundance of both, because all that is His is yours in Christ. Praying you feel His conscious smile upon you – for behind every dark providence, His smile is there.

    1. (wow, my post looks like it was written in response to this. It wasn't. I was writing while you posted. I agree with everything you've said.....and everything I've said. Sweet Piper has touched so many of us.....someday Susanna will read these again, and she will see. maybe, just maybe, this is the plan. I have to wonder.....God used her in an amazing way to reach so many people. And now he holds her in his kind and loving hands, waiting for the day Susanna comes to be with her. I can't imagine her pain.)

  6. You have every right to these feelings, Susanna. Not that it matters a bit, but I am glad to see that you are being honest with your God. What is happening to your family isn't fair. And we don't see the end that He does. There's no way that you can know why this is part of the "plan" just sucks for you. Continue to know that you have friends who love you and will support you through every stage of your "new life". And those of us who have only "met" you through your facebook posts and your blog are also still praying for you and your family. It doesn't feel like much help from my end, but God hears those prayers and He answers. And He cares. So go ahead.....tell it like it is. Unfair.

  7. Thoughts of you haven't stopped. Remembering Piper (who my son of 5 often calls Hyper by mistake) is everywhere in our day. They know she's with Jesus, but her mommy wishes she was here. We love you, we continue to pray for you.

  8. Replies
    1. Prayers of peace and strength as you navigate the absolutely, unbelievably unfair.

  9. Praying for you and Chad and Linley. I don't know what else to say. I'm just praying.

  10. Praying for all you and thankful you are holding tight to Him as you muddle through this mind-numbing grief.

  11. Beautiful post....And Jesus of my favorite truths. And He wept when He knew the end of the story. Wept when He knew He would be raising Lazarus in minutes...He wept because He loved His friends. He does love you, loves Piper and cares immensely about your deep hurt. Praying for comfort and support as you go through the days missing your little girl. Praying that you will feel Him uphold you in your grief...

  12. Praying for God to continue to give you all strength. He DOES love you so so much!

  13. It is unfair!! All of it!! It just sucks!!!!!! And I too believe that God understands!!! Still praying for all of you everyday!!!

  14. It truly is unfair, and I am so sorry for your lose. I hear a touch of relief at how you were able to go through the motions with anonymity.

    My sister died at age two (I was four). My parents were always amazed at how resilient I was, even though we all grieved, I seemed to understand it (like your daughter, my sister was sick for most of her short life, so I was fully embedded in the culture of medicine and treatment which surrounded Mandy prior to her death).

    Surrounding your family in thoughts of compassion, Liz.

  15. Y'all are still constantly on my heart. That little Piper was just a bundle of joy and laughter and I can't even begin to imagine the pain and sorrow you are going through. Love you all.

  16. I heard this today and thought of you.

    Praying for overwhelming comfort to surround you in those moments when you feel you cannot make it.

  17. Continuing every day to pray for you! Piper's Celebration of Life was beautiful, and I'm so glad I was able to honor her life by attending. Your blog has made me a better woman and a better mother. Thank you for your transparency and for allowing me to journey with you. I am forever changed!

  18. Sus,

    You are such an admirable, strong, and Godly woman. My small group from Athens Church has been following your blog. Our small group leader is Toni McNeal whose daughters go to school with Linley. As my small group and I have been praying for you and your family for the past few months, we have developed a love for you and your family. We continue to ask God to shower you and your family with love and strength. Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiences, emotions, and prayer requests. Your story has definitely shifted our awareness.

    I am familiar with a national non-profit organization called SuperSibs!. This organization ensures that siblings of children with cancer are honored, supported, and recognized so they may face their future with strength, courage, and hope. SuperSibs! has a free Comfort and Care mail Program that provides vital emotional healing tools through the mail to help siblings strengthen self-esteem, enable them to function socially during and long after their life challenge and provide parents and support teams with resources to ensure appropriate and effective on-site support.
    If you are interested, you can refer Linley to become a SuperSib! so that she will receive awesome care-packages in the mail, which include trophies, a pillow case, a t-shirt, as well as some things that will help her cope and grieve. It is completely free and does not take a lot of time- all you have to do is fill out this form If you want to learn more about the organization you can visit They even have something called “The Sib Spot” on their website that Linley can visit for age-appropriate games and activities.
    I hope this information meets you as an answer to your prayers. The college girls in my small group and I truly admire you and your all-powerful relationship with the Lord. Prayers to you and your family.

    Hilary Hayes