The Macs » Blog

reaching eleven months & three days

I’m sitting in the car right now (actually it was yesterday) jotting down random thoughts, trying to think how in the world I can explain in a coherent way what has been going on in my heart the past few weeks. It all started Thursday. Well actually…I think it started about seventeen days before Thursday. The seventeen days prior to Thursday, Griffin reached the time frame when we found out about Cora’s cancer, started our stay in the hospital, began the battle for our daughter’s life, prayed more fervently than we ever had before, and said goodbye to our eleven month and three days old baby girl.

Thursday, Griffin reached that eleven month and three days milestone. Not a typical milestone, but one that is definitive for us. The past few weeks my heart has been heavy. And in many ways I’ve felt stuck in a “sorrow slump”. I remember grieving as Levi reached this eleven month and three days milestone…but it was different. With Levi I was grieving my oldest not being the oldest anymore. I was grieving the “what should have been”. All of a sudden Levi started hitting the milestones that we never got to experience with Cora.

Reaching this milestone for the second time has been different. The past few weeks I have been reliving the pain of finding out my baby girl had cancer and having to say goodbye when I should have been watching her as a growing eleven month old just like Griffin. I’ve had to force myself to not dwell on how horrible it would be to lose Griffin right now…just like when we lost Cora. I’ve found myself wanting to hold him close. I don’t know if it is because Griffin looks so much like his sissy…and even acts like her sometimes too? The reminders are much more real and I have felt like the past few weeks I’ve been reliving those seventeen days in the hospital with my baby girl…feeling the pain rush in all over again. I probably could go on analyzing how I am feeling and why, but the reality is that it is just grief…it is what it is.

Thursday, as Griffin reached the eleven month and three days milestone, Joel and I also left on a little ten year anniversary getaway. Good planning on our part…I know. It was the first time we have left Griffin overnight and the first time we have been away from the boys for that long (three nights). I was having a really hard time leaving them. An emotional wreck? Ummm…yes. It is probably a good thing that Joel ended up getting delayed at work and the boys left before he got home and we had to leave. I reluctantly said goodbye to my boys and ran back into the house and had a good, long cry. Sometimes you just need to have a good cry.

It is times like this along my grief journey, as I feel myself wanting to stay stuck in my sorrow, that I have to remind myself again of who my Jesus is.

Who is my Jesus?

I know that He is the answer to my deepest needs, but sometimes I just need another reminder.

I recently heard an arrangement of Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners by Ginger Millerman at a women’s conference. (And just as a side note, her new Hymns CD is so good!) The words have been playing over and over in my head ever since. Not a coinsidence, I know. But words that my loving Heavenly Father knew that I needed to be reminded of during those seventeen days.

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!

Jesus! Lover of my soul;

Friends may fail me, foes assail me,

He, my Savior, makes me whole.

. . . . .

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!

Let me hide myself in Him.

Tempted tried, and sometimes failing, 

He, my Strength, my victory wins.

. . . . .

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!

While the billows over me roll,

Even when my heart is breaking,

He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

. . . . .

Jesus! I do now adore Him,

More than all in Him I find.

He hath granted me forgiveness,

I am His and He is mine.

  . . . . .

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hallelujah! What a Friend!

Saving, helping, keeping, loving,

He is with me to the end.

The third verse is what really stuck out to me as I’ve felt weighted by sorrow the past few weeks. Who is my Jesus? He is my Help…even when the billows are rolling over me…even when my heart is breaking. Who is my Jesus? My Comfort, the One who helps my soul. I love the end of the first verse too. He, my Savior, makes me whole. A mama who has a hole in her heart, needs a Savior who can make her whole. And the reality is that we all need a Savior who can make us whole. Who is my Jesus? My Savior, the One who makes me whole.

So we went on our little anniversary trip to Dallas. It was hard to leave the boys but it was such a refreshing trip. One that Joel and I needed in a bad way. We talked for hours uninterrupted, ate lots of yummy food (also uninterrupted), slept in, shopped, and just hung out together. And I am not going to lie…sleeping through the night for three nights in a row was AWESOME!! I’m so thankful that we went even though it was hard. I’m thankful for a husband who understands my messes of emotions. I’m thankful for the two little boys that I got to come home to last night. And I am thankful that they both have passed that eleven month and three day milestone. Their lives are a gift…and each day that I get to spend as their mama is a gift as well.

Even today as I finished up these thoughts I jotted down on our drive and continued to sort through all the emotions that come with having a “hole” from losing your child, I just kept hearing those words…

He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Whatever holes you are facing in you life this week, I pray that you can rest in the wholeness of a relationship with our loving Savior. That is something to rejoice in today! And if you don’t have a relationship with this Savior I am talking about, I pray that the Lord would impress upon your heart the wholeness that can be found in Him alone. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  • Danielle H. - Ah, man! You were in my neck of the woods! Unless there’s a Dallas in Kansas, too! I am always surprised when people tell me they came to Dallas on vaca. I guess I take for granted how cool the city is! Hope you had fun & you picked a great weekend as far as the weather was concerned! I pray for the healing of your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Anne - Beautiful post, Jess. Thank you, as always, for sharing your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea @ Mama in the City - I love how you wrote this post and I feel like I could totally feel your sorrow. I’m glad you were able to have a reprieve and enjoy some time with your husband out and about on a little excursion. That time together can be so healing! Hey, even getting enough sleep can be too!ReplyCancel

  • Leah S. - Thanks for sharing this, Jess. I love that our Savior cares so much to speak to us in languages our hearts understand, and provides comfort and joy, even in the midst of grief.ReplyCancel

  • flowerpowermomma - so sorry for you grieving heart, but very thankful you love the heart healer. My heart has been on the tender side of life lately too as I mourn my sweet mom. And like you,God speaks through music… Often to me. Sending you hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Jeri - Thanks for your post. You always have the most comforting words. I haven’t lost a child but I have lost the child I thought I was going to have. See my daugther has down syndrome and it was a total shock and something I wasn’t prepared for. I went through a grieving period and on some level am still going through one. I don’t cry everyday now but something will happen and I end up having to go through all of the emotions again. My daugther is 6 and you would think I would be over it but I’m not. I was rather close with God before my daugther was born and then I got mad at Him and pulled away. I am trying to find my way back to Him. I still have angry issues towards Him and just lack of understanding but I guess that would be were faith comes in. Thanks for always saying just the right thing to touch me. May peace fill your soul.ReplyCancel

  • tara - i just cannot imagine.

    me and dustin will celebrate ten years this december in dallas, too … and i cannot wait! :]ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - Praying…for your sweet boys, your sweet family, and your ever-sharing and giving heart…and remembering Cora every time I wear her beautiful flower!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - Beautiful post — I’m so happy that you can dig down and understand where your emotions are coming from. That takes such strength. And to type them out and share them with us takes even more strength! Praying for your heart, and this post came at a great time for me as I try to fill a hole in my own as well.

    God bless.ReplyCancel

  • creole wisdom - Such a beautiful and faith-filled post. Sure love you Jess and I’m keeping you in my prayers. I am glad you got to enjoy some time with Joel and three nights of sleep, you deserve it.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel B. - Yay for time away with your husband. Praying for God’s continued peace. He is so good!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - Thank you. This was a very great and very timely reminder for me. He IS what makes us whole.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - Even though my loss is not the same as yours I often feel alone on my grief journey. Thank you for being brave in posting your feelings. It makes me feel comforted that others feel the same.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie Martini - Jess, thinking of you. As always, thank you for sharing your family with us. You are such a special person!ReplyCancel

  • Erin C - I am an avid reader of your blog, but I have never left a comment. You are an inspiration to many with the trials you have overcome. I too lost a daughter. She was 12 hours old when she passed away. I now have an 8 month old son, and he is the light of my life. But I understand all too well about the feelings of not getting to experience events with your daughter that you watch your sons do. It is painful and unfair. But I also know that if we trust and believe in the Lord we will all be reunited one day. Thank you for sharing your beliefs and lessons learned with so many. Funny that you posted about going on a trip away from your boys with just your husband and how you were sad to leave the kids. My hubby and I are going on vacation soon without my little one and I’m having a hard time leaving him for the first time. But I’m glad to see that you actually had a good time and thought it was worth it. I know the same will happen for us…it’s just saying goodbye that’s hard! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jane - I just love your blog. I truly do. I love the sweet photos of your children and all your wonderful insight on the love we receive as His children. “Friend” is such an easy word to throw around, but to know that WE are the FRIEND to HIM! I’ve can’t pretend to feel what you have felt or experienced, but I will continue to pray for your family. You are truly an example of His love. 🙂

    And I’m sorry if this comes across as creepy!! I promise I won’t show up in your kitchen and boil a bunny a la Fatal Attraction….wait, you may be too young to even remember that movie!! Now I am going to go and cry because I am so old. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jody - I was thinking about your post when I went to bed last night. It got me thinking about how much I really do this each December. We’re coming up on 13 years and I am sure that I will relive that last weekend with my dad again. The worst years are those that fall on the same days of the week as when we lost him. That whole first year I hated Mondays.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann - I always enjoy reading about your love and faith in Jesus. May He continue to watch over your darling family and bless you in ways you never expected. You’re an amazing person.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - So important to just keep trusting Him through each day. Thank you for continuing to share with us. I know it strengthens many.

    Yea for Dallas! Lots of happy single and newlywed memories there. If you go back and want restaurant recommendations or anything, let me know! KellyReplyCancel