I am a Sweetheart to One and a Mommy to Four Loveable Babes, one of which is smiling down on us from Heaven. I am learning to dance in the rain. Come with me on my journey as I make the most out of Life's mud puddles.

Put on your rain boots. Great adventure lies ahead.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Angel Lullaby

Like many, our family has developed a night time ritual. After family prayer, David typically reads to the girls (they are finishing the "Chronicles of Narnia" series) and tucks them in bed while I take care of the boys bedtime routine. Most of the time, that involves a story or two (mostly of the car variety) while cuddling. It also ALWAYS involves a song. For Bennett, it was "His Song" and with Ashton, it typically was "The Wheels On The Bus" (not the song that I would choose but - hey - it should be HIS choice, right?).

After Bennett's passing, our family was reeling with the consequences of our "new reality". Though all of my child are grieving differently, Ashton has had the most difficult time. I think that is partly due to his age (3), the fact that he and Bennett spent every moment of their lives together and that they are only 16 months apart. He doesn't know what life is like WITHOUT his brother. Thus the dramatic adjustment.

Immediately following Bennett's passing, Ashton would not enter their room. Not to play, not to nap, not to sleep. After a few weeks of having him sleep with David and I, we knew that this could not continue. NO ONE was getting any rest!!! So out with the old, in with the new. As the crib and toddler bed came down, a new twin bed went up. As the heavy navy comforters were packed away, fresh tailored bedding was introduced. And as Bennett's clothes were put in storage bins and his favorite things were lovingly laid in a hope chest, the car table was moved into the room for Ashton's entertainment. Though difficult, it was therapeutic for all to give the room a fresh new look. It helps us remember the good memories and forget the more traumatic ones. That's a blessing.

As we started creating our new routine, we wanted to balance old traditions with new ones that would include Bennett in a new way in our family. Here's what we came up with:

  • We still call our family to prayer with the song that would bring Bennett running and dancing to the ottoman. And - I am glad to say - we often remember his dances with smooth moves of our own. Smiling and laughing is always a good thing.

  • After we say our family prayer in the morning and evening, we immediately follow our "Amen" with blowing a kiss to Heaven, a token of our love for Bennett. And I believe he catches every one.

  • We also have continued to follow our family prayer with our family cheer, something that Bennett looked forward to every day. He loved feeling like part of "the team."

As time passed and Ashton got used to his "new room", we started creating a new bedtime routine, as well. I started singing him a song that has become his favorite while cuddling in bed at night. It is fittingly entitled "Angel Lullaby" (click title to hear song):

You came from a land where all is light
to a world half day and a world half night.
To guide you by day, you have my love,
To guard you by night, your friends above.

So sleep, sleep, till the darkness ends,
guarded by your [Bennett Friend].
So sleep, sleep, till the darkness ends,
guarded by your [Bennett Friend].

There's one stands softly by your bed
and another sits close with a hand on your head.
There's one at the window watching for the dawn,
and one waits to wake you when the night is gone.

Every night when I sing this lullaby to Ashton, he looks around the room and up at the ceiling. I pray he is able to feel the presence of his little buddy and that - at that tender time - he is able to feel a special outpouring of our Heavenly Father's Love. While Bennett is not with us for a time, he will be part of our family unit forever. And just because we cannot see him does not mean that he is still not actively involved in our family's events and activities. Is it the same as having him here? No way. But is this new arrangement part of Heavenly Father's plan for our family? We believe so. And as we cling to those beliefs and rely on a Loving Father who IS aware of us and blesses us with His Love and Mercy every day, we find the Hope, Strength and Faith to move forward. It doesn't get better than that.

And so tonight, I'll hold the little boy I have on Earth and sing him our "new song", praying that his brother is somehow able to listen in on this Mommy's lullaby. And that - for at least a few moments - it will be like he's in my arms again.
Good Night, my Angel Boy. Good night.


  1. I think I want to come join your family. :) I love that you blow kisses to heaven after family prayer. What a sweet, tender idea. What wonderful traditions you have in place with your family. Your children really are blessed to have you and David for parents.

    I am so grateful for this new blog. I told Kristian after Bennett's passing that I thought you would start a new blog or would get back to writing very soon. I'm so glad you have and did. I draw so much strength from you and enjoy reading each and every post. Thank you for adding sunshine to my life.

  2. I don't know you, but you inspire me. Your blog makes me cry and lifts me up. You are a strong woman, I wish I knew you, and you are strengthen others in ways you can't imagine. I am so sorry for you loss. It breaks my heart.

  3. Oh Amanda,

    This is so so beautiful.

  4. Thank you for sharing this sweet song! We loved it. You are so inspired in all you are doing with your children. And sharing it is inspiring so many others! Blowing kisses to your family here and above,

  5. Your posts are always so touching and wonderful. I too, wish I was part of your family with all your great traditions! Those will always be cherished, I'm sure. Thanks, Mandy, for being an inspiration to all of us!

  6. Just read your blog as a link from DesignMom and I'm crying so hard right now. I am so very sorry for your profound loss, and cannot even fathom the depth of your grief. I have 2 young sons, (1 and 3 years old) and when you tell stories of Bennett and Ashton, I can just picture mine also.... Thank you for your blog, it reminds me to hold my babies close and live in the moment. From what I've read, you've been the best parents Bennett could ever have--you have wonderful traditions such as family prayer time, and I'm sure he can still feel your love from your nightime lullaby for Ashton. My prayers are with you and your family.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing that very touching part of your family. It breaks my heart to know what your family is going through. It's hard enough when it's yourself but when you read of other families struggling with the same thing it saddens me so much to know that other hurt like I do. But it also strengthens me greatly to see that we can do this very hard thing and know that our Heavenly Father loves us and is helping us daily. We are a few months ahead of you in the greiving process and I think of you often. Thanks again your story has lifted my spirits today.
    Love Amy

  8. P.S. Your sweet story, testimony, and pics made a beautiful opening to my laurel's lesson on eternal families last Sunday. Thanks for letting me share it!

  9. Thanks for your encouraging words. I have often said that God allows our little ones to see us. Especially the good times.

    When I had a new baby he would often stare at nothing and smile smile smile. I truly believe God allowed the brothers to see each other. I refuse to let anyone burst my bubble on this one.

    God bless you as you continue to grieve and grow. My prayers are with you!

  10. This got me weepy. So sweet.

  11. I have no idea who you are, but I have cried like a baby as I read your story. My heart literally breaks for you and your family. I am sorry. I have 2 kids and will be adding another one in a month. This week they have put me in tears way more than I probably should have been. But tonight I will hug them a little tighter, thank you for opening my eyes. I hope and pray that Heavenly father continues to walk, and carry your family through all of this. I cannot imagine the pain, and I am sorry that it is your reality. If you don't mind I would like to continue following your journey. You can see I am not a crazy stocker by my blog.

  12. Love you sweet Amanda. I always love to read what you do with your family - you have a way of making traditions happen in such a beautiful and divine way - I truly believe this is a gift, and one that is not as well developed in my life. Thinking of you very often & offering prayers that you will be strengthened every moment you need.

    Thank you for strengthening all of us around you - what a wonderful example you are!

  13. I just found your blog through Roudy Stoudy. What an inspiration you are amist your trials for the rest of us. I am following you along.

  14. I love that song too. It is one of my favorites. One of our traditions was reading the book "I'll love you forever". My last daughter loved it and it was an every night tradition. We made up a tune to sing with the words. Kids are so amazing for the things they love. Traditions are one of the best gifts we can give them.

  15. Changing the rooms around was probably one of the hardest things that we had to do...but you are right, it was VERY therapeutic.

  16. Look at you- linking from Design Mom! You are going to touch so many lives during this journey. I am proud of you for sharing this with others and for being so real and genuine about your grief and the refining & heart-wrenching process it can be.

    That song is one of my favorite, favorite lullabies and I think putting Bennett into it is PERFECT. I love how your parenting is so thoughtful and purposeful. You inspire me.


  17. You're an incredible mother and wife! And most especially: example of Christ. I am so sorry for your loss! Your blog is so inspiring! I hope to be like you. Truly.
    I admire your strength - you and your family are in my prayers.

  18. i am sure it was so hard to put away bennet's things but so good for ashton to have a new reality and help him deal with things. so sad for him, he will always miss his brother!

  19. Oh Amanda- I sit here reading your blog....sobbing! My heart truely aches for you and your sweet, sweet family! I have thought about you and your family daily since hearing the news of little Bennet...I should have said something sooner but didn't have the words...I just wanted to let you know you have been in our prayers! You are an INCREDIBLE example of hope and faith and you truely make me want to be a better mom, wife and person!! I know you will touch so many lives by your testimony...it's such a beautiful thing! Nothin but love for your fam - Kresta Nalder Love

  20. Beautiful Amanda. I love what you did with the song and I truly believe that Sweet Ashton can feel of Bennetts love and spirit. (((hugs)))


Thank you for being a part of my journey. I appreciate your supportive and healing comments. Here's to a Promise of Sunshine!