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.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Balm of Gilead

Today started like any other day. Girls up, bathed, dressed, breakfast, Ashton up, got in bath. But a simple conversation with my 3 year old changed it all.
A: Mom, when Bennett be back a soon?

Me: What Ashton?

A: When Bennett be back a soon?

(lump in throat, tears stinging my eyes realizing that he thinks Bennett is coming back to do their normal routine things again - like bath time - together.)

Me: Well, where do you think Bennett is?

A: Bennett be back a soon for awhile. He come to play with his Ashy.

I called David in the bathroom, repeated what Ashton had just said, and we both broke down and wept. These are the hardest moments. How do you explain to your 3 year old that his best friend and brother whom he shared EVERY MOMENT of the day with is not coming back? How does he wrap his head around that when his parents scarcely can? I just wish I had a big, huge bandaid that I could wrap around his heart to make everything feel better. Maybe then he wouldn't feel so lonely. Maybe then he'd have a best friend. Maybe then there wouldn't be this gaping hole in his life.

But there IS one who knows how to heal ALL wounds. Wounds of every variety. "Owies" that this mommy can't fix no matter how much she longs to make things better. An African Spiritual hymn speaks of this truth:

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the [heart] sick soul.

I know there IS a balm. And I know that I, a grieving mother who am trying to walk my family down this path of healing, cannot do this alone. I cannot do this alone. The Lord has been kind in showing me a challenge that has rocked me to the core. One I can't "tough out" or "get through" with simple will power and determination. In order for our family to be where we want to be (with Bennett), we need to experience the healing power of our Savior Jesus Christ. We MUST do this with Him. We need Him to bear our griefs and burdens that seem - at times - too much to bear. And we need our children to see their Mommy and Daddy on their knees, pleading their case to a kind and loving Heavenly Father. THAT is how our family will get through this. THAT is how Emma, Gracelyn and Ashton will heal and THAT is how this Mommy will be given the strength she needs to go on. It IS possible. The Lord HAS provided a way and we are NOT alone.

And - for now - that's all this Mommy needs to know.


  1. Amanda, you touched me to my core. I am amazed at your strength; the beauty and power of your thougths. A friend once told me that the Savior came to take away not only the pain of our sins, but our physical and emotional pain as well. Your words are another testiment of this. You have helped heal my soul of its concern for you and your family. I have a feeling you will be a soulful blanket of warmth for those suffering similar pain; a conduit for the Light of Christ; perhaps more importantly, you will provide a safe retreat for those who need to shed their tears. What a tender way to honor Bennett.

  2. Mandy, I read this and immediately said a prayer for you & Dave...you two have quite the mission: to be a strength for each other AND for your sweet kids. (my heart breaks for that little Ashton of yours) Your balance of strength and humility inspires me. And when I think about you & Dave "pleading your case" to our Heavenly Father (who only wants best for us) it is nothing less than purely beautiful. love you sis

    And again, your thoughtful never ceases to amaze me!! Thank you for that wonderful winter coat for our little Brooks :)

  3. I love that Ashton remembers. Have you thought to audio record your children's memories of Bennett - randomly the good and the sad?

  4. you amaze me. I don't know what else to say, except you are in my thoughts and prayers

  5. My heart just aches reading this but so empowered by your strength. The member of Bennett will be alive forever, especially through his best friend Ashton.

  6. Oh, what a sweetheart! I remember a time that I had to sit down with my boys and tell them that Heavenly Father may need their sister more than we do. I was amazed at his response "Mom, you need to have faith. Just like you told the doctors you need to believe".Then he just walked away. He was very young at that time and I remember the maturity and peace he had through everything. I dont doubt that he had a glimpse of the bigger plan. We had some other amazing experiances with him that testified to us that Heavenly Father was guiding him & his brother through this journey as well. Rememeber that Heavenly Father will never forget your little children. He will bless them, give them the peace and knowledge for those things he feels they need. Its not always an immediate fix but its a fix that will testify to them and carry them through the rest of their life. In the most heartwrenching , beautiful way it will be perfect for them.

    With Hope, Faith and Love,

  7. This brought tears to my eyes. It is things like this, and people like you, that remind me of my Savior's love and help to strengthen my testimony. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ~Katie from katiemariemoments.blogspot.com~

  8. This brought tears to my eyes and mandy, your faith really is to the core!! You live your testimony of the Savior. Thanks for sharing.

  9. May God continue to bless your family. These first months are so hard. I, too, have had similar conversations with my children about their brother.

    I made a photo book with blurbs of text about my son in the first few months after his death (Sept. '08) and got it printed for Christmas. Those memories are almost the only ones we have left of him. We were reading the book a week or two ago and I was amazed at how much we've forgotten about him. It's like we've just latched on to a few memories and the rest faded. I am so grateful for the written memories of him that I have. Even stupid ones I put down in a memory book about watching him watch a squirrel in the front yard.

    It's not easy being rocked to your core. Keep hanging in there.


  10. Mandy, I am so sorry for your lose. This is Meg (Reed and Mary Ellen's) daughter. I heard a phrase once, that is so simple but so true. "Faith is what remains, when the miracle doesn't happen". Your blog has definitely increased my testimony. Thank you for sharing...You have an amazing family! All our love!!

  11. Mandy first of all I would like to thank you for sharing your story. Though I have not lost a child your story of faith gives me strength to know that one day I will be able to get back to my Heavenly Father one day. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to wrap my head around how it must feel. You are an amazing woman and your faith is an inspiration.

  12. TEARS!!!!
    I am soo sooo sorry for the loss of your sweet baby Bennett. What a beauitful little boy! I had my sweet baby boy Harrison over 2 years ago at 21 weeks. He was not big enough to survive but we did get a few precious hours to love, kiss, and hold him. I can not imagine losing a child I've heard cry, say, "mama", and play with my other children. I pray for peace and comfort to come to your family. I too believe families can be together forever and thank you for your story. It is what helped me heal the most from losing Harry. I pray for your comfort and peace.

  13. The picture below of your babies is so special. They are all so stunning.

    Your blog is beautiful. I'm not good with words in regards to a response to a story like yours.

    I will say...

    I have a friend who I am getting to know who lost a baby at 2 mos a couple years back and when I'm with her, I am in amazement and awe of her and her husband. They have found a way to live full, healthy, happy lives despite their loss. I can only imagine, your friends and family feel the same of you.

    I wish you and yours more sunny days than not.
    Keep telling your story you never know what it might mean to someone else.

  14. Mandy, you are wonderful!
    With love,
    Jen (Webb) Kotter

  15. My heart aches for your family's loss. I am literally crying and wish I had hug my 15-month old a little tighter and just a little longer before I put him to bed tonight.

    I will pray for your family and I am very thankful of your faithfulness in the Lord regardless of the circumstances. God bless!

  16. I am so sorry for your loss. Your sweet family will be in my prayers. Thank your for sharing your testimony of this wonderful gospel. Your children are very blessed to have such an amazing mother.

  17. Thank you for sharing your heart here. I really appreciate you and love you so much. It's pretty amazing how the love of family can reach across the world. You and your family are in my prayers. I love you, Synthia

  18. Mandy, I love, love, love your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. There is a beautiful song that has gotten me through some real hard experiences...especially when I wanted to know "WHY?" It's called "You Know Better Than I". You probably know it. I can't seem to link it, but there is a beautiful clip from the movie, "Joseph, King of Dreams" on You Tube. (Jessie Clark Funk, LDS singer, has a CD out now where she sings this song. She had a stillborn little girl a few years ago and has written 2 songs about her loss on a different CD.) I love you and am praying for your family.
    Auntie Laura

  19. Thanks for continuing to share your testimony and tender moments! We love and pray for you so much and know, too, that Christ can heal!
    Love Jenny

  20. this brought tears to my eyes as it did most.

    thanks for your example of faith and trust as always...


  21. My heart breaks for you and your family's broken hearts. Friends of ours, also missionaries in Haiti, lost their 4 year old daughter last month to cancer. Their blog may provide a connection for your families. Here it is and I am happy you are blogging your journey - it will reach people in God Glorifying Ways

  22. I dont know what to say other than your story has touched my heart after reading it I walked into my children's room and kissed them. I am grateful for our gospel (lds) and the knowledge that we will be together with our love ones someday.

    Thank you for your sweet spirit.

  23. My heart just aches for you and your family. Your strength and faith inspire me. My thoughts and prayers are will all of you.

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet thoughts! Your amazing, and I feel the Spirit through your writing! Even though my heart breaks for you, everytime I think of what your going through, I feel your strength, and the strength of our Heavenly Father with you! You truly are amazing, and your inspiring to all of us mothers! Thanks for your Testimony, It makes me want to be a better Wife and mother, and better yet, a daughter of Heavenly Father!

    ~McKehl Walker~

  25. "...a safe retreat for those who need to shed their tears." I couldn't have said this any better because that's exactly what this blog is for me. A month ago I first saw my baby on an ultrasound and in the next moment knew that I would never get to hold him. I feel like I was allotted the "normal" amount of time to heal and then it was back to regular life. I sometimes feel like old celebrity news; everyone's interested and concerned for a couple weeks and then it's just not cool to talk about anymore. I sometimes need permission to cry because that's the only way I know it really happened and that my pain is justified. My doctor's office didn't offer/refer me to any bereavement services and I can't find any groups for miscarriage in my area, but reading this will do just fine. I find when I read an entry I'm beginning to smile/happy cry at the things you say a bit more rather than just uncontrollable crying. While the things you're going through are very different, I feel connected to every bit of truth, pain, and joy you're writing about. Thank you.


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