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.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grieving Can Be Messy

Shortly after Bennett's passing, our 3-year-old Ashton replaced his playtime with his brother with playing with his cars in my plants. Though it wouldn't have been MY first choice of "therapy", it has worked. He finds joy in getting his hands dirty and - though it can cause a mess on my carpet and couch - it is worth the clean up for now.

Bennett's passing has been our family's first experience dealing of profound loss. In 2008, my husband lost a brother to cancer and my grandfather passed away, but both situations we could see coming from a distance. In their cases, Death was a friend, releasing them from the prisons of their sick and weakened bodies. Yes, we missed them and Yes, no one will take their place but we acknowledged that our prayers were answered. They were no longer in pain and they felt peace.

Bennett's passing was of a different variety. He was 100% healthy - rarely getting sick - and then was gone. No labored breathing, no lethargicness, no discoloration, no incoherent behavior. And in oh-so-many ways, that was a blessing. We had him 100% for 19 3/4 months. Every. Single. Second. And yet, his death side swiped us in a way I can't even put into words. To say it rocked our world would be the understatement of the century. And yet miraculously, it has not made me question my faith. Not for a minute. But it HAS brought up questions regarding my faith and our family's healing. What more can I do to bring a feeling of Peace in our Home? What changes do I need to make in my life to be worthy of seeing Bennett again? How can I best meet the needs of my children who - in their own ways - are reeling from the loss of their brother? When do I let things slide and when do I follow up with natural consequences when my children are acting out? So many questions, still finding answers.

What I HAVE found is that grieving can be messy. It doesn't follow a timeline and it happens differently with everyone. While my toddler has struggled from the get go and has digressed in many ways, my older girls have been more resilient and open with their grief. And yet, in the last week, there have been changes in one child that I don't know how to handle. I am learning that Grief is not a destination but a road. A long road that we will continue to walk for the rest of our lives. Our family needs to find constructive and healthy ways to deal with these big feelings we are feeling. Feelings that - at times - seem bigger than ourselves. And yet, as we learn how to deal with them appropriately, we can progress down our pathway of healing.

I have also learned that Grief and Mourning are work. Hard work. And can be very exhausting. While wading through its strong current, we have found it important so simplify our lives in any way possible. Taking a few months off from a church responsibility, postponing dance lessons until this summer or fall, canceling harp lessons for a time, picking our social situations carefully and not letting ourselves feel obligated or pressured to do anything. Our focus is Healing. End of sentence.

However, that can be easier said than done. Many people give you a month or so to grieve and then - after a time - expect you to be 100% back. "Are you feeling better now?" some have asked. "Do you feel like you are over it?" Over it? How can I be OVER it? Do you EVER get over people you love? Do you outgrow your need or your love for your children? NO! We are learning how to go forward. How to continue to find Joy, Happiness and Laughter without Bennett. And - at times - that is hard. Really hard. In fact, as time has passed, the reality of our sitution is beginning to sink in. This IS real. This IS our new life. And this ISN'T going away.


And yet, he IS with us. We feel him. No, it's not the same as holding his sweet little body in our arms or seeing him shuffle across the kitchen floor with the broom, trying to sweep it for Mommy. But - for now - it will have to do. And we're holding on to the promise of eternal families to fulfill the rest.

So, for now, we'll laugh, we'll cry, we'll remember, we'll play, we'll talk, we'll walk, we'll cuddle, we'll find the help we need and we'll dream of the day when we'll all be reunited again, knowing that it WILL happen. It will.

And Healing will come with time. Messy or not.


  1. You have me in tears again! Your hubby and children are so blessed to have such a woman of faith at the heart of their home. I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talk "Of Things That Matter Most" from conference. Glad you are "forgoing some good things" to leave room for more important--like healing. We are still praying for you!
    Love Jenny B.

  2. Families are forever! We are blessed with that knowledge! We ever pray for you and your family!

  3. Hi, this is the first post I've read and now I'm crying. I'm going to go and hug my babies. Thank you for sharing your story and your testimony.

  4. Amanda, I am also an "Angel mom". I clicked on your blog from the post you left on the Angel blog. Maybe I should have responded there, but your post here hit home so I thought I would comment here. After our daughter passed away we had such behavioral issues with my son(5). I didn't want to send him to time-out if he was just needing some love and reassurance. I struggled for a while with that and then we started to see a grief therapist. That was the best thing we could have done to help our children with their grief. If you and your husband are able to work through it, then you will be able to help your children work through it also. I will tell you that what we learned from the therapist is that if the children are doing things that you would normally punish them for, then you need to keep that consistent and punish them. Otherwise the children will get confused.

    Also, don't feel guilty for taking time away from things. We definitely realized that family is more important than all the extra things that usually keep us busy. For me even the smallest of tasks was overwhelming at first. That will eventually start to get better. Anyway, I could go on and on. I am sorry that you had to join our group, but I am glad that we can be here for you. My love and prayers to you and your family.

    Love, Melica (Hailey's mom)

  5. I am so sorry you are going through this! Thank you for sharing your testimony of our Savior and the Plan of Salvation. You are truly the example I need right now! I pray that our Heavenly Father will continue to bless you and your family with peace and comfort.-Stephanie

  6. church counseling is wonderful. talk to them if you don't know how to help your children. i had to take my daughter over an issue and we found out things even she didn't know. very beneficial and based on gospel principles.


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