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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Line

I've always thought that the Line between Love and Hate was a very thin one. One that can be easily traversed and reversed. How many of us have had relationships with neighbors, friends or family sour after an experience or series of events? What once was sweet and savory quickly becomes rotten and rank. It's a tragedy, really. But part of the human experience. One learns the lesson that relationships - like all things - are fragile and require continual maintenance. Kindness, thoughtfulness, love and understanding must always be in order. And when it is not, forgiveness is necessary. How much better would the world be if we all lived these precepts?

Along our Path of Grief, I am learning the same is true of the feelings of extreme sorrow. In an instant, sorrow can quickly turn to frustration and/or anger. I've experienced it repeatedly recently. Case in point: Ashton can't wrap his 3 year old mind around the fact that Bennett is g o n e. Our original explanation of "He lives with Heavenly Father now" has worn off and he. wants. answers. None of this bull crap beat-around-the-bush stuff anymore (sorry for the strong language, but that's where it's at). So at least five times a day (sometimes less, sometimes much more), he queries when Bennett will be home to play with his Ashton. The first few times, it just breaks my heart. I want to take his heartache and loneliness away. I want to put all the pain of the situation on myself and protect my children from the consequences of this unexpected life change for our family. But as the painfully innocent questions continue throughout the day, I find myself fighting frustration and anger and ranting within myself. I've already TOLD you FIVE TIMES today, son! What else do you want me to say? HE'S NOT. COMING. BACK. Not in an hour, not in a day, not in a month, not in a year, not in YOUR LIFE! He's GONE! Now quit asking me all these questions because I don't HAVE the answers!!! All I know is He's gone. He's gone. He's gone.

Just writing those words makes me cry. Cry at the reality of our situation. Cry at the things our family is having to deal with. And cry that I'm not more patient and understanding with the stages of Grief. Grief is a butt kicker, I'll tell ya. I've always prided myself in being a self sufficient, independent and not-overly-weepy woman but this is s o m e t h i n ' e l s e. I'll be changed forever, that's for sure. And I hope - in the long run - that will be a good thing.

Last weekend, a woman told me that it must be nice to finally (think 3 months since Bennett's death) be at the unemotional part of our grieving. I looked at her as if she had horns growing from her head. What. The. Heck. I told her that she could not understand how wrong that analysis was unless she had experienced profound loss herself. It is not easier. Indeed, it is more difficult. The post traumatic issues are starting to hit. The realities are sinking in and the finality (as in "for the rest of our lives") is breathtaking, in the most literal sense. I ended the conversation by walking away (it got worse as she claimed to know "exactly how I feel" after once having a miscarriage) and wondering how - in her head - she thought in ANY way that her comments would be seen as compassionate, tasteful or comforting. I guess that's another lesson to learn, though. Learning the art of "comforting those that stand in need of comfort." Add that to my "To Be" List.

So - as you can see - I am an incredibly flawed individual. My emotions are currently very close to the surface and the Line between Good and Hard is very thin. I know that I have a Great Advocate and Advisor in my Savior. And I trust that He will be by my side as I figure this all out. It will be a journey, that's for sure. But knowing that is half the battle.

And we will win. We. Will. Win.


  1. I can only imagine how difficult that must be for you and can understand both wanting to comfort his loss and the frustration that accompanies it. Poor Ashton! How do you wrap a 3-year-old mind around that?! I struggle to wrap my own around it. That photo of him really seems to capture a lot.

    I never cease to be amazed at some of the "comforting" messages you have to deal with. You are a better woman than I. I think my strong language would be a lot stronger...and I don't know that I could just walk away.

    I do not see that you are flawed. I see that you are human and real. If you weren't feeling these things or having these thoughts, then I might think you were a little flawed. I'm not even in the unemotional part and I am so far removed from the whole scenario. I weep at almost every post of yours and you honestly still cross my mind DAILY. I think you are winning every day!

    Hugs to you and little Ashton today!

  2. You are NOT flawed. You are normal. I would worry about you if you were at this point, pretending everything was great, and failing to get angry, and only using your rose-colored glasses to see the road ahead. We must have faith and hope, but what many do not understand is that those can coexist with frustration and sorrow. This is a long-haul kind of deal. I'm sorry you are here. But for what it's worth, I am one person who expects and allows you to be fully-in-the-middle of the emotional part of your grief.

  3. I'm pretty sure if I were in your shoes I would never be past the emotional part!!! I'm still emotional for you and your posts always bring tears to my eyes. I love you guys so much!!!

  4. dear amanda, my heart aches for your family. i cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. and i absolutely do not see you as flawed. i see you as loving and grieving and caring for your sweet family during a very emotional time. i don't think that anyone - even someone who has been through the loss of a child - can know exactly what you feel and think. you are such a loving and good mother and have been such an example to me over the years of a compassionate and wonderful woman, and the kind of mother that i hope to be one day. i am so sorry that it is hard with ashton, and i am sure it is just harder because you don't know the answers. i wish that i could hug you through the computer :) i know (and i know that you know) that our loving Savior is walking with you through this. be kind to yourself, amanda. grief has so many different faces and feelings and it is ok to go through them all. much love, megan disanza

  5. Oh sweet Mandy I just cried and cried reading about your sweet Ashton trying to process the loss of his brother. How hard for you to have to face that with him over and over all day everyday. I hope you know that you and your family are in my prayers daily. I have not forgotten you and your precious loved ones. I see your sweet hubby in the hall with Ashton on Sunday's and I always choke up because I hate not seeing Bennett with them. I am frequently appalled at some of the things people will say to someone going through a trial. I learned long ago it is NEVER a good idea to compare grief, everyone's is different. Even people who suffer the same loss will have profoundly different experiences. It is so much better to listen and offer service and love that to offer "advice". Someday I will have to tell you about a "sweet sister" who spent some time telling me how she knew EXACTLY how I felt once when I was grieving. I am not a violent person but she is lucky she didn't get punched in the face. Love you!

    P.S. Bri, Heather and I thought it would be fun to have a little Kenya 2000 reunion sometime and share laughs and memories.

  6. Love, love, love you! Hug, hug, hug!

  7. Mandy, you have such a beautiful heart...makes me so sad to think that it is hurting so much (more than I can even imagine). And I can only imagine how hard it would be to see your sweet child struggle and yearn for his little brother who is not coming back in this life...and your feelings of frustration are absolutely legitimate! Keep doing what you're doing...going to the Lord for strength. You are a mighty woman. I'm lucky to have you as a sister.

    prayers for you and the fam.
    lots of hugs.
    and more prayers.
    love you!

  8. Wow! Losing a child on yoour own would be hard enough, but having to help the rest of your kiddoes through it must be that much harder. YOu are an amazing woman!

  9. Amen to all that Rach said. I cannot believe that someone could be so insensitive. It is shocking to hear what people say. I've had some pretty brutal things said to me lately, but nothing comes close to that. Loves to you!

  10. It is hard to imagine what grief feels like to a 3 year old - and even though it doesn't feel the same as a 34 year old, I can only imagine that it's on a different plane than grief of adults who can comprehend, who can express, who can connect. To all your children, this loss must be devastating - like your own loss, and yet so very different.

  11. Three is such an inquisitive age anyways, but to have such painful questions pierce an already shattered heart so often must be wrenching...Wish we could do anything to ease the pain for you or your sweet family! Our prayers continue...
    Love Jenny B.

  12. Thank you for the honesty -- complete with sorrow and anger -- that is in this post. By sharing it, you've allowed me who has never experienced the death of a child empathize in a way that I couldn't before. You are giving a gift to people with your writing -- both to those who have lost a child, and those who only want to love somebody who has. My thoughts are with you.

  13. I thought of you this morning while I was driving and the song 'The Climb' by Miley Cyrus came on the radio. I love the message in that song & I thought of this post and the struggles you are experiencing with everything that is surrounding your life with the loss of Bennett. I know how much you love music and singing - and thought how wonderful music can be to help us through different emotions. I hope you have a collection of your favorites that you can put on to dance, weep, smile, hope and cry to - on your own and perhaps as a family. Hurting and healing is so different to all of us...however music seems to speak to all our hearts and one song can deliver just the right message to every person that listens to it. I hope it might be something that finding a song(s) could bring even a moment of relief to your spirit that hurts. And as I listened to this particular song this morning, I thought of you as it would sing out 'keep the faith' as that is what you are showing to all of us...it is hard, you do hurt and there aren't always answers to any of this...but your faith is strong girl, and it is such an example to us all.

    On another note (hmmm...I was just talking music right?!) - I've had this on my mind the last few days which means I need to share it with you...although perhaps you already know about it, but just going on a prompting so bear with me. A friend of mine has worked in Family Therapy since I knew her back in VA. She now lives in Layton and a few years ago I was asking her a question about something one of our little ones was going through. She told me about play therapy and what it can do for children as they are sorting out thoughts, feelings and coming to an understanding of something that is bigger than they are. If you want I can send you her info., or I'm sure you could ask through Family Services in your area if you think it could be something for your Ashton. As I said, you may have already looked into something like this, but knowing that your little guy and you are having a particular hard time with this, made my heart just swell for you both. I hope that you will receive the answer you need to help your sweet little man.

    Huge hugs to you.

  14. heavy pains. ugh and double ugh.
    oh i love you and your little ones.

    have you ever read These Is My Words? There is a part in there about a mother's grief regarding the loss of a child. I will type it up when I have the book in my hands.

  15. This is Ariane.....using my husbands computer. I cried reading this post. I can only imagine how hard and frustrating it must be for you to have to explain it to Ashton again and again....and to struggle between wanting to comfort him and wanting to just never have to answer those questions again. I simply can't imagine and I wish I could take away your pain. Im so sorry for those insensitive comments you have to endure as well....whether they are critical in nature, or just dumb comments that werent thought out. I imagine you'll never be over the grief part. For crying out loud I still cry big sobs about my DOG that died in HIGHSCHOOL! And it's a dog! A silly dog!!! Can't imagine if it were my child. When you love sonmeone, you never stop being sad that they are gone. I'm so sorry that you are going through all these excruciating experiences. I know it gets even harder when like you said it starts to become real and perminent. Please know you are always in my prayers and thoughts.


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