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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Things are hard right now. Really, really hard. And I'm not just referring to the loss of our son. Yes, that is our deepest and most poignant loss. But it seems that 2011 has delivered our family heartache after heartache. And in the last couple of weeks, I have begun to question how much more I can take.

Tonight - after some additional news that caused hurt and frustration - I ran away. I jumped in the car and drove. For hours. I didn't have a destination, I was just trying to run. Run from the heartache, run from the uncertainty, run from the hurt and run from the unknown. The problem? There was no place to drive that far.

When darkness came, I decided to turn Homeward. As I walked into our rental, I was greeted by my three year old calling my name as he threw his arms around my legs. Truthfully, I was annoyed that he was not already in bed (it was after 10 o'clock). So I instructed him to get in his bed and promised that I would come tuck him in after I took a hot shower. He complied.

Under the hot, pounding water, seconds turned into minutes and the minutes multiplied quickly. In my mental anguish, I forgot my promise. I readied for bed, thinking only of the weight of the decisions we have ahead. Was God aware of us? Did He know of our suffering? How could He forsake us in our darkest hour? I felt so alone.

Then came a voice. A little, tender voice.

"Mama, can you come tuck me in and hug and kiss me?"

It was my little Ashton. I had forgot! Oh man. Just another bullet point to add to my "falling short" list.

I tiptoed down the hallway, careful to not wake the slumbering girls. On the bed I went, hair sopping wet and smelling heavily of shampoo and lavender soap. We cuddled and then sang Ashton's nightly song.

Then this spontaneous conversation ensued.

Ashton: Mom, I don't like Bennett with Jesus.
Me: I know, Ashton. I know.
(Could my heart possibly be more heavy?)
Ashton: Mom, I want Bennett to come back to our house.
(Silence. What to say? Haven't we covered this topic a million and one times?)
Ashton: Jesus likes trains and trucks. He is funny. Bennett comes to play with Jesus.
(Pause . . . WHAT?)
Me: He does?
Ashton: Yeah. Jesus is funny. He is very, very funny.

As quickly as the matter-of-fact comments came, the conversation shifted to his favorite truck of the day. I laid there dumbfounded. Did Ashton really just say what I think he said? Did he really just casually state that Jesus and Bennett came to play trucks and trains with him? He had mentioned visits from Bennett before. A handful of times. But this conversation was different. He stated everything so clearly and succinctly. As if I already knew. So curious. So, so curious.

And so I prepare to (hopefully) go to bed with this conversation on my mind. Do I still feel burdened with the weight of the world? Yes. But is Heavenly Father - in His own way - meeting needs that not even this Wife and Mama can see? Perhaps. It doesn't change our situation and it doesn't "fix" anything. But my little boy unknowingly gave me a Gift tonight.

The Gift of Hope.

Hope that it will get better. Hope that there is Light ahead of this awfully long tunnel. And Hope that it won't be another train.

And for now, that's enough.

It's enough.


  1. Mandy, I can't even begin to imagine all that you are going through and pray you'll have more little miracles to help you have the strength you need to endure. I had one of those days yesterday where it was one thing after another and your post helps me to put things back into perspective.

  2. I need to meet this little Ashton! What a treasure, Mandy. It just doesn't seem right for you to have to endure any more hurt and frustration. Glad you found a ray of hope at the end of your rough day. What a blessing that he stayed awake for you. Much love to you and yours!

  3. Thank you for sharing that story, I felt the spirit testify that it's true....thank you for sharing.

  4. What a precious moment. It is okay to feel the way you do, we all do at points in our lives. THe fact that you return home and turn to our Father in Heaven is what makes you strong and extraordinary!

  5. I love that story. You are such an inspiration to so many. I have a picture of Christ and a little boy laughing. Jesus' nose is crinkled from his laughing and I LOVE IT! It hangs in my front room. And that's how I like to picture them. Laughing together. I have many similar stories with both my boys. I'd love to meet you someday. If you are ever in my neck of the woods (Murray) call...we'll do lunch and cry and talk about our stories! loves to you girl!

  6. Dear Amanda,

    What a precious boy you have there. And it just goes to show what a tremendous Spirit you have in your home in order for a miracle like that to happen.

    My heart goes out to you with whatever trials you are now dealing with (as if you haven't had enough.) I want to tell you that there will always be a "calm after the storm," but frankly, I think this life is anything but calming and mostly storms. But in retrospect... I love storms. I love the sound. I love the wind. I love the smell of wet dirt. I don't always need to grasp the thought of a somewhat unrealistic calm and sunshine afterwards because then I am missing the gorgeous view of the lightening dance across the sky. Maybe this is so silly to view it that way, and perhaps simply out of self-preservation (which you know has been necessary in our life) but there are those moments when the first drop falls from the sky and you hear the thunder roaring...and aren't you just so darn grateful for it?

    You can get through this. I know you can.

  7. Enough can be a beginning. The trials will still come but you had a touch with divinity. Bless you and your heart and your soul that it may continue to have moments that you clearly see God's handwriting. I have started to read the book you mentioned a while ago called Divine Signatures. The stories remind me how Heavenly Father knows how strong your spirit it is. Best to you....

  8. Mandy,
    What can I do? What do you need? I feel so helpless to not be able to help someone that I love who is having such hard days. I love you?
    Please please let us know what you need... even if its just a night out.

  9. Thanks for the reminder Mandy & Ashton, this story at first surprises me but then not, overall it makes me feel grateful to know that God will always take care of us. Thank you for this sweet reminder.

  10. I feel a bit out of place being the only guy posting here on this story, but that's OK. Mandy we all wish we could spot you on this weight you are being asked to carry. But you know there is nothing we can say that will relieve you of your burden; it just hurts, and it's all right to cry, it's all right to drive at night with no destination, it's all right to ask God where the pavilion is that covers His hiding place... God WILL reveal His hand when we are ready; what a precious reminder your story is of His love. Thank you for sharing that very sacred story. We love you! Kev

  11. Have you read Heaven is Real? It's about a little boy having these types of conversations with his parents. I have it if you'd like to borrow it. I live in CV.
    Bless You.

  12. It's amazing how much God loves us. Many times I've thought I couldn't take anymore and then I'm blessed with an experience that gives me just enough to keep going. Hang in there. I can't imagine the year you've had. There are many, many hands helping you...seen and unseen, as Ashton so beautifully reminded you. You can do this!

  13. Hi, You don't know me. My sister-in-law actually gave me your blogspot a few weeks ago when I was struggling with many of the same feelings you just described. I too was feeling like I wasn't sure just how much more I could take before I was completely broken. I read the following quote in the Ensign and although it didn't totally give me warm fuzzies it did help me remember that Heavenly Father is aware of me and my needs. It also helped me find some purpose in the pain I was and still continue to feel. It reads..."Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple does applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels your are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion, which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain". -Elder Richard G. Scott.
    I am truly sorry for your heart breaking loss. I pray that you will feel sustained through this difficult time in your life. And I hope that this storm will quickly end and you will have peace and SUNSHINE once again.

  14. Dear friend, I put your names in the temple again yesterday...I know how precious you are in the sight of the Lord, and I hope you continue to be cheered onward by tender mercies and rays of hope! Our love and prayers continue with you!!
    Love Jenny B.

  15. Amanda...so sorry you have more and more hard things to deal with. I do wish I could help. I know you might feel that you are barely staying afloat, but from afar, I admire your strength and example. One day at a time, heck...one hour at a time. You are a rock hun...you can do this. We are praying for you and your fam.

  16. Thinking of you tonight, sweet friend. I look forward to our "date night" tomorrow night. You can always drive to my house to find a safe and loving place!! Any day and any hour. Our family continues to pray for you and your children. Bless you for still having "ears to hear" and "eyes to see" the sweet tender mercies. They are like rays of sunshine in the darkest of clouds. We love you dearly! ~Heather

  17. You don't know me, but we have quite a few mutual friends through SVU (one of them being my husband, Cameron)

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing such a sacred moment. What profound peace and comfort that must bring you. What a loving, kind Savior we have. I have a firm testimony that our Heavenly Father allows us to endure trials to mold us and refine us. He also knows that we have the potential to love and serve others as we continue on our journey and endure those trials well. I have no doubt that you will touch many people as you testify of the Plan of Salvation through your actions and words. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, but it warms my heart and gives me hope to see you turn it into an opportunity to share the Gospel. With my whole heart, thank you for sharing!


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