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, October 13, 2011

Inseparably Connected

They say that "the spirit and body are the soul of man" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:15). I couldn't agree more. What affects one affects the other. They ARE inseparably connected.

There are only two times in my life when my body has gone into shock: 1) When I was eight months pregnant with our third child and was told that our three year old daughter was critically ill and might not make it, and 2) After Bennett passed away.

For those who have not experienced physical shock, it is interesting to find out just how your body responds. Some throw up, some scream, yell and throw things and others may faint. For me? My whole body went into convulsions.

After Bennett's death, bedtime seemed to be a trigger for me. Both when I went to bed at night and when I awoke in the morning. For a moment I would forget. Then I'd look across the hall into his empty crib.

Where was my baby? Why was his crib empty? Why wasn't he calling for me in the morning?

And then it would all come back to me. My body would begin to shake as my teeth chattered.

And then the sobs came.

All the trauma, emotion and shock would hit me like a crashing wave all over again. I was reminded what that empty crib meant to my heart and how that changed our family. And my sweet husband would just hold me until the shaking subsided.

The shaking stopped just in enough time for the investigation to begin. For nearly three months, there was an open investigation into Bennett's death. During that time, we were questioned while awaiting the test results conducted during Bennett's autopsy. When they DID come, we were told they found no physical reason for Bennett's death. I asked the State Medical examiner how often this happened. His answer? Less than 1% of the time.

Lucky us.

I thought the worst was over. Then one day, nearly three months after Bennett's passing, I received a knock at the door. It was the investigator assigned to our case.

"I just wanted to stop by and give you some good news."

Okay. Maybe they found the cause of death? Maybe they had found something amiss in our home (i.e. carbon monoxide)? I don't know . . . not a lot of good news in this situation.

"I just spoke with the County Prosecuting Attorney and he feels comfortable not press charges against you and your husband."

No words. No words.

Then the self talk.

Keep your mouth shut, Amanda. Keep your mouth shut. He means well and it won't change anything.

Now time has marched on. Nearly 9 months, in fact. SO many things have happened. Both related and unrelated to Bennett's death. But - in the end - it has ALL taken its toll.

A few weeks ago, I decided to see a Doctor. I wasn't feeling right. Something was just "off." So I made an appointment.

After a TON of blood work was drawn, the results came back. The circumstances had waged a war on my spirit and body. My soul was a wreck.

As my spirit suffered, my body responded. They were, indeed, connected. As shock and grief hit, hormones reacted, deficiencies resulted and body systems quit doing their job. What my doctor suggested? It was time to simplify and chill out.

Now, one thing that is DANG HARD for this lady is simplification. I love to give my children lots of building opportunities. I love to attend fun events. I love to say Yes. I love to help those I love. I love to serve in my church. And I love to write and maintain this little blog. But - for the sake of Myself and My Family - I needed to take care of Me.

So we made a list. What were the nonnegotiables? School. Family Scripture Study and Prayer. Family Dinners. Harp. Piano. Then date night, Family Home Evening, weekly church attendance . . . And - hey - we might as well finish up the soccer season. But that about sums it up. Everything else became Negotiable.

So we withdrew from tennis. We didn't sign up for dance this fall. I pushed the pause button on a new demanding church calling. We canceled a family group therapy session that would be taxing on our time, emotions and resources. And we are just Being. Can we remove all the stresses of life? Heck no! But in simplifying, we have made them manageable.

Because we all know that every life situation is an opportunity to learn, what have I learned from this experience?
  • I have learned that when Mommy suffers, the whole family suffers.
  • I have learned to take care of Myself like I take care of others.
  • I have learned that it's okay to say "Not right now."
  • I have learned that life can be very rich with very few things.
  • And I have learned that the most important things in life are not items listed on a calendar or to do list. They are relationships to be made, strengthened and cherished.

And that my Spirit and Body ARE Inseparably Connected.


  1. This is so true Amanda. I have been dealing with Anxiety over the past three years. Although I have not experienced losing a child (and hope I never have to go through that) I have been dealing with many physical symptoms due to emotional issues. I am still learning how to manage it and have been surprised to see how many other people have dealt with it. I have also had to simplify things and take care of those things that are most important. I always love your blog posts as they give me new perspective. Thanks and hang in there.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. It has really touched MY soul! You are an inspiration!

  3. Amanda, I have lots I want to say. I just read your last 4 posts all at once. First, I want to say I don't know you but I love you. I love your strength even when you don't feel strong. I love your faith and testimony. I love that you are willing to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. I love that your posts express the feelings of my heart. I love that you are taking this heartbreaking, life altering, experience and founding sunshine, that is not an easy task. I know both the dark, lonely, ugly side of grief and pain and also the beautiful moments of spiritual growth and heart warming tender mercies from the Lord. Thank you for sharing both.

    I would whole heartedly agree with your last post. This is a time to slow down and take care of you and your family. Life is SO busy. I'm glad you understand the need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. That is a lesson I am beginning to learn as well.

    God bless you as you enter this holiday season and experience so many more of those "this time last year's". My heart goes out to you. Amanda, I bet your little Bennett Boy will be with you more times than you know. But I believe you already know that.

    Lastly, I wanted to know if I could use a portion of your "the wagon sprint" post on my blog? I love the way you worded the story and it represents much of what I have been feeling lately.

    I hope you feel the love, thoughts, and prayers in your behalf and that in some way it helps to sustain you through this emotional process of healing.

  4. I love this, and it is so true. Simple is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. You're an inspiration to all!

  5. Amanda,
    I totally get most of that, although I can't imagine the heartache that came with being investigated on top of losing your child I do get the " lucky us" statement. I guess we're in that 1% too. I too sobbed several nights and sometimes still have moments when I can not be consoled, I just need to cry it out. And although my body seems to be working just fine, it is continually working on gaining weight (something I do not love,but don't feel like I have the energy to deal with). Mostly my depression went into full swing and I'm nervous to go off my anti- depressant for fear of not being the wife and mother I need to be.
    I love reading your thoughts so if you still find time to blog periodically I'll be so excited, but if that doesn't find it's way into your priorities I totally get it. Sometimes we need tox just sit back and hold on to those things that matter the very most and let everything else go.

    Love Amy

  6. Amanda, my heart hurts for you! Please take time for you! You are the most important person in that family right now! Let others do for you what you have done for so many! We love you! We want you to be healthy and strong! Be good!

  7. Amanda,
    You are strong and amazing and I appreciate your sincerity in sharing your true feelings about what you've experienced. It helps us all to learn more about compassion and to lean on the Savior in our darkest and brightest moments. Sometime (when you feel you have time of course) I would love some advice on how other people should approach the family who has lost a loved one. What is appropriate? How can we best help? Maybe you've already mentioned this before, but I would like to know what is most helpful in such a difficult situation.

    You're an amazing daughter of God!

  8. Oh Mandy...love that D&C scripture about the soul. And I can only imagine how losing your sweet Bennett has affected each soul of your beautiful family. And you as the mom, who has SUCH an effect on the family, must feel such pressure to keep your soul healthy, strong, and balanced so that your family can be too. You are an inspiration sis. Your plan to simplify sounds wonderful...I'm going to follow your lead. <3 Love you.

  9. I felt a huge difference in my physical well being while we were going through everything with Lily. Not only was I postpartum but then I was dealing with all of this extra stress too. In fact I am just starting to feel as though my body is returning back to its normal self.

  10. Oh I cannot even express how much I understand what you are saying--with the interconnection of mind/spirit and body. We have seen this all too clearly with Aaron's MS--how stress and lack of sleep etc. send his body into turn-off mode. I KNOW that what you are saying is real.

    And in your case--with so much greater sorrow--your physical ailments make so much sense.

    But how brave of you Amanda! To be able to recognize and act upon what needs to be let go--such a hard thing. And you have done it amazingly so.

  11. You are amazing, Amanda, and right on track in my opinion. I have been going a million miles an hour lately in an effort to somehow keep my mind off the sorrow of losing our daughter or maybe fill the void in my heart, but now I sit here still sad but also physically run-down and sick. Even doctors do not really understand how connected our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical parts are. Grieving is particularly hard on people not just emotionally but also physically. When I lost my parents, I could hardly eat and lost 10 pounds, but with time everything eventually got back to "normal". I have to say that the loss of a child is the hardest thing I have ever faced, though, and I thank you for your example. I too need to simplify and try to find my sanity once again because my family almost lost me this summer, and I know now more than ever how much they need me right now. You are strong and wonderful and such an inspiration to so many. I am grateful to know you!

  12. You poor lady! Thank you for being so honest! We all have times we need to simplify, and your circumstances, though beyond what I have ever experienced, teach me volumes!! Hope you can rejuvenate your body and spirit...I was just listening to Pres. Uchtdorf's talk "Of things that matter most" today and you two are on the same page--good place to be! Much love to you!
    Jenny B.

  13. I'm forwarding this to my mom. It's just been just over a year since we've lost our brother. She's been and continues to go through so much. She is worn down and we are worried about her. She is and always has been everyone's strength, but now it is more than she can bear. Thank you for your posts. They give me strength.


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