Saturday, February 14, 2009

Challenging days

I am so blessed to have Caroline and sweet baby #2 on the way. I took a picture of one of the ultrasound pictures with my camera phone, so it's not the best quality--but look at that fully formed baby!! Only 12 weeks and I can count his/her toes! Huge blessing!!
And yet, at the same moment I feel so sick inside (and not just from the morning "all day" sickness.) So many people tell me how "well" I am doing under the circumstances. I feel the need to write about that.
I don't know if you can imagine the conflicting feelings of trying to seem "well" for everyone because I know it's hard on others to see me suffer, but at the same time a part of me has died and I am suffering on the inside. Of course, it does spill out at times-sometimes at completely unexpected times and sometimes I know it's building and will come no matter what. A good friend told me that she knows I'm not "well" but I can get out of bed and get dressed and that tells her that I am doing better than some would be at this point.
I understand that, but I also carry a layer of guilt--It feels weird and wrong to be able to go eat at a restaurant or laughing out loud when I am still "grieving" and another layer of guilt because Thomas can't be eating at a restaurant or be laughing with me. (I know, I am sure they have wonderful restaurants in heaven, but you know what I mean.) Leaving a restaurant the other day I saw an acquaintance of mine, but avoided her because I didn't want her to think that I must be all better if I'm able to eat out. (does that make any sense?) I guess I'm just afraid people will stop praying for me and then where will I be?? I am certain the prayers are the only thing getting me through each day.
God must have really wanted me to read this certain book (Tear Soup) because I first got it from my mother-in-law Tracy and then from a friend of a friend who is also a young widow. (By the way, just to pour on some more woe-is-me, I actually had to check a "widow" box on my pre-registration form for my upcoming delivery in August. How absolutely horrible is that?)
Anyway, I have a small stack of "grief" books from so many awesome friends that I've skimmed through but can't seem to have the energy to read cover to cover yet. This book in particular is a beautiful, color picture book called "Tear Soup." When I received it the second time I assumed God wanted me to read it. So I did and it fit me so well that I would now ask all of my friends and family to grab some tissues and head to the nearest book store, find a chair and read it-cover to cover. (It's not long.) It's not a super cheap book and I am a proponent of libraries so I don't want everyone to go out and buy it, but just read it, for my sake and yours and anyone you know who is experiencing a loss. It's worth it.I had such a rough night last night and at first I thought it was the upcoming holiday (today) but quickly realized it was something else that triggered it. As some visitors were leaving in the early evening yesterday I noticed all of the frogs "singing" (it really sounds like a frog symphony, not just normal "ribbits"-it's awesome) from across the road in the pond. The last time I vividly remember that happening was probably in the late fall and Thomas and Caroline and I all sat on the front porch and enjoyed hearing the evening frogs' song.
How many million other moments will be like this for me? On the flip side of that (and also so I don't end this post on such a down note) what amazing plan does God have in mind for us that will help make sense for all the suffering?


  1. It good to see you the day. Know that we are praying for you often.

  2. Oops. That would be "the other day." English teacher couldn't let that go. :)

  3. Bonnie,
    I know I speak for hundreds when I say the prayers aren't going to end anytime soon! I pray for the day the 'frog symphony' bring the joy of a wonderful memory instead of the pain.
    Leslye Ledford

  4. Hi Bonnie,

    I just wanted to let you know that I'm still praying for you, Caroline, and your baby. My heart goes out to you and I think of you often.

    In Him,
    Sarah Walker
    Kansas City, MO

  5. Bonnie - I just wanted to "echo" Lesyle and let you know that I am praying for you...God brings you to my heart often...

  6. Just want you to know that I am touched by you and so sorry for your loss. My prayers will keep coming for you-I pray God does reveal his plans for your future in his time! God bless you and your sweet Caroline and baby #2!!

  7. Bonnie-

    You are on my permanant prayer list. Seriously. I have a journal that I use and I won't take you off, ever! :) With the loss of my mom in August, it's something that just burdens me...even though everyone around us forgets (or maybe not forget, but doesn't think about it constantly) and it's easy for them to move on, it's just not for us.

    Aside from our hope in Christ, we are human, we will never be "over it" and while with time things will get easier, we will more than likely grieve the rest of our lives. I think it's just a part of our human nature.

    You are precious and God is using you in more ways than you know!

  8. I'll keep praying.


  9. Bonnie,
    I want you to know that people are not forgetting you. Everyone is still praying for you. In this short year that I've known you I have been impressed with your sweet and welcoming attitude. Since this horrible tragedy has happened I have not stopped praying every day I know people that don't even know you who are still praying. We will not forget.

  10. I echo Leah, you are on my permanent prayer list, not scartching you off any time soon.

  11. Bonnie,
    I have never met you, but I am certainly praying for you as often as I remember--and my daughter's name is Caroline too, so it isn't hard to remember. I don't think anyone will assume you have finished grieving because you enjoy a meal and a restuarant or a laugh with friends or family. I hope you have many of those happy moments; may they get you through the times that are so much more painful. Debbie

  12. I have never met you or your family (we have a mutual friend in the Newberry family). I want you to know that I have shared those same emotions after the loss of our daughter, Sarah. The most challenging time for us was the anger - anger is so foreign to us. However, each step was an impossible journey made possible by God.

    You are in my thoughts, prayers, and I have continued faith that your struggle will be guided with God's hand.

  13. You and Tara Newby are on my heart often and I pray for you many times throughout each day!

  14. I know what you mean about having feelings come upon you unexpectedly...for me was is in church during a song.

    Praying for you here in Ontario!

  15. Just wondering if you've heard of this foundation, which was set up to offer support to people who have lost a spouse and have young children:

    I just stumbled upon it the other day and thought of you...

  16. I don't know you but I have been praying for you. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I understand what you mean about feeling "guilty" for having a good time. My 23 year old brother passed away Feb. 20, 2008 very suddenly and it was a total shock. I felt guilty for going out to eat, smiling, and laughing because here I am, on the inside, grieving my brother. I still feel anger towards God as well for taking my brother when there are so many bad people in this world who don't do anything productive in this world.
    There are very few "friends" of mine that check on me to see how I am doing. I feel like I put on a fake smile in public, especially in the months soon after. But the pain is still there and I don't think it will ever leave. I pray that you will receive comfort, peace, and strength each and everyday.

  17. I know I don't know you nor you know me but I want you to know I am praying. You need to know that there are others who have been through terrible grief who know how to pray those deep dark prayers for you and I am one. My grief is still dark on days and it has been seven years, it was my mother in law and very sudden and trageic. I almost lost my 2 year old son at the same time as I stood there watching.I thank God every day I didn't yet grieve because I lost her when she saved him. Torn. Guilty.
    No one walks in your shoes and can fully understand where you are even if they have lost their spouse but Christ does understand and he holds you in the moments that are so hard to express to the people around you.
    I will continue to check back in and pray for you adn your growing family. I pray you feel the Lord meeting you right where you need Him in this moment of today.

  18. Bonnie,
    I have been following your blog and want you to know that God brings you to mind almost everyday during my prayer time. I absolutely can't imagine what you are going through. I will keep on praying for peace and comfort for you and for your community to continue grieving with you and being sensitive to you. Caroline is beautiful! Katherine

  19. Bonnie, you truly are such an amazing person. I cannot tell you how many times I have cried for you. You are in my continual prayers. Also, I am so thrilled to have found your blog as I check it regularly for updates. Thanks for letting us in.

  20. All I can say to you is that you are in my prayers and I know many others are still praying for you. You are a stranger to me, and I think of you every day, and when I do I say a little prayer for you. If I do that, we can only imagine what people who know you are doing. There is no proper way to grieve-there is only your way. laurie

  21. Dear Bonnie, I have waited all day to leave a comment, just hoping the right words would come, but they haven't yet. First of all, God is amazing as I look at that ultrasound picture...He has knit that little person together in your womb. Yet at the same time, I am over here on the sidelines saying, "It is NOT fair, God. It is not fair. She should be looking at that ultrasound with him. They should be going out to eat for Valentine's Day. They should be listening to frogs together." I don't think God is offended nor surprised to hear that. I don't understand. I doubt I ever will. I do know that He loves us still. And I know that my heart as well as many others ache for you and pray for you each day. A part of you did die that day, and we all know that no matter how many happy moments there are (and there will be), there will always be a part of you that is missing. It reminds me of what you said, "The smile doesn't reach your eyes" (or something similar) may have moments of laughter or even just a calm period of peace, but your love for Thomas is still there, evident on your face, in your words. And we love you no matter what...even if there are days you DON'T want to get out of bed. Just keep letting us know what we can do, how to pray. Praying for you.

  22. I am so glad that baby #2 is healthy! I pray for you guys every day! I know this is so hard for you, and I wish I could take it away. You're are a great Mommy for staying strong for Caroline and B2. I don't think you have my blog address. If you don't it's
    Mia is 2 months old now. She is growing too fast! Love you! This summer I plan to bring Mia to Fayetteville to see you and have some girl time!

  23. Sorry,my,space,button,isn't,working,so,bear,with,me,




  24. I've been thinking of you all day today, and on many other days too. I'm glad you are writing about your true feelings...being yourself...teaching us all the while
    how to be your friend through this time.

    Anybody who has ever lost someone knows about the guilt and about the way you want to try to do normal things, but still be honest that they aren't normal at all.

  25. Bonnie, you are so loved by so many. The prayers will continue. I think of you daily and pray daily that God will provide you with the strength that you need to face tomorrow. No one expects you to be strong all of the time. I cannot even begin to imagine the things that you are feeling right now, but everything inside of me hurts when I think of you. I know that we can never understand why God allowed this to happen and I think He expects us to think that it isn't fair. So many emotions will come and go for the rest of your life, but no one will ever believe that just because you smile or laugh that you are over this. I promise to continue to pray everyday. I promise to continue to bring up your name everytime someone asks for a prayer request. You are loved and thought of often.

  26. I am still praying for you..I pray for your laughter and for your healing...Blessings to you

  27. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family through this very difficult journey.

  28. Bonnie,
    I am glad that your blog is an outlet for you to express your true feelings. Sometimes it is hard to say things outloud.

    I have not experienced the death of a husband so I have not walked in your shoes. I have suffered the loss of my mother to suicide and I have buried one of my children. I have lived through the death of a two year old nephew and several other very important people in my life. I know that loss and grief are very, very hard on a person.

    Seven years ago I started a support group for parents who have lost a baby due to miscarriage, stilbirth, newborn death or during the first year of life. I work with grief on a daily basis.

    I have learned through my own experiences and those of so many others that we have to take it one day at a time. Grief is a long process and at times it seems there is no end in sight. Most books and professionals will tell you there are stages of grief that we go through. I agree with that but it is important to know that the stages don't always come in a certain order for each person. You also may go through the same stages more than once. There will be days that you feel like you have taken a step forward and something will knock you back down. The little things, like the frogs, will happen to you over and over again. Right now those things may make you feel even more lonely and then one day that same thing may bring a smile to your face and help you get through the day.

    Right now your pain is so fresh. It is important that you allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to cry. It is not a sign of weakness to express your grief. It is actually healing to do so. A very dear person who helped me years ago after the death of my daughter told me that grief gives you two choices, "Pay me now, or pay me later." I have learned that dealing with it now is always better than dealing with it later. So, reach out to your friends and family. Know that so many are praying for you. Know that you are not alone.

  29. Hi Bonnie:
    I visit your blog often, not always leaving a comment, but just checking on you. I think everything you are feeling is normal. I went through some grief counseling a few years ago and was told that one of the stages of grief is guilt, and there is an angry stage too. I don't think you should have to pretend that you are fine, it's too soon for you to be fine. You have to grieve at your own pace, and your friends (and blogging buds too) will love you as you are.
    Just take one day at a time.

  30. Bonnie, those frogs will sing a new song every evening - somedays you may get teary, somedays you will laugh heartily. Just this morning in worship we sang Victory in Jesus, the last time I sang that all the way through without crying was at my daddy's bedside the day he died at the VA hospital - 3 years ago. Each time gets somewhat easier and I look forward to the day that I can sing it with a smile on my face in perfect harmony with my daddy, just like we did for years and years here on earth. I have that hope and I have that same hope for you - we will NEVER stop praying!

  31. I wish I had words for you.
    I have a friend who may...
    She lost her husband during her pregnancy, too.
    I am thinking of you everyday, and your beautiful babies.

  32. like so many, i don't have the words. but i want you to know that i do love you so so so much! bailey and i pray for you and caroline on a consistent basis. i think of you and pray for you alone several times a day.
    tuck that fake smile away while we are there, no need to put on a strong face for me. i hope to share both real laughter and tears during our visit. see you soon!!!!!

  33. I completely understand your conflicting emotions and I think all those who know and love you have experienced similar feelings if that makes you feel more at ease. I can vividly remember feeling that way when talking to Jacqueline and having a normal conversation, when so much sadness was also going on. It's so strange and so uncomfortable...but please remember that guilt does not come from the Heavenly Father. Your laughter doesn't make you miss Thomas any less and it definitely doesn't make anyone think ill of you. Your true friends are praying for those moments of joy to come you way. We love you so much and won't stop praying for you anytime soon. It was so good to see you the other night (thanks for waiting on me :). I love you- Ash

  34. No matter how many days, months or years go by, and no matter what may come in those days, months, or years...the prayers will never end! You are loved deeply by many who were touched by thomas and no matter how much time goes by our souls cannot forget the compassion that he had for mankind, but especially for you and caroline. Don't be afraid of living life at full speed. Laugh often,love often,and know that you will always be the subject of someone's prayers!
    Rachel Pianalto
    P.S. Baby #2 is beautiful!

  35. God led me to your blog when Thomas passed away. I always read your updates and pray for you. As a young wife and Mom, I cannot imagaine your pain and sorrow. I've never lost a spouse, but I've lost 4 babies due to miscarriage and so I can relate to loss on that level. I only share that to say, I get the point about worrying people will think "you're over it," or "doing really well, so won't pray anymore," when you start to get back into normal life activities. I will keep praying each time God brings you to mind. You are one with Thomas and his death took part of you with him. He'll always be a part of you. Praying for God's healing grace to be abundant in your life.


  36. actually this was my favorite post of seemed so real and raw...

  37. Hello...
    My name is Amber and I have walked just recently where you are walking (you articulate your feelings and thoughts very well). My husband died on my 34th birthday and 15 days before the birth of our son.
    My 1st Valentine's Day without my husband was one of the worst days I've ever experienced in my short life. Please know that you and your children are in my thoughts and prayers.

  38. always praying for you....thanks for your openness. Love you.

  39. Hi-
    I've been reading your blog for about a month or so. I really really appreciate your honesty in this post. It gave me such great insight to what people struggle with...the desire to move forward yet the tug to stay in the past-the struggle to appear normal yet fear being too normal. I just really feel bad for all you are going through while trying to raise a little girl and you are pregnant. Hang in there. That sounds so lame, but it is all I know how to say.

    I'd be interested to hear what things people have said to you that have been helpful....we so often just don't know what to say, but want to say SOMETHING...yet I always fear saying the wrong thing.
    Blessings to you, and God's peace and healing.
    Kelly in Michigan

  40. Bonnie,

    I think that it is wonderful you are able to express yourself on this blog. I think the easy emotions like joy are much less difficult to express. I think everone has trouble expressing things like sadness, anger, and fear. I hope that God will give you the peace of knowing that no one will judge you no matter what you are feeling. I have not had much experience with loss like you are feeling now, but I think that it's okay to laugh because like God says there is a time and season for everything and God is helping you feel all those feelings for a reason. You are constantly in my prayers. Jennifer

  41. Bonnie,

    There's not a chance that people will be more lax in praying for you. Your grief is real, wherever you go. Everyone knows that and the most logical thing to say to anyone is "you are doing well."

    That isn't to mean "you are doing well" but simply means "I'm glad to see you doing whatever it is that you are doing." Even if it is grocery shopping, that's huge right now for you.

    We will just thank God for your blessings in Caroline and baby #2 and the strong family and support system that you have.

    You are in my heart and prayers.


  42. Hi, Bonnie,

    My husband and I are grieving the recent loss of our little boy and in reading some of your entries I see so many similarites in our feelings. I just want you to know that you are in my prayers beginning this evening. And I want you to know that there is no wrong way to feel. Allow yourself to feel what you feel when you feel it. Here is a verse that I cling to: "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us."
    Heaven is sounding sweeter all the time.

    In His Love,


  43. Bonnie-
    I am Lindsey Kelley's sister-n-law and have been reading your blog over the past month. I was amazed at all the comments on this post of people who have never met you but are faithfully praying for you. I was also encouraged by all the wisdom that's been shared of others who have been through this depth of grief before. I just wanted to tell you how often you come to mind and that I am also part of your intercession team. You are a gifted writer and I'm amazed at how well you can articulate what you're going through. I can't wait to meet Thomas on the 'other side' of this life.

  44. Just wanted you to know that I haven't stopped praying!

  45. Hello Bonnie, you don't know me, I got your blog from the Eoff family. They used to be in my husband and I's community group. Just wanted to say I have been touched by you and your story. I cannot imagine what you're going through. I also have an almost 2 year old, Caroline. My heart breaks for you, but I know the Lord is with you, probably more evident now. Just know you have a friend in me and I am praying for your strength in these coming days. God bless you, Laura King

  46. We're still praying for you, Caroline and the baby on the way!

    As our Pastor has said in his last 2 sermons...we don't have to live UNDER our circumstances!!! (I've always disliked that phrase, "Well, under the circumstances, I'm OK".) We're children of the KING...and we're ABOVE our circumstances!!! HE will and does get us through anything!!

    I know some days are harder than others...but that's when HE holds you and carries you through. Just keep looking to HIM!!

    Jan & Tom

  47. Bonnie,
    We have never met, but after your loss I was really affected and began to realize how many people we have in common. My husband is in the Army and we have faced many trying times apart, sometimes fearing we may never be together again (when he was in Iraq). For all the pain I felt then, I can't imagine that fear being realized. I've been praying for you and your babies for 2 months now and just wanted you to know that there are more people praying than you could ever imagine.
    -Mandy Harris