17 February, 2010

for those who know.

Sometimes this sickening feeling comes. . .

and I want to hide.

but you can't hide from real.

well, never for long enough. . .

The feeling is blank.

How can a heart be
both numb and raw in the same breath?

I want to hide.

To curl up into a ball, close my eyes,
and wake up in a "different real."


and the kids are screaming.

fighting the same battle as me,
but without the bearings that only arise
from age and unwanted experience.

I ache for us all.

Then a day will come and go.

and I'll think,
"We're adjusting well to this new world, this new normal."

Until a day comes and goes where we aren't.
adjusting well.

no, not at all.

. . .

I am never ashamed of how I feel.
the good.
the bad.
the terrifying.

it is all a part of the path.

This path, that though unmarked,
has been well traveled.

I hear the whisperings of those who know
all around me.

Guiding me on.

Reminding me that I do not walk this path alone.

We walk together.

And he who descended below all
is our guide.

In Him I place my hand,
and my heart.

"in him will I trust:
he is my shield,
and the horn of my salvation,
my high tower,
and my refuge,
my savior."

2 Samuel 22:3


marlei said...

I honestly wish I had some words of wisdom, something to help your heart heal. I am truly sorry for your pain. You and your family are still included in my prayers and you are in my thoughts. Marsha xx

Bridget said...

You can do this. You are doing this. Grief is a beast. And you are forever changed. At the end of our lives, we will be thankful for the experiences that molded us.

Some families just need a personal representative to tie us to the eternities in a very real sense.

kennan said...

no words.


mizkylie said...

Your words are both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I truly look up to you and admire your strength, because even when you are so grief stricken, you are beautifully courageous and full faith in God. You are truly helping others, including me, in your trials and how you cope. I hope this knowledge gives you even a bit of peace through your devestation. "Oh, the places you'll go. Love and well wished,
Kylie Schrader

Dria said...

God bless.

TLCbull said...

You are continuing to be in my thoughts and prayers. There are many sources on line for techniques to aid children in dealing with their grief. I liked this one...(which means I thought it informative, because I'm not sure how a person can actually "like" something of this nature)http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/lib/health/familyhealth/grief_of_children_after_loss.pdf
God bless!

TLCbull said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TLCbull said...

I have NO idea why the link didn't fully post. I am trying it again...
God Bless!

(I had to insert a "space" before the word "family" to get it to all show up, so you'll have to remove it if you want to link directly to the article. Did that make sense?)

Tiffany said...

I have never experienced the loss that you have so I cannot speak from experience. But if God decided that it was to be my path, I would hope that by witnessing your strength and honesty I could go on.
I wish I could be there to give you a great big hug right now. It sounds like you need one.
Praying for you and your family.

Scott & Tami said...

Hang in there Nat. Still praying for you all.

Jenny said...

Prayers lots of them....

Unknown said...

Love you, and not a day goes by that I don't pray for you, for Richie, for the boys. You are in my thoughts a lot. My tears run for you. Reading this cuts me to my core. I wish I didn't know what any of this feels like, and to me, I only know a tenth of it...I can only imagine how your heart feels on these days.

Love you. Seriously. Hope you feel it. Huggs.

.From Her. said...

I don't know. Anything, really. But I love you, oh so very much.

Rae said...

Oh, I admire your strength. To be able to feel all your feelings and not drown and move forward despite the enormity of it all.

Rich and Nickie said...

You do not know me...but I couldn't continue on with my day without letting you know your trial has changed someone for the better. I am a different person for having read your blog and watched your slideshow of your sweet angel. I have spent the last week in a hotel room feeling angry and bitter over hardships that so shamefully are not near as painful as what you have been asked to go through. I have turned my back on God this week even though I was well aware that was the worst possible thing I could be doing for myself, my husband, and my children. I needed to be reminded I'm not the only one going through hard times, and sadly it took seeing your trial to wake me up and pull me out of my selfish pitty party....so THANK YOU...Thank you for sharing your story of your sweet angel with me. If anything I hope you can find some strength this day in coping with your loss because you know you have changed one woman...one marriage...and one eternal family. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you and your family and all other mothers asked to go through the same difficult trial.

Laurel said...

your honesty is poetry to me.
it really is.

thank you for sharing your heart. He will use that for our good...as well as for yours.


Anonymous said...

Your strength is giving us all strength to deal with our trials. You are so strong and if anyone can get through this, it is you! You have your sweet Gavin angel to help you. Sometimes our prayers have to not only be "help me get through this day", but, "help me get through the next 5 minutes." ...and then the next 5, and the next 5, and the next 5. You and your sweet family will always be in my prayers.

Erin @ Sprouted In the Kitchen said...

Hi Natalie,

I sent an e-mail. I'm there with you. I read the words in this post and think, yeah, I felt that. Exactly. And there are still moments when I still feel that. So I want to tell you...it does get easier. It doesn't hurt any less, but time and distraction have been my greatest tools. And a dog. Yep, a puppy. When I needed something small and warm that depended on me, in the absence of the small and warm baby I thought I would have to keep.

Anyway, no one knows how to grieve. All those stages of grief...no. You're wise to know that you need to feel how you feel and that it's okay.

One day I found myself humming in the kitchen, without even thinking...and that's the first time I knew I was going to be okay. And you will. Be patient with yourself. You will have a new normal, but it will be yours, with every day a memory of Gavin and love between you and him. I like to remember that no matter what, I am always Taggart's mother, every day. And that I will see him again...but mortality is very long, isn't it? That's the hard part.

Care for yourself. Really. Thinking of you.

Melissa said...

My son was diagnosed with kidney at 19 months old, his long term memory was about two weeks at that point. He is three now, he already relapsed, immediately after they stopped his first treatment. He remembers nothing but a life with cancer. People want to surround him, uplift him, but this is his normal, he has the cruel bliss of remembering nothing else.

His sister is 19 months his senior (yeah, we like to do big life changes every 19 months it seems) she remembers life before cancer. She has it the hardest of all of us, she sees the hospital provided therapist now and then, she has issues with anxiety and aggression, nightmares, abandonment issues, and now she has decided to take a second stab at night terrors, because you know stress and reaching age 5 can make that stage repeat. Great. Just flipping great.

Yesterday I didn't just scream, I bellowed, I growled, I punished without mercy, I stunk at momhood. Josh is feeling the worst of the last chemo, he aches and is miserable, Penny's not sleeping so she's exhausted and extra temperamental, I had just burnt my hand from a mac n cheese catastrophe. Josh and I both lost it, him in an irretrievable meltdown, me in "just do as your told" righteousness, and there she was, my sweet broken little girl just wanting to be anywhere else, and I wanted to be better than I was, for her.

This path, this pediatric medical tragedy and illness path, you either rise above the pain or get pummeled beyond recognition by the surf. And some days, well some days the riptide sucks you back out when you are least prepared for it and you find yourself back out there having to paddle back home all over again. It isn't a failure on your part, it is unfairly unjustly part of the desperately wrong process. You will weather this, I know you will, it's just going to take a long and randomly acutely debilitating time.

On those days I love to listen to Jason Mraz's "Details in the Fabric" it's on you tube or itunes, give it a listen, it's good for the soul, because some days all you can do is Hold Your Own, Know Your Name, and Go Your Own Way (and then since you are on the island, you can crank up "I'm Yours" and have a dance party, it's what we do).

No one can tell you the magic answer to navigate those dark screaming hours, all you can do is center yourself as best you can and DECIDE to keep walking through, even if you have to cry or limp as you do it.

Embrace both the numb and the raw, you are showing your boys that it is okay to be broken for awhile, that it is okay to hurt, to cry, to let the pain out. You will accept them, you will love them, no matter what they unleash. You lead by your example and your acceptance, by having a hard day, you show them it's ok to have a day where it is too much, you validate their hurt. You are being a good mom.

Grab some shaving cream, smear it on a shower stall or a bathtub wall (or on the outside of a window of your house since you have warm temps), let them draw or smash in all the things that are hurting them, and then let them spray or rinse the cream away. This is an amazing outlet for my daughter, the symbology of it all, putting the feelings to words and then releasing them and letting the power of them wash away. It doesn't fix the problem, but it takes away it's power to cripple her ability to cope.

Much love and snow from Ohio,


Brittany said...

I couldn't read your post and then not comment.... so here goes.

I won't say it gets easier. In fact some days a year out are just the same that they were a day out.

It's hard. Really hard.

But then one day, one month, one year at a time, your heart begins to heal. I don't believe it ever heals to its original state. There are the scars of life etched into the corners.

It comes though. That smile. That laugh. The times when it isn't easier, but different. The new normal becomes normal although we would prefer the old normal.

And someday you will see your little one again. Someday. Just not today.

Hil said...

I have yet to figure out this whole grief thing. It's interesting how you will go and have a few good days and think all is right with the world, and then one bad day comes and destroys everything all over again.

One thing I have noticed is that the good days do come more often, and the bad less. I just have to remind myself to be patient and work through the hard times to allow myself to heal (rather than pushing it aside for another day).

I pray that you will have more good days than bad. Then that day will come when you will see your son again, and it will be worth all of the bad days and then some. :)


Roxane said...


Hi - I am one of those who know - I lost my baby Jack in January. Your words speak straight to my heart. I too have moments when I think - oh, I'm doing better today - I can do this. Then, BAM! - I feel I'm back at square one. Lately I have felt so alone - no one quite understands or knows how I feel, how I think. Thank you for making me realize that there are others who know - that I don't walk this path alone.

Much Love,


Aria said...

Your words are beautiful and healing for us all. I pray that you can continue to heal into your new "normal". xoxo

Kahilau said...

I do not KNOW but am amazed at your ability to so vividly paint the journey. You are a blessing to many! Thank you.

CShores said...

Natalie- Your faith is so uplifting. I cry when I read your posts, but then feel strengthened at the same time. I have never had a trial anywhere near as difficult as what you have gone through with the loss of both Gavins...I am so sorry for your loss. You are an amazing spirit. I just know that Heavenly Father is so proud of you! You give me perspective and courage to continue on in my everyday worries. I am so thankful for you and your ability and courage to share you thoughts and feelings, even the bad and terrifying ones. Thank you so much! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jamie said...

I have been a silent reader on your blog for awhile now. I want you to know that my heart aches for you. I have been down a similar path. My little guys would be 7 years old this May. I just wanted to let you know that the good days start to out number the bad (and it didn't take 7 years to get that way). I am grateful everyday for a loving Savior who comforted me through it all and I am grateful to you for sharing your story. May you continue to be comforted through your grief.

Jennifer Parke Photography said...

Natalie -

I just wanted to let you know that I have been following your blog for awhile and I am so sorry for you loss. I haven't said anything until now because I know that there are no words that can truly help. But I wanted to tell you that I am thinking of you.

I also wanted to thank you for raising awareness. I just had a baby 3 weeks ago and while I had made sure that my vaccinations were current before trying to get pregnant - your blog reminded me that it is important for my husband to make sure that his are too. So thank you for raising awareness.

I look forward to reading your future posts. Take care.

Kimmie said...

your words (and photos) are absolutely stunning! though a complete stranger I ache for you as if we were best freinds. you seem amazingly strong, what an example of pure faith and courage. much love coming your way!

Devin said...

Natalie- thank you so much for this beautiful post. i've been feeling similar heavy emotions and this post reminded me to put faith in our Savior. Lots of Love.

Monica said...

Thank you so much for your poetry, it expresses grief so well and how my heart is feeling.

Anonymous said...

When I hold my baby boy in my arms and kiss his fuzzy head, I think of you and Gavin and squeeze him a little harder, hoping to somehow send that love and tactile bliss your way. We are strangers who don't share the same Faith but we are both mothers and as a mother, I so want to reach out and give you a big fat hug. You are so strong and have my admiration.

Love 'n Light said...

Hi Natalie, my daughter introduced me to your blog, I'm happy she did!
All I can say is 'I thought I had a great faith', but mine is nothing compared to yours!
YOU ARE AND INSPIRATION to us all and I'm sure many people's faith will grow stronger because of you!!!
Sending you LOVE and LIGHT.
Nat (I'm also a Natalie)

Ryan.Kendra.Makenzie.Tracker said...

its a feeling you could never imagine until your in the middle of it. its so fresh- so new. i dont feel my days are getting any better yet- i wish i knew what to say. i wish i could hold you. or we could hold each other. im aching for you because im right there. the only thing i can give advice on- im slowly learning- is feel whatever you feel. there are times i feel i should be in a different place, i shouldnt feel certain things but then i step back and think- who's to say i shouldnt? some of "those" people who say "those" things havent been in these shoes. they havent lost this kind of loss. i love you. because your moving. on days you dont move- if i can help i will. just know your amazing. your words are inspiring. your gavin loves you.

Caroline said...

I read somewhere that grief is like a window in winter, which is opened in just some moment and it gets us cold. And then, we are freezing.
But each time it will open just a tiny bit less and on some day we will just be able to see through it and see outside. I hope so.
Thinking of you!

alyssashrock said...

Natalie, you have been in my thoughts and prayers for a long time. Tonight I heard this song and thought of you instantly. It's "Held" by Natalie Grant.
If you haven't heard it here's the lyrics:

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It's unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

Kristine from Canada said...

Still here and thinking of you guys:)

Unknown said...

I am one who is thankfully inexperienced in this kind of grief. Therefore I have no words that can ease your pain (though I wish I could take it away completely).

I just wanted you to know how far your faith reaches. You are inspiring.

Since following your blog, there is not a day that goes by that I don't thank the lord for my children. I think I hug them and love them and appreciate them more now than I ever have before. It has been a wake-up call for me to stop taking my blessings for granted, to know that life is fragile and temporary. All my trials seem so miniscule in comparison. THANK YOU.

YOur faith, your trial has also inspired a stronger sincerity to get in touch with my heavenly father again. I have been lazy, weak, and ungrateful to a god that is so good to me. But you have made me want to do better. I desperately want to have your faith and your strength.

I do know that comfort is found in God. Rely on him. Let him comfort you.

In the mean time I will pray again. And I will pray for you and your family. I hope you feel those prayers.
Thank you again. God bless you and your family.

Sara said...

Oh, Natale... How I wish you could have Gavin with you NOW. Hold him and squeeze him TODAY. See him with fresh eyes full of pespective. I can not express the heaviness I feel for you. But I do want you to hear me when I say this... What a vote of confidence it is from your loving Heavenly Father, that you were chosen to be Gavin's mommy. This perfect boy. That you and your Richie were strong enough to let him go ahead of you, to prepare your heavenly home. That you somehow dug down, through all the pretty words, to that gut, core inner self and found the courage to discover and then to accept God's will... Sooo, sooo much harder to do than it is to say. We have felt the fear, the despair and the grief. The prolonged agony of not knowing. But you know. You know that Gavin was too good to remain here in this damaged world. Too perfect to be tainted. He will be a warrior there, where he is now. A messenger of truth and light. Serving his mission with the army of angels there, on that side of the veil. And you, his family, will feel those blessings in a very real way, for they always come to the families of those who are serving God. I wish I could throw my arms around you while I mourn with you. Wish I could lighten your burden in any way. I think of you often as I go about my day, filled again with four little munchkins and their various escapades... wonder how you are with the three you can still see. And hug. And hold. Oh, how your heart must ache. His absence must feel everywhere. I wish I could part the veil for you to peek inside and see all the good he must be doing, so that you would know that he is alright, even during this painful seperation. And yet all I know to do is pray. Pray for your strength to never falter. Pray for your endurance to never waiver. I hope you can feel them, our prayers. We continually send them your way. We will never be able to thank you enough for what you did for us. Reaching out in love, with your own grief so fresh. So raw. Your shining example is a beacon of strength and hope. Countless many have been strengthened because of your incredible perspective. I know it goes with out saying, but I am so sorry. Which is entirely inadequate, yet true. So very very sorry.
All my love, sweet friend~