Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I stopped at Amy's grave today. I hadn't been there for two weeks, since I left a big pink pinwheel. It was extremely hard. I have been missing her so much. I laid on the ground and cried and cried. I could never understand why people visit a cemetery, because their loved one isn't there anymore. At least not their spirit, just their decaying body. But I realize that it is still a connection to the one they've lost. It is still a connection for me to Amy. I wipe the grass off her name plate and make sure that the little things we have left there are ok. I am able to touch a piece of earth that is still hers. The cemetery is such a peaceful place and when I collect myself I can hear the birds singing and a tractor somewhere in the distance and I feel more at peace. 

Yesterday I packed up her tape player and digital player from the Library for the Blind and Handicapped and I still had three stories that she had last listened to that I also sent back. She was listening to a series by Lauraine-Snelling about pioneers in the Dakotas. She had listened to the first two series over the last few years and now she was starting on the third series. I had read them many years ago, so I was able to talk about the characters with Amy. I would usually lay on her bed with her and talk. I would hold her sometimes and stroke her forehead or play with her hair or massage her hands.
I miss those moments with her.

I have finally finished my study of Matthew and started now with Mark. What has impressed me about Jesus' ministry is how many people he actually touched. I mean physically touched. Even if they had leprosy. There are only a few cases of people that were healed just by His voice. If we are to be like Jesus, why don't we touch each other? Give more hugs, or even a handshake knowing the person might be sick. We are so afraid of getting something ourselves that we forget about faith in God and trust that He will protect us. When Amy was in the hospital, there was a chaplain who would come to see Amy almost every day and pray with her. She even gave Amy a crocheted blanket that was so pretty. She was a small older woman and she was a nun. She was so sweet. She would put her hand on Amy's forehead and sometimes hold my hand also as she prayed. Although I wasn't of the same denomination as she was, it didn't matter. But the touch mattered to me and to Amy. I noticed it in her eyes. She liked this little nun. I wish I could remember her name, so I could tell her that Amy is in heaven now. Someday I hope I will know her in heaven so I can thank her for her ministry to us. 

The last verses in Matthew say:
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Jesus is with me always. Always. Always. 
When I am sad, He comforts me.
When I am crying, He collects my tears. 
When I am at peace, He rejoices.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Amy is home

Yesterday was our 36th wedding anniversary. We decided to just eat out at Subway and see a movie. We didn't feel like doing much more. 

When we were in the line at Subway I noticed a girl and her parents. C attends the Developmental Center where Amy used to go.  I haven't seen any of the "kids" from Amy's class since she passed away and I didn't know how I would handle it. I usually don't see any of them outside of the classroom. Most of them live in group homes and I imagine it is difficult to take more than one out at a time. C is the sweetest young lady and I had one of Amy's brochures with me, so I showed her Amy's picture on it and said I was Amy's mom. I gave her a hug and whispered to her parents that Amy had passed away. I had never met her parents before. C said Amy was nice and she liked her. I gave her another hug and told her parents to keep the brochure and have a good evening. I'm not sure if she understands that Amy was sick and now she won't be coming to the center anymore. I'm not sure of how much any of the other ones who attend there understand that Amy will never be coming back. I could barely order my sub without crying. I didn't dare look at my husband, because I knew we would both lose it.

Then today, I was going through some more of Amy's things in her room and I saw her van come in our driveway! My heart just went to my throat and it was so hard for me to know that they wouldn't be unloading Amy in her wheelchair and she would be home. Home! Her dear sweet friend who is a teacher and van driver had brought Amy's extra clothes that were at the center. We chatted for a few minutes. She held me as I cried. She told me how sweet Amy was and how good we were to her. It just made me cry more. 

Our 36 years of married life seems so short, as did Amy's 31 years of life. It is so hard for me to grasp the fact of eternity! That eternity with Christ is our home. AMY IS HOME!  Amy is there now and soon, before we even know it, we will be there with her. 
I try to focus on that and not on the past. 

I am thankful that I was able to meet so many disabled people in the course of Amy's life. It has made me have so much more compassion and understanding and patience when I see someone struggling with a need. 
I am thankful that Amy had loving, caring people to watch after her at the center and that they became a part of her family, too. 
I am thankful for the 36 years that I have had with my husband and know that the rest of our years are in God's hands. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Amy's Dad

I titled this blog "Amy's Story" because of Amy's life and how she influenced our family and friends. Our lives would not be the same if Amy had not been a part of our family. Today I want to say a few things about Amy's dad. 

My husband has been a hard worker all his life. He grew up on a farm and did most of the farm work as his father had MS and his mother worked full time.  After working a 9-5 job for the first three years of our marriage, he decided to start a business of his own. We have a small farm where we grow shrubs and trees and he does landscaping full time. It takes a tremendous amount of work. In the spring, summer and fall he puts in 15-16 hour days. The winter gives him some relief, but then he sells Christmas trees, manages our woodland, and makes plans for the next season. He is also a hunter, so he does take a few days to hunt deer.

His parents had been ill for many years. About 8 years ago he started going out to their house every week to give them groceries and distribute their medications. Five years ago his mother passed away and just this past January his father joined her in heaven. He was a very dedicated and loving son to both his parents. He was always the first one they would call if they needed anything even though he has two other brothers living in the area. Since his fathers death he has been settling his estate and taking care of whatever needs to be done. It was only 7 weeks after Dad passed away that Amy got sick. 
His life has changed, not only losing a daughter but not having either of his parents alive anymore to care for.

I think tomorrow, Fathers Day, will be hard for him. 

He is a man of few words and does not show his emotions to others very easily.
Amy softened him. Especially the last few months of her life. 

He is also a man of faith. We always had a time of  reading the Bible and singing before bed when the kids were little. But as they got older we stopped. I started reading and singing to Amy again about 4 years ago. Her Daddy would always come in and say prayers with us. I treasure those memories now.

I have heard that having a special needs child can lead a couple to divorce. Also the death of a child.  Amy's life and passing has only made us stronger as the years go by. We cling to each other in sorrow, pray together, and know that God will ease our hurts.

I want to honor my husband for being a special dad to Amy. 
She loved him so much. I know he misses her, too.

Easter 1988 Amy was 6.
Vacation at Prince Edward Island 1998 Amy was 16.

Christmas 2011 Amy was 29.

 I would never make it through this time in my life without him. He and my kids are my support group. My love for him grows with every day. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful husband and father to our children.

Friday, June 14, 2013



Brother, he’s suffered like a tree taken down
Wept as he witnessed his dreams carved out
And how can a man just keep walking around
With his heart full of holes
But ooh,
His bow is on the strings
And the tune resonates in the open space
To show us how emptiness sings

Glory to God, Glory to God!
In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into his song,
My life for the glory of God.

Sister carries her loneliness
In a hidden hollow inside her chest
And sometimes all that she wants is an end
To the long, long night
But ooh,
Her bow is on the strings,
And the tune resonates in the open space
To show us how emptiness sings:
Glory to God, Glory to God!
In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into his song,
My life for the glory of God.
I haven’t been asked yet to walk the hard roads
Still there’s a sense of deep loss in my soul
In the middle of a party, I’ll just want to go
But ooh,
My bow is on the strings,
I’m beginning to learn where to find the words
To the song that emptiness sings
Ooh, bow is on the strings:
Glory to God! Glory to God!
This is how emptiness sings, oh,
This is how emptiness sings
By Christa Wells

I've always liked this song since I first heard it. Now I completely understand it.
I was always the last verse, not feeling like I had been asked to walk a hard road, but always feeling a loss in my soul.  I was that person.......before this year. 
Now.....  Now I feel like I walk around with my heart full of holes, and I carry loneliness in a hidden hollow inside my chest and I just want life to end.
I am empty.
This is when God talks to me. Midst the tears and the pain. My frustration with life and His plan for my life. He talks to me. Not always immediately, but I feel His comfort and His Love.

I saw a movie this week. By myself. Amy would have loved it.
I cried.  
I went shopping and couldn't buy her anything except something to decorate her grave.  
I screamed and sobbed most of the way home. 
We  finally got her life insurance, so we paid for her funeral and memorial headstone, exactly two months  after her funeral. 
I cried quiet tears while we talked to the funeral director. 
He is a wonderful man in a horrible business.
I sorted through the rest of Amy's clothes, her pjs, underwear, shoes, and coats. I cried more.
This has been a hard week, but God is still walking this road with me.
Glory to God, Glory to God!
In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into His song,
My life for the glory of God.
This is how emptiness sings, oh,
This is how emptiness sings.
 My life for the glory of God.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Two months ago today, Amy entered heaven.  I want to curl up in a ball and ignore life. But I have done that too much during the last two months. 

Wednesday night as I was reading before bed, such sadness enveloped me and I couldn't stop crying. My husband held me until I cried myself to sleep. I woke up at 5am totally wide awake. I laid there thinking I should get up and like I have done for the past two months, I planned my day. It included the same things I have had on my mental list for weeks. Clean off the dining room table. Go through Amy's things and pack them up. Clean the house!!!   I have always been a planner, a list writer, an organized (or strive to be organized) person. When you home school 3 kids and also have a special needs child, you have to have some sort of organization or life falls apart! But for the last 2 months I have done not much more than I absolutely have to. My dishes sometimes sit for days, my floors for weeks, and I haven't had much desire to cook, let alone clean anything. I have kept up the laundry, just because my husband needs clean clothes, but that doesn't mean I've been consistent about putting it away!  
I have become my youngest daughter. God gave her the ability to not notice dust and clutter or care about the condition of her living quarters. She has always wanted to be a missionary and now that she has 5 years of college in, she is working to pay off her school loans and waiting on the Lord to guide her to the place and people He wants her to serve. I do believe she will live in a grass hut somewhere with a mud floor!   Right now she is living with us and helping us cope with life. I love her dearly and she is just what I need now. 

Anyway, back to Thursday morning. I decided to get up even though it was still dark out and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through the day without more sleep. I decided to attack out dining room table. For 2 months it has had piles of Amy's cards, empty vases, a bowl of dried flower petals, phone books, an address book, white-out, a stack of thank you notes, pens, Amy's funeral book,  pictures of the flowers people sent to us, and lists, and lists and lists. 
And the journal we kept when Amy was in the hospital.  

Three weeks after Amy died my daughters and I spent a few days around the table and we wrote out about 75-100 thank you notes. Since then I have not wanted to even look at the table. This past  Thursday morning God told me it was time.  I was able to  sort through everything, put most of it away, finish a handful of thank yous that I hadn't completed and all that is there now is the funeral book and the journal. It felt like a burden was lifted!

In my Bible reading that day I read in Matthew 20 where Jesus tells the parable of the man who owned a vineyard and hired people to work for him throughout the day. At the end of the day, he pays them all the same. If they had worked for 1 hour or all 12. I never really understood this. This is what verse 15 says:  "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?" This is what the landowner told the workers who were grumbling about not being paid more. 
I suddenly realized--

God is God and He can do what He wants to do.  

Amy was God's child. She wasn't mine. If He wanted to take her to live with Him, why should I complain? She is gloriously happy there! She would not want to come back to this earth and even though I miss her terribly, my eyes are on the future and I know I will see her in a perfect body! I can't wait for that day!

So today I spent some time with the Lord and my husband. Cleaned up my kitchen and started in Amy's room. I sorted through all her hair "stuff." 

I was able to do it without tears. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grief Is A Horrible Thing

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

I was all ready to write a post yesterday morning. But....

In my reading on Saturday by Anne Voskamp two things jumped out at me. Even though I had read this post before, different circumstances and different times in my life make me see things in a new way. She said, "Life is not an emergency," and "You can only hear your life sing--when you still."     When    you    still.
I was listening to the birds sing. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and nothing was calling for my attention. I could still and just listen. I was able to genuinely thank God for Amy's death. I know it is God's plan and she is so wondrously happy and I was happy for her. I could thank Him without tears.

Sunday was a really good day. I was able to thank the ladies in my Sunday School class for all their sweet gifts, even though I ended up crying. We saw a video by Sheila Walsh, a funny lady with a very meaningful message about what we see in the mirror and what God sees in us. Church was great with singing of old hymns this week and the teen choir having a special number. Then the Pastor had a short sermon on Striving for Mastery and ended with one of my favorite verse:
Philippians 4:8  "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." 
Then we had a baptism of one sweet young girl. When the curtain to the baptismal was pulled up, the sobs started. I didn't think it would bother me, because baptism is such a joyful thing to me. But all I could see was last November when Amy was baptized. If we knew we were only going to have her for four more months, would her Daddy have held her for a few more minutes before handing her to Pastor to baptize?  Would Pastor have held her tighter and not been worried about getting water in her mouth? What would any of us have done if we knew we only had four more months? 
I was able to get control of myself by the time the service was over and our family went out to eat. Just the four of us. We sat in a booth. Not often have we sat in a booth as a family. Booths don't accommodate wheelchairs too easy. But I was able to be happy and even laugh. Some friends of ours were there and they have the sweetest little grand-baby with red hair. I just love him to pieces! How can anyone be sad around a sweet little boy! I napped most of the afternoon and that evening we watched the continuing saga of  "Alaska The Last Frontier" and "North America" on Discovery Channel. It was a good day and I felt that maybe I was turning a corner, getting a handle on this grief thing. 

Then Monday morning came.

I received a sweet email from a young friend who has to sing on Sunday and she wanted to know if I could send her some photos of Amy to use in a slide show she is doing while she sings. The song is "Beautiful for Me." I had never heard it before so I watched it and it brought the tears. The video is posted below. It even has Veggie Tales in it. Little did I know that it was to be a day full of crying. Everything that happened brought tears. I had to contact our insurance company because they only sent half of Amy's life insurance. I have never talked to such an uncaring arrogant agent before. I think he is in the wrong business!  I then noticed on Facebook that my daughter-in-law had posted a picture of her and my son. He looks so old! They are 2000 miles away and won't be home for another three weeks.  His birthday is today and he is 24. Where did 24 years go? It was just yesterday that they all looked like this:

Easter 1990
I also made a call to the folks we got our van from. http://www.mitscorp.com/  The man I talked to was so nice. He wants to work with us to help us sell our van and he gave his condolences and said that he knew we would need time to part with it. I of course cried again when I told him why we needed to sell it and then when I got off the phone I realized that it would be horrible to part with it. It is one more piece of Amy that we will be getting rid of. But it needs to be done. I cried at supper. My husband took me to the cemetery and I sobbed and sobbed there and my youngest daughter and husband held me. I thought I had this grief stuff controlled and then it hit me in the face again. 

I know now that it is going to take time. This morning I woke up ready to face my day. At therapy my physical therapist told me that my knee is going to take a lot more time to heal, 
I know my soul will also.
I thank God and praise Him for caring compassionate people. 
I thank Him for music. I thank Him for little red haired boys. 
I thank Him for 24 years of life that He has given my "little" boy. 
And I thank Him most for the life of Amy. My angel.


Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.
 Ephesians 5:20a