Eric and I have been married 16 years today!!! He gave me a great card today, here are some of the things it said:

“I knew I had found a companion for the journey ahead,
someone who would stay beside me,
no matter how the road turned or where it took us….
I know we can count on each other,
and I want to go on sharing everything on life’s journey with you.”

Isn’t that great!

Ah, we are home! Back to electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, and, best of all, internet connection! LOL While I love being with my family…I just don’t handle the lack of amenities and the dirt! And, I’m not even mentioning the bugs, lizards, spiders, flies, mosquitos and rattlesnakes. Ah, nature! Not my favorite, thank you!

One thing I don’t want to forget…
the boys caught a blue-belly lizard and named him Mikey! They put him in a bucket with leaves, rocks – everything a lizard needs to feel at home. However, while showing Mikey to their 2yr old brother, Mikey lost his tail!! There was much wailing and the confirmation from Uncle Kevin (the wildlife biologist) that this was ok – Mikey could simply grow a new tail. So, each day there were Mikey ‘checks’, times when Mikey would be ‘excercised’ and times when Mikey was just observed.

But, this morning, Mikey was not moving. He was dead. Our 8 yr old was so sad. And, Eric and I heard so many familiar phrases in his cries:

But I loved him!
Why did he have to die?
I tried to make everything perfect for him?
It’s all Js(the 2yr old) fault – he held him too close!
It’s just not fair!

So, maybe the loss of a lizard is a very pale comparison to losing a son, but no matter what you loss, it hurts! And, just like so many did for us, I just held him and cried with him. Crying over a lizard, who’d ever have thought it!

Do you know I didn’t even realize that tomorrow marks the 3 mo anniversary of Josh’s death? Does that mean I’m ok or really bad off? (sigh) I really hope it means that the Lord is protecting me and I’m doing ok…not such an emotional mess anymore!

Tonight I went with my Mom to visit my Grandma. I hadn’t been to visit since Josh died. My uncle did not want her to know about Josh’s death because she wasn’t doing well and “probably wouldn’t even remember him”. This was pretty upsetting to me because Josh and I visited her every week from Sept to Jan, except when we were sick. I knew she’d remember and I wasn’t supposed to tell her? What was I supposed to do when she asked about him? Make her think she’s crazy and there was no baby? ANYWAY, I quit going with my mom. And, then one day mom said that Grandma asked about me and if Joshie was better yet – and Mom told her. She understood and was understandably sad – she even sent me a gift.

So, now three mos later I finally get up the courage to go see her and it was hard. What did I expect? I’m so thankful that she remembers me!! And, she remembers Joshie..and she wonders why I didn’t bring him. At least twice we had to tell her that he died. I heard her ask my mom at one point if there had been an investigation – and I smiled sadly. It only reminded me that in our day and age Children are not supposed to die from illness. But the sad thing is that they do! And, Grandma, bless her heart would be sad and then quickly get distracted by something else until she realized that I was there but the baby wasn’t.

It was so sad.

What a few days I’ve had! I’ve been running non-stop! Yesterday I took my MIL to Sacramento to have her stitches removed (she had toe surgery a few weeks ago). This was our 5th? trip for this purpose and I finally found a nice way to spend the time. I took the boys to the park and asked her to call me when she was ready. We had almost an hour of fun in the park instead of sitting in a hot parking lot trying to keep sane! Why did it take 5 trips to figure this out!!! LOL

Today was Bible study – Beth Moore’s “A Heart Like His” about the life of David. The video was about Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The first part was great but then she talked about Martha saying to the Lord, “If you had been here my brother would not haved died” and I could hear that echoing in my head. But we know from that passage that not coming while Lazarus was dead brought more glory to our Lord. And, I’m really starting to believe that in our lives too.

Not that I expect the Lord to show up at my door to bring my baby back to life, but He will and is being glorified in this situation! I’m so proud of our family as we struggle with grief but not anger! So many of us are giving praise to our Lord for his short life instead of being bitter that it was cut short! (And I hope it doesn’t come across as bragging — it is still hard but there is a choice involved).

Well, naptime is over…I have more to share….but no time right now!

I’ve been proud – yes, that horrible word is the only one that fits – that I’ve handled Joshie’s death as well as I have. But to be honest, I’m not handling it well. One thing I continue to struggle with is guilt. I could make you a long list of things I feel guilty about regarding Joshie’s short life and death. But if I’m honest, I have to say that I did my best.

And, the thing I feel most guilty about is that it wasn’t good enough.

Where do I turn when I realize that my best isn’t good enough?
How do I face each day?
How do I even begin to think I can raise my other children?
And, what if God allows us to get pregnant again someday and this child has the same problems that Joshie had – my best won’t be good enough again!

And, yet, as I type these questions and the tears are rolling down my face – I hear the answer: God.

Where do I turn when I realize that my best isn’t good enough? God
How do I face each day? God will hold me up
How do I even begin to think I can raise my other children? God will lead me with His wisdom
And, what if God allows us to get pregnant again someday and this child has the same problems that Joshie had – my best won’t be good enough again! God will give me the love for that child and the strength to face whatever happens.

Father, I praise you for the way you’ve comforted me during this time – please don’t leave me! Please give me strength for this day – to raise the other children – to attend to their studies – to show them that it is ok to be sad, but that You are still my joy! Thank you for the wonderful books that you’ve inspired to be written so that I could process my emotions. Thank you for friends and for those who I don’t know who’ve let me know that my honest has helped them. Thank you for allowing me to have an outlet to express these honest emotions in such a safe environment!

Please help me to remember where my refuge is and to make the time to come before you!

Amen