Monday, March 17, 2014

Why I can't say 'thank you'...

We were completely overwhelmed at the love we received when we lost our #3...

phone calls... emails... text messages... cards... flowers... Edible Arrangements...comments here and on Facebook... meals... dinner gift cards to give us a break from the day-to-day... hand-made treasures with so much love behind them... jewelry that symbolizes our loss but also what we still have... reminders of God's promises... 

each one came at the exact moment that we needed them the most.

Each one, a gift.

A show that a friend knows I watch every week... the episode that week was focused on one character's pregnancy. Knowing how difficult that might be for me to watch, her text came at the exact moment that I felt the room get hazy and the tears threatened to fall.

The shower is my sanctuary...  one of my favorite places in the world.... the most anticipated part of each day. It's where I can break... where I can be weak. It's the only place I can go where I can't hear the rest of the world... and it can't hear me. I took so many showers in those weeks following the loss of #3... cleanliness was the furthest thing from my mind but I couldn't handle how guilty I felt at being sad around people, anymore. In my showers I would let myself fall apart, sob, cry out to God to help me heal... and every time I stepped out of the shower, I had a new text or email... words of encouragement and love from someone whom God had spoken to at the exact moment that I needed love the most.

Nap-times were hard... a quiet house and a loud mind. I'd sit on the couch and watch TV... it was the only way I could handle being alone with myself. A trip to the mailbox was the most productive I could make myself for an afternoon.... it was also the hardest; the simple act of walking from my couch to my mailbox gave my mind enough time to wake-up... to think. And inevitably, those dreaded few steps would cause my thoughts to wander and the tears would threaten to fall.... and God would wrap those moments up in precious little packages inside of my mailbox; hand-written notes, sentimental cards, tiny wrapped gifts. Every moment was one that had been pre-ordained... pre-planned by my Jesus that is bigger than my pain... evidence that He works ahead of every step I take, in the minds of every person who wrote those cherished words or touched those treasured gifts.

Even among all of the pain and confusion and sadness, there was one thing haunted me... it lingered in the back on my mind, making my long-ignored to-do list, making my escape impossible....

thank you notes.

I take them seriously... my mom and dad put so much emphasis while I was growing up on how important it is to send thank you notes. Any gift is a display of love and represents precious time and often-times, money that someone set aside just for you... time and money they sacrificed with only you in mind. A thank you note is such a small display of gratitude, no matter how big or small a gift you receive.

I have never found myself in a position where I just didn't want to write... or couldn't write... a thank you note. I look forward to writing them... I enjoy letting someone know how much they are appreciated and that the time and thought they put into me did not go unnoticed.

But these thank you's?

I have a stack of them.... all started... every one of them, unfinished.

For months, every time I sat down to try and put my gratitude into words, the tears would flow even harder.... I found myself so overcome with so many different emotions, that words just didn't sound right...

A simple 'thank you'... for unspoken encouragement, for strength, for saving me in one of the darkest times of my life...

it wasn't enough.

And every note I started to write turned into a gushy mess.... an unloading of emotion, twinged with the tears that I just couldn't stop.

Grief mixed with gratefulness results in emotions that can't be explained in words.

This was new to me... a loss of words, in a note that should carry so much of my heart in it... but my heart was broken... and my words were, too.

So those 'thank you's' never came...

I didn't mail even 1.

Somehow, allowing those emotions to flow all the way from my head to my heart, and from my heart through my arm, and into my pen was just allowing them to move through me too much... it made the pain worse... made it unbearable.

I owe an apology to so many people who mean so much to me... my parents, my mother and sister in law, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, babysitters, friends, friends of friends, parents of friends, doctors and nurses... the list goes on.

To every one of you~

Your note has been written... but it remains unfinished. Expressing my gratitude and gratefulness for your thoughtfulness and selflessness in one of the most difficult times of our lives ... it was an impossible task for me to complete.

I am so sorry.

I am so thankful....

and I am so sorry.

Your love for us is overwhelming... your love for our #1, #2, and #3 is profound.

While I can't thank each of you for how you displayed your love and care for us during those few weeks, I can thank you for this...

for following God's prompting in your heart.

Thank you for listening to his voice, no matter how quiet it sounded. Thank you for the precious minutes and hours, the written words, the dollars and cents, the prayers and the thoughts you devoted to us when there were so many other people and things vying for your attention.

Thank you.

But... what means more to me than any note or gift or symbol of your care and concern is the lesson I have learned through your thoughtfulness;

Those simple acts of kindness... the ones that take so little time or energy but translate into a million times their weight in gold... those never go un-noticed...

they are never forgotten.

God's prompting in our hearts... Especially when they concern another one of His most beloved?

His promptings are never 'casual'... but they always require a simple act on our part.

Listen. Follow. Do.

As our sweet girl's half-birthday, our baby-boy's 2nd birthday, and our #3's due-date are all just days around the corner, I'm reminded of what we have, what we could have lost, and of what we have lost...

and I'm reminded that I'm not the only one who has, who has almost lost, and who has lost.

While I can't find a way to write the words to say 'thank you', my thankfulness will outlast any words on a card with every text, every phone call, every sweet gift, every note on a card as I challenge myself to BE the one who encourages and remembers and prays and helps...

because I will never forget those who have been the encourager or texter or caller or gifter or writer ...

for me.

Bear with me over the next couple weeks as I continue to process the huge life events that are just around the corner. This season is hard... and I intend to be honest.

 I know you expect no less ... and my prayer is always that God will find a way to speak through His plan for my life and into His plan for yours...

and I'm up for that challenge, too.


  1. I understand those complex emotions, in my opinion I hope that everyone understands and isn't harboring any bad feelings over the lack of a thank you card.

    God Bless you!

  2. Personally, I do not think a "Thank-You" note is needed in a time like this. I think everyone understands, as much as possible, that you are grieving the loss of a child. I know that there is no way I could have written a Thank-you note after my miscarriage. A book filled with tears, anger (at myself) and questions-Yes! But not a thank you note. As the years go by, it does become more tolerable. I wish I could say that it hurt less, but I am still not so sure of that myself, even after 26 years. I wish you the very best and that God ease your heartache.

  3. I don't know you at all, but I would suspect your friends and family would not expect a thank you note during a loss. Having experienced miscarriages and also having helped others through losses, I know I would never expect that. I'm sure a hug and a smile of thanks are enough when you see folks who helped.

  4. This is not really a sounding board for people's ridiculous opinions. This is a site God provided through the amazing host to help families in need. Its disturbing to me that there is always some self centered person that inserts their negativity into ever positive thing. Please pray blessings on this ministry and keep your negativity to yourself because what I was thinking would be a heart warming experience on this site turned into anger because of the unnecessary comments. It does not matter where the parents are we do not live in their shoe's and it doesnt matter who can afford what im sure the adoption agency will make an informed decision just relax people.

  5. My son passed away at 22 from cancer this past year. I am so happy to hear someone else express the same problem I had...I couldn't write thank you notes. I tried to explain to others but they couldn't understand. A thank you note just wasn't enough...I couldn't say what I wanted to say. The feelings were too deep, too strong and too tender to express. I just stumbled across your blog and this entry. Thanks for sharing.


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