Thursday, February 21, 2013


*Update:  I changed the title of this From "Learning Acceptance" to the more appropriate title of "Resignation".

I feel melancholy.

I think I am realizing that my grief is more easily triggered when Ivy is having a tough time.  This week she is breaking in two new teeth and sleep has not been great.  Normally, I am spoiled by this child's amazing sleep when she gets off track and is "off" in her moods, my sadness seems to be triggered more intensely.  I don't know what that means.  But, I do know that I do not handle stress gracefully, at all, these days.  (But, please know that I NEVER ever let her see my frustrations or sadness.  I am VERY conscientious and intentional about protecting her from that.  I am so good at stuffing it all down deep inside.)

In spite of all of this, I have also been unexpectedly faced with the feelings of resignation regarding Vienne's death.  My ridiculously annoying logic keeps pestering at my door, reminding me that no matter what I feel or do in regards to my grief, it is all for naught.  There is nothing that can be done to change things.  This is our "fate" (for lack of better words).  This is the new cross we have to carry for the rest of our lives.  I am starting to realize that I need to just accept this.  That doesn't mean to say that I am not sad...or that I won't continue to be sad.  It just means that my spirit feels quieter...the raging has subsided because it is pointless.  I feel like a tantruming child who finally realizes that there is no other option...they must resign to their's parent's will, even if they don't like it.  I do not like it one bit.  My arms are crossed, my chin is at my chest, my lip is pouted, my eyebrows furrowed, my heals dug in deep...but I know that I have no other choice but to start working on my relationship with God.
(like this picture that you just saw in my last post...yeah, that's how I feel)

 I need to surrender.  I need to dig up all of these buried deep hurts and emotions that I keep in check in order to "carry on" and "lay them at His feet".

But, what the hell does that look like?

That's what I'm trying to figure out.

In my tentative "return" to my walk with God I find myself wanting to be more literal...less ignorant and naive...but more aware and asking questions.  I am tired of the "Christianese" language.  If you are a believer, then you know what I am talking about.  Please, tell me you know what I am talking about.  So, "laying my emotions at His feet"??  I understand it.  Of course I do.  I've been a Christian practically my entire life.  But, really, what does that look like?  Can we talk about that without using Christianese terms?  I don't know how to dig up my harbored emotions from all of this and just "let them go".

I just really do not know how to do that.

And, now that I think about it, that's not exactly what I want to do, anyway.  I don't want to let it all go and have no feelings.  What I really want and need is to just be able to be more in touch with them...more comfortable with them.  Put more plainly - I wish I could cry more easily for my Vienne.  I have never been a "crier" and it is something that has always frustrated me about myself.  You would think that losing my precious Daughter would have broken that hard shell.  But, no.  It seems it has made it even more impenetrable.  I know I keep it tucked away inside just so that I can be a good mom for Ivy and so that I can survive my days and carry on.  But, I sure wish that I could learn how to find a balance between letting my emotions come to the surface and "carrying on" in a healthy way.  That's what I wish.  I guess that is a prayer request...if you were looking for one.  ;)

I met with a wonderful woman last week, whose heart has just been drawn to me during this tragedy.  She knows my mother and shared her interest in availing herself to me, should I be interested.  She spends much of her time ministering to women and she was curious if I would ever be interested in just having a listening ear to talk to.  I took her up on her most loving and generous offer.  We met and our hearts immediately connected.  And, the dam in me broke.  To my astonishment, I spent most of my time in her presence, crying.  I NEVER do that.  I have never been able to do that with anyone since Vienne passed away.  And, it was so cleansing.  It felt so good.  I cried over everything...I cried over nothing.  I would try to say the simplest thing and couldn't get the words out without a trembling lip.  That's how I wish I could be more often.  Needless to say, we are definitely going to meet again.  And, because of this new relationship, I think I have decided to halt my search for a professional counselor, for now.  Nothing was working and I realized after this meeting that there is not a counselor that will be able to offer me this kind of compassion and connection.

So, for now, I am surviving.  Quietly and sadly.

Each day, I find myself just counting down the hours until the day is done...then counting down the days until the week is done.  I just want to get through.  Just survive.  One more day more week down...and my Ivy is closer to growing up to be a child that will be running around my house...and one more week more month more year down...until I am closer to being done here and going Heaven to be with my Vienne.


  1. I'm glad you were able to open up and "release the flood gates"... sometimes that can help the most. Hugs to you, Ivy and Mark

  2. Jenny,
    I'm so thankful that you are sharing your blog with everyone. I was connected by my daughter-in-law who is a friend of your family. I want you to know how much your sharing has helped me in some small way to start to understand grief like I have never had to experience. I have a friend and aunt who have lost their spouses and while I understand this can in no way be even close to your loss of your dear daughter, it helps me to better know what they may or may not want to hear. You have a gift of writing from your heart. I know that you are helping others who have experienced loss of a loved one. I know you are taking one day at a time and bless your heart for sharing your struggles, and my hope if that in the future you are able to write a book of some type as your words would be such a help and comfort to anyone who has suffered the loss of a child of any age. Your words are so sincere and heartfelt. I'm so glad that you have found a wonderful, compassionate woman and that you have made a connection and begun to be able to 'feel' your feelings. My prayers are with you and your family

    1. Wow, Thank you for such kind and thoughtful words. I am so flattered.

      If nothing else, I am glad to know that my words can serve to help others...or at least bring awareness.

      Thank you for your sweet prayers and encouragement.

  3. jenny, still, our hearts break open for you and Mark. Robert loves that obstinant look on Vienne's face, she looks so sage in her pouting. i am like you, unable to cry or feel comfortable enough in front of other people to show that part of me.. i know it must mean SO MUCH for you to find that solace in your new friend. i continue to lift you up, i read every day. the only thing that keeps me "laying down" at His feet is the hope and prayer that He carries our broken hearts with us. i hope that helps you on your journey.. ~eirin

    1. Oh, thank you for your sweet words, Eirin. Thank you for sharing your perspective of "laying it at His feet".

      Knowing that you guys are reading and just staying connected through this means so much to me.

  4. Bless you dear Jenny, hugs and continued prayers.

  5. My sweet girl. Here we are...just approaching the six month point since our Vienne walked through the door to the other side. Six months. It feels like a day - it feels like an eternity. It can still be so raw, so painful - tho there are moments of reprieve amidst the pain. Each day is one day further from the day she departed, but not further from her, for it is also one day closer to our being with her again.

    My heart is with you, you know that full well. I have thot a lot about the word “accept” this past week - ironically, you bring it up here. That word does not set well with me. I feel as you do – that picture of VN pouting in the chair. Acceptance makes me feel like I have to then say “this is acceptable” - and it is not. So, for now, the word is “resignation” - as you stated here - resigning to what is, to what we can do absolutely nothing about – yes, even submitting to it & allowing the Father to gather us up in His arms, comfort us & carry us in this – even to allow Him to do what He will in this, to use it for our benefit & for the benefit of others. I cannot deny that this brings a measure of relief & release to my utterly shattered heart - though the pain can still steal my breath & double me over in tears.

    And you are right - we need those tears to cleanse us, for that release of the intense pressure of pain. God has designed it so for our health. Holding it in can potentially build up toxins, causing illness, dis-ease. I know you know this. So, I will be praying specifically for that for you, for your health, for Ivy’s health.

    “Laying your emotions at His feet.” What does that look like? How do we do that? You’re doing it. You do it in your writing & now you’re working toward releasing it in a more physical way. You’re acknowledging it, wanting it, asking for prayer for it, allowing others to minister to you & pour into you with God’s truths - its happening. Laying it at His feet is to release your tight reign & allow God to pour His healing into it - & it can sting. Pouring pure, healing oil onto raw wounds can be painful - but eventually soothing, healing.

    This grief walk is a grueling process. In the group last night, I heard some affirming truths. One was the concept of “leaning” into our grief, riding it as a wave, not suppressing or denying the feelings that come crashing in. It is work,it is tiring, exhausting, draining, often debilitating. But the healthiest way to get through it is to be fully in it. I have not acquainted myself with the clinical “phases of grief”, but as I read them I see that we surely are riding the wave of each one: shock, denial, anger, guilt, depression, acceptance & growth. These do not come in particular order, nor do we get through one & on to the other. Denial surely creeps up into the anger & acceptance, and so on & so forth. Painful truth is, we just have to ride it. It is our journey.

    Loving you extrem - praying with each breath.
    ~ Your Mama

    “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn & deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love” - ”I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow…” (from Psalm 6)

  6. PS - Forgive me if & when your ear hears my words as “Chritianeze”. You know that I don’t like that either. However, the fact is, we are “Christians” and oftentimes the way I phrase a thing is best (and most beautifully) explained in that language. Such as God using us as “broken bread and poured out wine for the benefit of His children”. I love that picture, I love that truth. It’s the only sense I can make out of many circumstances in life. Sometimes that “language” just says it best.

    Although I know...the best intentions of others can feel so hurtful, so ignorant. We’ve said it before - placating Christian platitudes are not helpful. I catch myself thinking "if only they knew what we are feeling, what our family is going through...they would not make such statements". But, there is only one way they could know...and we would not wish that on anyone. So, we get to practice "grace" in the moment.

    1. Thank you, Mama.

      It certainly felt like a heavier week.

      Yeah, I like what you said about how accepting this feels like we're saying "this is acceptable"...which, no, I cannot say. Stubbornly resigning is more like it.

      Thank you for your encouragement and perspective on my "laying it down at His feet". Reminding me of what you see, on the outside, is good to hear. I am so "stuck in it" I don't even realize that I am starting to lay it down already. That made me think.

      And, I appreciate your words on "Christianese". I know you know what I mean by all that. And, yes, sometimes those words are the only words...because, yes, we are believers. I just mean to say, I don't like hearing some of them in regards to my grief and healing. You know. I know you know.

      I love you extreme too.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I always feel an ache for you, but I felt especially sad reading this. Like YOUR "resigning" to accept this unbearable loss, means that I also have to. I didn't know "VN" (love that you write it like that sometimes) but I have said so many prayers for you. Not "Christianese" prayer (I so know what you are talking about), but just "Lord, I DON'T know what to pray for this obviously amazing woman. Give her whatever she needs." I don't understand why this happens. My oldest was born in April '08, and I can't imagine digging through videos and pics to "remember." You are so brave to to "resign." I will keep praying for you - if it's crying, I'll pray for that. When it's something else, I'll pray for that.
    I wanted to share the contact of a therapist I went to several years ago (to deal with major family issues - NOT grief) and she was so amazing (to me). She had a gentle motherlyness about her, which I think helped me a ton. I don't know if you'll try again, but I felt I should share her info with you to do with as you please:
    Dr. Claire Rusunen - 503.475.7707
    Much love.
    (ps. please forgive me, but I prefer the anonymity :))

    1. I wanted to add about Vienne that I've had such a daughter crush on her, with her gentle spirit, and creativity, and that bravery, holding her sword in that McQueen shirt. Perfection. Pure goodness in the world. I wish for you so much that you didn't have this burden.

    2. Thank you so much - this was very sweet to read.

      I know. I hate the resigning. I feel like it is giving up. But, in the same thought, there is no point fighting. I am exhausted and worn out from my anger. I still STILL cannot believe that my little girl died. I still STILL look at her face in pictures all over my home and tremble over the reality that I do not get to look at the beautiful face, every day, anymore. The feelings that rush in and out of me make me feel so bipolar. There is no stability in this.
      Thank you for the counselor suggestion. I will keep her name, just in case. For now, we are moving onto another idea of just working with one on one mentors. More intimate relationships with wise discerning people might work better for us. I have been paired with someone...and now we're praying God brings a man along for Mark.
      I love that you have a daughter crush on my Girl. She is certainly crush-worthy.

  8. Dear Jenny, Thank you for your rawness, your truth, I love that you share all your joys and struggles. I know this rock hard exterior you talk about. It is one of my biggest flaws along with my worrying. I hear your struggle with your walk and I understand my walk has not been the same for years and though the reason I am not following is not because of tragedy I understand the questions. You are in my thoughts.

    Thinking of you, Laura

    1. Thank you for sharing, Laura. And, thank you, always, for your encouragement.