A grief so raw I can taste it…

I type with shaky fingers and a mascara-stained face. My stomach in nauseous knots. I woke to devastating news that the world lost another mother. Two beautiful boys lost their loving mother. A strong woman who had carved out a new destiny for her family. A fierce woman who worked hard to bring new life and new hope to her family. A determined woman who chose to stand strong and persevere in the face of struggle. She was beautiful. She was gracious. She was my friend.


Such a horrible word.

Kelly was hand-picked for me to love on, and these past few weeks I worked hard to spoil her through a series of anonymous gifts, cards, and encouraging text messages. I’ve been part of DFW Crunchy Moms, an online moms’ group, since Asher was three months old. A few times a year, we have a round of Secret Crunchies, a secret Santa of sorts where we’re paired up with a fellow mama to love on. We sneak around, leaving gifts on one another’s door steps, sending anonymous notes in the mail, texting from fake phone numbers, and using other friends to make deliveries. It’s beautiful to see a community of women go to extremes in the name of love.

My grief is raw. My heart is broken. I have a shelf full of gifts that were to be delivered to Kelly today. They are much more than material items. They represent dreams. Hopes. Laughter. Smiles that will never again grace the earth.

While it’s easy to focus on the pain of promises yet to be realized, my heart finds comfort in the last gesture of love I was able to give her. She deserved to be spoiled, and my goal was to ensure that she knew she was special.

I chose a gift that I knew would wow her, make her feel loved, and let her know that she was worthy of being spoiled. I drove around for a week with that gift in my car, trying to decide the right time to sneak up her apartment staircase, quietly deposit the package, softly knock on her door, and fly down the stairs at break-neck speed to avoid detection. The rational side of me said such a gift should be given at the end, a reveal gift. As fate would have it, it was my last gift to her, although that wasn’t my intent.

As I drove around town trying to decide when to deliver the gift, a still, quiet voice within my heart clearly said, “Don’t wait. Give it now. She needs it now.” So I listened. I drove to her house right then. Accompanying the gift was a handwritten note with words carefully chosen to encourage her soul. To let her know she was doing a great job. To write on her heart that her boys were blessed by her every action and decision as a mother.

You see, I knew Kelly, but Kelly did not know me. We communicated anonymously — my goal from the very beginning was to channel God’s love to her. I came to know her likes, dislikes, and what made her smile…but we never shared a cup of tea or gave one another a hug. I was so looking forward to hugging her neck and telling her so many things in early February. Things that will now go unsaid. Gifts that will not be given. Laughter that will not be shared.

I urge all who read these words: Don’t wait. Do it now. Give love. Be the encouraging word. Give the warm hug. Be Christ to all you encounter. Love deeply and extravagantly. You never know who is desperate for an encouraging word, to feel noticed, to be remembered. We are not promised tomorrow…this world is not our home.

Treading Water

My current stage of Motherhood manifests as an endless parade of adorably uncooperative circus monkeys. I’m bombarded with endless demands, monster trucks, diapers, feeding, cleaning, toddler wrestling, and hostage negotiations.

Toys are underfoot, on the kitchen counter, in my lap, and on the beds. Laundry is in the floor, on the kitchen table, and hiding in various other places I have yet to discover. The baby sign language DVD is on its second go-around this morning, and Asher is requesting butter for breakfast. Keane’s diaper explosion earned him some one-on-one time with the kitchen sprayer. Is it nap time yet?

This stage of life often plays out like a G-rated Groundhog Day, except my hair never looks as good as Andie MacDowell’s. And I’m covered in more drool.

The only thing I consistently accomplish is loving my boys and keeping them fed. For now, that’s going to have to be enough…because it’s all I can manage. Some days are better than others…some days feel like glaring failures. This phase won’t last forever; I’ll do my best to savor every moment and not wish the time away.

One day, I will miss it. In the not-so-far-off future, I’ll have time to bake, blog, and create. I’ll have time to work out consistently, shower more than twice a week, and little mouths won’t hurt from little teeth. A few years from now, the nursing bras will be packed away (burned, more likely), my lap will feel empty, and my arms will ache to hold my children.