Thursday, December 30, 2010


This is the time of year that people often go on vacations for the holiday season. Wonderful trips are planned, suitcases are packed and people fly or drive away to fantastic destinations.

For people who have lost children I have found that they have often have one of three different reactions to vacations and traveling...

1. The families absolutely do not go anywhere that they did go with that child. We just can't go to the same places we had been with DJ--too many memories, too many triggers, too much pain connected to these fabulous places. We used to travel around every six months especially to the Florida Keys but now I can barely imagine going somewhere that DJ has been. Our youngest son Jake has gotten robbed by this development but it is what it is and we are trying to go other places with him.

2. The families leave town all the time. I know many families that just cannot stand to be alone in their home too much and travel and travel and travel. Their houses are quiet and empty and staying in the home too long is unhealthy for them. They need the diversions, the change of pace, the new locations that are not connected with their child. They chose to be gone a lot, they chose to make new memories with their remaining children and family members.

3. The families flat out don't go anywhere at all that is not required. I have interviewed families that do not like to travel at all and find their comfort in their homes. They feel the safest surrounded by their things and the things of their child. Many people I interviewed ended up changing jobs after their children passed away--they just couldn't fathom leaving town and traveling for their jobs anymore. Often familes that have lost children don't even like going out to dinner with friends, they find comfort in their homes and that is where they try to stay the most. So traveling doesn't just need to be going far away on a trip it can be going to the neighbors for coffee.

If you have friends that have lost children and you ask them to dinner or to an outing, again and again and they just don't show up--don't give up or take it personally. Most likely their comfort is in their home, or they just aren't ready yet. It has been 5 Christmases for us since DJ passed away and we are just barely saying Yes to people--it takes time, it takes strength. There is no time schedule and everyone is different--be patient, be kind, be understanding or be gone. (yes that was harsh but we as parent's that have lost children often don't have the energy to help others understand our pain sometimes--that is why I blog)

My ebook is available at

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Too much time alone

I used to mow my lawn, we have an acreage so it gave me a lot of time to think and reflect on life. I used to really like to mow. This was before DJ passed away.

I used to love shoveling snow--okay, YES I know that is weird but I really like the challenge of getting it done before my neighbors get theirs done. I used to like doing this before DJ passed away.

I do not like doing these things anymore, I don't even mow my yard anymore-we hire it out.

I used to like to escape in a movie on television and get recharged by being alone, not so much anymore.

Why, don't I like these things anymore?

Too much time alone. I am not good at being alone too long anymore. It gives me too much time to think, too much time to reflect on life and this reflection is often painful.

If I am alone I am usually doing a specific task--something that takes up brain power and makes me concentrate. I don't do casual idle time very well. Actually I don't do idle time at all--most people who know me know that I don't sit down until the day is over. Once I sit it is time to sleep and that is my idle time.

I need to be busy. I need to be busy with my hands--baking, cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. I need to be busy with my mind, writing, creating Captain Tag books with my family, homeschooling Jake. I guess it is a good thing that I have lots of things I like to do at home because they keep me busy.

Maybe there are other grieving parents out there that need that time alone, time to think of their child and ponder on the relationships they had. I just can't do that, I think of DJ all the time anyway and I can't be alone too long in my thoughts or I just get sad and go down that hole that is dark, deep and hard to get out of. A rabbit hole....

A complete side not here--There is a movie coming out called The Rabbit Hole--about a family 8 months after they lose a child. I don't plan on seeing this movie, if you have read my blog much you know that I just can't see movies like that---however, I have to say that the title is brilliant and the death of a child is like going into that Rabbit Hole--everything is different and seen from a total different perspective, you feel small, you feel too big, you feel lost, you feel crazy. My hat is off to the writer of this broadway play and movie because there is little else that encompasses the death of a child in just three words--it is brilliant.

(My book is out on ebook at It will be out on hardback in 4-6 weeks)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dearest readers and followers,
Dearest families and loved ones,
Dearest survivors and parents,
Dearest families who shared their words, wounds and stories,

I don't have enough thanks in the world to tell you all how much I appreciate you and am so thankful for you all!! So many of you have shared words of support and words of grief. So many have touched my heart and inspired me to continue to go on. You have all been brave and strong (even when it doesn't seem you have enough strength in you) and continued to live on for your children's memory and for your loved one's, I am sure they are all proud of you!!

After almost two years of work and hours of typing and retyping and reading and rereading, here is the culmination and completion of familie's stories and words--

My ebook is finally available for purchase and the hard back will be available in 4-6 weeks. Once that is available I will have all the families who shared their lives with me to Jones Brother's Cupcakes for an official unveiling but until then here is my site for ordering my finally completed ebook---

Thanks to you all and God Bless your Christmas and New year!!! Lisa--forever DJ's mom

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Celebrating versus Observing

The holidays are here. The holidays are stacked upon us for the next couple of weeks.

As a parent who has lost a child holidays are awfully difficult. There is so much to deal with in so many different ways--

We can feel guilty about enjoying the holidays without our child. What if we are having a good time? Our child is not with us and we can feel guilt about enjoying life and the holidays. How can we be happy watching our remaining children open up gifts if one is missing? Well this is where logic needs to come in--we need to remember that our child would not want us to be miserable during the holidays. They would want us to continue to live. Also we ABSOLUTELY have to remember that we have other children (or other family members) that we need to continue the holidays for. It is not fair to "punish" our remaining children by not enjoying them. They are enough for us, we must remember this.

We have traditions that we have to figure out what to do with now. The same place for the tree? The same food, same date? Same type of gifts, stockings? We no longer celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve at our house anymore--old tradition. We now have it the day before Christmas eve. Initially right after DJ's death I needed to get the holiday over as soon as possible and moving it up just one day helped me. I have started putting the tree up in a different room. I can't relive the memory of DJ climbing under the tree in his red boxers looking for gifts. I remember it every year but seeing the tree in a different spot lessons the pain of the memory. It lessons the pain and makes it a happy memory.

I did not have Emilee or Jake decorate their own tree this year. Every year in the past they had their own ornaments to decorate their own tree together. Well this year I just didn't have it in me and they absolutely did not miss tackling that job. I did end up finding a perfect ornament for DJ this year and bought it and did as usual buy the kids their own--but going through all the ornaments and sorting out which ones were DJ's and which aren't just isn't happening. Will I do it next year? I don't know. I never know what is going to happen year to year.

I no longer send out Christmas cards or a family Christmas picture. DJ is missing, the picture would be incomplete and I just don't do it. Every year we would do something but we haven't since 2006. If I could copy and paste DJ's picture into a photo maybe I would but that seems a little morbid for me. Old tradition completely gone.

Also it is hard to say Happy Holidays, Happy anything--again guilt here. Someone posted something on twitter awhile ago stating to observe the holidays instead of celebrate them. Wow, that was like a lightbulb exploding above my head for me. Those few words take away so much guilt of being happy about the holidays. Usually I am not a guilt ridden person, I truly feel guilt is from the enemy and is completely useless but I was struggling with this senseless guilt. Observing the holidays is just plain easier than trying to celebrate them. Do I have a reason to celebrate?--you bet--DJ is in heaven, Christ's death and resurrection allowed that. Because of Christ I will get to be reunited with DJ again--CHRISTmas can be wonderful if we truly remember why the holiday exists at all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thank you all for your comments

I had a blog in mind today about time lines but then I got distracted and saw that many of you have been leaving comments to me. I didn't know that these comments were being posted. I am so thankful to you all for the words of encouragement and understanding you have sent to me via the blog. I am sorry I can't respond to you each individually because for some reason my site doesn't allow me to or I just plain haven't figured it out yet.

Julie--thank you so much for what you said, it touched me so much--I am so sorry you have had loss as well-we all have been touched by loss in so many ways. I wish I could respond directly to your words but again, I haven't figured out how yet. We need to do coffee or thrift shop together, apparently you know of where I go :)

Angie--no one is immune and that sucks! I am glad though that your life has continued to go on in a way that I am sure Jack and Garret are proud of!! You rock!!

Please officially follow my blog because then I believe I can respond directly back to you--I am not sure but it could be the case. With all the wonderful things said I would love to chat with you all!! Plus we all need to communicate in ways of encouragement and uplifting to each other--so much pain and we all need each other for sure!!

I really needed this boost in the arm today, holidays are always hard and this year isn't any different. I can't seem to see beyond myself this year, I am only seeing within the blinders and this has helped me see a few feet in front!

Again, thank you all for your kind words, it shows me that these words and ramblings are not in vain but hopefully are offering help to those of us in the world walking the loss of someone we love!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A dieing plant

There is a plant at my in-laws house that is dieing. Everytime I walk by the plant it bothers me. I have watered it, I have told my mother in law that it needs water and the water ball thingies aren't working anymore. The plant is in a prominent corner of her home, there is a white bow in the pot--it once was beautiful and full of shiny leaves. It once looked for the sun to shine and was drawn to it.

She tells me it needs replanted and that she has the dirt. I hate seeing the plant's leaves drooping and hanging. I hate seeing the brown beginning to show and I absolutely hate the curling the leaves are beginning to do. It no longer looks for the sun to shine, it just droops in disregard.

I hate walking by this plant because it is a plant I gave my mother in law from DJ's funeral. It is a plant the has survived over 4 years since DJ passed away and it is beginning to die. I don't think she understands how important this plant is to me. I don't think she realizes that this is a piece of DJ that she is allowing to die. I don't think she undersands how much I hate seeing it die. I cringe when I pass by it, it causes me to think of DJ's funeral whenever I see it and seeing it die does not make me happy.

The dieing plant has made me realize that people forget. I knew this fact, I know this fact but I guess I thought my mother in law (that family) wouldn't forget as quickly as some. I thought she would get the fact that an unimportant plant is still important to me even 4 years later.

I get it, I truly do. I can't remember the anniversary date's of my friends that have lost children. It is not that I have forgotten their child I just can't remember their death dates. I have a hard enough time trying to remember what the actual date is on the calender. So I get it, life is fast, life continues, life goes on.

Well for those of you that have not lost children, this is how we feel when our children's things are no longer treasured. When their name is no longer said. We feel hurt when things that we consider precious are no longer considered to be by others. When our children are forogtten we absolutely hate it.

That plant is dieing. I will have to repot it and bring it back to life because it is part of my memory of DJ. The leaves no longer reach for the son but DJ reached for THE SON. The leaves are lack luster and drooping while DJ will forever be perfect in His Glory.

As readers who have not lost children do not judge us for wanting the "plants" to stay shiny and new. Don't judge us or get concerned when we are still hanging onto things that our child touched or loved. These things will always be important to us, they may lose some of their luster throughout the years, the memories may fade regarding the objects but still we want these things held in high respect, in respect to our children and their memory.

If you have a plant, a toy, a piece of clothing, anything that was one of our children's please give it the respect and honor it still deserves--in honor of our child.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A dear friend of mine who has lost a son told me she was feeling melancholy lately and couldn't seem to shake it. I had to agree with her that my household feels the same way, it is a heaviness that won't go away. It lingers about like a fog.

I decided to look up the word in the dictionary and this is what it says...melancholy is a depression of the spirit, depressed in spirit.

Maybe this means our spirits are depressed. Jesus' Holy Spirit that resides in us is depressed. How does that happen?

This is my theory-(please forgive my hypothesis here it is only a guess and I am not a theological expert)---I think that we as parents have prayed for years about our children, we have prayed for their safety, for their relationships, for their futures and after they are gone we are lost too. I think this lost sense begins to fester into a loss of faith---where was God when my son was dying? Why did He not protect him or save him? There are a million questions we can ask God and until we are all reunited we generally don't get the answers, or atleast the ones we want. Anyway, this doubt can fester in our spirit as well. We lose faith, we hurt our spirit. Our spirit grieves our doubts, it grieves the loss of our children. God grieves with us too.

Is melancholy the grief the Holy Spirit feels within us? Perhaps, I don't know but it makes sense to me.

Bigger question is how do I take myself from this melancholy? How can I look beyond my own pain and be thankful to God for the things He has done for me? How do I remember that He is still walking with me everyday, every second and has held me up when I could no longer stand?

This I do through a relationship with Christ, through His word, through prayer--the three legs of a footstool. Without one of them the chair tips-I need all three to continue to stand up and be strong.

My challenge to myself is to find a scripture today to stand on--a scripture that can give my spirit confidence and faith. A scripture I can pray that will take me from melancholy to nonmelancholy (okay I know that seems to be poor grammer but I can't see the word joyful coming into this today).

I challenge you all today to get into His word and get guidance from Him as well--He does not want our Spirit grieved, it is not a weak spirit He has within us-we need to find our faith and strength in Him

Today I challenge myself and all of you to find strength in God's word and in Him. With His strength perhaps the melancholy will release and float away--

(Update--ebook will be out next week, my guy is doing last of webpage work this week. Actual hard copy book within 4-6 business weeks--will keep everyone in the loop!)

Monday, December 6, 2010


There are triggers everywhere that remind parents of their child....

Macaroni and cheese--DJ loved my homemade mac and cheese and was beginning to make it himself
Saucepans in the cubbard--just bought those for DJ 3 weeks before his accident so he could cook

A yellow truck--a friend's son had just bought his own yellow truck before he passed away
A stroller---a stroller that looks like the one your child should be in
An intersection---a section of the interstate where a child has passed away

A child walking down a sidewalk that looks just like your child

A television show that you watched with our child over and over again (fear factor and robot wars at my house)

A movie that your child watched with you or one that they had wanted to see but passed away before they actually ever saw it.

A package of cookies at a grocery store--any food that your child loved at the store

A plastic bb from a bb gun that was stuck behind a cabinet for over 4 years

Someone on the other end of the phone with the same name

A plastic car, a t-shirt worn by a younger sibling, a homework assignment in a backpack that has been stored away, a book touched by your child last, a cloud in the sky, a flower in the day light, a whisper, a prayer--so much can remind us of our child that it is no wonder we are thinking of them all the time--even when our friends and family have no idea---everything can be a trigger and nothing---we are only a thought away from our children--be kind to us all

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I still have a box of DJ's chocolate crunch bars in the refrigerator. I found them in his sock drawer after he passed away. He loved chocolate and had them stashed so no one else would eat them. Jake had a friend come over last summer, he saw the bars and wanted to eat one. Jake said No, I said No and then explained that they were DJ's and he couldn't have them. This friend had never met DJ and didn't realize the importance of the bars.

That is the thing about mementos. They are important to us but aren't truly to anyone else.

We keep these things close to us and around us. We keep them to remember our children in a physical way not just in our memories. We keep these things so other's will not forget our child.

What else do I have that no one else cares about? I have a coin that DJ got from a police officer that has the police department's emblem on it. It has been in my purse for over 4 years. I have DJ's t-shirts in my closet and wear them occasionally. I have DJ's skateboards that will never be used again and his helmet that he wasn't wearing that day. I have a small ceramic cat that DJ gave me, worth no more than $5.00 but worth the world to me. I have bright yellow ducks in the kid's bathroom--DJ hated being called Donald Duck so our family collected them and gave them to him just to be silly. I have the Daily Bread bible study that was sitting next to his bed when he passed away. His lamp, his cards he made into ramps, his schoolwork poster I made him work on when he didn't want to, a lock of his hair, some of his favorite books, the list can go on and on.

I know parents that have their child's stuffed animal in a bag and carry it with them wherever they go. I know parents that have entire rooms full of their children's things years and years later. Some people still have their children's coat and shoes by the front door, never to be worn again but still sitting there years later-never to be moved either.

The really sucky thing about all these mementos is that someday they will end up in the trash. Someday they will not mean anything to anyone else. Someday someone will look at them and not see my son holding them or giving them to me. Someday the memories attached to these things will be gone and then they will be donated or thrown away. Someday someone will not care about them anymore and to us as parents that is just like them not caring about our child anymore.

We keep these mementos to keep our children near--they may be trash to some but are treasure to us!