I never thought that cleaning out my email inbox would leave me in tears.

But there’s something about going back in time that makes you painfully aware of just how far you have come.

In the days just following Nick’s death in 2008, my email inbox was flooded with words of love and sympathy.

I read many of these messages in the first few weeks after Nick’s passing, but time slipped away leaving many of these powerful notes unopened.

Today, I sat and read words from special alumni at KCU, Nick’s oncologist nurse practitioner, and many more wonderful friends and family………

Words that were new to me even though they had been sitting in my inbox since 2008.

Words that blessed me today more deeply than they would have three and a half years ago.

So much time has passed since saying “bye” to Nick, but the memories of that last season with him are as painfully real today as they were then.

Grief doesn’t go away.

The phrase, “time heals,” is a phrase I have heard a lot over the years, and I guess it carries some truth.

But I think for me the closest I can get to that phrase is this, “time softens.” 

Time softens the heartache so that you can smile again, laugh again, even make plans again.

Time softens the memories so that they become sweeter – not so piercingly painful.

Time softens the feelings of panic, fear, regret, sadness.

But grief will always be my companion.

I don’t think a mom is ever the same after losing a child (or two in my case).

Yesterday in church, I was smiling as I was singing during worship, and it occurred to me out of nowhere, “Is anyone seeing me smile as I sing and doubting my love for my children who are gone?”  Could they possibly think I don’t miss Nick and Adrienne anymore?  Do I send a message that I am okay with what I have been through?”

On one hand, faith and hope have strengthened me to face my life as it now is.

On the other hand, I am still a frail, hurting mom who truly lives one little day at a time.

I think God sent those thoughts into my mind yesterday during worship and not any other day before then, because He knew I would be cleaning my inbox today.

He wanted me to remember today that yesterday I was praising Him with a smile; so that after reading all of these touching notes from 2008, I would believe without a doubt that I would smile again.

At the same time, He knew today would remind me of just how deeply my heart still aches for the presence of my precious Nick.  I still miss him more than words could every say.

Thankful today for Romans 8:38-39 in an extra-powerful way:


For I am convinced that neither

death nor life,

neither angels nor demons,

neither the present nor the future,

nor any powers,

neither height nor depth,

nor anything else in all creation,

will be able to separate us from the

love of God that is in Christ Jesus

our Lord.