Difficulties

This past week was tough. I spent every night at home with the kids. I anticipated it being a rough week, but had no idea how that was going to present itself. Before Monday night, the kids and I had not all spent the night at home. And there was only one day before that when I stayed the night sans kids while Stephanie was still in the hospital.

Every night – particularly starting around dinner time – was nothing short of miserable. I’m not going to sugar coat it or pretend differently. It’s probably because this was the time we had every day when we were all together as a family. We’d eat dinner together and one of us would clean up while the other gave the kids a bath. It’s when I most notice the absence of her voice in the house. I guess the rest of the day is so new to me at home that it’s not as bad. The house was also very much Stephanie’s domain and she would often have a plan for the night. I was never very decisive about such things, so went along with what she had for the most part. Now, I just find myself wondering what to even do at night. Thankfully, I’ve been tired enough at the end of the night to mostly just fall asleep.

I still have all our pictures up, of course. One picture had been “in storage” and I pulled it out for the wake. That one now is propped in the kitchen near the fridge. Apparently, I’m often near that spot because I look at that picture so many times and just about want to scream every time. I’m sure I can’t unpack all the thoughts I have throughout the day, but most of it takes me back to unbelief and/or anger that this actually happened. Occasionally, I’ll punch a wall or something. (That has yet to actually hurt, by the way, which is probably evidence of how little I care about physical pain compared to the emotional.) I’ve screamed into my pillow or just zoned out for a bit while the kids play.

I’m glad I got through so many emotions while still staying at my parents’ house that I can now take on this new set of emotions on their own. I’m not sure how much that makes it easier, but I have to assume it helps a little bit. And, I know it will get easier with time, so I guess I’m mostly just waiting at this point.

I’ve wanted to keep up on the writing, but haven’t felt very motivated. But, I do feel that God still wants me to write. And even though I’m not always necessarily sure what to put down here, I plan to keep at it and pray that He will keep me on task.

34 thoughts on “Difficulties”

  1. Brad I find it amazing you can even get your emotions out with words, a routine with the kids will help as much as you can have a routine each night with such little ones, but it has always made things easier on me with my 5. Praying for you and your continued strength.

  2. Dear Brad, I’m sooooooooo sorry that this is so very difficult for you. Every time I read your blogs, it just rips my heart out. I know there are a lot of us that wish we could do something, anything to make this easier or better for you and your children. Sadly we can’t fix this for you. We all will continue to pray for you and your family through this most difficult time.
    Love to you and your families.

  3. Hi Brad,
    When I returned to work after having Logan, Stephanie sent me an email that said that she prayed for me every single day at lunchtime. It was a good time for her to remember, and I can’t tell you how much that meant to me as I struggled through my workday! So, it only makes sense to me that if you are struggling the most starting at dinnertime, I will be praying for you every single night before dinner. It has been a habit since Stephanie first entered the hospital that Jim and I pray for you and the kids as we put Logan to bed around 7:45, and we will continue that, but know that there are so many people lifting you up in prayer throughout those hard hours! We love you.

    1. Thank you so much for praying during those critical times in my day. I don’t know how hard life would be without the prayers, but I know it would be even worse than it is now. Thank you so much!

  4. Brad I find it amazing you can even get your emotions out with words, a routine with the kids will help as much as you can have a routine each night with such little ones, but it has always made things easier on me with my 5. Praying for you and your continued strength.

  5. Please don’t stop writing! It’s always a good reminder for me to pray for you and your sweet babies!!!
    Love in Christ,
    Lisa

  6. Cornerstone of hope has bereavement groups and next session starts in January. Go to the website and see all they offer. It’s on brecksville rd. Independance. My sister was with her husband ten years and he passed away at age 27 suddenly.. Leaving behind a son that was 2 at time. It was hard. A group such as the ones I’m suggesting have people that can relate first hand and they even have a bible study support group. I also will pray for you during supper time.

    1. I did visit Cornerstone of Hope to talk with them, and am actually meeting with a counselor tomorrow. I was told that a widow(er)’s group might be mostly older people, so I’ll see how it turns out and decide then if I want to join the group. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, though.

  7. I remember the grief coming in waves. I was so thankful that it didn’t all come at once b/c I am sure it would have killed me. Finding a “new normal” was my goal in the early days, for me and my children. Please know you are so taken care of.

    I also found Hospice bereavement groups very helpful if that is your “thing.” Please keep writing. It is theraputic and allows us to reach out to you with our love and experience. You are not alone.

  8. Of course I say that I hope that you keep on writing, but that is my selfish side. I keep checking back here – to see how you and your kids are doing. I keep checking – to reconnect with the Lord, because you bring me to Him as nobody else ever has. I wish that you could still have your beautiful wife with you, but it seems that He has other plans. I hope that you can find a way to make a living out of this as you have met your calling. You have brought so many non-believers (in my life) to the Lord – and for that – I will forever be indebted to you! God Bless! I continue to pray for you and your family – and will for as long as God allows me the ability to do so.
    Love in Christ!
    ~Alexis~

    1. Thank you so much for sharing what you get out of my blog. I don’t consider it selfish at all, and just praise God for using it in your life. It’s truly just God’s work in my life, and I’m so glad that He can use me to bring you closer to Him. It’s interesting that you mention making a living out of doing this. If I can call serving God my living, then this is certainly fulfilling the role. I have a job I love that I don’t have any intentions of leaving. I know there are ways to earn money from a blog, but until I feel God leading me to do that, I only want this to bless me and others with God’s presence (and not to bless me financially). Praise God again and again that you know so many non-believers that this has brought to the Lord. Thank you so much for your prayers. God seems to still be using me, so please keep sharing with others if it helps spark conversations.

  9. Brad, I don’t have any good advice for you but just wanted to say thank you for being real on this blog and sharing your raw emotions. Sarah + I will begin today to lift you and the children up in prayer every night at dinner time.

    And please keep writing. I had a major career disappointment and almost lost it last week until I read your Job post. I know you’re often just working through your emotions, but know that God is speaking and working through you.

    1. I am so thrilled that some of my thoughts helped you through what you’re going through. No one’s grief is the same as another’s, but all grief has similarities, and God has certainly spoken to grief throughout the Bible. Thank you for letting me know that God spoke to you through my words, and thank you so much for your prayers. I certainly won’t stop writing anytime soon.

  10. Brad,
    I continue to think about and pray for you everyday. I pray that God relieves you of this pain you’re going through, but I also understand that it’s a process I’m sure you have to go through to come out the other side. I wish so terribly that you didn’t have to experience all of this terrible pain, it pains me to read about it. I guess when I try to rationalize your pain instead of just wishing it magically to go away, I think that you’re only grieving her has hard as you loved her. Your grief must be equal to the love you had for her, I suppose. God is the ultimate comforter, and this life is just one small spec compared to our life in eternity.
    In Christ’s Love,
    Jackie

  11. So many before me have already said what I was thinking so well, but I just wanted to add my prayers for you and the kids at dinnertime and evening, and anytime different things I see or hear remind me of you and stephanie and kids. And to thank you for keeping up the blog as I check back regularly to see how you are doing and know how to pray more specifically for you all. :)

  12. still praying for you, the kids and the family…. My heart still goes out to you Brad. Thanks for your words and your strength for God, You help me each and every day.

  13. Brad,
    I have been following your blog since the beginning. I found this some time ago and have always kept it and read it many times. I thought you might like it.
    I will continue to pray for you and your children.

    “Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name; speak to me in the easy way, which you always used. Put no difference in your tone; wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at our little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word it always was, let it be spoken without effort, without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.” Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918 Canon of St. Paul Cathedral.

  14. Brad,
    You don’t know me at all, but I am friends with friends of yours. I started following your story a few months ago. I check your blog regularly so I know how to best pray for you and your children. I have never experienced a loss as deep as yours, and I grieve with you as you tell your story. I went through a very painful divorce a few years ago and often felt like I had experienced the death of my spouse. I can relate to many of the emotions you have shared and my heart just hurts for you. I remember having feelings of wanting to climb into a hole somehow to escape the pain and fears. I had people tell me to take things one day at a time, but that wasn’t good enough. I could only take things one moment at a time. “Get me through dinner Lord, help me make it through the afternoon God…” and He surely did. I can look back now and feel such a deep gratitude that everything I learned about God as a child was actually 100% true. He loves you deeply. He weeps with you. He is your shelter and your rock during this storm. He is forever faithful. He is your strength. All 100% true… and it is completely safe to rest in those truths. During my darkest days I tried to make it my goal that my 3 little children would feel as little pain and turmoil as possible. That goal helped me to make it through each day, somehow enabling me to rise above my own pain just enough to bear it. As each day passed, the grief and burden slowly… very slowly… got lighter. Please know that you have so many sisters and brothers in Christ that care deeply for your loss and are weeping with you. Thank you for your honest reflections during these days.

  15. Brad, I think one of the hardest, but one of the most important, things you can do for yourself and your children is to find one ‘new’ normal. Whether it’s a new/different bedtime routine(reading a book in a special place, time to color or create, prayer time), something different at supper, whatever. Just something totally new between you and your children. You’ll find how soon the little ones will ‘jump on board’. Just a thought… You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers. We all know your life changed tremendously, in an instant. Every step you take is a step forward. Be good to yourself. Take time for you.

  16. Two things. First, please keep writing. Stephanie is alive through your words and honestly, even though I never met you, her, or your family, it makes me feel better to know how you’re doing. {{{HUGS}}} You have a lot of people out here for you, babe.

    Now a suggestion – can you invite some of your kids’ friends (from school, or whatever?) over for some weeknight playdates? I’m sure they’d need to be short b/c of school, but I think the distraction would help you (and them, of course), but you especially. I for some reason always tend to get “blue” at night and I don’t even have anything remotely near what you have to deal with, so I think nighttime is just bad sometimes. Can your parents come over now & again for dinner, as well? Or some friends? As the person before me said, it’s like you have to make a “new normal,” or new traditions…

    xo

  17. I continue to pray for your family! I can’t imagine how hard every waking second has to be for you! I pray that each day it may get a little less painful! God grant you healing and strength.

    Julie

  18. I’m another stranger – friend of a friend – who, to quote you on a much earlier post, hasn’t gotten off the bus. After reading your recent post the first word that popped into my head is “courage.” That was the focus of last week’s “Glee” episode, and while the context totally is different, the concept is the same. I am praying this for you – to have courage and strength to get through each day, hour, minute, second.

    Second, because of our time difference (Pacific time) my evening commute is during your dinner/evening time. So please know I’m committing to pray for you and your precious children on my drive home every night. Also praying that God will continue to use you for His purpose and that this will give you comfort and peace. His hand is on you, my friend.

  19. Dear Brad,
    Please know that I am still with you following your posts and I am praying for you daily. My prayer is that you be strengthened and comforted especially during those most difficult times you have to face throughout the day. In your times of silence, feel God’s immense love within you. Please continue to write, your words are helping many. God Bless you, Brad, and I am praying for you.

  20. Do what you do best–no script, no premeditated thot, just write from your heart. No one will judge, think you are messed up or not “healing”. Just write. You are a healing spring to others. I think it’s time I get you the book from C. S. Lewis. In the mail this weekend to you.

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