Lessons at the Royal Gorge.

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

We’re facing some huge mountains and even deep valleys in our lives. (pun intended with this post, but I’m also quite serious) ‘The mountains’ being decisions we’re having to make and ‘the valleys’ representing the areas we have yet to face that we are afraid to, or “haven’t had time” to. We are weighed down by life’s punches and blows, the sudden ones and the old blows that still ache with each breath. Today, we just knew we had to get out – literally.  Where better to run to in Colorado than to the mountains? It’s always our favourite escape. We begin our trek usually not knowing where we are going – letting go of (almost) all control (which is why Ted drives in such circumstances), we drive until we decide where to go and what to do. More often than not, our kiddos fall asleep within the first 20-30 minutes, we roll our windows down to take in the fresh air and just listen to music.

After some time, one of the two of us speak the vulnerable, powerful words that carry so much…”I’m so sorry…”and reach for the other’s hand. Hot tears stream down our cheeks.

Here we are again, and again, and again.

So much pain and suffering shoved to the side, overlooked, or perhaps avoided, raising it’s ugly head in words spoken to one another. And life, oh life hasn’t been gracious to stop to say “Hey, it’s okay to grieve. Let’s talk. Let’s cry. Let’s scream. Let’s write. Let’s take time to heal.”

It’s been brutal. And boy, are we done.  But not done with LIFE and with LIVING. We are done with SUFFERING. Suffering, not just due to the losses we have had, but mainly the suffering due to the choices we’ve made along the way. Ones of avoidance, choices made to choose the busyness of life so not to feel and face the valleys, the deep and dark places that terrify us.

The first few months of this year have been incredibly painful, filled with sickness after sickness, hospitalization of Everly, and amidst all of that the loss of another baby (I would entering my 2nd trimester this week). From the outside looking in, we appear to be okay. And it makes sense why people around us have thought we’ve even moved on. Appearance… oh my. What a joke, am I right? How many times do we (you?) lie through your teeth “I’m doing good!”? We just keep pushing through and going and going and going. But is that strength? We know, we are anything but strong right now. We had given up just two weeks ago. We wanted to call it quits on everything. And those moments, our “rock bottom”, have led us to this moment here…

Now, we are making choices for our family that aren’t easy (the mountains) which don’t look anything like we’d imagined, or planned for. Or where we’d imagined. It actually might seem like a rather simple life, from the outside looking in. Or like we’ve given up on our dreams, our calling even. But we know this is not, and that this is the first time we are deliberate in choosing to face this “valley” that we haven’t fully faced, and that is no small or simple or weak thing. It is strong to decide this path, though it’s more painful and requires more faith (for us).

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

I stood today and looked down into the depths of this gorge. And my stomach sank due to fear (especially with my kids near!) yet once I recognized how truly safe we were, the fear naturally dissolved and I began to see the beauty everywhere. There was beauty even in the depths where the river raged below. I almost gasped, it was so stunning. I suddenly realized it was no coincidence that we were there. I felt like this was a picture of where we are at: A picture of us, facing this gorge, this valley and feeling fear as we look down. Fear of falling and being unable to get back up, or worse. Fear of the unknown in facing the raging river. But from above I can see there is also beauty below. Though it will be difficult to crawl back into that valley and face these things, the beauty that will meet us amidst all of this pain and fear, is undeniably healing.

Now, if you had told me I would get this kind of an amazing picture, just even a week ago, I would have scoffed, honestly. I have put up some major barriers in my relationship with God in my search for answers. Searching for peace and understanding in every season of life and feeling as though I come up empty handed each time, or worse – suffering more loss. And that is painful and confusing. I want to be in a place where I can trust Him wholeheartedly, again. And with this picture, I feel like once I can do what He’s wanting us to do – to truly face this valley – our fear will begin dissolve, our trust will begin to build up again.

He’ll walk us through this valley. He will be with us.

And perhaps, for now, that is my answer. That He will be with us each step of the way.

(taken with my iphone)

 And for these little eyes that are watching, and looking into the gorge but not truly knowing what their momma and daddy are giong to be facing (and honestly, I don’t want them to fully know!)… I want to do this for all of us. I want to show them that though you will face these gorges, and have to walk through these valleys, you need to and you WILL come out alive.

We are more than conquerers with Him.

 We can do this.

However difficult and painful. However long it takes.IMG_4959

Time to face this valley.

//

I’ve written posts with talk of this kind of having hope to face this. Talk of facing giants and valleys and mountains and fears, etc, etc, etc… but this time we actually have steps in place to help us. Such as long term grief and marital counseling for this year. Which is a first, the longest stretch we did was almost 2 months, and it was our healthiest 2 months since the loss of Eisley. Grief and lingering sorrow have truly seeped into every area of our lives: health – we are both the most unhealthy we’ve ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s seeped into our drive, our passions, into who we are and how we live.

I told Ted today, for the first time since Eisley passed away, I have felt it is time to move forward. I need to figure out how to say goodbye, which is something I haven’t been able to let go and to do yet. Almost 5 years later… I don’t know what this will look like, but I am ready to move forward and begin my trek through this valley.

Thankful that Jesus is walking before us.

Thank you for reading this novel. :)

-J

simultaneously.

i have realized something in the past few months and as it slowly but surely resonates with my heart and mind, i am finding freedom.

i am beginning to come to understand my simultaneously grieving yet, thankful heart. that it is really okay that they both exist. and that (for me) there cannot be guilt in this. i can’t really say i fully understand or comprehend this idea, but in my heart it resonates. it happens each and every day.

today is actually a good example of this very thing;

august 8th holds a fun new milestone as well as a precious memoury that we hold dear to our hearts.

today, Shailo is 9 months old, which is unbelievable to me! (photo taken today at his 9 month checkup)

it is also the anniversary of when we found out that our Eisley was a girl at our Pink or Blue party.

i’m reminded in dates and anniversaries, like today. and i’m reminded in the little every day moments. recently, i stood watching a moment happen at the Zoo and instantaneously felt full of both thankfulness and sorrow. thankful for what my eyes beheld before me in that second; my precious boys. sorrow in knowing their sister would never be apart of even the smallest moments like these.

both of these feelings, sometimes existing at the same time or sometimes one right after the other, it’s something that has burdened me and overwhelmed me with guilt until recently. but they no longer need to and it is this very idea that i have to let go. i have to quit trying to wrap my mind around it and just go with these feelings.

they are happening.

they are very real.

they are often and in my everyday.

i imagine that each and every one of us has come to know that life is oh so beautiful and oh so painful.

it is both bitter and sweet.

and while we will never truly understand how the two can really coincide, how they can often go hand in hand, i know that His grace, His mercy, His peace… they carry us through these moments.

i’m super sleepy and i really hope  that despite my inability to think straight, i was able to share what i really wanted to tonight. i guess i just wanted to share (publicly) with the hope that maybe in this blog post, in my sharing this vulnerable bit of my mind, maybe it could help someone.

i don’t have answers for why things happen. why often there is the bitter with the sweet. but i know that He carries us.

maybe we ought to let go of trying to comprehend all of this and feel what we need to feel.

maybe in this, we will find healing.

maybe if we let go, we will find a greater understanding of what it means to really live life – because we come to feel these very things.

yeah, that makes sense in my head, hope what i am trying to get out resonates in someone reading this now.

xoxo, jami

acceptance.

(photo taken during Eisley’s service)

Accept: to accommodate or reconcile oneself to: to accept the situation. (source)

Acceptance has been the hardest part. I think it’s what has caused this last month to be the hardest to walk through yet. I know we really have to face our reality in order to really begin moving forward, but to accept this… whew.

I feel like I go through the “grief cycle” many times throughout a day but the acceptance is the part that I still get caught up on. I could try to accept this, I don’t want to accept this.

It’s hard to accept or come to terms with what happened, with the bed rest, the hospital, the waiting, the hoping, the trauma, the birth…

I don’t want to accept that this was the first and last time we got to hold her in our arms.
 
I don’t want to accept the fact that I will never kiss her nose on a daily basis, or that Chase will never get to play with his baby sister, or that I will never get to see Eisley adore her daddy, or that I can’t dress her like me or watch her creativity blossom (I really felt she was a lot like me, I know it sounds odd, but I do). I don’t want to accept that our dreams with her are gone, or that we will never watch her grow to be a beautiful lady. I don’t want to accept that I won’t someday watch her walk down the aisle… etc, etc, etc, ETC. There is so much that I don’t want to accept. It’s seriously infinite.
 
I like the above quote, but suddenly realized it is more like INfinite disappointment then finite disappointment. Infinite is immeasurable. There is immeasurable disappointments and aches and there is also infinite hope. A hope that says no matter what we face, we can make it through the hardest, darkest day. Hope helps us breathe deeply, take that first step out of bed each morning, face the day, live… hope will help us to dream again eventually. We are clinging to hope, to Him. We must not lose infinite hope and we aren’t. We’re struggling and aching still, everyday and often.
 
 Four and a half months too many.
We miss you baby girl. 

Whew, I know this is really a downer of a post, but I want to stay true to where I’m at and honestly, to ask for your prayers.

I will share a not-so-down post next, with some fabulous finds to lift the mood.

Come on, come on, come on…

When she came her family was there
And all her things were neatly prepared
When the moment came I was scared
If I look at her I’ll break down
If I don’t she’ll know it somehow
When she came there wasn’t a sound

Come on, come on, come on

Come on, come on, come on

Come on come on, come on

Listen for the beat of her heart
Listen as your plans fall apart
Listen but there’s nothing there
When you lose what you never had
Left with impossible plans
Listen in but you can’t hear

We knew that this could happen
I feel the distance creeping
One there in my position
Moving against my fingers
Against my human nature

Come on, come on, come on

Come on, come on, come on

Come on, come on, come on

Are you through with punishing me
I thought that you would at least
Give what you promised me
Are you through with punishing me
I thought that you would at least
Give what you promised me

What would a father say
He would say to come right home
What would a father do
He would try to comfort to you

What would a father say
He would say to come right home
What would a father do…

When she came her family was there
And all her things were neatly prepared
When the moment came I was scared
If I look at her I’ll break down
If I don’t she’ll know it somehow
When she came there wasn’t a sound

Come on, come on, come on
Should have done something

Marot – by Meese

A friend gave Ted and I this song after we lost Eisley. Written by a father that had lost their daughter Margot. When I first heard it I weeped. “Come on, come on, come on”. Two words that speak volumes to me. I cry even now. My heart hoped and longed for her heartbeat to be found. Oh Eisley-girl, “Come on, come on, come on”…

Today we brought Eisley’s ashes home from the funeral home. I keep thinking “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” And it’s not. My heart and my mind still aren’t connected the dots. Four and a half months in and still, it’s so very hard to accept. It’s my reality every single second of every day and even still…

I long, hope, “Come on, come on, come on”… and ache when the reality strikes again and again and again.

No more words… just an aching heart asking for your thoughts/prayers.

WE.

The past week has been especially difficult in the Davis household. Reality sets in more and more each day and with each reminder that our Eisley-girl is gone, I grow weary. I originally popped on to write a post, venting in a most unhealthy kinda way about reminders and things are bringing me down. But I just can’t… I can’t go there and what’s the point but to bring me down further. So instead I decided to share, first a verse, then a little bit about how WE are (you’ll understand the need for caps soon) and then (the FUN stuff) in the a DIY project I’ve been meaning to share with you.

A few nights ago I was desperate for a word I could cling to. I typed in “sorrow, grief, tears, loss,” etc, into a search button on Ted’s ipad Bible app. I stumbled across these verses in Micah.

We’re clinging to Him, to {hope}.

(call me cheesy, but rainbows do always remind me of hope and promise. We woke one morning to this!)

We’re holding on to a few promises we feel He’s given us.

 To be honest, it has been so very rough between Ted and I, since we’ve lost Eisley. “They” say it is the most difficult thing that  a couple can go through, the loss of a child. The statistics of divorce after the loss of a child are ASTOUNDING. I can actually see how that could happen, not that I think it is right. You can very easily disconnect from one another because you don’t know how to be there for each other as you are BOTH grieving. You feel at a loss for how to be there or even encourage each other, most of the time. To say “it’s been rough” for us is a huge understatement. You might have noticed that I didn’t talk a lot about Ted since we’ve lost our girl. I wanted to respect where he was at and not share his personal life like I share mine with you all.

Side note: It might be confusing to some, why I share so much. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I shared our journey before we lost Eisley and I want to share our journey as we grieve as well. I write to process (in my journal) but I share some things “aloud” (blog) also from advice for those who’ve walked this road before us, also for encouragement and to know we aren’t alone, also a mixture of hoping that Eisley’s life and story and our journey will touch someone or help someone.  And I think, if I’m compltely honest, a bit of why I write and process for all to see, is because I am afraid of people forgetting Eisley.

Whoa, side track.  Back to Ted and I…We’re both the weakest we’ve ever been and it’s hard to have strength to be strong for one another, so lately we realized, that is okay. We are super weak, broken, sorting through shattered dreams, clinging to hope but we’re all of these things {together}. We’ve recently started walking together and it is so healing. That might seem confusing, why would we just now start walking together? It’s hard to explain. You’ve heard it said that “men and women grieve differently”. it. is. so. very. true. However, we’re learning that we grieve differently, yes, but not seperately.

And we’re now we’re seeking counsel to help us walk through this season. For the first time in my life, I really want to see a counselor. There is so much to process and walk through, things that I’ve avoided that I need to face, truama I need to process with someone who is not grieving as well. I’ve put a LOT on Ted that hasn’t helped him in his grieving, so this will be so healing for us both.

 Ted, I love you and am so thankful you’re the one by my side. WE are not giving up.

(on a fun note; DIY Recipe box on next post)

words that resonate.

i have my days, my hours where my heart is aching in a way that feels almost unbearable. today is one of “those days” where it’s really  hard to get back up. it’s hard to even find the words tonight to express where i am at. my own words are failing me, so instead i will share a few photos with quotes or verses that resonate with me.

chase and eisley’s blankies (Thanks evie for this verse.)

 (thank you brittney maxwell for this beautiful treasure you found me!)

in brokenness

Today these words popped into my head. I wrote them years ago as I walked a different valley. Now, I believe these words are even more fitting then before.

I am so broken right now. I feel like this part of me will never heal, and this might sound odd but right now I don’t want to heal all up. I don’t want a “quick fix”. I’m actually thankful that healing is a process.

You know what I’ve found in each of these places? He is with me in my brokenness. I can’t say I always “feel” Him because truthfully I don’t and I tell myself He is when I don’t feel His presence. I know He has met me in my broken, messed up state and He’s not only holding me, but He’s grieving with me.

I’m thankful to have such a Father that even in my broken state He is with me. And not only is He holding us, He’s holding our precious Eisley which brings me great comfort.

Even just the tiniest glimpse.

I can barely find the words lately to express what’s going on my heart and mind. It’s part of why I haven’t shared my heart (on my blog) in the past 6 days. I’m in a really strange place right now. When I first came home from the hospital I didn’t mind being around people but writing was what I found to be the most therapeutic for me at the time. Now, I can barely write words expressing where I’m at.

I’ve been in such a need of the eye contact and/or the sound of the voice of a loved one asking me how we’re really doing and the comfort in the tears shared with a friend or family member as we talk about my sweet Eisley. I’ve found these things to be very healing right now.

::Let me just pause my confusing babbling to say a {huge} thank you to all my dear friends who’ve written or skyped or called or tweeted or even commented here lately. It has meant the world to me. Seriously, I can’t say thank you enough::

Ted and I both feel like we’re taking steps backwards in the “grieving process” as Eisley’s due date nears.

December 17, 2010.

 The date we waited for with great anticipation after we first heard Dr. H announce when our little “surprise baby” was due. The idea of having a newborn added to our family during the beloved holiday season was so exciting. And then when we found out she was our Eisley we we’re even more excited (not gonna lie, I really hoped she was a girl)! The very date we thought of with great anticipation just months before is now another kind of haunting reminder that she is gone.

We’re doing a few significant things on her due date but I keep thinking even though they might be “healing” for us, it won’t be the same as having her here with us. Obviously. Yet we are hoping for peace and healing on that day rather than a feeling of depression at our reality. December 17th will probably be intertwined with a lot of different emotions and as the years go by it might be less and less raw but the ache will still be there.

A few days ago I was driving and listening to music that’s been ministering to me right now. My heart was heavy and I was crying “hot tears” (as I call them), the kind of tears stemmed from a place of deep sorrow and grief and even anger.  As I was crying, something came to my heart and poured from my mouth immediately;

 “Father, please give me a glimpse of my daughter’s joy as she’s with you.”

I find myself whispering this prayer to my Father over and over, especially when I have those overwhelming moments of despair, sorrow, grief, etc. Sometimes, I even close my eyes and picture her with Him. I often remember this photo which you might recall me sharing a month or so ago;

I think of her in heaven experiencing things we cannot even fathom and it helps me as I ache. So this is my prayer, that since I do not have her here to with me and therefore I can’t tangibly experience her joy, that I will instead get a glimpse of my Eisley’s joy as she’s in the presence of our Father.

Jesus, please keep mending our hearts. Give us a glimpse of our daughter’s joy as she’s with You. Even just the tiniest glimpse, Father.