There is so much to share that I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I embarked upon a journey that relocated us from the state that we had grown to call home to a place that seemed so foreign when God placed it on my heart. Probably like many of the early Americans when they left family to travel out west to set up a new homestead.
But here it’s different or maybe I am different. I am different. Or perhaps, it’s the relatability or the way we were welcomed into church on Sunday as though they had been waiting for us to arrive. Or maybe it’s just the door that opened because He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Whatever that, it is, I am grateful that we can now call, Alabama our home. ❤️
Being a native of North Carolina, I would never have thought I could live in Alabama. Truth be told I felt the same way about Georgia.
Thank you, Alabama for welcoming us with open arms.
It’s been four months since my precious son left this life and there isn’t one day that I don’t think of him. It’s not possible for me to forget the joy that he brought into my life. He made me a warrior, a fighter, he made me brave.
I try to stay busy, because sitting with my thoughts for too long is too hard. I have to pack, but it seems like I barely get started before I stop. I know that it needs to be done, but for some reason, I can find a million distractions. I wonder if it’s because part of me feels like packing makes his death final or is just a reminder that this next journey doesn’t include him.
I know that God has him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is healed and happy. I’m just sad that it didn’t happen for me to see. Sometimes, I find myself calling him to come and give me a hug, I just want to hold him and snuggle. But he doesn’t come. Maybe he doesn’t miss me in the way that I miss him.
I still wonder why he had to leave and I know that I may never get the answers that I am seeking. I guess I just want to know why I had to go through another hurt so deep that breathing hurts. But God doesn’t owe me an explanation so I’ll accept that His grace is sufficient.
Besides I guess none of us gets to leave this planet without some amount of sorrow. Just seems that I have had enough for two lifetimes. Maybe there is a lesson in that for me to learn. I guess, I need to figure it out, because I am tired of walking through sorrow and having grief as a constant companion.
Perhaps, I’ll wake up one day and grief will be gone and if she is, I pray that I am ready for the day.
Where do I belong? Where should we go? Should we just buy an RV and travel from state to state? Those are questions, I ask myself almost daily. You see when Ethan was alive, we knew. We knew where we had to be and when. But now, we’re nomads. Anchored only to the belief that, if we live faithfully we will be reunited with our Ethan someday.
When I show up online, people see the bright shiny Angela doing her best to serve and inspire. What they don’t see is the pain, that still permeates my heart. Though it’s been nearly four months, I am still not okay that he is gone. I will likely never be.
I guess what I struggle so deeply with is the not knowing. Why he had to go and not me? Why am I still here to mourn the sweetest, purest heart that I was blessed to nurture and care for? What lessons does God want me to know? Why do I still not have the faith of Job? Why do I still not know where I belong?
I started the “75 Hard Challenge” on May 9, and knock on wood, I’ve been able to meet the challenge so far. But one of the things that I am learning or I guess I have had to face is the me looking back at me in the mirror. Truth is, this is a mental challenge and it has brought forth some hard truths. Number one, I am not in control, God is and He is the ultimate decision maker. For me to think otherwise is arrogant and rebellious. Two, He loves me and has only the best plan laid out for me as long as I listen to his voice and step out of the drivers seat and sit in the passengers seat where I belong.
Three, Job was not blessed abundantly because he did not sin, but because he never wavered in his belief that God was the giver of all that he had and that He would provide and was worthy of praise, no matter the circumstances. He just trusted and believed, even when he lost all of his children in one day! He grieved but did not stop trusting God. That is the lesson, right?
Just like Job, I may never know why God has allowed me to experience so much grief over the years. But what I do know is that, God has a plan for me, not one of evil, but a future and a hope. I just have to believe that He will and to live my life according to will and to seek His counsel daily.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I Peter 5:10
What do you call a mother who loses her child when he is eleven years old? Is she a widow like when her husband dies? Is there even a name to represent her heart being pulled from her chest, like a heart attack that is associated with cardiovascular disease? There should be a name to call a woman who loses her child without warning or explanation. Maybe I’ll be the first to wear that name. I am after all a grieving mother and will likely be known by that until the day I die.
Most days, I wake up and do all of the things. But then there are moments when I see his lifeless body in my mind and I want to scream and cry and beg for it to not be real. Oh and then there are the times, when a friend will just simply ask, “how are you doing”, and the tears just start rolling down my cheeks before I even say a word. I know that people understand and they give me grace. But for some reason, I find it hard to give it to myself.
Since my dear Ethan’s passing in February, I’ve had time to sit with grief and ask why him he has been my companion for so many years. Why it seems, he follows me everywhere. Is there a lesson that I haven’t learned? Or have I not humbled myself enough? I wish I knew how to shake him or to travel a different route where he can’t find me. But somehow I don’t believe that is even possible. As soon as I let my guard down he takes someone that I love and need in my life.
My neighbor recently asked me if I thought I might date or find love again. My response, “probably not.” I reminded him that as a special needs parent, I wasn’t planning to get involved with anyone in that sense because my life was devoted to being Ethan’s mom, his person. I was prepared to take care of him. I am not prepared for someone to take care of me or for anyone to take up that much space in my life. That idea is so foreign to me at this point, that I don’t even entertain it.
What’s so interesting, is that being divorced didn’t and doesn’t feel like a loss. Losing my nana, my mother and my Ethan were losses, abandonment really and that is a visceral hurt that is indescribable. Those are the losses that make me question and wonder why I am still here. But grief won’t answer me, he just follows me and stares when I tell him to leave.
I guess this is the time where I have to accept what is and to be content with raising my daughter. She needs me and wants me to be the all in mom that she didn’t have for several years. So, that mom is who I will be because she needs me to be her.
Jill McLaughlin Grunewald is a longtime holistic health coach and has suffered from alopecia since she was a teen (she was half bald at one point), but always turned it around. And for the last eight years, she’s been supporting the alopecia community in her private coaching practice and online courses.
She and her co-coach, Dr. Elizabeth Naylor, are offering a 3-hour workshop this Saturday, April 23, called 9 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make When Reversing Alopecia. It’s FREE with the code CANADY and you’ll also receive Jill’s Alopecia Labs Guide that outlines what she feels are the most important tests for assessing root cause of hair loss. This guide has been “gold” for so many of her clients and students!
This class is for anyone suffering from hair loss, whether it’s total, patchy, or diffuse/androgenic (although not all diffuse loss is androgenic) and whether you’re new to a holistic/whole body approach or you’ve previously taken part in the full Reversing Alopecia mastercourse. (Jill and Elizabeth don’t claim to help men with pattern baldness.) They’re also going to cover post-covid loss.
It’s going to be a good one! If you can’t make it live, no problem, as the workshop will be recorded.
Follow the link to complete your registration. Please don’t forget to type CANADY at checkout.
I am lonely. There I said it. Not in the way that most people would think. I am lonely in the sense that the one constant that anchored me, my son is no longer here. I feel like a boat with no real direction or a place that I should be. No real sense of belonging.
Before I knew that Ethan he was a he, I knew that I was pregnant with a boy, I knew he was my son. I had dreams of all the things he would do and would eventually become and I was grateful. I was grateful that once again, I would be a mother. Two children to love and nurture. That would be a blessed life.
Even when he received a diagnosis of autism and later, epilepsy and PANDAS, and my dreams changed for him, I still knew that he would be here and whatever he would need, I’d in some way be able to provide. That’s part of a being a mother, right? I mean it never would have occurred to me that I was only meant to be his mom for a short time instead of a lifetime.
Most days I am fine since his death. But lately, I find myself sobbing before I drift off to sleep each night. I know that God is with me and He sees me. I am comforted daily by His loving hands, but it is in those moments that I miss Ethan the most. I miss his hugs, I miss his smiles, I miss his innocence and his unconditional love. I miss my boy, my only son. I miss being his person and holding his hand. I miss talking to him, though he could not talk back. I just miss him.
This is my new normal. This is my normal and what I must accept for the sake of my daughter. She missed so much of me when her brother was here and has grown up so much; but she still needs me. She needs me to teach her all of the things that I thought she would just pick up because I told her or showed her one or two times. Turns out she needed me too, she just didn’t ask because she knew that Ethan needed me more.
While I don’t understand, why Ethan had to go or why I still have to navigate my life without him, I will accept and be assured that Ethan is with God and is waiting for me to be reunited with him one day. That is my hope.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Thank you Lord for allowing me to be Ethan’s mom for eleven years. I will always be grateful.
Two months ago today my son went to be with Jesus. Most days it is still so hard for me to process, even if I make it seem as though I am. I still struggle with what could I have done differently that day, that would have kept him here. Then there are times I walk by his room and want to cry out in anguish that he is not here. But then I remember who controls it all. The one who gives the birds outside my window in the mornings their song to sing. The one who breathes life into me and my daughter every single day. He is the one who gives peace we are too finite to understand. In my anguish I can still have peace and know that every single tear that falls from my eyes he notices and catches in his hands. I am never alone or forgotten, his hugs never expire.
I fall down on my knees in gratitude. I will never stop serving the Lord.
What occupies your mind? Does your work align with your values and beliefs?
I spent nearly 24 years of my life trading my time for a paycheck. In that time, I sacrificed what was most important, not because i wanted to, but because I thought that I had no choice. Ultimately, my only son died as a result of choices that I thought we right, but later learned that they were wrong, it was a hazard of the profession that I had chosen.
Since my son’s death I have had many sleepless nights and more time to study the Bible and to remember what my purpose is here on this earth. I have had the opportunity to speak to my sisters in Christ about maintaining their physical health and the best gift was witnessing my daughter commit her life to Christ through baptism into his kingdom. Acts 2:38.
We only get one life and in the grand scheme of it all, it is short. So while there is still breath in my body, I will heed the advice of King Solomon, who penned, “ The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13&14
On February 7, 2022, my only son died. I don’t know why, the autopsy did not provide that answer. In fact, we are still waiting to learn what could have gone wrong. Perhaps, we will never know. Would knowing even quench my grief or would it just leave me wondering what I could have done to stop it?
My son was the joy of my heart, he was an amazing kid. Though he had autism diagnosis (vaccine injury) and epilepsy (another vaccine injury), his heart was so big! He loved so big! My heart grew bigger because of him. His challenges made me draw closer to God for answers and guidance, but after countless treatments, divorce and relocation, I arrived at acceptance. Acceptance that he would always live with me and I would always live with him. I was his person and he was mine.
This only came to me two weeks prior to his death, which was right around his eleventh birthday. I had finally come to accept the love that he always had for me and readily embraced it with my whole heart and soul. Though I had always led him by the hand, I had finally accepted that he would now lead me. And he did.
There is so much to write and say about my sweet boy; eventually I will. But today, I am writing about the grief and the gut wrenching sadness I feel because he is no longer here for me to drive to therapy everyday or to drive his sister nuts. I grieve because he never had the opportunity to reach his fullest potential. I grieve because everyday going forward won’t include him. Trips we plan to take and adventures we are sure to have will not include him. I grieve because my heart loved a little boy that was only with me for a little while. I grieve because I just miss him.
I know that he is perfect in the arms of Jesus. I know that he is doing all the things that he was unable to do here on Earth. I know that he is waiting to be reunited with me someday. But I also know that I will never be the same because I loved him and he loved me. That piece of my heart that is now broken will never be repaired because it can’t, it belonged to Ethan Evan and always will.
My life will never be the same nor should it be, but it will forever be changed. I can only hope, for the better.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. “ Psalm 34:18