Respite: an interruption in the intensity or amount of something

We received confirmation today that we will be going to the Respite Retreat in April held by David and Nancy Guthrie. The retreat is for couples who have experienced the loss of a child. They choose eleven couples (first eleven to send in registration forms). So, we will be travelling to Tennessee for a weekend once April rolls around. I am looking forward to spending a weekend with people who can 100% relate to us and our new life.

We are really struggling with feeling like no one really "gets it"....many of the people we surround ourselves with cannot relate to what we're going through. So, oftentimes we are left feeling out of the loop because we just are not at the point where we can just throw ourselves back into what we did before all of this. Jeremy is a leader in every sense of the word. If there is a leadership role to be taken, he will usually take it, or at least consider it very strongly. However, recently, he has had to take a step back. I am glad he has done this just so that he can process everything without having added responsibilities.

I don't expect people to "get it", nor do I expect people to stop their lives just because ours is sitting in neutral. I feel self-centered for even feeling like others should step into "compassion-mode" when we walk into the room. I've said several times that this is such an isolating type of grief because there aren't many who can relate, and many people don't know what to say, so they just don't say anything at all. I guess I just want people to realize that it's a big deal for us to even leave our house. I think people see that Jeremy is back at work and back to coaching, and it seems like Jeremy is "okay". So I guess they assume that since Jeremy seems "okay", then Lindsay must be okay too. Recently, on most days, I'm "okay". A friend from church asked me the most awesome question yesterday. In fact, she threw me off because I was ready to answer the first part of her question which was, "How are you...". I'm so used to being asked that, that I just have my answer ready....which is usually, "I'm doing pretty well." So, as she got out the first part of the question, my usual answer was coming out and then I hear, "....right this minute". And i stopped. I loved how she had asked that question. It wasn't the obligatory, "How are you" (not that everyone who asks does so out of a sense of obligation....) and then move on. So, I answered, "Right this minute....I'm okay."

Shortly after that, though, I was not okay. We went to lunch with Jeremy's parents. Lunch was fine; although, it seemed like there were babies everywhere. I found myself sitting there praying for one family to leave because their baby was close to Ayden's age. Then, I went to a wedding shower at church. The shower was for one of my close friends, who was also one of my roommates in college. I'm so, so happy for her. She deserves all the happiness life can offer. Anyway, the shower became overwhelming for me. People started talking about babies and grandkids. As the conversation is going, I'm sitting there trying to remain calm and not let it be obvious that I'm about to explode. In those moments, I find myself screaming inside my head, "HELLO! I'M SITTING RIGHT HERE!!!!" So, I got up and went outside to check on Ayden's garden. I always feel closer to him there. So, I had my cry out in the garden, composed myself, then went back inside.

Thank God for S (I don't want to use her name without her permission). S is a friend I've made from church since everything happened. On the day we lost Ayden, her husband came and sat with us in the emergency room. I will never, ever forget the pain I saw in his face as I was sitting there holding Ayden. At that point, I didn't know him well. I wasn't even sure I knew his name, but I did know he went to our church. As I was sitting there, feeling so helpless, looking down at my child who was no longer with us in spirit, I looked at his face and knew he understood. We later learned that he and his wife, S, had lost a child, too. They have reached out to us and been such a comfort. Words could never express the help they've been. God has truly provided grace by bringing us together. So...back to yesterday....

....S was there at the shower. She knew that I had already had a rough day, so we talked, and I was able to get my mind off of things for a little while. S wanted to see Ayden's garden, so we went out and looked at it. I enjoy sharing the garden with people. We purposely put it in the playground because we wanted it to be enjoyed by parents and their kids. It is holding up really well despite the up and down temperatures we've had lately. I've never been good at keep plants alive, but I've had success with these!

After that, I left and went home to check on Gracie before having to head back to church for small group. I sat through small group trying, again, not to explode. We were discussing planning our annual Christmas party....people were talking about Christmas had gone back to normal for everyone but us. And again, I found myself screaming in my mind, "DOESN'T ANYONE REALIZE THAT SOMEONE IS MISSING HERE???" How can we talk about celebrating when he isn't here??

Again, I do not in anyway expect people to stop their lives or not do things as usual just because we're there. The only ones it's hard for is us, and we know that. And I know that they understand how difficult it is for us. It's just tough to watch everyone else continue to live life, go about the ordinary, make plans, participate in traditions when we are living with this big, gaping hole in our life. Everything I mentioned earlier was not meant to make anyone feel badly. It's just what I'm struggling with. So, if I seem reserved or distant - now you know why. With Thanksgiving coming up, then Jeremy's birthday, then Christmas, and then a new's just already becoming overwhelming.

We are trying very hard to be thankful in light of the upcoming holiday season, but it's proving to be harder than we thought. We have decided not to do holidays as usual. Thanksgiving will be the first time we've been together with Jeremy's family since before Ayden was born. It's already causing me great anxiety. I hate that our mindset it to just "get through" the holidays, but I don't know how else we're supposed to feel. I don't think I will put up a tree or decorations, and we've decided not to do presents....anywhere. People can give us gifts, but we don't want to take part in the actual opening of gifts. I don't even want anything wrapped....

So, needles to say, a respite from all of this is greatly needed.....just have to make it to April, which in itself will be a tough month with mine and Ayden's birthdays back to back.....

God, give me strength....



  1. Prayers going up!! I haven't forgotten our lunch date!! Hugs to you right now.

  2. oh I'm so glad you get to go to that retreat. I bet it will be really emotionally taxing at times but such a relief at other times. I think overall it will be a really good experience for you guys. I will be praying for that.

  3. Lindsey,

    It is so true, that I don't know what to say. I read every day, but, I feel that you must get sick of the same old comment that I leave letting you know that I am praying for you.

    We've never met, I came to meet you through Lauren via Patrice, but my heart has been touched so deeply by your family's story.

    Again, I will tell you, I think of and pray for you often.

    My heart breaks for you and Jeremy.

    My specific prayer today is that you will feel Ayden's presence with you through the next few months in a way that is comforting to you.

  4. Lindsay,

    I have followed your story since I first heard about Ayden's untimely passing. I was visiting with my parents in Nash Co, and my brother told me what happened. It wasn't long before I learned more about the details on FB, then on your blog. And I can honestly say that not a day goes by when I don't think of you or Ayden. I think about you and pray for you multiple times a day. I know this is of little consolation. I cannot remotely imagine what you're going through. I have two children. My daughter is 2 1/2, and my son is 4 mos. Ayden's sweet life continues to impact the way I parent. As does your blog. You are such a strong woman of such Godly character. I wish I could say something to help ease your pain. But know that you are in my prayers always. I am a marriage and family therapist. We have just moved from Greenville, NC, to Lexington, KY, but I'm pretty sure there is a support group in Greenville for parents who have lost a child. I will pass along more information when I get it. As the holidays approach, I will pray for your peace and healing. For strength to make it through. For strength to face each day.

    Sending prayers and love,
    Nichole Langley Huff

  5. Could you,together, possibly go somewhere alone, annonymously for the holidays? Sometimes you just need to quit trying to hold onto something familiar and truly let your world fly off its axis.
    (It has anyways.)
    I know some folks that chose a culturally different spot so no-one was celebrating Christmas, they were just taking "vacation" time.
    I think trying to keep a foot in both worlds, the world before death, and the world after death, can be the most exhausting of all. It is this crazy cyclical loop of feeling bad, other folks feeling awkward and badly, so you feel bad, and wanting to be understood while wishing to be left alone. Like having your nose pressed to the bakery window, you out in the cold, hungry, watching others in the warmth filling up on treats, longing to be part of the experience and knowing it isn't yours to have anylonger. (not true, just how it feels)
    I know for this couple it gave them the breathing room they needed and the space before resuming some traditions the following holiday season. Something to consider?

  6. Thought you might be interested in this blog. This couple just returned from the same retreat in Nashville.

  7. Thought you might be interested in this blog. This couple just returned from the same retreat in Nashville.

  8. Lindsay,

    Your honesty is so raw and so appreciated.

    Your life is forever changed. And maybe part of moving forward is letting go (and maybe only temporarily) of what is familiar. (GREAT comment by Merlin) And maybe it means not being part of the small group for awhile. You know I've shared with you things I can handle vs. things I can't (facebook)
    You have to take care of you and if that means changing what and how you participate in things, then do it.

    I think we, as the Body of Christ, find it easier to "rejoice with those who rejoice." Suffering with, especially long term, is difficult. We don't always know how to respond, especially to tragedy. BUT that doesn't mean that people don't want to - we just don't know how sometimes. Keep showing and telling us how Lindsay.

    I remember a few months after I was diagnosed. A Christian brother told me of a conversation he had with a co-worker about me. He told the guy "she is not going through this alone. She is bringing us along with her every step of the way."

    You and Jeremy are so loved. We are with you every step of the way even if we don't know what to do sometimes.

    Much love

    P.S. I wasn't sure whether to make this a blog comment or email. Decided to risk it with a comment.