Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Two days after Jonah's funeral I sat in the Department of Motor Vehicles, waiting.  It was my 31st birthday, and my license was about to expire.  I watched my son take his last breath only a week before, and now I sat in a grey room, filling out asinine paperwork, waiting to have my picture taken.  It all seemed a little ridiculous and surreal.   One of the great injustices of death, is that life goes on around you.  Bills still have to be paid, dinner must be made, and licenses expire.

I remember sitting in the hard plastic chairs of the DMV, waiting for my number to be called, and watching the people around me. 

Across the room I watched a father move forward with two young children, a baby in a stroller, and a toddler hanging loosely at his side, suspended by one arm, her pink shoes lightly kissing the floor as she was lifted over the speckled carpet.  The baby was fussy, the toddler lethargic, and the dad was done; ready to abandon these two children, for a much needed nap, and a moment of silence.  His toddler oozed from his grasp, to lie on the filthy floor, while the stroller tipped and swayed with each strained step forward.  His words sharpened, and his grip tightened, as he caught his slug-like child by the elbow and forcefully snapped her to her knees.  Each of his irritated movements and words stung me. 
He would never know that I envied him, in all of his frustration.  He could not know that I longed to be at the DMV with a grumpy toddler.  And really I knew nothing of him, or his circumstances.   
I often have moments like this one (mostly at Walmart) where I see frustrated, fatigued, and frazzled parents.  I know most of them are trying to keep it together while wrangling children who are escaping from carts, running down aisles, or begging for candy.  Some parents seem to have surrendered to the unruly masses they follow.  Occasionally, I remember feeling a portion of that exhaustion. 
Sometimes I fantasize about giving them a picture of Jonah, reminding them that life is fleeting, and all they are promised is the moment.  But then I realize that this would probably only add guilt to their frustration, and that I would ultimately be a hypocrite.  

I too am in a moment of intense frustration, and fatigue.  My life is not exactly what I imagined.  Each day I struggle to find purpose, and meaning.  Somedays I just go through the motions, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bed.  Somedays I'm swallowed up in longing for my past.  Others I wish I could fast-forward through this season of grief to a time of happiness, of more children, of pure joy.  

My struggle is not as apparent as that of a mother with small children.  The fatigue I feel is no longer evident on my face and in my posture, at least not to the untrained eye.  But there are days when I am not fully present with my husband, or with my family.  I am not living each moment as if it were my last.  I often think that experiencing such an unexpected death should make me live a more present life.  Appreciating the moment is easy, when life is easy.  Are we still required to appreciate each moment when life is hard?

This week I am trying to appreciate the moment I am in, trying not to wish it away.  I'm going to try to be grateful that I can go on a bike ride with Jordan in the middle of the day, even though I wish I was changing diapers.  Maybe today you will find gratitude in the opposite, even if it not a fulfillment of your dreams.  I will try to remember that today is all I am promised, and that even when life is hard, life is good.  

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.  Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7


  1. I hate that irony of knowing life is precious and that we should live in every moment but the grief makes you feel so numb sometimes. I sure love you Julie.

  2. *hugs* As frustrating as they can be when we're feeling particularly week and mortal, we do realize how awful it would be if they weren't there.

    And yes, it can be so hard when we've lost a loved one and life goes on around us. Don't they get how devastated and changed our lives are?

    Of course not.

  3. As in everything (it seems to me), the balance is essential but so elusive. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I ran across your post when I googled "even when life is hard, life is good."

    I hope now that more time has passed, you have managed to continue to favor looking at things in a positive manner. At the time of your writing, it appeared to me that you were headed in that direction.

    I pray God's blessings upon you.