Friday, May 4, 2012


I couldn't write a blog post on the 29th of April.  Each month as the 29th rolls around I reflect on the passage of time, on another month gone.  But this month, I sat at my keyboard and watched my fingers type whole paragraphs only to be deleted.  I kept writing "seven months" and couldn't get past those two words.  I typed them over and over...not like "The Shining" or anything, just a few times.  I couldn't help but wonder, as they appeared and disappeared before me, which direction I am supposed to be counting.  Is this arbitrary measurement of time moving me towards some finality, or is it merely a record; is it a countdown or just another tally mark on a prison wall?

I was told after Jonah died, that it takes about a year for your mind to accept a devastating loss; that the first year is the hardest.  It seems true.  My mind still does not fully accept or comprehend that Jonah is gone.  When I visit his grave and see the name we chose for him carved in granite I have to remind myself that his body is beneath me instead of beside me.  When I hear the words, "when Jonah died...", follow my breath it takes me a moment to realize the depth and consequence of what I'm saying.  My mind cannot process it, even now, after seven months.  When I am alone it is hard not to feel like he is waiting for me somewhere: in his car seat, at grandma's house, or in his crib.  My heart says, he is really gone, while my eyes scan the corners of his room.

I have subconsciously embedded the year mark as an important milestone in my mind.  So as the months pass I feel like maybe I'm one step closer to a united heart and mind. Until now I have viewed these months of grief like they are the excruciating nipple-bleeding miles of a marathon, painful and challenging, but finite.  But on the 29th, as I typed "seven months," my perspective changed, as it often does.  I realized that I do not really know or comprehend the true distance of the course I am following; there is no clear finish.  Instead I find myself in a state of endurance, a quality which has never been my strong suit.  I seem better suited to short bursts of effort, followed by a nap.  To endure with no promise of quick or timely relief is new territory for me, but seems to me the true nature of grief.

The things we are asked to endure in this life rarely have a definite end.  We each struggle to move forward through our personal struggles with addiction, illness, depression, failed marriages, wayward children, disappointment, pain, and loss.  We long for the promise of pain being lifted, and challenges being removed; a finish line.  But I have come to understand this month that what I have really been promised is strength to endure.

In the New Testament Christ taught:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11: 28-30

We are not always promised that pain will be removed, but that our burdens will be jointly carried.  Our rest does not come from stopping, but from sharing our load.  In my weakest moments I feel the truth of that scripture.

I can no longer view the months that pass as a countdown; I view them as a measure of my strength; they are the measure of a distance traveled.  They show me that I have endured seven months of heartache and grief, and I am still moving.  I have endured great pain and loss, and yet I am still able to love.  The passing months are tally marks, but not on a prison wall.  They are marks on my soul.  They are evidence to me of my new-found ability to endure.


  1. Wow, Jules, this is very powerful and poignant. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  2. I wonder sometimes if the saying "written on your heart" is literal. Sometimes grief feels so physically tangible. I love you so much Julie and I am so grateful for your words.

  3. So true and wise. Thanks Julie.

  4. I'm so sorry that you've had to endure this. I can't imagine the pain you've had and still have to endure. My trial is a little different than yours, but loss still the same. It's hard to wrap my head around sometimes; grief is so consuming and you probably wonder how you can ever find joy again, how you can smile, how you can move on. Two and a half years after my crisis, the main has subsided a bit, but it still can be raw at times. The difference is is that I have hope and some peace. It's a process. God be with you...