Friday, June 29, 2012


Last Saturday I sat in shade of my sister's garage while she had a yard sale.  It was boring, and hot, and ordinary.  We sat for hours and looked at magazines, ate donuts, and made up arbitrary prices for forgettable items.  I felt fine.  I felt normal.  It seemed like just another morning, but then in a moment it changed for me. 

Towards the end of the sale my amazing friend Katie arrived with her three beautiful children.  They quickly discovered the few remaining toys, while we chatted about ordinary things.  I watched as Katie's youngest discovered my niece's charcoal gray baby bunny.  She delighted in touching it's soft fur.  She seemed to experience simultaneous joy and hesitation as she dared to touch it.  My eyes followed her expressions, and I instantly ached for Jonah.  I missed him so much I couldn't hold back my tears.  They seemed to rise like a flash flood and could not be contained.  I sat on the step of my sister's house and wept for the memories I am not making with my sweet boy.  I mourned the chance to see Jonah discover the softness of this bunny's fur.  I longed to have him with me in such a simple moment.  I find in grief it is sometimes the quiet, simple moments of life that are the most painful.  They seem to magnify what is missing in profound and unusual ways.   

I have thought so much this week about what Jonah would be doing now.  What words would he know?  What mischief would he pursue?  What food would he love this summer?  Would he throw horrible tantrums in the grocery store?  Sometimes I try to imagine him in the faces of the toddler's I see in the store or in my neighborhood.  But it doesn't satisfy my curiosity.  I know that he would have been more trouble, more fun, and more beautiful than my simple mind can imagine. 

To escape my yard sale sorrow I dragged Jordan to Great Basin National Park to find some solace and hike a mountain.  The hike was relatively simple, but the wind was ferocious.  Jordan estimated it to be about 60 mph at the saddle.  The wind left little energy for conversation, so as we hiked I thought of Jonah.  I thought about his upcoming birthday, and how I should remember him.  I thought about the pain that plagued me through the weekend.  I thought about the gaping hole in my heart that seems impossible to fully heal.  And then amidst the constant roaring wind and my busy thoughts I was delivered to a moment of peace and clarity.  My mind seemed to rise above the physical stress of the moment, and as I walked I had the sense that Jonah was with me.  I can't explain how.  New thoughts entered my mind, and I knew in a completely intrinsic way that our hearts, his and mine, were connected for a time in the chaos.  The moment was so beautiful that the tears welled up in me as I picked my way over the rocky windswept slope.  Like before the tears came suddenly, and unexpectedly.  Only this time the source of my tears was not the cavity left by Jonah's absence, but the strange moment of healing created by his unmistakeable and beautiful presence.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10


  1. Every day you remind me how beautiful the gift of life is. I treasure life more and find more joy in my children constantly because of you. I love you.

  2. Julie,

    You are a rock! I know that we haven't made contact in years, but for some reason I read a few of your blogs tonight. You are getting through what I worry about often. loosing one of my kids. You keep breathing girl, and one day when you guys come back down to NZ or when we actually make it to the US- we'll catch up and talk about the good old days and the bad old days.
    Thanks for being such a strength.

    Your fiend

    James McIntyre

  3. Last summer a friend of mine lost her baby boy, he was four months old and born days apart from my own baby boy. It was through her blog that I found the blog "A Good Grief" which is probably how you and I were connected.

    But anyway-

    Every month on the day of his passing I've reached out to her in some way, I don't say this for personal recognition, just to make a point that I thought of him and her, regularly, and I was moved to action. On what would have been his one year birthday we set blue balloons heavenward for her baby boy. I thought for a long time about why we did that, she lives thousands of miles away and wasn't present with us. And I'm not sure if the sweet spirit of her baby was aware of us at all. But I realized that he changed our lives. We wanted to celebrate him and his life. That little baby who only lived for four months has truly changed my heart forever.

    I don't know why I have my children and you and my friend do not. It is beyond my comprehension, and sometimes it feels cruel for me to thank her (and you) for the lessons I've learned at her expense. I live differently because of her loss. It seems so unfair.

    I only hope that it is some consolation to her, and to you, that your sweet Jonah leaves a legacy in the hearts of strangers. A legacy of profound gratitude, eternal perspective and reestablished priorities.

    Much love.

  4. I believe the sweeping spirit of the creator was with you all.