The Struggle

The Struggle

Two weeks ago I added ‘studying’ and ‘work placement’ to my already rather full schedule. Since then I have really struggled emotionally. My emotions are screaming at me to give up, that this was a crazy idea. My head is simultaneously reminding me that this is a door that God has opened for me and that I went into this really believing that it’s what I’m meant to be doing. To be fair, it’s only for three months – how hard can that be?

For the past year I’ve worked only three days per week and the other two days have given me space to grieve. Without that space right now I’m struggling – big time. Work isn’t the problem – I love my job, it’s everything else that I’ve added on, albeit temporarily.

Add to that the fact that this time two years ago was when Leah’s illness really took a turn for the worse. The last weekend in September 2013 started off well. Leah was looking forward to a planned meeting on the Monday with our lovely consultant, at which we had been promised that we would be given a date for booking our flights back home to Ireland.

Leah’s boyfriend Nic had flown over to spend the weekend with us. This meant that I had some time to myself – a rare occurrence – I had spent it cleaning and bleaching with another oncology Mummy, getting a house ready for her and her little boy to spend a few hours outside the confines of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. She’s Irish too and we had enjoyed the ‘craic’ together. Devastatingly, her gorgeous son Caiden died in similar circumstances to Leah in October 2014.

Then, on the Sunday night, Leah told me that she was passing blood in her urine. So, on Monday, instead of our consultant giving us the dates for booking our flights home, he readmitted us to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.  Leah went on to develop a new complication every month until the one at Christmas/New Year that finally claimed her life.

I’ve cried a lot today, whilst wishing that I could use the time to focus on the E-learning that I’m supposed to be doing for this training course. I’ve really found that ‘time management‘ is not one of my strengths since Leah became ill and died.

Then on a shelf in my room I spied a book that I bought recently but hadn’t had time to read. It’s called “When the Hurt Runs Deep” by Kay Arthur. I heard Kay Arthur speak live a few years ago and I loved her energetic style of Bible teaching. She devised the Precepts Bible Study method, I was a regular attender at a local Precepts Bible Study until Leah became ill.

I started reading her book today. On page 73 Kay quotes Psalm 139:13:

Psalm 139:13 (AMP)

For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.

Kay says that God knows the exact sperm and the precise egg that comes together to make us who we are. This stopped me in my tracks. Leah was conceived while we were having investigations for secondary infertility. Every month we longed and prayed that I would get pregnant. I went for prayer via the “laying on of hands” from those whom God has gifted in the healing ministry. Yet, God in His sovereignty allowed Leah to be conceived with either an egg or a sperm containing a mutated gene that would one day lead to her receiving a diagnosis of myelodysplasia with monosomy 7 caused by a GATA2 deficiency.

Then on page 77 of Kay’s book, I read a passage of Scripture that Leah and I used to read frequently. It brought us such great comfort. Leah’s illness separated us at times from most of what we held dear in life, so we tried to focus on the one certainty that her illness could never deprive us of – God’s love.  

Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Then Kay Arthur writes “No hurt is so strong that it can separate you from His love. Your hurt is not intended to drive you from God but to God.

Kay Arthur

Kay’s words remind me once again of the true source of my strength, of the only way that I’ve made it through the past two and a half years – by trusting God and leaning on Him. It isn’t easy and it’s not going to be easy but I just have to keep on going.

Just as the Israelites were told in Exodus 16 to gather the manna (heavenly bread) daily, so I also need to meet with God on a daily basis so that my soul receives the nourishment that it needs to survive and hopefully even to thrive.

Or, to once again quote from my favourite worship singer/songwriter Matt Redman, I must abide in Him:

Abide With Me

I have a home
Eternal home
But for now I walk this broken world
You walked it first
You know our pain
But You show hope can rise again up from the grave

CHORUS
Abide with me
Abide with me
Don’t let me fall
And don’t let go
Walk with me
And never leave
Ever close God abide with me

VERSE
There in the night
Gethsemane
Before the cross
Before the nails
Overwhelmed
Alone You prayed
You met us in our suffering and bore our shame

BRIDGE
O love that will not ever let me go
Love that will not ever let me go
You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

VERSE
And up ahead
Eternity
We’ll weep no more and sing for joy
Abide with me
We’ll weep no more and sing for joy
Abide with me

Safe in my Father’s House

Safe in my Father’s House

Leah was an avid reader. Her earliest favourite books were a series by Usborne Books, where she had to locate a tiny duck hiding on every page. Leah loved ducks.

image image

Other favourites that soon followed, were the Spot Books and Kipper Books. Each page was soon memorised – by both of us.

Then Leah discovered the beautiful Maisy Mouse Books by Lucy Cousins. She fell in love with these too.

After this it was Enid Blyton – by the bagful. Leah’s shelves became laden with Enid Blyton Books. I wonder if there’s even one Enid Blyton title that Leah didn’t read.

I remember many years ago, the Annual Book Fair came to her Primary School and Leah asked me for money to buy “Happy Christmas Maisy“. In my naivety, I gave her £5 to take into school the next day. A rather forlorn looking Leah returned home from school with the £5 and a note from the teacher to say that she hadn’t enough money to buy the book that she wanted.

As a parent of four children, living on a low income, with a house already full of books, the idea of spending more than £5 on yet another book seemed ridiculous to me. But Leah was desperate to become the owner of this lovely Maisy book, with it’s sparkly pages. Leah loved glitter and sparkle.

image

I’m not sure if Leah got the book then, or later as a Christmas gift, all I remember is how much the book was treasured and loved.

Nevertheless, “Maisy Mouse” is certainly not something that I’ve given much thought to in recent years – until yesterday.

I was heading up to Bristol Children’s Hospital, for a prearranged meeting, with some of the staff who had taken such good care of Leah and I during the 14 weeks that we spent here in 2013.

The Hospital has it’s very own Shaun the Sheep, standing outside on the pavement.

To my amazement, I discovered that this Shaun is called “Maisy and Friends” and has been designed by Lucy Cousins. I felt so emotional when I saw it.

image

Even though Leah had long since grown out of those Maisy books, I know that she would have loved it. I felt both happy and sad when I saw it.

image

When I stepped into the hospital lift to begin my ascent to the 6th floor, I was delighted to once again hear the voiceover of Wallace telling Gromit which floor we were on, every time the lift stopped. Despite the fact that Leah and I spent 14 weeks here, we never tired of this enjoyable distraction every time we travelled in the relevant lift.

Once I entered the waiting area for Oncology Day Beds my emotions became overwhelming. There was another family waiting there and I didn’t want them to see me crying. They looked like newbies. I didn’t want to upset them and steal their hope. I looked around and spied the water cooler, so I busied myself with consuming cups of water.

image
Then our lovely TYA (teenage and young adult) cancer nurse specialist arrived and hugged me tight, quickly followed by the two amazing consultants who cared for Leah. We spent some time together. I gave them the fifteens that I had made for them in memory of Leah. Thankfully, the fifteens had survived the journey from Ireland unscathed. They remembered how Leah used to make these sweet treats for them when we were in Bristol. You can find the recipe here.

image

Then I had time to chat with some of the lovely nurses on Day Beds. More hugs and then it was time to go again. They were all very generous with their time. This grieving mummy appreciated that so very much.

There was one more place that I still needed to visit, but it was going to be very emotional.  I needed the cover of darkness for this one.

At 10pm I left the girls in our hotel room and I walked once more in the direction of Bristol Children’s Hospital.

This time however, I walked on by, up St Michael’s Hill, in the direction of Sam’s House. Such a very familiar route.

In the safety of the darkness, my tears flowed. I wasn’t planning a visit to Sam’s House – I’m not ready for that yet. I certainly wouldn’t want to upset the families who are staying there, holding onto hope for their ill children.

I walked slowly past. I could see through the glass door, down the hall, to the room that belonged to Leah and I, for the duration of our stay.

My destination was just beyond Sam’s House, in the Royal Fort Gardens. Leah was immunocompromised and couldn’t go anywhere there was lots of people. She and I had enjoyed regular walks in the beautiful Royal Fort Gardens, in the evenings, when it was quiet.

image

We would sit on a bench and talk. She used to make me stay very still, so that she could see how near the grey squirrels would come. I write about some of the good times we had here.

image

There was no squirrels last night, only a very hungry looking city fox. Leah would have enjoyed that too.

I remained there a long time, in the stillness, remembering.

image

To help soothe my broken heart, I played ‘Abide With Me‘ by Matt Redman/Matt Maher on continuos repeat on my phone, while I sat alone in the darkness.

Yet, I wasn’t alone.

My Heavenly Father, who knows the end from the beginning, was there with me.

The words of this song gradually seeped into my soul, as I sat and wept and yearned for my second-born child.

Abide With Me

“I have a home, eternal home

But for now I walk this broken world

You walked it first, You know our pain

But You show hope can rise again up from the grave

Abide with me, Abide with me

Don’t let me fall, and don’t let go

Walk with me and never leave

Ever close, God abide with me

There in the night, Gethsemane

Before the cross, before the nails

Overwhelmed, alone You prayed

You met us in our suffering and bore our shame

Oh love that will not ever let me go

Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go

Love that will not ever let me go

Oh You never let us go

And up ahead, eternity

We’ll weep no more, we’ll sing for joy, abide with me”

Eventually I took comfort from the fact that Leah is safe – safe in my Father’s house.

As David says in the Bible after the death of his child “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.2 Samuel 12:23

I walked once more around the unlit but familiar path, then headed out past Sam’s House again, back down St. Michael’s Hill, past the Children’s Hospital and back to the hotel.

The girls were still awake and I had a nice bit of time with them, before we all settled down for the night.

Abide With Me

Abide With Me

image

Usually my grief triggers are something that I can clearly pinpoint, but not this evening. I unexpectedly felt an overwhelming sense of yearning for Leah and a deep longing for her presence with us.

I never saw the wave coming. We had been having quite an enjoyable Sunday. Then suddenly, out of nowhere it would seem, a tidal wave of grief crashed over me and left me gasping for air, wondering how I would ever make it back to the shores of emotional balance once more.

I try so hard to keep on top of things mentally. For most of my adult life I have practised some form of scripture meditation, where I choose an encouraging Bible verse to focus my thoughts on each day.

In Philippians 4:8 we are told “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

We are also told in 2 Corinthians 10:5take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

All of my life I was a brilliant sleeper, until Leah died. Now I fall asleep easily, but I often wake up again three or four hours later. I lie awake for maybe an hour, before falling asleep again. I usually leave the bedroom so as not to disturb Horace and I listen to music or Bible teaching, so as to keep my thoughts from running wild. Then I fall asleep on the couch or in a spare bed.

I try really hard to take my negative thoughts “captive” and focus on the many blessings in my life, but sometimes this grief and loss and yearning for the one who is missing from our family, completely overwhelms me. Once again I wonder how it’s possible to go on living with a broken heart.

The promises in God’s word always bring me encouragement though, especially 2 Corinthians 1:4. I really hope and pray that what I learn on this journey, can be used to bring hope and encouragement to others.

image

One of of the ways in which I receive God’s comfort is through music. Since yesterday I have been listening to a new song by Matt Redman who is my favourite worship leader/singer/song writer. This man is so gifted, his songs just melt my heart. Leah and I both loved his music.

Abide With Me

I have a home
Eternal home
But for now I walk this broken world

You walked it first
You know our pain
But You show hope can rise again up from the grave

Abide with me
Abide with me
Don’t let me fall
And don’t let go

Walk with me
And never leave
Ever close God abide with me

There in the night
Gethsemane
Before the cross
Before the nails

I’m overwhelmed
Alone, You prayed
You met us in our suffering and bore our shame

Abide with me
Abide with me
Don’t let me fall
And don’t let go

Walk with me
And never leave
Ever close God abide with me

O, love that will not ever let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

And up ahead
Eternity
We’ll weep no more and sing for joy abide with me
We’ll weep no more and sing for joy abide with me

Abide with me
Abide with me
Don’t let me fall
And don’t let go

Walk with me
And never leave
Ever close God abide with me
Ever close God abide with me
Ever close God abide with me

O, love that will not ever let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

Love that will not ever let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go
You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

It’s been good to write

It’s been good to write

I recently had a long and very helpful conversation with a Christian friend who writes about her experiences as a bereaved Mummy and how God has given her the strength to cope.

One of the many things I found interesting in our conversation, is that she didn’t actually start writing until long after her children had died, whereas for me, writing has been one of my coping mechanisms.

When I mentioned this, she said something like, “I didn’t grow up in an era where it was fashionable to keep a journal.”
I laughed and replied “Well actually, neither did I.

I’ve been scribbling in notebooks since I was thirteen.

At home, or at summer camp, I wrote.

My peers sometimes found this unusual and I was at times questioned as to what all this writing was for.

My young self had no wise words with which to answer them.

I just knew that writing was how I coped, but I couldn’t explain this.

As I got older and life got busier, I stopped writing every day and I only wrote when I was deeply troubled.

Sometimes I wrote often, sometimes I wrote infrequently.

On the day that I received the phone call informing me of Leah’s diagnosis, I knew one thing for sure, that I needed to start writing.

I started a new notebook that very day. I chose a “Project Book” – one that was divided into five sections.
Section One was kept for hospital appointments. Before every appointment, Leah and I agreed what questions she wanted me to ask and I wrote them into this notebook.

image

It became quite a laugh at our appointments, as the doctors and nurses would glance anxiously at my notebook, to see if we had a full page, or a half page, of questions for them to answer.

I remember on one occasion in Bristol, our favourite Doctor was on duty. Leah and I were ready for him with a full page of written questions. He good naturedly accepted the armchair that we had pulled up to the bed in anticipation of his arrival. He knew that there would be no hope of escape, until every question had been discussed.

I’m so glad now to have all of these recorded memories.

Deep distress and trauma blurs our memories and can leave blank spots.

Many times since Leah has died, I’ve poured over my notebooks, trying to piece things together, trying to make sense of it all.

Sometimes I read things that surprise me, even now.

We received Leah’s diagnosis on Friday 19th April 2013. I know that I googled it that weekend. I’m a nurse so I have some understanding of medical matters. Yet, on Tuesday the 22nd April one of my written questions was “Is this 100% curable?” How could I ever have been so naive?

When I look back now I can see how hope/faith/denial can get all jumbled up.

That’s ok.

We have to stay sane.

We have to keep hope alive.

Many times over the years, in my work with families, my colleagues and I have wondered how parents can seem oblivious to how unwell/delayed their child is, when it seems so blatantly obvious to us.

Reflecting on my own journey through Leah’s illness and reading my own journals, gives me some insight into all of this.

Sometimes the truth is so painful, that we just aren’t ready or able to take it on board.

What the doctor told us on Tuesday 22nd April was awful, but within weeks I was able to bury it and move on a little bit.

Then in June, when we had our first outpatient appointment in Bristol, the consultant there told it to us all over again. I was nearly physically sick. I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to believe it.

My writings tell me something else too though.

They tell me of God’s grace and His faithfulness and the loving kindness of the many people who have blessed us along the way.

One of Leah’s and my favourite Matt Redman songs says it better than I can:

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace

Never once, no, we never walk alone

The Project Book also has a pouch where I stored some of the beautiful cards and written prayers that people sent to us, along with hospital appointment cards.

image

I kept one entire section for encouraging Bible verses and quotations that people sent to us.

Here’s two by Rick Warren that I found written in there:

The ultimate test of faith is not how loudly you praise God in happy times but how deeply you trust Him in dark times.

Job is a book of questions, most left unanswered. The most important one is this – will you serve God no matter what happens? 

For me, I can truly say, it’s been good to write.

image

Let me be Singing when the Evening comes.

Let me be Singing when the Evening comes.

My baby asked for a shopping trip this week. She’s 11 and has never liked being referred to as “my baby”.

My Mum referred to me as her baby until dementia robbed her of her faculties a few years before her death in 2008. I liked this term of endearment.

Miriam and I both tried on shoes in New Look and then she tried on clothes in Primark.

She looks taller than me, but she isn't really!
She looks taller than me, but she isn’t really!

Since Leah was a toddler she absolutely loved shopping and would never have allowed us to go shopping without her.

We still find ways to include her – we went to the gardening section in one of the Pound Shops and Miriam chose some items for Leah’s grave.

On this occasion Miriam chose a solar powered butterfly and a dragonfly. She also picked a shepherds crook (with a butterfly inset), on which we can hang things, like sun catchers.

image image

I was glad when she chose a shepherd’s crook – it reminded me of the the 23rd Psalm and the Good Shepherd.
image
When the shops had closed up for the night, we headed over to the cemetery to place our purchases on Leah’s grave.

I suppose there was a time when visiting a cemetery in the dark would have seemed like a scary thing to do. Not now though – how could the place where we left the body of our beloved Leah ever seem scary?

image

We arranged our purchases with the light from the torch on Miriam’s mobile phone. Then we talked about the view and commented on the attractive variety of solar lights/decorations on some of the nearby graves. Surprisingly, it feels quiet and peaceful in the cemetery at night.

The curvy string of lights is the Foyle Bridge across the river.
The curvy string of lights is the Foyle Bridge across the river in the distance.

After this it was time for the obligatory trip to McDonald’s.

image

Inwardly I reflected on the fact that it’s two years this past week since our very first visit to Belfast City Hospital.

Two years since we left behind the familiarity of our local hospital and faced all that was new and scary and unfamiliar.

Two years since a doctor we had only just met, told us things about our daughter’s diagnosis and prognosis that no parent ever wants to hear.

His phone call the previous week had told us that Leah needed a bone marrow transplant, but by the time we’d finished our face to face meeting with him, it seemed as if it was actually a miracle that our daughter needed.

For weeks afterwards a little voice inside my head kept saying “This is too much.” and another voice would quickly respond “But He is enough – God will get you through this.”

On Tuesday the 24th April ’13, before we left the house to go to Belfast City Hospital, I posted on my Facebook page, some words from one of Matt Redman’s songs that was so special to Leah and I:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

When we arrived home that evening my heart was breaking.

I wrote underneath my earlier Facebook status that if I didn’t have God in my life to help me, I certainly wouldn’t have the strength to still be singing.

My Diaries

My Diaries

The other day I was listening to one of John Piper’s sermons and I was really blessed. I credit John Piper‘s teaching for having instilled within me a strong sense of the sovereignty of God which has helped me to cope with Leah’s illness and death.

In this sermon John Piper says:

There are three ways that God protects His people from danger.

1) Sometimes He prevents danger from even arising on the horizon of our lives.

2) Other times He allows the danger to attack, and gives us the victory so that we live on and serve Him in gladness.

3) But in the end one enemy is never driven off, the enemy of death. We will all die if the Lord does not return in our lifetime. But here, too, God protects. He protects us from unbelief, and preserves us for His heavenly kingdom.

Leah was in category 3 – God allowed her to suffer but protected her heart from unbelief. As she lay dying in ICU she was so peaceful and serene. Leah told her boyfriend that she wasn’t afraid to die. Although of course, she wanted to live if at all possible.

I guess that I am in category 2 – a category I would never have chosen for myself – I would have chosen category 1.

Since my early teens, one of the ways that I have used to cope with stress, is by writing in a diary or notebook. Sometimes I write almost daily, sometimes I don’t write for months at a time. It just depends on what’s happening in my life.

As soon as Leah was diagnosed, I immediately started writing. I’m so glad of this now. If I was relying on my memory, it would all just be a blur, because that’s what stress does.

I recently read through my diary entries from the early weeks immediately following Leah’s diagnosis.

We received Leah’s diagnosis on Friday 19th April ’13. On Saturday 20th April ’13 I was booked into a Ladies Christian Conference in Ballymagorry, Co Tyrone, organised by 1Vision Jesus. Leah was spending Saturday with her boyfriend so I went to the conference as planned.

image image

The theme for the conference was “Walking in the Fire“. The speakers were Gloria Kearney and Carol Heron. I felt like I was walking in the fire alright.

There was an opportunity for prayer ministry during the day and I went to Carol and Gloria for prayer. They laid hands on me and while they were praying over me Carol received a vision:

Carol said that I was sitting in a room and everything was dark and in the vision I asked “Why is everything dark?” Then in this vision a screen started to play like a cinema screen with pictures on it and I saw things on it that I couldn’t see while the lights were on. Carol said that this suggested that I was entering into a period of darkness that would bring spiritual revelation into my life and that I would receive new knowledge (new to me).

These words still blow me away, although in a sad kind of a way.

On Friday 26th April ’13 I wrote the following words in my diary.

image

Then a few weeks later I wrote this:

image

Kirsty came and introduced herself to us during our first outpatients appointment in Bristol. She was a fantastic friend to us during the 14 weeks that we were there. She regularly brought me food parcels when I was on “lockdown” with Leah in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. She also gave me a lift to church, or arranged for someone else to pick me up, the Sunday’s that I was able to go.

I remember that day at the “Walking in the Fire” conference, lifting my hands in worship, as we sang one of the songs that Leah so often played on her iPod:

10,000 Reasons By Matt Redman

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

You Give and Take Away

You Give and Take Away

A friend recently introduced me to the Bible readings Jesus Calling by Sarah Young – I’ve been using them for a few weeks now and I’ve been so blessed when I read them each morning.

image

This morning I read the following and I was very challenged by what I read:

“The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise: The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Remember that all good things—your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time—are gifts from Me. Instead of feeling entitled to all these blessings, respond to them with gratitude. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand!”

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23–24

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
—1 Peter 5:6

And he said… “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21 nkjv

Initially I thought “This can’t apply to someone like me whose child has died.” But then if you look at Job in the Bible, his 7 sons and 3 daughters had all been killed when he is quoted as having uttered these words.

Normally when I’m having my shower in the morning I listen to “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North on repeat, because that’s how I mostly feel inside:

“I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left”

However this morning as I prepared to have a shower, my hand selected a different song from my iPad playlist – “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman

“Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name”

Normally when I’m driving along I end up crying, because Leah and I spent so much time in the car together going to and from hospital appointments. However this morning as I drove to work, I found myself with a thankful heart – thankful for the 16 years that Leah graced our lives.

Thankful for who Leah was, for all the love that she brought into our lives, for all the happy times we shared, for everything she taught us.

Yes I’m still heartbroken, yes I wish we still had her alive and well, but how blessed we were to have had Leah in our lives for those 16 years.

We are very blessed with each of our four children.

This is Leah and her sisters in 2011, their brother is very camera shy!

image