Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This season of sorrow

Hi.

I don't even know where to begin, I may never feel like a competent blogger again...

For over four months now, I've had so many thoughts and emotions rolling around in my head. I want to honor this season of grief and sadness because that was such a healing part of our journey with Jack and continues to be...now with the death of our first grandchild, Oliver Franklin Young....I will do the same.

It's so freakin' hard. As we approach what should be Ollie's FIRST Thanksgiving and Christmas and Jack's 6th, the wound has been reopened. The practical scab and wanna be scar is always there...

I feel like I tamp emotions down and try to put my head in the game, to "get things done", to "look presentable", to "not make people uncomfortable with death talk"....blah blah blah...

This week, I'm not tamping...I'm crying. I'm tired of it down here...it hurts. People hurt, news hurts, hearing of church shootings, momma's shielding their babies and dying, liberal news media telling us to "shove our prayers up our a**" and how to make sense of all the sheer madness going on around us...even in good ol' Greenwood, Indiana...where everyone is "Christian" but no one is.

"Faith that can't be SEEN is worth NOTHING at all" (so many American "churches")....that stuff will drive a person bonkers....If people can't observe my faith actions, then i'm not doing it...warped. Pharisaical.

Anyways, what was I saying....being a bereaved parent and now grandparent.....shouldn't they send people to classes for this?? It'd be nice to know how to navigate these waters because I don't know how. The only way I know anything is because I find myself at the feet of my Savior every day. Dwelling...getting direction....crying out to Him and He alone is the comfort I need and the truth and mercy I seek. The chastening, the selfless love, perpetual learning is a gift I am so grateful for.

Yes, this year (from Dec 2016 to now even) has been one of the very hardest of my life on earth from family breakdown (not my husband or kids) to Oliver's death, to the departure from our church, the death of John and Sherry, stuff in my own life that I'm being held accountable for regularly, and the list goes on.....and I wouldn't change any of it....I've met some pretty amazing folks along the way...folks that aren't afraid to walk over to me during our worship service and hug me tightly...fellow momma's who know the deep pit of loss...and just watching Joy and Will has been......whew! mind-blowing, to say the least.

I'm trying so hard to make sense of it all and I just don't think I will ever be able to on this side of heaven....learning to lay that down and cherish the people in my life, the ones that stay,  even the one that eventually leave, the ones that are open to encouragement and dwelling and seek/talk of the very most important part of my life...JESUS CHRIST and what He's done for us.

If you read this and you think I am holier than thou or judgmental, don't even. no. I welcome you to come spend time with my family and I. We are a guts on the table, goofy, open to receive accountability, as well as give it kinda group....We are so far from complete...any completion we may seem to have is only because of the Lord and the time we've all spent dwelling with Him.

Keep your eyes heavenward, friends. I so appreciate your thoughts and kind words...I know Will, Joy and the rest of the family do as well. I've decided to do a Christmas card pic this year and will probably write a letter....

Thanks for visiting and thanks for understanding my jumbled thoughts....thanks for praying, loving, caring enough to share, read and pray. We are all eternally grateful.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick....

On August 19, Molly discovered that some type of local wildlife (dogs, foxes, we aren't sure but we think roaming dogs) broke into the bunny shed (former chicken shed) and took our bunnies. We found Esther in the yard, deceased...such sadness. These were her pals...she mothered them extra good after Oliver died....This poor girl.


Our firstborn son with his firstborn son.
Raw.
Unbelievable.

I'm seriously still in such awe of how amazingly these two have coped. That is not to say that they don't have bad days, tears or anger...cuz they do. But there is a maturity and a trust deeply rooted in Will and in Joy that is not of this world. Watching them walk this road has been such a gift. Does that make sense?
I hope so.

Four generations of Franklin. L to R: Carl Franklin Young, David Franklin Young,
Will Franklin Young, Oliver Franklin Young
This is a punch to the gut.

no appropriate words
only tears.

a little casket in a big hearse. 





My pictures of the graveside service would not load and then I realized that they were videos...so here we have Joy's dad, Tom, saying a few words and praying. Each grandpa said some words and Oliver's Great-Grandpa Pete even spoke. Our pastor, Matt, spoke and our worship pastors, Jay and Abby led us in some beautiful worship. I'll try to get some of those pix up but they may not be in order.

So thankful for Aunt Mel. This was at the dinner at our house, that my amazing friend, Melissa and sisters from Southland provided for us. Simply amazing.

The circle stone is Oliver's spot...the blue flowers is Jack's spot. Though neither kid being here was a part of OUR plans, it does bring a measure of comfort to know they are so "close" to each other. 

Oliver is such a beautiful combination of his adorable parents.
He'd be 3.5 months old now and it is so comforting to imagine what he'd be doing,
what he'd look like, and all that fun baby stuff. I wish he was here...
but then I read a silly or heart breaking news story and I thank the Lord
that he missed this whole old nasty world. still.....
Hi blog visitors....

Remember when I said I'd blog more often? yeah, I'm sorry about that...somehow it just hurts to visit it...It's not like Facebook where you can just dive in and dive out, leaving your friends with only snippets of life....I feel like I owe this sacred space some time and good recording....

I'm gearing up to blog again....so I'll leave this post as is and move on.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I'm still here...


I find great pix on my phone and in my photos...I had to share this with you! it has nothing to do with my ramblings below, only a diversion, a cause for belly laughter. so thankful for life.

I'm in the process of stealing  borrowing pictures from Joylily's camera from June 25, 2017 as well as the pix I have from Oliver's funeral. I realize it's taken me a long time to get back to blogging.

I'll be right back...it just takes a lot of energy, tears and the like to download the pictures from that day and the days following.

It's been almost 7 weeks since Oliver Franklin was born. It seems like 7 years ago and then it seems like just yesterday. The ache is still present...and very well may always be...it does get a bit more dull...but a piece of our hearts will always be missing. Right above my desk, where I'm sitting, is a great pic of Will holding Ollie...and it's so precious and adorable, and so hard to look at without the burning sting of tears and accompanying stomach ache.

I'm just mad/sad. He'd be starting to smile and stay awake more...I just want that little guy here.

I'll stop....miss you, little guy. but you may very well know that....(I don't know how much we "know" of earthly life once we reach the other side) Wish you were here.



Monday, July 24, 2017

Gravity



Joylily's mentor/friend and my new friend, Beth, shared this song with me today.

I've just discovered a new artist to put on repeat on Spotify...

thank you, Beth.

Your moments were a charity...they gave me more than I could lose.


This boy made me a Lolli. 

shock. utter shock.


such precious piggies.

Looking at a tiny version of herself. oh Lord.

a familiar pain...oh God.

We were going to get into so much fun together.

Pops taking him in...

Uncle E...such a tender guy

his hair. his aunt...oh God.

This was the first time Aunt Mo got to hold him...you couldn't go back to the postpartum
rooms if you
were under the age of 14. 

UncVi...I was so glad he wanted to hold him.


surreal moments, seared into our minds eye. a most perfect and wanted little boy.


We wake up (who am I kidding? we don't sleep well). We brew the coffee. We sit at the table. We read our Bibles, write down prayer requests, pray in our rooms. We make our daily lists...we keep going....

Funny how we go through the motions of everyday life....hang on tight. forgive me ahead of time for the all over the place-ed-ness of this post.

Jack died 6 years ago. My world was rocked to the core. I found out what my foundation was and it wasn't completely Jesus. It only "looked" like Jesus. I found my identity in being a mom and a child bearer...

Since June 30, 2011, my family and I have been on a quest. A hunt for good, a hunt for LIFE, and we have found a Savior.

These 2,216 days since have not necessarily gotten "easier". In fact, by the world's standards, they've only gotten harder, scarier and grittier. We should've bailed on this "Jesus" long ago. He is NOT to be trusted.

oh, but they (the world, the skeptics, the unbelievers, and even some believers) are wrong. He is the only One to trust.

I must add - so many good and amazing situations have taken place...

-Will and Joylily's Sept 2016 marriage.
-Our marriage has continued to survive and thrive. It has not been without bumps and bruises but that is the beautiful part of it...
-We are all seeking the LORD daily, actively pursuing a life lived for Him and thriving in SO many ways.
-you get the picture....

Walking around with a broken heart isn't a bad thing. I consider it an honor and privilege. It's what you do with your broken heart....that's a blog post for another day, I believe.

As of this day, July 24, 2017....we all seem to be "making it"...and we are.

God is with us and we know it. EMMANUEL. He has called us to take these risks (i.e. living in community, being around people, having kids, being open, being accountable)...

Lately: I believe the shock and numbness is slowly wearing off and leaving behind tear-soaked, smiling, grateful souls who just want to point EVERYONE to the HEALER.

I won't lie...I've been pretty angry about Oliver's death. Angry in different ways and aware that the Creator can handle my anger...

Angry like "How God?", "Really???", "Why do these other mothers/fathers get to keep their babies...these teens, these rejectors and people that don't serve You, Lord? these druggies, loose people...whatever. Why God?" To which there is no answer and I'm sure I wouldn't even want to know really...This is just where my head and heart is lately....my thoughts can take me to some pretty sad, dark places but I don't stay there long. I have an ongoing discussion with Him - and we're good - but I run up against Him on these points often. Flailing, crying big ugly tears and saying words to Him that I know He can handle. This loss will never make any sense this side of heaven...

Where are You in my broken heart? Everything seems to fall apart...tell me that You're there...

and He does. Since Jack's death, I've felt the Lord's presence in ways I hadn't before. Since Oliver's death, even more, if that's even possible. I used to say "I don't think my heart could be any more broken...."

I don't say that anymore. I know it could be.

Oliver Franklin Young was the high point of our year. He was born exactly 5 years and 51 weeks after his Uncle Jack. forever one on top of the other on our calendars. Two most wanted boys...

Facing extended family struggles (not to be vague but...),  Levi's healing from major spinal surgery, work stress of folks not paying us etc, the loss of John and Sherry, misunderstandings and eventual departure from our church...we were all keeping our noses above the water...just barely.

When Ollie made it here on Friday morning, June 23, 2017 at 4:27 am, we were all ecstatic, breathing big sighs of relief. He was beautiful, chubby at 8 lbs, 13 oz and such a lovely mixture of his momma and daddy. We could hardly believe it and we praised God that Joy was such a tough, loving little momma. She endured a long labor with an eventual c-section after dilation stalling at 5 cm...Will was such a comforter to Joy and to Ollie (and to Mel and I) and it was so beautiful to observe him with his son in Oliver's first moments. Lots of tears and admiration...we couldn't get enough.

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, the day we were all going to drive down to Bloomington to pick up the new little family, I got a call right before 7 am. It was Will - instant panic - couldn't get out of my sheets fast enough..."Mom! please pray. Something is wrong with Oliver...he isn't breathing and he's gray!!" Click....

no.

nooooo.

Oh God no....

I can hardly type this without hyperventilating and weeping as I was that Sunday morning. Pleading with God on my bathroom floor to let Oliver stay with us.

No please..Oh God, please

no no no....

Will called back. I threw the phone to David because I couldn't take it...head in hands. Utter disbelief.

"Please get here as soon as possible. He didn't make it...."

oh no. oh God. Why are You asking us to walk this road again...why Will and Joy? they honored You in every step of their courtship, their marriage....they are SO young and this baby was to bring such redemption for his uncle, who he was a namesake for...Oh Lord. How could this happen....

We all traveled down to Bloomington...listened to Jon Foreman's "All of God's Children"...wailing, tears dripping off our chins, sneaking down our shirts. Struggling, singing, praising God...disbelieving..

Oliver Franklin Young. so perfect. Such a glorious blend of Bogle and Young. 49 hours old.

Please pray for Will and Joy. Grief is such a weird roller coaster. One minute you are ok...maybe even laughing and then out of nowhere, you are side swiped. You get through those first hellish days, milk coming in, incisions healing, people visiting, asking "what happened...", meals coming in at a furious pace...a spectacle so to speak...

then a few weeks out...people still check on you, but as expected, life goes on, novelty wears off...and Joy is left sitting there..."ok, that was hell...where's my baby??"

We are so grateful for the people that visited...the meals and food that were brought to us, and to Will and Joy once they got back home...We are so grateful for the prayers and cards, keep them coming...please know that if you haven't gotten a thank you back yet, it's coming...the fog is lifting. Making sense of life is taking time...

I will be back to blog more about the beautiful service that Will and Joy had for Ollie at Forest Lawn and how amazing it is that Ollie is buried right next to his Uncle Jack...Joy also posted her pics from Ollie's last day, on Facebook, last night and I will have to share those here also...they are amazing.

God with us.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Oliver Franklin Young

It was so cute how Ollie would calm down when his Daddy spoke/put his hand on him. oh man.

beautiful boy. Oh Lord, my heart.



cheeks for days

I'm gonna rock the Lolli gig...

Oh Lolli.....so silly.


such a momma. my heart explodes...

Hearing test champion

This pic. ahhhh!
so, I'm outta order here but you get the idea...this is pretty quickly after Oliver arrived. 

Look at those delicious cheeks.


This ended up at the end of this post...hmmm. first pix.

Our family welcomed Oliver Franklin Young on Friday morning, June 23, 2017 at 4:27 am.
He weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds and 13 ounces, 20" long.
I hope to get the story on here soon. 

I don't even know how to type all of this without crying, folks.
I just can't. So, I'll go ahead and cry....
Typing through tears....

I want to blog from start to finish on this wonderful journey but for now, I will just tell you that when Ollie was 49 hours old, Sunday, June 25...He quietly passed away.

He isn't even here with us. 
I can't even type THAT without bawling.

How is this so...
How is that perfectly beautiful baby boy NOT HERE?
I'm not really asking and I'm not really wondering what happened, as we trust the Lord and know that HE knows what happened.

Watching Will and Joy in those 2 earthly days they were given to parent that precious bundle was a gift, in and of itself. I mean, what the heck? He was obviously Joy's mini-me and Will's little pal (I did see some of Will in him). Joylily is a natural momma!

His cheeks were incredible. He smelled of heaven
He was also born exactly 5 years and 51 weeks after his Uncle Jack. so many cool details....
Jack's namesake isn't even here....
What are You up to, God?

So many thoughts, so many aches, tears, hurts and sorrows. I won't hash them out now...but I will need to.
for now, enjoy the few pix I gathered on Oliver's first day of life.

Thank you for letting me cry and work it out here.
Also, we so appreciate your prayers and love. 
Will and Joy, they have done amazingly well. 
Yes, hurts like h*ll. so keep those prayers, cards, meals, whatever you feel the Lord leading you to do for these 22 year old babes, as they keep moving forward...with aching arms, tears in their eyes, and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

You Light Up My Life...

This picture...who would've known how different our family landscape would be this summer...
We miss these two.
II Corinthians 4:8-10
These verses describe Aunt Sherry so well...
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but  not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."

2013




Oh wait, this isn't Melanie...











The eyes that could pierce your soul...



A classic from last summer's middle school camp counseling gig



My work out pal



It's hard to fathom that our oldest gal is NINETEEN today. She's acted like she's in her 30's forEVER! (that's a compliment, Mel, though most 30 somethings I know act more immature than a 19-year old etc etc).

Melanie Kate Young was born on a Sunday morning at 4:06 am. She did not want to come out, I think she knew that she'd need to whip us all into shape...

Mel and I are going on a walk, a birthday walk, so I will finish this when we get back....until then...enjoy these awesome pix of MelKate.

**8 hours later**
Today...ohhhh, today...birthdays almost always seem to be less than perfect days, at least in my experience....and it's shaping up to be the same way for Melanie. Levi has been throwing up since 4 a.m...he's finally had a dry spell since 3 or 4 and has been sleeping peacefully. On the bathroom floor, mind you. I'll leave the gory details out. You're welcome. ahahaha. We've tried to go about a normal ish Wednesday but everything about it is weird. Piano lessons moved to 2:30 today. Levi didn't go. I've washed every towel, blanket etc that Levi uses. Maybe even twice....Poor fella. He feels rotten.

Will and Joy are hosting a little get together for Mel tonight, at their place. I'm so sad I'll miss it but Levi asked that I stay home with him. awww. Maybe we can both get some sleep.

Mel, I'm so sorry that your day ended up being totally weird and that I haven't been able to be available. Thank you, also, for being so thoughtful and getting me the infamous pink dress from Target. It's your birthday and you thought of ME.

Blown away.

Happy 19th Birthday to you, sweetness. You are my sunshine.