Truth? Life sucks. Hello. It’s Me. Mrs. Nasty. And today, this is my blog.
I have had—what you call—writers block. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but mainly because I have been afraid to say it. Stuck somewhere between a broken girl and a girl who wants more than anything in this world to help others overcome the obstacles in their life. But here is the truth—I have been hurting.
You see, even fighters have rough moments . . . and some days, life just sucks.
I want so badly to help others heal, that a part of me has been ignoring my own pain. I have been giving everything in me to hear other people’s stories and I have purposefully been avoiding my own. Because it is so much easier to help others change and heal from their struggles . . . than it is to go deep within and face what is broken inside. And I have been feeling it aching for a while, but have really been reverting back to what I do best. Hiding.
Let me just start a few months back. The kids and I decided to go—for our second year in a row—to celebrate Emmett’s birthday with his family. A tradition they have done every year of his life, and every year since his death. A place I have spent most of the latter years avoiding. Bear Lake. For those of you who have read my first book, you know that is where Emmett is buried, but what you might not know . . . is that place holds a lot of the good memories as well. And sometimes even the good memories are easier left unremembered.
I have shared so many of the moments of my journey, but there are parts to our story that you do not know. Some I have decided not to share—for now—because of the other people involved . . . but others I have purposefully avoided because . . . they still hurt. But I didn’t realize I had been avoiding them until yesterday.
So anyway. Bear Lake. This year, Jordyn decided to come with us. So the six kids and I set off on a trek to go and be with Emmett’s family. The weekend was amazing, and it was so wonderful to see the family rally around Jordyn as if she had always been apart of them. Each person held close all six of the kids, as though we had never spent years avoiding each other. I felt a peace—for the first time in five years—in that place. We spent mornings on the beach, and had bonfires. We went to visit Emmett’s grave, and introduced Jordyn. We got to go to church with Emmett’s grandma—something I had done the first time I met her. I even felt prompted to get up and share a very spiritual experience Tytus had shared with me about Emmett. Overall the weekend was a success, and I felt so connected to some of the things that used to once be such a big part of my life, and had more recently become a reminder of so much heartache.
The weekend was full of so much good and light, and love. Not the same type of love I used to feel there, but the type of love that brings about healing from a broken place. So after a weekend like that, I felt so ready to take on the world. I drove home feeling spiritually strong and full of overcoming and so much strength. I wanted to share it. I wanted to sit down and write and speak of hope and share my message with anyone who could hear it—that we can overcome, and we can heal, and we can change. Relationships can be repaired, and forgiveness is possible.
Then I got home, and this fog waved over me. I felt alone. For days I felt dark, and defeated. I felt insignificant. Not because of anything that did or did not happen there, but because I knew it was time to start writing again. And it scared the crap out of me—because this time I know I was being asked to get REAL real.
So I have been in hiding ever since . . . until now.
This week was . . . well, not anything like I had planned. A sprained ankle last weekend kept Shawn home from our trip to St. George for my conference—an expectation I had set in my mind that just about took me out. A small melt down in my office, and a 9 hour road trip with six kids alone and I was ready for the conference.
The conference went great; the speakers were inspirational. I cried and laughed all morning with each story told and hope shared. Each person shared something I had needed to remember. Each hug at the door by new friends, and old, made me feel light and uplifted. I heard stories all day of pain I could relate to—and others of pain I knew nothing of. I felt part of a community, full of brave souls who were battling the world. I drove home ready to take that next step . . . to finish what I had started.
And then I got home . . . and this dark fog washed over me. This time in the form of broken dishes, dirty laundry, muddy shoes, lists to do, grocery shopping. A son on crutches two days before trick or treating, and a daughter full of anxiety about going back and forth from her two houses.
But to top it all off as we were getting ready to put on Halloween costumes yesterday, Bostyn came running in with her baby bunny. Hysterically she screamed that something was wrong, a cry we have come to know well. You see, at our house we don’t just deal with sick dying bunnies and broken plates. We deal with triggers—triggers of a pain no little girl or boy should ever know.
As I held on to her on the way to take the bunny in, I could feel her hand trembling. Her whole body was shaking as she grieved what she knew would be another loss. A part of me wanted to say, “Bostyn . . . come on. Say a prayer, read your scriptures. Everything is going to be ok.”
But in that moment I thought over the years about times when people tried to do that with me. So instead, we just cried together. She held my hand with one hand, and the basket that held her bunny in the other, and we silently sobbed. After we dropped the bunny off we got back in the car. She stared out the window, “Mom . . . is He really there? Is He really going to answer my prayers? Because—I prayed that my bunny would be ok . . . and I don’t think he will be. Why is it that everything I have ever loved in my life just gets taken away. The bunny lady said she could get me a new bunny—one that even looks just like him—for what MOM? So I can love him too, and then he can just leave me? No thank you. Why do I even bother? I gave him my heart . . . and now he is just going to leave me here too?”
And there it was. That fear I knew all too well. That overpowering beckoning to just give up. That voice inside your head, that sounds like all the best ideas . . . that really just holds you back from everything you could and should be. That voice that paralyzes your very being . . . threatens your very existence.
I have been spending so many months afraid to finish what I started out two years ago to do . . . to share my healing journey. But yesterday my daughter reminded me why I have to keep fighting. To fight through the nasty emails mean people send. To fight through the fog that tells me everything I do is for nothing. To fight through the dark—to find the light.
Because sometimes it still hurts. And that’s ok.
We can’t keep abandoning ourselves when we need ourselves the most. We have to love the one that is hurting . . . and sometimes that “one” . . . is us.
You didn’t chose this pain, and neither did I. But we are not alone. We have each other. So, please be nice. Be nice to yourself. Be nice to those you meet. Be nice to me and please spare me with the emails about how “it has been five years and you just need to get over it”. This is my safe place, and today I get to “air my dirty laundry” because that is the way I know best how to help others find a safe place to do the same. If you are reading this and are offended by anything I do or do not say on this blog, please do everyone a favor and find a different blog to read. For I will no longer be apologizing for being broken, because this is my fight . . . and some days the battles are hard. This is my victory . . . and some days the battles are won!
But if you want real . . . it is about to get real.
If you can relate, and need a safe place . . . I want you to know I am here. Not as an expert who knows a darn thing, but as a broken girl who is fighting too.
Today we battle together. We know all that we “should” be doing and some days we feel so motivated . . . until we don’t. So when you get stuck, and feel like you are the only one off track to the life you always dreamed . . . this is going to be your safe place. A place to come to heal . . . but also a safe place to some days come to—be broken.
We can decide who we want to become—and then become her (or him). But it will take time.
There are no set calendars on grief, no timelines for pain. Just people trying their best to find their way. Those that are lashing out . . . are the ones in the most pain. Be patient. Be brave. Take a stand today. Against fear. Against victimhood—against not being enough. Against feeling alone. Help others to find their purpose—in their suffering, in their triumphs. Angels will be with you; the light of Christ will bring hope. Live life with intention, to help others feel God’s love for them. Help them to see that their life has been full of grace. Help them turn to the one and only Redeemer who has the power to save and change. Go with faith, hope and a perfect love to share. For that is what He asked of us when He begged us to feed His sheep. He was the only perfect Son, and because of Him we too can change and grow and find purpose to our pain.
He lived a perfect life, full of imperfect moments. And so do we.
Don’t give up. Every moment lived on earth matters. Make them count.
(Jordyn's hands at Bear Lake)