2 Months {Missing Him}

Today was rough…really really rough.  I woke up and immediately my mind raced back to the night Josh Kelley and I had slept beside Everett in his hospital bed knowing full well he didn’t have much time left here on earth.  I looked over where Josh usually lays and he was already up for the morning.  I thought about how when I woke that morning two months ago I had looked over at our sweet boy and burst into tears knowing we did not have long left with him.

I’ve pretty much cried all day long.  I watched as everyone mulled around our house very solemnly this morning.  When I woke Hudson up for school he sat up in bed with the saddest eyes.  I immediately asked what was wrong because I had literally just watched him wake from sleep.  He said, “I just feel so sad.”  They didn’t even know what today was, but their little bodies remember.  I listened over the phone as Josh cried in his office at work and we talked about all the hard things and hard places our family is in.  We talked about game plans and decisions and all the ins and outs of 7 people grieving and what might be best for each.  Everything is just hard right now.  We feel isolated and lonely.  Our kids feel isolated and lonely and Harper has voiced how she just feels like no one really understands how and why this is all so hard on us.  It feels like a gut punch when you listen to your children voice the same thoughts and feelings in your own head.

The little and big acknowledgements we receive through out our days are life to us.  The thoughtful text messages, the I remembers, the cards and kind gifts, the quick emails…they all make us feel seen.  We don’t need big grandeur things…the simple and small are beautiful to us.

Last Sunday was my first time to go back to church.  Josh had already been another time solo with the kids since I hadn’t felt ready for it so this time I took all the kids and my niece Meiya since he wasn’t feeling up to it that day.  All morning long while moving about the house and getting ready Josh and I had been talking about how hard going back to church has been…just all the layers of our feelings.  We talked openly and honestly and thought nothing of the kids and our niece moving about our house that morning likely catching pieces of our conversations.

I was dreading it, but I knew I needed to make a step forward.  I even questioned God as I got ready “I don’t even think You will have anything there for me today.”  And even more truthfully, it was pretty terrible and no great epiphany awaited me…so I thought.  The people we’re all so kind and gracious and I received lots of hugs and I do so love hugs, but it was just hard and sad to me.  We also sang one of the songs we sang together at Everett’s burial and celebration service so immediate tears from that.  I watched as Solomon filled out a prayer card asking for prayers because he and our family we’re so sad about losing Everett.  More tears.  I sat in the pew, pretty much fighting tears the whole time, doodling on a post-it note and half paying attention when Solomon handed me two pieces of paper and whispered, “These are from Meiya.”  I peered down the pew and caught the eyes of my gorgeous niece and she flashed me a sweet grin.  I looked down at the little pieces of card stock and felt seen…like really genuinely seen…like my 8-year-old niece knew how hard this was for me…for us.  She loves Everett deeply and had spent lots and lots of time with him and I know she hurts too.

I snapped a picture of the rainbow colored Fiesta cards right there in church and text it to her parents and said something along the lines of “If you guys die I hope you leave her to us.” 🙂

   In that moment God reminded me yet again of His sweetness and how important it is to acknowledge others in the places they are.  We don’t have to do crazy big things, we just have to choose to sit with others and acknowledge letting them know we see them right where they are…color those notecards and pass them down to the person who needs them.

One of the biggest things, if not THE BIGGEST, I learned from my Mom’s death was even when we do not know what to do for ourselves we can still do for others.  It’s easy to turn so inward when I am so broken and sad and angry and confused, but I know I have to fight to still look outward to those around me who need acknowledgment too…who need to know they are seen and loved right where they are…they are not forgotten!

So, we’re two months into this shit hole 🙂 Two whole months since our sweet boy’s heart beat it’s last brave beat. And while it is pretty terrible, like nothing we imagined, there are still glimmers of hope and God is still good.  We are so broken, but we will always sing a song of hope because of God who deserves our praise and sits broken amongst us.


  1. Kirstin jeffers says:

    I wait, each week, holding my breath, for an update on your family. I have no words whatsoever.

    But you are seen. You are heard. You are FELT. So deeply.

    I’ve read your words for years and live in such admiration for you honesty, energy, spunk, and genuineness. I hate (and I HATE that word!) your collective grief and your loss. My heart cries out as I read your words, in silent sadness.

    It doesn’t mean or change a darn thing. But you matter. You are loved and lifted up. And until the suckitude of it begins to ebb ever so slightly, you will be.

    Blessings to you and your whole flock. ❤️

  2. I heard a podcast this afternoon by Josh Ross interviewing Ellie Holcomb about her music and thought of you.

  3. Prayers continue for the entire family during this time. Even though we can rejoice in Everett’s homecoming as he is sitting at the feet of Jesus with no more pain. We know the pain is still here on Earth in your hearts.

    My prayer to you and the family is that you will continue to look to God for guidance as he shows you his blessings to you and the family.

    No I have never experience the loss of a child only my grandparents and parents. I know this is a difficult time and praying for God’s blessings upon you and the family in the days ahead. God is Good and never gives us more than we can handle.

    He gave you Everett for a short time to love and nurture even though he was taken to soon. We know its in his timing not ours.

    God Bless you all and I lift you up in prayer daily.

  4. Amanda priest says:

    I think of all of you often and pray that with each passing day the pain gets a little less..

  5. Andrea young says:

    Love you so. I still want to be super weird and ask you to pack your people up and come stay with us for the weekend. Love you much and praying much. That is all

  6. Praying for all of you every day.

  7. Love you, dear one. Gosh he’s beautiful! All your children are. Always, always praying for you all. ❤️

  8. Love you, dear one. Gosh he’s beautiful! All your children are. Always, always praying for you all.

  9. What Kirstin said. You are loved and heard.

  10. Sharon ewing says:

    You don’t know me but through a friend i happened upon your page while Everett was in the hospital. I read your updates and cried right along with you. Two weeks after Everett went to be with Jesus, my healthy husband was at a taekwondo class (he was a 3rd degree black belt). He went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the ER. We sat with him for 12 days waiting to see if he would wake up. He never did. Our 12 year daughter is from China. She was truly the light of his life. Now we are mourning along with you, yes for different people, but i truly understand everything you say and are going thru. My prayers are with your dear children, your husband and you. We too feel unable to function each day and yes, i find it nearly impossible not to be angry at God right now.

  11. I was having such a hard day with my 2-yr old today and declaring my own sort of shit storm; and then I read this. Now I am crying tears of my own. Thanks for grounding me and reminding me it’s not just about us. Continuing to pray for your broken yet healing hearts and familial relationships that miss your sweet boy so very very much.

  12. Thank you for your raw honesty in all the ways you are expressing all of this. It teaches me how to pray deeper and share honestly.
    We just read through Daniel, in chapter 9 he is been in mourning and an angel appears to him twice and tells him, “you are very precious to God.” This angelic proclamation just keeps coming around and hugging my neck. I thought maybe you and your Loves could use those words too. You are very precious to God. ❤️

  13. Don’t know you, your family, and found you during Everett’s hospital stay. Your boy changed me in ways only God will be able to explain someday.

  14. I had one more of your keyfobs that i hadn’t given away yet so i put my keys on it. Every time i grab them I’m praying for you! Your story is reaching so many. Like always you are being open and honest and appreciate it. I know healing will come for you guys by sharing.

  15. Shannon collins says:

    Loved and heard…..

  16. Andrew Marsh says:

    Will you stop getting me crying??! I feel for you Kelleys, I really do. I cry every time I read your posts so heaven alone knows how you guys get through. One day, when you’re feeling brighter, and you will, you will, will you tell me how you got into adding the international children to your family? I’d love to know more. And you and Josh are truly amazing. (I know you don’t think that about yourselves but you are amazing people!) I Iove that he was in tears in his office. A real man. Bless you both, you all! I totally get about your not being back in church since Everett’s celebration. My first wife left me, and she was a born again believer, involved with me in the youth work, and I just couldn’t face going into the church building. And that’s only a split, nothing like your family’s loss. Positively, though, Heaven is brighter by far for having Angel 1st class Everett Louis Shuai Kelley smiling his fabulously infectious smile! Each time I see a photo of him, I feel my mouth turning up at the corners.
    I really wish I could be there to hug you all, each in turn. Much love in our unbelievably faithful Lord!

  17. I love that the socks I bought for Everett’s adoption have hearts on them. I have not worn them yet (not sure why!) but they will always remind me of your sweet boy and his precious heart. Sending you love from PA.

  18. Deneen Wisecarver says:

    Grieving is hard work. It must be felt. Just like your beloved wave pool, it just keeps on coming, wave after wave. But one day, its season will be over. For awhile. Because it never really leaves, it is your companion. You know this. Left foot, right foot, pray, repeat. This is the rhythm of your days. Look up, sweet girl. Outward focus to inner pain.

  19. So so so much love and strength to you. This is heavy and I can only imagine what helping all of your little people through grief feels like. Sending you daily hugs from afar <3 <3 <3

  20. Girl, I just want to pick you up and carry you and your family! Hold you and take the pain away. I cannot. I don’t know what I could do or say to bring you all some peace. I would give pretty much anything I own, if it would relieve the tears and pain. The only thing that I know for sure, is that God hears my prayers. And, so I ask Him to put a guard around your hearts during the day. And, that He would bring people into your days, at the times that each of you need them. Also, that your minds would be able to rest peacefully at night, so you are refreshed and able to take on the new day ahead. Hug your kiddos for me. And, consider yourself hugged, as well! Love in Him, Sweet Friend.

  21. all day I’ve been thinking and praying over you guys. I read this first thing this am and all I could think of was in genesis when one of Gods names is “the one who sees”…. genesis 16, specifically verse 13. you are not forgotten, by earthly people and certainly not by your father. I remember years ago just feeling so alone (and still do at times) during years of infertility and miscarriages, I was dying and empty inside and felt so alone and misunderstood.I had a few friends through that time I could talk to, but one day I read Genesis and saw this and thought HE SEES ME in this. Knowing I wasn’t alone or ignored didn’t solve my issues, but knowing I am loved enough to be seen,that His character is love, He bends down to talk and listen to us, so good. No one can walk this path for you, but we can try to lift you up in prayer, love on you in tangible ways and point you to the ultimate comfort. I truly wish I lived closer to just hug you and do something more. And his sweet smile, dang it, it slays me and catches my breath every time I see it.

  22. I don’t even know you but my heart just ACHES for your family when I read your posts. I know there is probably nothing I can say that will help, but just know that you are seen, you are heard, we hurt with you (although not to your depth…I know), you are in my prayers, and your Everett boy will forever be in my heart. His face… I just can’t see enough pics of him. He is the sweetest boy and I know he is deeply missed by so many.

  23. I am sitting here crying tears for you and your family and praying for your healing. I want so much for it to be different. While we never will understand just know that you are loved and seen and I know Your precious boy is watching over you. Brooke told me you all were going to Disney this weekend. I hope you can enjoy some special fun with your kiddos and just focus on one day at a time.

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