6 Months

On January 18th it marked 6 months since Everett went to be with Jesus.  Honestly, I don’t even really like that sentence.  It marked 6 months since he died and our world was flipped in an entirely new direction.  6 months since sadness and pain like we’ve never known laid heavy on our family.

I was really dreading the 6 month mark because now he had been gone longer than he was with us.  Since August of 2016 we had been working to get to him as quickly as we could and in 6 short, fast & furious months we’d done it…we’d reached our boy…so it kind of sucks that it took us 6 months to get to him and it has been 6 months without him…that those time frames now mark us being apart longer than we we’re together.

We feel very tied to Everett’s spot in the cemetery.  I love how his Uncle Andy puts it, “Everett’s special corner of the earth” and that’s how I’ll always refer to his little space under that big tree in the cemetery just down the road.  Josh Kelley was actually out of town on that day so I loaded up all the kids and we went and got a big gold 6 balloon and went for a visit at the cemetery.

Each time I’m there it’s hard…it takes me breath away and spins my stomach into a thousand knots that this is now our reality…what we live with every day…our 3-year-old being dead and his body deep within the earth.  It makes me angry and sad and I just do not understand any part of it for the life of me.  I’ve read words by other mothers who have buried a child and some of them say they don’t like what happened, but they trust it.  I am not there yet.  I can’t say I trust what happened or trust God who let this filter through His hands.  I don’t understand why He didn’t give Everett a miracle…why He didn’t breath life back into his small, weak body or heal his little mind.  I don’t understand the timeframe…I just don’t understand any of it.  I also know God is God and I am not and I’m not owed any explanation of why what happened to Everett did.  It’s just hard and a daily battle.

I still love Jesus, but I’m working on trying to come to a place where I have a better grasp on who He is now sitting on His thrown in heaven while we’re living down here on earth.  Does He still do miracles and heal while in heaven?  I just don’t know.  I’ll be crazy honest in saying I like Him better if He doesn’t…if He’s not healer and miracle worker still…and that He’s just fully aware of what’s going to happen and is flat out broken over it for us and the fact that this world is just shitty which means sometimes really really shitty things just happen.  I don’t like thinking about Him deciding who gets miracles and healing while He decides that some people do not.  It’s extra hard when you are thinking about your little kiddo who was helpless and ultimately looked to you to keep them safe and protect them.  I know we can’t do that all the time, but a large part of parenting in their young years is keeping them safe from harms way.  Hence all the guilt and regret that weighs on Josh Kelley and myself daily.  Weekly Josh and I talk through this again and again rehashing everything…every decision, every question asked, every moment and so on and so on.  It’s a giant circle of questions that just keeps us going in a loop and there’s never much relief.

Prayer is hard too.  I don’t pray much if any right now.  Again, a little brutal truth telling, I just don’t really understand prayer right now.  When friends or family ask for prayer about something I always default to sentences like, “I am hoping for the best” or “I hope you get some relief soon” because I don’t want to straight up lie, but I’m not a praying person right now.  People keep sending us verses and inspirational memes that have all these Bible verses and quotes on them and I feel like I could poke holes in them for days 🙂  We did have faith as small as a mustard seed, we did gather together, we did believe, we did hope, we did follow where God led, we did, we did, we did.  Harper, Hudson and Solomon…especially Hudson…beleived without a shadow of doubt that God would heal Everett…we had faith like a child.  I prayed over Everett’s life from the very moment we saw his sweet face on our computer screen.  I surrendered Him over, I followed all the Biblical text book jazz and still he died.  So I just don’t fully understand prayer right now.  It feels a bit pointless if whatever is going to happen, happens anyways.

And my head knows all the Bible says about prayer and who He is.  I know prayer keeps you in communication with Jesus, I know He likes to hear from us, etc etc, but I also know He knows broken people.  People who are sad and down and in pain and He knows every thought that crosses our minds.  I know He knows deep pain and sadness Himself and I know He’s not going anywhere based on what I think or feel about Him and Biblical practices right now.  Insert wiping sweat from brow emoji 🙂

I struggle in a way I never have with Jesus and the Bible, but one thing I keep holding onto is that God says His power is perfected in my weakness.  As we drove to Shaui’s grave with that giant number 6 balloon floating around in the back seats, I turned the sound up on the radio and sang a little louder than normal,

“And in these ashes I’m stronger still.  You’ll learn to fear my pain, yeah you will.” -Johnny Swim

I keep trying to hold God to His word that He will use our pain and that Satan trembles at the power that is perfected in our weakness.  I know from these ashes we will rise with a limp that will never fade, but stronger and braver than ever before.  We just need some time.

As time has marched on we’ve also been learning more and more about our own personal grief.  The week following Everett’s 6 month anniversary we decided to do some hard firsts in grieving the loss of Everett.  We went through his basket of clothes that have been on our bedroom floor since last January.  With only one dresser and no closet in the boys’ room, Everett got his own basket in our room and he would pick out his little clothes from it each morning.

We also went through all the cards & gifts we’ve received over the past 7 months since we left for Michigan in June.  So many of you have loved on us in such kind and thoughtful ways and we are forever grateful.  I also listened to Hillsong United’s Wonder album again for the first time since Everett died.  It was playing in his hospital room as I held him close and we went to be with Jesus.  Again, that sentence.  I sobbed my guts out so many times that week and it was just a heavy week in general for our whole house.

Everett’s backpack we packed for Michigan is still sitting in the corner of our bedroom.  His flip-flops tucked in the side pocket and things like his favorite sippy cup, pretzels from the airplane and some of his favorite little toys and coloring books packed inside.  We see it everyday and with so many hard firsts we had pushed through that week I thought to myself, “Is it time to go through his backpack too?”  I remember handing his backpack over to Josh’s sister Jen at Mott in Everett’s transition room after a long day of snuggling and being together and our kids and family saying their goodbyes.  When she took it from my hands I immediately felt panicked and burst into tears asking her not to let anyone unpack it.  She assured me she would not let anyone unpack his little bag.  That moment will be one forever etched in my heart.  We ended up not unpacking it and leaving his backpack right where it was in the corner of our room still because it just wasn’t time yet.

Grief is big and heavy and it’s a very finicky process.  We’re learning when to push and when to lay off.  We’re learning when space is needed and when a group hug is in order.  We’re learning sometimes we need a nap and sometimes we need to stay up late listening to one another’s hearts.  We’re learning we need grace in abundance and to keep taking this journey just one day at a time with each day drawing us closer to our boy.  We’re resting in the assurance that Jesus, no matter what we think about Him or feel about Him currently, isn’t going anywhere and that His power is actually being perfected in our deep, hard weaknesses.


  1. Yes. Doing the Christian things when your heart is broken feels empty and pointless and sometimes stupid, when you’re angry and sad and confused and just hurt… but the truth of who HE is doesn’t change on us, if you know what I mean, and I think you express that well. HE isn’t like oh this is hard and they’re questioning, what bad Christians guess I’m not going to love them. “We’re learning when to push and when to lay off. We’re learning when space is needed and when a group hug is in order. We’re learning sometimes we need a nap and sometimes we need to stay up late listening to one another’s hearts. We’re learning we need grace in abundance and to keep taking this journey just one day at a time with each day drawing us closer to our boy.” THIS is loving, living the gospel. It’s not some tidy well packaged sunshine and rainbows life that you can buy at a perfect little Christian bookstore or smarmy radio station (oops my biases are showing lol). It’s the trenches, staying up late, napping, saying I DONT WANT TO DO THIS, but I will because I have to, one day at a time never abandoning love. You are on my heart and mind and prayers often (yeah yeah I know). Much much love.

  2. I read your words and my heart breaks for so many reasons. I work for a church so I see other people’s grief, burdens, challenges and hurt every day. I see people feeling lost and uncertain, angry and pained. That also means that I have all the cliche statements when one is going through these times. I will try not to give those to you!
    I can tell you that God does work miracles! Even though Jesus is Heaven, He is still our miracle worker. Sometimes that miracle shows its face as healing. The problem is, one person’s healing may need to result in someone else’s pain.
    I often think about this song that was popular when I was a kid. It was a Christian song about all these people who were in Heaven. When a man passed away and went to Heaven these other individuals came to him and thanked him for giving to the Lord. He had no idea that he had affected so many lives throughout his own life.
    It is almost hard to comprehend that good can come from devastation, especially when it is our own devastation. The promising news is that, here on Earth, we may never know the affect our actions, reactions and interactions may have on someone else. Perhaps your witness in the hospital, when little Everett was so sick, caused some who watched to question their own faith and beliefs and grow.
    The truth is that God was confident that this is something that you and your family was strong enough to handle with HIS HELP. I have been there. I have been that girl that shakes my fist and yells and screams, “How dare you God! How dare you think I am strong enough to handle this! I don’t WANT to handle this!” And, I firmly believe that it is okay to question God in that way!! The only thing is, you need to be ready for His answers! Sometimes I wasn’t ready for those answers in my own life. The other piece is our jerk reaction in anger is to separate ourselves from the one who causes us hurt and pain. But the Bible didn’t tell us that God only gives us things that we are strong enough to handle. The Bible tells us that He only gives us what we are strong enough to handle with HIM. So to distance ourselves from the one that could give us strength and understanding is the opposite of what God is saying to us.
    So here is the thing…I am praying for you and your entire family (I know that may not mean much now). I am praying for those families that God put in your life and continues to put in your life that will be affected in a good way because God works through the bad and makes good.
    I think we are especially hurt when something like this happens because it makes no sense. We all understand that there are consequences for doing bad things. But when you are doing good why do we still suffer with bad? It is hard for humans to not want a glimpse behind curtain. We want to see if God really doesn’t know what He is doing and He is actually more like the wizard from the Wizard of Oz. That would make more sense…that would put logic to why bad stuff happens. Truthfully, I promise you He is MIGHTY & POWERFUL (and GOOD). And I promise you that you will experience all of that from God again, if you let Him! And as hard as it is to comprehend, there is a behind the scenes script that we will never get to read here on Earth! There are no spoilers, no secret additional scenes, no script leaks. God has it all in His hands.
    Lean on Him, when you are ready. I think the hardest thing to do when you are angry about losing someone is to lean on and cling to God because it almost feels like you are being disloyal to the one you lost. Like if you lean on God you are saying you are OK with Him taking Everett away from you. Stay clear-SIN took Everett away from you. Because we are all flawed humans we suffer the consequences for sin (don’t hear me incorrectly-Everett did not die because of YOUR sin- he died because we all sin). The glory comes from the promise of seeing Everett again because of the HOPE that Jesus gives us.
    It is hard. You will probably question and second-guess for the rest of your life. But do not let Satan get that upper hand in your lives. Do not let him jade the glory and promise of Christ. Do not let him cheapen Everett’s death by causing you to second guess the behind the scenes work that God is doing today as a result of losing your child. Walk victoriously knowing that even though Everett is no longer on this Earth, HE IS NOT DONE USING EVERETT YET!!

  3. JUDY bAKER says:

    I love you sweet Laura, and I’m still praying for all of your hearts to heal.

  4. Isabel Johannes says:

    I wish I had words of wisdom and comfort to share with you….but, I don’t. Please know I pray in your name daily, my friend.

  5. You don’t know me, I don’t think, but I’ve followed your story with Everett through a friend’s posts, hurting with you although you didn’t even know. He has and will continue to touch so many lives. I lost my son 3 years during my pregnancy with him. Because your son was older, you may not have run across this article yet, and I want to share it with you. It’s written to mothers of stillborn babies, but it’s relevant to all parents of children who died. It is not. your. fault.


  6. I get it. My son is in heaven now, too. I don’t know why Jesus took Noah when he did. But, there’s no doubt someday I will find out why. I won’t find out while I’m here on this planet, and I just have to let that go. I have to forgive Noah for going, and forgive myself for whatever part I played in letting him go. And I’ve learned it’s okay to be angry with God and to let Him know about it. Many Psalms that do just that. Virtual hugs and love from a stranger, but a fellow grieving mom walking a similar path. Such a tough journey. Hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Anniversary dates are especially difficult.

  7. Michelle Adams says:

    There are no rules in grief. You can leave that little backpack and everything in it right there for as long as you want to… And it’s ok if you can’t pray, read or understand God right now. Today marks the one year anniversary of my child’s second heart surgery. She survived and I don’t know why I get this undeserved gift of another day. I think of you and too many other families that didn’t.
    I’m so sorry… I wish I could say something that helps, but I don’t think there is anything. Know that there are people who have not forgotten Everett or your grief.

Leave A Comment