Hard Moments

Almost everyday after losing Everett there’s been some grief surprise feeling or thought that just crushes us or takes our breath away or brings us to the floor.  They come without warning and you never know where they will emerge from.  Ever.

I’m trying to be super honest in this grief process of losing Everett.  Each day I am truthfully shocked we survived another day.  Everyone is all over the place and we desperately want our boy back.  I want to share about the feelings some might not ever think of or the feelings I never experienced with losing Mom.  The more I am submerged in the death of Everett the more I see how different his death has been from my Mom’s, how differently it has affected me and our family and how it barely prepared me at all to walk this journey of losing a child.

Josh started listening to the original Peter Pan book on tape last week.  He text me the day he started it and said he got busted crying in his office over the book and Everett.  The original Peter Pan story begins explaining how Peter accompanied children who died so they wouldn’t feel scared.  Josh shared how he felt selfish for never thinking about Everett feeling scared at some point and I instantly lost it.  I sat in our kitchen and sobbed.  I had never had this thought either and instantly the pain and sadness and guilt rushed over me like a massive wave.  Our sweet Everett.  Thinking about him being scared at any point during our hellish time at Mott…during his surgeries or cardiac arrests or what it was like to go brain dead and eventually die.  It literally made me want to vomit.

I know thinking about things like this might sound foolish and some may advice not to think on these thoughts, but I feel this HAS to be apart of the grieving process when you lose a child.  There is so much responsibility you feel as a parent when your kid dies.  This is massively different than when my Mom died.  She was a grown, competent, of-sound-mind adult.  Everett was a 3-year-old little boy.  We we’re suppose to protect him and we were the ones making all the decisions on his behalf.  Do I think we did what was best with what we knew?  Yes, I do, but that does not mean the guilt and regret do not plague our minds and hearts relentlessly.  Every person and doctor and specialist on this planet could tell us we did the right thing and made all the right decisions and it still would not matter.  It just wouldn’t.  We are his mama and daddy and of course we regret every move we made at this point because our son’s body is deep in the ground down the street instead of curled up beside me for his nap.

He was suppose to live.  He was suppose to have a long abundant life.  I really do believe this was God’s plan and if one more person tells me Everett dying was part of “His plan” then I will likely just go crazy because no, not my God…this was not His plan.  Everett dying was because we live in a messed up, fallen world.  I refuse to believe in a God who planned for my 3-year-old to die or just to use him shortly and then move on.  I believe in a God who is incredibly saddened by the loss of our Fu Shuai, who grieves deeply with us and who is loving him fiercely while we cannot physically be with him.  I believe in a God who sits waiting patiently for us to be somewhat okay again, who knows intimately our hearts and knows we just need some time right now.  I believe in a God who is not one bit offended by us not really liking Him right now.  I believe in a God who is always good whether I feel it currently or not.  I believe in a God who allows the Holy Spirit to whisper into our inner most parts a song of hope so our hearts, no matter the mauled state they are in, will some how, some way always know hope is real and big and strong.

Was Everett scared?  I don’t know, but I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t have been at some point.  These are just the hard moments when you have to push through…you have to process and think about…you have to work to find the peace within a struggle or let it be as is for the moment.  I wish I could wrap this post up nicely and proclaim the peace I have from Jesus about Everett or his death or even just the new struggle with if Everett felt scared or not, but I can’t.  Another part of grief is the untidiness of it all and choosing to just keep going…keep getting up each day and processing as you go…trusting Jesus is ever so slowly moving you toward healing, restoration and redemption even when you don’t feel it one bit and you might not even like Him very much right now.


  1. Andrew Marsh says:

    I know this Laura, Josh and mini Kelleys, our Good God knows exactly how you’re all feeling and He fully understands and stays with you all where you are at this exact second. He will NEVER, EVER leave you alone. Never. Much tearful love to you all. Andrew.

  2. I believe in this God, as well. If we live in a fallen world, then shit’s just going to happen. Allowing that is different from giving someone the thumbs-down in the gladiator arena. At least IMHO.

    This effing sucks.

    The way you hold onto God in the midst of the shitstorm (even with a stiff arm) and share your grief journey is kingdom work. I wish with all my might Everett was still on this side of the kingdom with you, but good God almighty, he’s got to be so proud of you. ❤️

  3. ❤️

  4. I have been following you almost from the beginning of this journey of unimaginable pain that you are on and I’ve wanted to write to you many times. Your subject today hit me especially hard so here I am. I’ve wondered as well if my daughter was afraid before she went to heaven and it took a long time to work through that and it was not something I could do on my own. I saw a grief counselor for a few years after Caitlin passed away and I still check in occasionally from time to time five years later. I’ve come to believe that if she was afraid Jesus was with her and I believe that he was with your beautiful boy as well. My daughter lived for 24 more years than your Everett but I have felt all of the things you are describing. I would even go so far as to say there were times that I hated God and told him so. I also begged him, bargained with and stopped speaking to him trying to get him to let me trade places with my daughter or to at least let me join her. When I read the things that you write I cry with you, my heart aches with you and more than anything I am so sorry that this horrible that this has happened to you. A good friend who had suffered a similar loss said to me not long after Caitie passed away, it’s hard but then it gets harder. Some of my friends didn’t like that she said that but it was honest and true and to this day it is something I am glad I knew. Because grief is hard and it does get harder and it’s ugly and messy and it makes no darn sense. No sense. If you would ever like to talk I’m here. I see that I am going to provide my email in order to leave this comment. Keeping you all in my heart and in my prayers.

  5. Sandra Gosney says:

    I have also been following your posts. I am very sorry about your loss. I have never lost a child so I can’t relate to all you are going through but I am a mom to four children, all grown now. One of these children has polycystic disease and Crohns disease. A second one recently learned that she has an autoimmune disease that is attacking her liver. As a mom I worry about them. I can’t even begin to think how I would go on if I lost any one of my four children.
    Even though this is probably the hardest thing you have ever had to go through, I believe God is walking with you and he is going to use these posts about your grieving process to help someone else who may have also lost a child. I pray for comfort for your family as you go through this.

  6. I have to say something here. I was an oncology nurse for 12 years. I worked with patients from teen to 104 year olds. I stood with many, many patients and families, from the “good deaths” to the messy, family fight kind. I can absolutely say that Jesus was with your Shuai boy in the way he needed most. I know that He does not change our feelings; He meets us exactly where we are. Whatever Everett felt, Jesus met him there with perfect love. The refiners fire is unrelenting. I have railed against it, and witnessed others wrestle hard with it. But it is Good, in the way that God is good. It is Real and Whole and, and ultimately, Love. You can trust it, with yourself, and with your family’s hearts. The hardest thing is that people outside can’t help. The work is for and by your soul. Robert Frost said “the only way out is though” and he was right. You are walking a purifying path that challenges so deeply. I pray for you all on your journey.

  7. A friend once told my mom “You will never get over the loss. Your soul will learn to include it.”
    I know that those of us who have never lost a child cannot even comprehend of how hard and painful that “learning” is.

  8. My heart breaks for you. ❤️

  9. Lisa gilliam says:

    Oh Laura this blog took my breath away. I get heartache reading your pain. I guess that is what empathy is to some. To me it is my spirit grieving for yours I guess. I do know what it’s like to loose a mom but not a child. Honestly I never want to know. I have had a few friends that has lost children and I don’t know how they survive but they do. Other children depend on them. I have never met someone who ever ” got over “losing a child. I imagine you adjust somehow. I am sure you have others that have experienced this to share with you but if you don’t please do. I am praying that peace consume you in your grief. Always on my heart.

  10. Thank you for being vulnerable. <3

  11. Please ignore those people who tell you that something is God’s will. I think that God led you every step of the way and opened doors for Everett’s healing. God loves us more than we can imagine, but we do live in a random world where crap happens. Our loving God doesn’t take lives from this earth because He needs them for something. God is bigger than any of us can imagine. In my thinking, He also understands when people are hurt and angry with Him because of horrible events. It’s ok to yell and scream and be mad at God, He is way bigger than any of those feelings. I think he just holds us a bit closer when we have those feelings, as he is also holding Everett. People say some of the stupidest things when they don’t know what to say. When all we want to hear is “I’m sorry” or when we need that gentle touch from someone who cares for us.

  12. I wish I could touch your shoulder and say, “I’m so sorry.” Instead. I’m thankful God touches your heart. And… you continue to minister to us in your grief and through your words – thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit. It says in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) He knows your grief. He meets us where we need…. Always and in ways we may not understand until later. He did the same for Everett by making your family his family. I’m sure Everett felt comfort from you and if there was ever a gap while you were not with him… Jesus filled in even more. He would never leave His children. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) We can not be perfect parents but we have a perfect Heavenly Father. Please let go of the burden that your Everett felt lost/scared. He had you all. He had (and still has) our Heavenly Father. Everett’s heart may have been broken physically but in all reality it was filled to the brim with love and joy which you were able to show because of Jesus. Nothing can take that away. Prayers, comfort and blessings. Always.

  13. I agree with you, this has to be part of the grieving process. Confronting all different emotions and finding a way through them. Giving you and all of grief’s untidiness a big hug <3

  14. As a foster mom, I am used to grieving losing my kids. You always know that there is a huge chance they will go home or somewhere else. You steel yourself when they call to come pick the kids up. You cry for a while and then call the caseworker and tell them you’re ready for the next child. What I wasn’t prepared for was 6 years waiting for my daughter to come home from Africa. Abandoned, locked behind a closed country, stuck behind the walls of paperwork, and then we were finally her guardians. We had loved her, I tought of her so many times a day, every day, you wouldn’t believe the number of times if I told you. She became an extension or limb to me as much as any of my adoptive or birth children are. We were packed in March 2017 and ready to bring her home, tickets in hand. The call came through as I was writing out lists for the babysitters. The orphanage had her parents. After years, her parents walked through the door and out with her. There was no death, I am not trying to compare losses. Yet, my heart resonates so strongly with your posts; your pain and transparency is like salve to my isolation. Thank you for sharing your devastation, your slow process of life after, your heaving weeping with us. I hate that this happened in your life. I have no sage words. I have cried for you, for your mother’s heart, for the missing part that is of you; and I am grateful that you have allowed others to perceive you as you are. Thank you.

  15. What you said about God’s plan really resonates with me. I recently had a miscarriage; I know that is different than your grief, but I also get similar responses about God’s plan. While I believe overall that God has a plan for our life, I do not believe that my God causes suffering. Thank you for your vulnerability, it is encouraging me to tell more of our story and how we still believe God is good in the midst of grief.

  16. Thank you for sharing your grief process so honestly. I think it’s something we need to understand and know and hopefully, one day there will be less of those thoughtless hurtful comments like that this was all God’s plan.
    Just wanted you to know that when you talk about the guilt and heartache of Everett being scared and suffering all can I think of is those pictures of you and his siblings and Dad snuggled in bed with him, of the countless hours you spent being near him, whispering to him, praying for him, tucking a special blanket or lovey in with him, and on and on. There’s no doubt that Everett felt loved completely and wholly by his family through all of this. It’s heart wrenching that we can’t protect our children from suffering and fear. I feel this all the time as I send my 2 terrified kids who have anxiety disorders out into the world to face their fears but I feel certain that feeling loved, supported, and lavished on matters far more than the suffering that they experience. Maybe when the sadness and guilt starts to become overwhelming, you can hold onto those memories of being by his side filling him with love through it all. (If this came out wrong and I said something that was hurtful or thoughtless, I’m sorry. You are so right in that most of us really don’t have any idea what to say or how to say it.)

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