He’s The Same, But I Am Not

Everyday feels like I’m just making it.  At any given moment I can burst into tears…a song playing at the gym at 5am, a memory remembered driving down the road, in the mascara aisle at Kroger, walking into the wave pool for the first time this summer, seeing certain dates on my calendar.  Gushing tears at a moments notice.  Truth is I hate living in this “after Everett died” life.  I miss him so deeply words could never come close to explaining the depth.  I long to hold his little body close one more time.

I remember after we left his body at the hospital for the final time and had to go back to our room just down the hall to get our bags I asked Josh Kelley multiple times, “Should we go see him one more time?”  The finality of that moment makes me cry the hardest, hottest tears because that was it.  That was the last time I would hold my baby on this earth and we weren’t given near enough time together as a family of 8.  I didn’t have near enough snuggles or kisses or time watching him sit on our counter, but would any amount have been enough anyways?!?!  Of course not.

Life is difficult right now…as it is for so many of you.  I feel like I’ve worn out most welcoming mats and that we’ve over talked about Everett to those who wanted to listen.  I think 1000 thoughts to myself daily and sometimes feel like I might burst with insanity, but usually keep them to myself feeling like they are far too much for most.  I see how as a Jesus-loving body we often suck at handling the broken hearted and downtrodden.  It’s made me re-think deep pieces of myself.  When we should be lifting the burdens of the broken and grieving, we often add weight to their already weighed down shoulders.  We make them responsible for how their pain and sadness and loss or how they are handling it makes us feel and we are so quick to tell them so.  We’re also quick to say all the go-to Christiany words even though they just do not fix anything and often sound empty.

I’m putting my religion to the test.  I’m running it through the hot fires of grief and watching my 3-year-old’s heart beat it’s last.  I remember watching the tears of our nurse Matt as he wiped them away with his hand.  I sat there holding Everett’s body in my arms asking Matt over and over if Everett was gone because his heartbeat had become so faint in his neck and his chest was no longer rising and falling.  Watching a small little body who depended on me to keep him safe die in my arms has pushed my thoughts and beliefs and everything I ever thought I really knew to the full on max.  It’s  made me examine and re-examine and re-examine again what I thought I really knew and understood.  I miss my old self, but I also don’t want to be the same as I was.  Sometimes I read my old words and cringe wondering how they made others feel.  I want to be more and I want to be better.  I want to know my suffering really personally and do better when I get the honor of walking with others in their own suffering.

I feel a lot of anger. It’s nice when people tell us they are praying for us, but also in a very respectful I-don’t-want-to-piss-anyone-off-kind-of-way…I’m tired of the “We’re praying for you.”s.  I’m just not sure it changes things for us.  Now does praying change the person doing the praying?  Yep, I can get behind that.  I just don’t think our prayers are going to make God do things.  I’m skeptical if by praying for someone to have a good day we are going to will God to step in and make their day better.  Instead maybe the better comes in knowing someone was thinking about you that day and talking to God about you.  Just call me the skeptic at this point.  It’s also semi exhausting people telling us how we should feel and what we need to do and how we should think.  I’m tired of the loneliness.  I’m tired of others thinking they have even a smiddgen as to what our day-to-day survival looks and feels like without Everett.  What I love is the kindness and gentleness and the empathy and compassion.  Those are the pinholes of light in our darkness.

I’ve been dissecting prayer and hashing it out.  Does it really do anything? Is it meaningful? What’s the real point behind it?  So far I’ve landed on just trying to talk to God more…like a real conversation.  I can’t ask Him for things right now because truthfully I don’t think our prayers persuade Him to do something or not to do something…minus salvation and forgiveness.  And truthfully I like it better that way.  I like just telling Him about my day and things I hope for verses begging Him to do/not to do/allow/not allow whatever to happen.  It makes more sense this way to my brain and heart because then God isn’t some God sitting on His throne appointing miracles to some and snatching miracles from others.  I do not know that kind of God.  Rather it’s like a roll of the dice.  We’ve got one heart kid who lived through surgery and one heart kid who died.  I don’t like thinking God “chose” to let Amon live and “chose” to let Everett die.  What I’d rather think is life is life and sometimes it’s good and some times it is really terrible because our world is fallen.  God rejoices with the good and grieves with the broken, but he’s not picking and choosing based on the amount of prayers, chosen people/not chosen people, who He’s still using, who He’s done with, etc.

I’m trying to dig deep and understand more, knowing full well I’ll never understand it all.  God is still God and I am not.  He owes me approximately zero.  I know He loves us all, I know He loves Everett and I know His ways are not mine.  I remember saying and writing over and over again God would not change based on the outcome of Everett’s surgery and I still believe that.  He is still the exact same God, but I am not the exact same person.  I did the changing and part of me is still grieving that loss too, but I feel like putting to question some of these things I thought I knew and thought were “right” will move me towards more compassion and empathy and love and a more firm hope.  I’m not going to get it all right along the way, but I’m not afraid to ask my questions and to throw out things I thought I knew in exchange for a handful of things I feel fully confident in.  I have no idea how it’s all going to shake out, but I’m here for it and I know God is too.  I’m in for the deep rooted heart change; I’m in for things being flipped upside down.

I think about Everett every single day and how yet again God is using him to change me.  We will never see the extent of the ripples Everett set in to place and just how big and wide they got.  Miss him every single day.


  1. Paige Poole says:

    This really hit home today! I lost my son at birth on December 1st. I feel like you were about to describe how I feel in words. Thank you for sharing.

  2. We have been wrestling with the same questions about prayer, different reasons, but same questions nonetheless.

  3. You can’t post too many pictures of your sweet son, Everett. I still look for him in pictures with the others. We can’t image how you are feeling or doing: but you need to be able to express it however you want. This is your story, your life and your post. Your family in in my thoughts numerous times each day and often during the nights. Thank you for sharing with us. Many hugs coming your way.

  4. Bethlyn says:

    Oh, sweet mama. I lost my mom and the smartest person in the room told me this, “Your journey is not looking the same as mine. I don’t think I could possibly say anything that might bring you peace today. I will be quite in the corner and will keep watching so if you need me that’s where to look.”

    Sometimes I live moment to moment because one day is too long. Thank you for sharing YOUR truth with so many because we are not alone when we share we are actually human.

  5. JUDY bAKER says:

    Laura, it is so hard for people who have never experienced the loss of a child to understand what you are going through or how you are feeling. I hate when people who have never experienced something say, “I know how you feel”, that’s just bull. But there are other moms, dads, and families that have experienced this, or are going through this right now. I know in some of the things I have lived through, I run into people who need to see someone who survived that crisis or situation. You may not feel like it Laura, but you are a survivor! I know this because I see the family that you so carefully love. I see the mom who looks for another child that needs someone to hold them and say they are welcomed into a real family. Laura you inspire me to be a better person. I love you girl, and even though it may seem cliche…..I do pray for you.

  6. Yes. To so much of this. True life true faith is not Christian radio perfectly packaged and framed life. It just isn’t. But the world and I’ve found so Much of the church doesn’t like that. It’s not pretty not comfortable…. know that you are loved and you’re speaking a lot of truth and wrestling in a horrible but good way. Someday I hope we meet and I’ll hug you just because. I can’t fix it, but I’ll eat sugar and let crazy kids run around us.

  7. Marjorie says:

    Been reading a book about Lamentations. And how American culture/church is not good at lamenting. You are very good at lamenting, and like Jeremiah, he has just a few verses in Lamentations about Gods goodness, the rest was about the pain.

  8. Elizabeth sutton says:

    I hear you. You can call me and pour out
    your raw and hurting heart. I can listen. As you said about those ripples that Everett left is unfathonably vast!! He is everywhere you look and in every breath you take. I will listen to you. I hear your pain such aggravated raw and deep your pain is.

  9. Shannon says:

    Sometimes the LORD allows His friends, who want to walk with Him closely, an opportunity to experience what He has. Because the fellowship of suffering uniquely binds friends. It also circumcises the heart, creating a tenderness, that would not have been there otherwise.

    As you walk with the Father and cry out to Him, know that you are in good company. He too understands the pain of having a son die. He experienced it with Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. He has empathy and unconditional love for you. And, He will minister to you in ways you did not know possible.

    As you fellowship with Him, free of the distraction of others, He will show you that He is all you need. And, He is the only one who can heal you, through our Savior, and the Holy Spirit.

    As Jacob did, keep wrestling and don’t let go until He blesses you. I know He will.

    I am sending you a huge hug and a lot of love,

  10. Yes to all these thoughts on prayer. Been there in a different situation and just still don’t understand the “no” to our prayers. So hard to see “yes’s” to this same prayer for others but why not us? Anyways, I so appreciate your thoughts – they make me not feel alone in the questioning.

  11. Heather N says:

    There is nothing I can say except I am sorry. I am still here. I am still reading every post. I still think about your Everett every day. And my heart hurts for you.

  12. Denise webner says:

    Great love equals great loss. I lost my daughter at 9 years of age and I too am on a journey; I have changed. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t need to care for my other children. They saved me! One step, one day at a time;but I question everything. I am so very blessed to have had her in my life for 9 years; but this is my journey. I have no words of wisdom for you but you touched my heart as did your son and your journey.

  13. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some
    of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking
    and checking back frequently!

  14. ESTRADA_H says:

    Yes! So much yes. I’m in the same boat with prayer – wondering what it’s about and trying to move beyond what American Christianity has taught me about it. I’m also rethinking the word blessing and trying to figure out what THAT actually means. We’ve misused that word for too too long and it’s become a dagger that pokes me when I see it. My mentor told me once, and it always sticks with me, if it’s not true for people experiencing the worst situations on earth, it’s not true for you. I’ll never forget that. The Bible truths are true for ALL of us. Those in the deep depths of agony and those in the comfortable places of excess (and everyone in between). That means a lot of the theology I’ve learned is WHACK (working on that). Thanks for being real and raw and letting us into your thoughts.

Leave A Comment