My Weekly Grief Spill

The farther we move away from Everett’s death the harder it gets.  I always want to share honestly in this little space because I think sharing openly is really important.  Plus I always think “Surely there has got to be another person who feels this way too.”

*I am learning the #1 route through this mess is grace.  Grace, grace and more grace.  Everyone needs it.  Me…Josh…our kids…strangers…family…and friends.  One morning this week we we’re all moving a little slower than normal and Hudson was really sad on top of it.  We needed to leave for school in 15 minutes.  I hate being late…it’s kind of my thing.  I am not typically late and it actually really stresses me out to be late so usually I’ll fly into panic mode and get everyone out the door asap.  This morning I knew we needed different.  Instead I took a deep breath and sat with Hudson on the couch.  We hugged, we cried and we talked about Everett and how we miss him so much.  Then we ate breakfast, finished getting ready for school and I stuffed down my typical feeling of “rush, move fast Laura…do not be late” and I just let them all be late for school.  When I signed the boys in they asked for a reason and I said and wrote “sad morning” and let it be at that.

*Anger is currently an overriding feeling all throughout my day.  I feel it towards people and circumstances.  It is a constant battle.  I just don’t get a lot of other’s actions and words sometimes, BUT I also have a major role in this.  The Bible is very clear about where to place your hope…where to cast your cares…when to align your heart and it is definitely NOT in other people, but in Jesus Himself.  I have let down many people and will do so again and again.  Putting our hope in humans is not wise.

*Amon is incredibly musically inclined.  He loves music.  He loves to sing.  He loves to dance.  Several times while driving down the road and hearing a certain song on the radio that I immediately start to internalize and apply to our current situation without Shuai, Amon will break into tears and share how much he misses his brother.  He internalizes music too.  He likes to hear the music that was played and sang at Shuai’s burial and celebration of life and often ends in tears and him asking me to turn them off, but his little self pushes him to go to that place first and then retreats if needed.  It has been so hard and humbling to watch as each child grieves so differently.

*Marriage is hard in general and marriage is hard in grief too.  Josh Kelley and myself both lost a child and now we’re both living grief while parenting 5 children who are grieving as well, plus work and relationships and all our own personal emotions and feelings…everything right now…including marriage…feels damn hard.

*Our littlest has decided she is very much done with her FuShuai being dead.  She is three and very outspoken and in tune to her feelings.  The other morning she woke up around 4am and cried telling me how she didn’t want Everett to be in heaven any more and how she just wanted him to come home now.  She has shared how she doesn’t want him in the ground anymore and she talks about death daily and always asks, “If I die will I stay in heaven forever too?”  And the other day she got so excited because she was absolutely convinced the private Amazon delivery driver was bringing Everett home.  She exclaimed, “I think it’s Everett.  I think they’re bringing him home.”  She ran out the front door to which I went after her, scooped her up and explained again how he would not be coming home and how the nice lady was just dropping off a package.  She cried into my shoulder.  Another little tidbit on me and death and grief…right now I say the F word a lot.  There is just not one bit of Everett’s death which feels right or good or okay.  NONE.

*The other day my BIL Andy told us how when he went back to school how many people he’d never talked with about Everett wanted to talk to him about Everett.  It made my day.  I love when people still bring up his name and recognize how badly this sucks.  We know not everything revolves around us or Everett or the death of Everett, but our minds are there all day, every day, so when Andy chose to share that with us it breathed life into both Josh Kelley and myself.

*2 things I currently hate feeling: 1. Like we cannot move out of our house quick enough.  It feels terrible to not want to be in a home you have loved and especially when there are so many who are homeless or living in motels in our community.  It feels silly and yet still crazy hard to remain.  And 2.  I’d rather Mom have died than Everett.  Mom’s death was sudden and she was my Mom and I still miss her terribly, but she was the parent and now it feels like a more natural death than your child’s.  Our 3-year-old dying after going through all he went through and my 62-year-old mom dying feels very very different.  Some aspects about my grief feel similar, but most feel vastly different.

*It is crazy hard navigating my own grief while watching, listening, experiencing and living with 6 other humans who are grieving as well.  I hear everyone’s thoughts and feelings and not that I don’t want to, but it just is really really really hard.  Not only are we deep in our own grief, but we’re also deep in each other’s grief and that has been very difficult for me to figure out and know how to handle and move through.

*I have to remind myself daily that I still need to celebrate with others who are celebrating and grieve with others who are grieving.  I don’t really want to celebrate things when my heart is in such a broken place, but people still need to be celebrated.  And we’re not the only ones in the world with sad stuff and with heavy burdens we’re currently carrying.  We cannot turn so inward that we do not see outward those who are hurting around us…those who need encouraging and need love and need to know they are not alone and that they are indeed seen. We still need to reach outside ourselves in the midst of our grief.

*People are crazy kind.  We get cards and packages almost everyday.  There’s a local church where we seriously only know maybe one person there and yet we get cards, cards and more cards from this little body of believers.  It’s the sweetest and my kids are loving opening all the mail.  Friends have dropped off baked goods and dinners and solar eclipse buckets and rainbow weaves.  Strangers have mailed donkey piñata ornaments, cards, tee shirts and bracelets.  All the donkey rainbow goodness makes my heart gush.  And so many of you have sent more goodies & treats for our kiddos.  All the kindness is too much in the best kind of way.

 *A new friend Cara is raising money to help supply books to Mott Children’s Hospital in Everett’s honor.  It’s the sweetest and a young local girl even drew the cutest rainbow piñata donkey picture which will serve as the bookplate inside each book.  If you’d like to donate head over HERE and make your donation.

So there are some of my current crazy grief truths.  Could things be worse?  Yep, totally.  Do we still love Jesus?  Yep, totally.  Do we still praise His name?  Yep, totally.  We can believe and do all those things while still hurting and fumbling our way through life without our son.


  1. Yes. Thank you for sharing. Whyyy is it that grief makes us ANGRY? And the f word.yep. Hangs head in shame. Praying for you all

  2. Kim Wayman says:

    You guys sharing your life and Everettt’s life and death has touched more souls for Jesus than you will ever know. Your strength, weakness and courage give us all hope. Your transparency shows us Jesus’ love. One day I hope to meet you face to face and give you a great big hug! Because you share and love with a heart like Jesus. While it is easy to be angry, hurt and self-absorbed in your grief – all of these feelings are necessary to heal. It is raw and it is your current season – but know that a happier season will come from your tears and heartache, a different season, one that will hold a lot of “what ifs?” and “whys” but God will be there with you in those seasons. Continued prayers for you all.

  3. Anger is a natural part of grief. There are so many stages of grief. Don’t be afraid to feel them all. We are still praying for all the Kelley’s.

  4. I was at a private school while they were cleaning out classrooms. The Spanish class had mini rainbow donkey pinatas. I nearly cried for you in the hallway. I don’t know you, but you’re family is always in my prayers.

  5. Even in grief, you inspire. Sending nothing but good thoughts and prayers for your sweet family your way.

  6. Karly Wright says:

    You don’t know me, but I have followed your blog and online presence for years. And have always loved your heart in all things. Since bringing Everett home I have absolutely, completely fallen head over heels for your precious boy (like everyone who has ever seen/watched/read about him). I know this may sound strange, but I MISS HIM. I miss your insta-stories and him on your counter and having the sweetest cheeks and smiles. You love him so so so so well. To the point of me re-evaluating my own relationship with my adopted son. I want to treasure him like you treasure your sweet boy. Thank you for always being honest, and amazing, and a bright light for Jesus. You shine so bright. And I know you hear it often, but I truly am praying for you all, God is constantly placing you on my heart. <3 A Oregon Mama

  7. Sarah Francoeur says:

    Say the F word all you want. It’s just a word and if that helps then so be it. I am praying for you all daily…sometimes I find myself thinking about you and tears are flowing. My mom and I were talking and I got really angry because I wanted you to have your miracle. I wanted Everett to come home. I asked mom why. Why?? Why do some people get their miracle and others don’t? I don’t know the answer but, like you, I know God is good and He loves you and Everett is with Him. I am praying and praying and living you all. ❤️

  8. Carrie corrigan says:

    Three things:
    1. I effing love the F word.
    2. I would buy your house in a heartbeat. For effing real.
    3. I’m sorry it’s so hard right now. It effing sucks. I am sending you big effing hugs.

  9. You have every right to use the F-word because Everett’s death f-ing sucks! Not a day goes by that I don’t think and pray for your family. Being honest with your grief can’t be easy, but I applaud you for being so transparent. Good job mama on taking the time with your kiddos as they grieve differently. I think that will make all the difference on how they grieve through the stages. They feel loved by you and Josh and that’s what matters. I will pray for you and Josh to keep your marriage strong during this time. You need each other. Much love from Kansas, Tiffany

  10. Aunt tootsie says:

    Laura, my neighbor’s husband passed away a few weeks before Harold, she loved him very much. About 2 months ago her nearly 60 year old son died. One of the things expressed to me was “it’s altogether different in losing a child and a husband.” She indicated losing a child was the worst. I would think losing a nearly 4 year old might be worse than a 60 year old.
    My heart goes out to each of you, makes me sad to read of your family’s sadness. Love your sweet family, even though I rarely see them, wish we lived closer. Praying for all of you.

  11. Nothing but love to you, Laura. So so so much love.

  12. I’m so so sorry
    ~from a long time reader ❤️

  13. Kelly Ford says:

    Love, hugs and tons of prayers for you all. ❤️

  14. I don’t know y’all but through the internet (we have a few mutual friends I think), but i’m so very sorry.

    Not that you need “advice” or anything of the sort, I wanted to recommend a few blogs of bereaved parents I happen to read. I don’t know if you’re in a place to read them, but I wanted you to know that there are other people out there that do get it. (Heather specifically writes a lot about grief and things that have helped her a lot).


    Lots of love and prayers from a fellow Nashvillian <3

  15. Popping in to say, “Sorry you are going through all this.” Your Mama heart is so sweet to carry and feel the grief of your entire family. Prayers for you all. Thank you for continuing to share your faith. And yes, we miss Everett too.

  16. Love your beautiful honesty ❤️

    And I can’t tell you how many people have came up to me to talk about Everett! I was getting my sons hair cut, and I had a client of mine start talking about him & you. She said, I’ve never met Laura, but I am so inspired by her & her love for God. Also, while registering Reagan for school, one of the teachers (that I didn’t even know), said how much she loved the pictures we did & said how much she has prayed for your family. I’ve had many more little moments like this… for one, I am so thankful that I had the privilege to meet your handsome son…and two, I am thankful for you & your beautiful heart. You & your family have touched so many.

    So, so much love for the Kelley family.

  17. All your posts have been heart wrenching to read but today’s for some reason was so much more heart wrenching. What you shared about your littlest and the Amazon delivery lady and that sign you have on your wall about singing Hallelujah. I have no words…I am so sorry Laura <3

  18. estrada_h says:

    I think about you guys daily! Sometimes I open your feed and just stare at Everett. I’ve watched his dumpling video about a bajillion times. Sometimes I can’t get through it and just have to close my eyes and cry for you because, if my heart is broken, I can. not. even. fathom. how you guys are feeling. I’m studying true blessings right now because I think I may have a faulty view of blessing that’s causing my brain to pretty much explode. I’m praying because the Bible tells me too and asking God to help me understand what in the actual world prayer does. Sounds like a terrible question, but I think it’s natural and good. Anyway, I share because you were encouraged when others were thinking about sweet Everett and I wanted you to know that not a day goes by without his sweet chubby cheeks being on our minds here. Also, the f word is so appropriate in all of this. It sucks to the moon and back and I’m so. stinking sorry!!

  19. Laura, Josh, children, I am in awe of your attitudes! I truly am. You share your inmost feelings, your deepest hurts, your anger, yet you still praise the Lord! I know that’s what we do, as believers in THE Risen Christ. Well, it’s what we’re supposed to do, what our heart wants us to do but sometimes, when we’ve had a cr*p day, someone’s mistreated us at work, that bad driver got right under our skin and we secretly hoped they’d get their comeuppance, we just don’t feel like saying anything nice to anyone, do we? And isn’t this where grace comes in? Grace. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. All for free, all for you and me, no catches, no tricks, no costs to us. All of everything that we’d EVER need was bought, at the Cross. Jesus was totally separated from His Dad, made into sin for our sake, given the penalty for our sin, our wrongdoing. We know He asked His Dad if there was any way He didn’t have to go through the Cross. His Dad didn’t say anything. Jesus had to toe the Fatherly line and go to His crucifixion, to be made into that filth and sin and all the things that you and I ever did that was outside of God’s Holiness. He did that, He suffered that, He endured that, for you, for me, for our often wayward kids, for those who revile the Lord’s name, those who spat at Him, mocked Him. He was made sin, for all of us, for those yet unborn. He is the only unchanging element in this wickedly fallen place we all cling to, the place nations fight over, where one country smiles at the other,whilst secretly plotting the other country’s annihilation. What a state we are in! Has there ever been a time when we’ve needed Christ more? I don’t think so, do you? And, Laura, Josh, kids, this is surely a foul time for you all, you need the Lord like never before, too. Lord, comfort this lovely, hurting Kelley family. Unite all of them. Give them great memories of little sweet Shuai and, when they feel like crumbling into dust, when even the sound of your name feels like it’s meaningless to them, when they are numb, be their First Balm, Lord. Bind up their wounds. Their mental sounds, that feel like they’re just so physical. Lord, you are good, all the time and YOU ARE THE ONLY POSITIVE IN THIS HORRIBLE TIME!! Be their ever present Comforter, Lord and bind this hurting family together, in your Love! Especially Josh and Laura, cos it’s so hard and wrong and not supposed to happen this way round. You’re not supposed to say goodbye to one of your children. We don’t get it, Lord but, in all things, Lord, we KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOOD! I’ve rambled, Kelleys, like I do usually but the essence of what I want to say is for you guys to be and become such an unbreakable tower of strength, for each other and for your community! May our gracious, Father, Son And Holy Spirit be paramount in your hearts and minds, as you pass through this season of grief.

  20. I use the “f” word a lot lately for everything that’s going around us that makes me grieve and makes me angry. It feels good to say it. Something about that word is like a release of energy I have to get out of my body before I boil over. And I’ve used it when talking to my husband about Everett as well.
    Yesterday my four year old (who had come with me to Mott to make that drop off on that horrible morning for you all) said “Mommy, is Everett still in the hospital?”
    I gently explained that no, he wasn’t and that he had died like I had told him before. He asked “So he’s not in the hospital. Is he at home?” “No, buddy. His parents went home after he died and they and his brothers and sisters miss him SO much. He didn’t get to go home.” And then I cried and he sat staring into space with his eyes filling with tears and then said “But you told me he was almost going to turn four, Mom. It was almost his birthday.”
    Yeah. Eff. I’ve got nothing else. All I could say to him was “I know, buddy. It’s so super sad. It makes me cry a lot. And his family cries a lot a lot because they miss Everett SO much.”
    It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Three year olds are not supposed to die. Eff.

  21. so much love and prayers for you all ❤️. I don’t usually follow blogs (unless there are pictures of delicious food of course) this may have been how I originally stumbled across yours years ago but since I started following I’ve bonded with complete strangers over your blog and we have followed your story together and laughed and cried and cried some more. Please never lose that heart. I can’t imagine the whirlwind of grief you all are going through but amidst all of this you seem to have the strongest faith in God of anyone I’ve ever seen. That alone can change the world. Keep it up…there are strangers all over the world thinking of you all daily and praying hard for your crew ❤️

  22. Carolyn Phillips says:

    Sending love and prayers.

  23. Johnnie johnson says:

    Sweet Laura, my heart aches for you and all the Kelleys. The loss of a child is not in the natural order of life as WE see it. And your feelings, anger, grief, praise….are all on point.
    My son, Jeremy, my only child passed 12/26/2012 after a long & painful illness resulting from his having Lupus. I know your pain. Age makes no difference.
    Every time you write or say Everett’s name, it will get a bit easier, even though there are still days of incredible pain & loss.
    I do not know how people do this without Faith. I could not. Your family is in my prayers. (((Hugs))))

  24. Laura, everything you write resonates with me and I shake my head and cry while thinking, “YES. Me, too.” I lost my baby son a few years ago. I remember feeling exactly as you describe. I just want you to know – as you mentioned in the first paragraph – that yes, someone out there feels this way, too. You are not alone!!! Sending so much love to you and your family. THANK YOU for sharing your heart so bravely. – Emily (Cindy’s daughter)

  25. Thanks for your beautiful honesty. I pray that Jesus continues to be your hope and comfort in this terrible season.

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